Planning for Next Year, or A Ramble

12.05.2016

Hello, December!

This is the point where I usually review the words I chose for the year, start reflecting, and looking at what I accomplished and didn't accomplish, and then I look at what my intentions for the next year may be. Today I had intended to review my words for 2016, but I have so many thoughts that I think I'm going to put that on hold.

What I feel like writing about is next year, what's ahead. This is my brainstorm, which is unorganised and messy right now.

First, I'll address my thoughts on school. If you've been a long time reader, you might already know this, but I'll give a quick history. I graduated with an Associates Degree, and then went on to three other colleges, but never finished. A lot of what life happening, and a lot is because I'm uncertain about what to major in, but I decided I definitely want to go back (I have a lot of thoughts on this as well, and I've written about a lot of it, but it's unimportant for what I'm currently discussing). I looked into some schools at the beginning of the year, ran into issues with the advisor, and I decided to let the issue rest and just ponder. It's been a good six months and I feel like I have finally approached some clarity on the issue. So I'm going to continue pondering, and I think I'm going to discuss it with some close friends at this point, and maybe by summer I will start looking into different schools and deciding if I want to go completely online or if I want the option to take on-ground classes. So basically what I'm saying is I'm going to continue to ponder. I'm good at pondering.

Next is a more complicated thought and hopefully I can write something coherent here that everyone can follow. The basic theme is my growing dislike for social media, and it's something I started thinking about during the summer, and I'm now coming up with some solutions that don't involve me abandoning various platforms.

I've never been the biggest fan on Facebook, and I probably wouldn't have it except that it's an easy and convenient way to share photos with my family. I text them photos constantly, but our Alabama and Kansas trips involve 100+ photos and Facebook is good for that. The only other things I post on Facebook are photos that auto post from Instagram. As time has gone on, I've found Facebook has become a place where I'm no longer keeping up with my friends, but seeing arguments, constant posts of things I disagree with and how if I don't agree I'm a terrible person (and God forbid I try to have a friendly discussion). There are photos of dead babies and people exploiting them to get likes and comments. It's just not fun. I don't like it. I removed it from my phone a while back to give myself some more storage, and I forgot that I even removed it. Did not miss it at all. I did not feel any less connected. I recently got a new phone and have plenty of storage now and reinstalled it, but chose not to allow any notifications, and I'm happy. I check it once a week or so when I feel like it to see if I have any notifications, and I might scroll for five minutes before I'm over it. This is working for me. I do have plans to unlike almost everything and remove a lot of friends, but I don't have time for that right now. 

Now Instagram I love. Since the day it was available on Android I have loved it. That is, until Facebook took over and changed the whole design and the algorithm. Until everyone made it about having tons of followers instead of interacting and having a community. I currently follow 235 people, most of which never even pop up in my feed, most of which do not respond to comments I leave. About a month ago I spent a lot of time commenting. I left 20 comments on photos, some accounts had 20,000 followers, some had less than fifty, and I made sure they were comments someone could write a response for. I got exactly one reply, and it was an emoticon. There are a select few people on Instagram that reply when I leave comments, and they're people I would consider online friends rather than just someone I'm following on Instagram. I know everyone can't answer everything, but a lot of times there are accounts who never reply to anything at all. So, I really feel like Instagram is turning into a photo journal app for me, not so much a social app. I've been feeling a little sad about this, but that's fine, it's bothering me less and less. This leads me to the changes I'm considering. First, I follow a lot of shops that I love and that I want to remember, but I'm not a point where I can afford most of these things, they're not necessities. But I would like to bookmark it (this is a good place to express how much I do not like using Favourites or Bookmarks and I'm not even sure why). So, I've thought of utilising Pinterest by making a board of small shops and pinning their sites, so they're nicely organised for when I want to look through them, but I'm not constantly getting advertisements filling up my feed. Second, I'm beginning to feel like Instagram is a little like flipping through a celebrity magazine. Yes, there's some awesome people, and they post pretty pictures, and share pretty moments, and sometimes inspire me, but again there's no interaction. What actual value is this bringing to my life? One thing that made me really think about this was Rory in Gilmore Girls (I've been watching the original series for the first time and loving it!). She is always reading and taking books everywhere she goes, and actually reading them. I used to do that. My daughter has shown a love for books and I'm now packing books for her when we go out. I started realising that all the times she was reading are times that I would be scrolling on my phone nowadays. Now let me go off track for a moment and say I seem to be incapable of reading a book these days. Ten pages and my attention is exhausted. And now I am constantly having to pause and do something for someone, and it's hard to read or write or crochet anything other than a very basic stitch in that situation, but there is still so much time I could be doing something else. Again, what actual value is social media bringing to my life currently? 

Enough social media talk.

I'm also considering working out a schedule of sorts for my hobbies and interests. You may know I have a ridiculous amount of things I love doing. Planning and schedule has been working so well for me. It's helping me prioritise, stay on track with projects, and maximize some of my time. This thought is not fully formed, so I currently have no ideas on how to accomplish this, but I'll figure it out.

I know the social media stuff may sound very cynical, or even mean, but it's what's on my mind, it's how I feel, and it's seriously not meant to offend anyone I have on Facebook or Instagram. I don't get along with everyone, and everyone doesn't get along with me, and that's fine. I'm finally at a point in life where I am who I am and if someone doesn't like it, I don't care and it's not a problem for me. We all have different processes and ways of communicating, and sometimes those things clash. I am also at a point, however, where I understand that the people I choose to interact with, and the things I choose to spend my time on should be meaningful, because I'm not getting any younger, and I've spent too many years without this realisation. I want to enjoy my life, I want to fill my life with things  I like, things that are me, things that add value and purpose. I no longer have room for anything else.

Now I shall conclude because my long-windedness has definitely made an appearance and I'm in one of those moods and mindsets where I could just go on and on and on. So these are things that are in my mind for the next year and I plan to take December to continue mulling and come up with some more organised thoughts and plans to put some of this into action. 

Running Diaries - 11.22.2016

11.23.2016

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Woohoo, I finally got back out! I have been a few times since I last posted, but only like two or three! I really don't have a good excuse, except I've been feeling intensely stressed, and running felt like more stress, so I let it go a little. But I'm ready to get out more and to prioritise this, because my health is important.

I went out yesterday, but I didn't post anything largely because Runkeeper was really acting up on me and my run was very inaccurate. It did the same thing today after a few troubleshooting steps, so I don't know what's going on. Today I kept notes on my start, stop, and break times though, and then I was able to just map my route manually to get an accurate reading. I have researched the issue, and haven't found much so I will probably contact Runkeeper about that once I'm done here, because I'd really like to continue using the app.

Today was a wonderful day, but I wasn't entirely prepared for how cold and windy it was! It was only 46°F, but add a little wind, a lot of shade, and it was freezing! I love running in that weather though, so it wasn't a bother at all, though a scarf would have been nice.

I knew I wanted to do four miles, but since the app was all crazy I had no idea how far I was going. Marion went to sleep almost immediately, so I decided I would just go till she woke up, which obviously turned out great!

I only ran for about three spurts, which I feel is fine since I'm just getting back into this again. I'm still working on not running full speed and on not tightening my arms and shoulders, both of which I have a really hard time with. I also was sure to just walk for the first mile, as I seem to have better endurance for the remainder of the run if I avoid running in that first mile. I now have a route that takes me around the neighborhood and to the park and adds up to a mile exactly, so I use that as a "warm up." Many years ago when I was first diagnosed with heart issues, my doctor told me to always be sure to start slow so my heart rate can increase at a slower rate, and it really does help, for me.

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Look at these enormous, fat squirrels! They were truly massive.

I'm going to force myself out tomorrow too. I nearly skipped today because I simply didn't feel like it, but I was immediately glad I went, and I had a great time.

Before I go, let's talk about where to put the phone while running. I usually put it in the cupholder of the stroller (it has only flown out of there a few times...), but my new phone doesn't fit, and I can't do that in the cold anyways because my phone just shuts off. I need it to be easily accessible so I can pause my run. In my shirt is my only guess, but I feel like sweating against my phone can't be good. I considered an arm band, but I worry my phone will still get too cold. Any ideas?

Pieces of Motherhood, Part 2

11.12.2016


On Thursday we went back to Antioch Park, mostly so I could take some photos of the kids. I had actually brought my camera with me, and I was itching to get it out. We got to the park, and when I turned it on I realized there was no SD card. I had left it at home. Colorado home. I was so disappointed and that definitely added to the depression I was already feeling. Josh gave me his phone and told me to just use that instead, so I did. It took me a little bit to recover though, and I feel ridiculous for it now.

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I actually got a few photos of Joey and Marion that were pretty good, which is rare! I think this is my favourite one.

I love watching her explore different things. She wanted to stand under that tree and just look around (before diving in, because she loves water), and when I sat her in the leaves, she looked so weirded out, and finally realised they weren't so bad. It's so fun to watch her taking things in and learning. I can't help but watch and smile.

We stayed on the boardwalk for a while, but I ended up hanging out with Marion for even longer. She wanted to get the big leaves and put them through the bars and into the water and then watch them float away. After a few times she started saying "there you go" every time she dropped a leaf in. She kept looking at me and just smiling. Eventually she got me to help retrieve more leaves, but only the whole ones, the broken ones stayed on the boardwalk. We cleared the whole area.

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We walked over to the play area, where of course she pointed out the swing and laughed. She loves to swing. We did walk around some, but there were no squirrels to watch, so she leaned against a wall and stared in the window and watched a little girl play instead (she stayed there at least ten minutes).

On Friday Josh and I had had some plans, but we ended up cancelling those as neither of us were feeling well. Instead we went to the store to gather up some food for the trip home. Also, seeing my disappointment the previous day, Josh picked me up an SD card so I'd have it that evening and on the drive home.

When we got back to the house I laid down with Marion for a little bit, who was asleep, but as soon as she woke up we went outside. We all needed some air. I took my camera, and I am so glad I did because I had an amazing time taking photos. I needed that.

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These are some of my favourite photos of her. Some of these just melt me. They're unedited, and I shot these in manual while playing with some different settings, so they're a little off, but that's okay, it was for fun and practice. We had so much fun playing, throwing the balls around, running, playing with Sandey. We stayed outside till the sun started going down, and she and I were sad to head in. We needed that time and I'm so glad we took it.

On Saturday, we made the long drive back home. And it really didn't go terribly at all.

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We stopped first in Rockport, Missouri, which is a place we stopped on our last trip. We took our traditional bathroom selfie, ate, and played. She was so proud of herself for going over to the playground all alone and climbing to the top of that slide. She almost went down it too, but asked for help. I tried to help her go down without holding on to her, but she was too scared. She kept trying though! She's almost there.

We took a long walk around while Josh and Joey were in the restroom. She wanted to run around at first, checking to make sure I was following, and then she grabbed my fingers and said, "Let's go." We walked all over the place with her holding my hand and guiding me around. It was the best thing ever, and it was sad when it ended. It sounds so simple right, your kid is holding your hand walking you all over the place, but it filled me with so much joy.

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Random Gas Station in Brady, NE

We got a little crazy in that last one. I think it was delirium from being in the car about ten hours at that point. She was being so funny. I actually had to change her on the bathroom floor, which made me want to vomit, but I do have an awesome changing pad that her entire body fits on, so it wasn't too bad. But I still thought it was pretty gross.

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Honestly, we didn't do too much in Kansas, but we did get a lot of outside time, and we had some beautiful little moments. I am so happy that I capture so many of these moments. I don't feel like taking photos takes away from these times and experiences at all, but it helps me preserve them, so I can look back on them like I did here.

Being her mom is the best thing. Ever.


For this post, I've linked up with Image-in-ingLife Thru The LensPhoto Friday, and Through My Lens.

Random Thoughts (unedited)

11.09.2016

It seems like every single time I get into a really good routine and things are going great and I start settling in...everything happens and just messes it all up. Why is that? Is it just me? Maybe I let things bother me too much or something. I am always in my head, maybe I just let things sit there and brew too much. I don't know. But it's irritating and leads me to that "one thing after another" feeling. Which is not a good feeling, as I'm sure you all know. 

I've been struggling with my appearance again. Like, I keep feeling like my facial features are just so odd, particularly my eyes and the structuring around them. So for the past few weeks I keep looking at other people, and watching on TV, just trying to find similar features, and I wasn't really finding much. Then I was watching Spotless on Netflix, and voila, like every woman had my same eye structure. Not just hooded, I actually saw someone with hooded eyes, with that deep crease, but she had really big eyes and they kind of bulged, so they weren't deep under her brow. And almost every woman I saw in the show had hooded eyes. Now, Spotless is set in London, so I did a tiny bit of research, and apparently that eye shape is very common in the Irish, Scots, English, and French women. I know I'm Irish and Scottish from my dad's side (and a fifth Cherokee, not that you'd ever know it), but I don't know anything about my mum's side. I think I remember maybe some French and Dutch. So, I'm going to talk to my mum about it, because I'm curious, and maybe Marion will be curious one day. Anyways, learning about this kind of stuff makes me appreciate my features a little more for some reason. I still think my face is a little weird though. 

I should also try to learn about Josh's background. I don't know anything about it. 

I was talking to my friend Fenna about feeling and emotions the other day and whether or not we can control our feelings. I used to think feelings were involuntary, but in the past few years I found many of my feelings were me thinking I should feel a certain way, even if I didn't necessarily feel that way. So I'm still really focused on analyzing how I'm feeling vs what I'm saying, and in almost all cases, I'm responding in the way I think I'm supposed to, not in the way I actually think or feel. And now I'm realizing how my psychiatrist was guiding me towards that thought, and how I wasn't fully participating in modifying my thoughts and behaviors. I do believe there are sometimes you just feel something, and for me those are moments I can't generally describe, so I usually express it through photos, and sometimes other things.

I feel like that was really confusing, but that's what my mind is saying.

I'm really ready for everyone to stop whining about the election. I can't even scroll through Instagram. I think I'm probably just going to avoid social media for a week. I had a look tonight, thinking everyone might be done, but nope. Thanks dumb algorithm, I can't just see a literal timeline and see posts in the past few hours, I've got to see all of yesterday's too. There were a few funny election-related ones though. 

My sweet daughter keeps giving me back hugs and smiling at me really big, so I'm going to spend time with her. And now she is brushing my hair. She's the best.

Goals for November and December

11.07.2016

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I'm lumping in the next two months, because CHRISTMAS! While Marion's blanket is almost complete, nothing else is. To the extent I'm abandoning a few projects (which is totally fine) to ensure I can finish these others. I do this every year, I don't know why I find myself surprised at my procrastination. Therefore, I vow to begin on Christmas gifts next year starting in like March.

Anyways, last month's goals didn't go terribly, but I didn't meet them all. So there will not be a lot for the next two months.

CHRISTMAS
I really need to do more than an hour of crocheting a day. Generally when I sit down to work on something I do at least 90 minutes, and quite often even three hours. So, I'm going to try to crochet five nights a week. And this is my top priority, above all other goals.

DEVOTIONAL
I'm going to try to keep up with everything daily. It honestly doesn't take any more than 15 minutes. One of my problems is that I just keep forgetting. And then I'm way behind, and then I'm like, "Ugh, just forget it!"

FITNESS
Run - I'm going to try to run twice a week at minimum, but no pressure. No distance goal. No pace goal. Just get out there.

Yoga - No goal this time. I'll do it when it if I feel like it or think about it before I'm trying to go to sleep.

PLAN
I don't even need a goal here anymore. I love it. I've never enjoyed it this much.

So basically, I just want to get Christmas stuff done and I'm not too concerned with the rest. If I can manage it, then great, but it's not my priority and I will not get stressed over it or feel like a failure for not getting it all done. Besides, this is my favourite time of the year and I want to enjoy it without having too much I need to accomplish. In a lot of ways I feel like I accomplish more when I don't set specific goals, or at least the things I want to do feel less stressful and I, in turn, feel more motivated.

Only two more months till a brand new year! Enjoy it.

Sandey Sunday 40

11.06.2016

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She had to rest after an intense play time...by intense I mean we played for about five minutes.
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This is usually how Sandey reacts when I try to take photos.

Happy Sunday!