Working Smartly in the New Year

3596829214_93ddeb6cbf_z2015, amiright? The new year holds lots of possibilities, but also so many unknowns and things we want to do. We’re already planning for a busy year (at the moment mostly filled with preschooler birthday parties which seem to be the party of the season right now). With travel, potentially putting our house on the market, finding a new house, blogging, making sure Cal is fed three times a day, I need to find a way to say on task and focused this year.

Both in my volunteering work as well as at work I’ve been exposed to SMART goals, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. I’ve also seen other bloggers use their blogs as way to stay true to their goals and see what goals they reach each month. And with that, I suppose I’ve reached my first goal of the year – check in and continue to develop goals monthly.

My thought is to come up with categories now and work throughout the year on goals within those categories.

Categories for Goals for 2015:

– Family

– Health

– Personal

– Blogging

– Work

And with that, here are my SMART goals for January:

– Family – have one unscheduled afternoon a weekend for the girls to hang out and do what they choose and compete the January Subtraction Project.

– Health – complete the 5 day clean eating challenge and work out in some manner 3x/week.

– Personal – read one book this month. (Yes, really just one. My goal is 12 this year, which would be a sixfold increase over 2014. Baby steps).

– Blogging – complete blogging calendar and post 3x/week.

– Work – network with new contacts at the conference the end of this month.
So that’s it for now. Keep me accountable this year, readers. What are your goals for the new year? How will you stay motivated to follow through on them?

 

Secret Santa Joy

Part of the fun of being a blogger is “meeting” people across the interwebs. This is part of the reason I was excited to participate in the Blogger’s Secret Santa Gift Exchange this year.

Bright and early this morning my Secret Santa sent us a Starbucks gift card, which let’s be honest, what more does a blogger need than coffee? Lila and I had a shopping date planned, so the gift card was great to grab some shopping fuel!

Breakfast with my little lady thanks to my Blogger Secret Santa!

Breakfast with my little lady thanks to my Blogger Secret Santa!

 

Of course, I may be biased in thinking this was the perfect gift, as it was the same one I sent to my assigned Secret Santa partner, Jamie. I hope Jamie has as much fun using her gift card as we did using ours. We even picked up this year’s Starbucks ornament for our Christmas tree.

Coffee, friends and fun new blogs to read – can’t ask for much more on a Friday morning!

The Week That Was

Unrelated Adorable Photo

Unrelated Adorable Photo

While it has been quiet here on Two Washingtons, we’ve been keeping it real throughout the internets.

Over at Liberating Working Moms, we started the week sharing our real life admissions and realizing that while moms may sometimes feel like everyone but them has their lives together, the truth is we all order Papa John’s for dinner every once in a while.

At Mom.me, I shared my “mom hack” with some of my other favorite working moms. Mine? Pre-buying birthday gifts to have one hand. My most recent pre-acquisition were these Melissa & Doug Play House! Reusable Sticker Pad when they were buy 2 get 1 free.

Lastly, I was proud to be part of Teaching Sam and Scout’s 31 Days of Working Moms. Take a look my interview, as well as the other amazing moms who made up the month long post.

It’s been a busy week, but I’ll be back here to share more soon!

Turning Over a New Leaf

In light of my recent absence from the blog, I’m trying to find new ways to make blogging more part of my daily routine. I like writing. I may not be writing the next great American novel, but I like the process and being able to take the time to do it. Blogging is a creative process, even if sometimes that is just trying to come up with a kitchy title. It uses a part of my brain that writing contracts and reviewing medical conflict of interests doesn’t. It’s not that I don’t want to, it is just that I haven’t always made the time.

So I am going to try to start writing for ten minutes a night. I may not publish every night. I may not publish everything I write. But I will aim to write for ten minutes a night to make it more of a habit and to allow myself to have the exercise of writing, of thinking about writing, and devoting time to the continued life of this blog. We’ll see how it goes. I’m hoping it works and that it becomes part of my nightly routine to sit and think about all the words in my head and try to make some sense of them – and hopefully producing something worth reading every once in a while.

Falling Behind

Feeling a little sheepish about my absence from the blog lately (perhaps my feelings are best illustrated by this picture of Cal below).

calhoun

As summer turned to fall, the days got shorter and while that didn’t mean less hours in the day, it certainly has felt like that. Work, kids, extra curriculars. Football. We made our constitutionally required trip to a pumpkin patch today. So that’s something.

scarecrow

This is all to say, we’re here. We’re busy. Some of us are still not sleeping through the night. We’re surviving, but sometimes all I can manage before bed is five rounds of Candy Crush, a cup of decaf and maybe Nashville on the DVR. So thanks for sticking with us and stopping by and checking it out. I promise next time you come by there will be something a bit more interesting to read. (I hope. I’ll keep my expectations realistic.)

Life and Stuff

I like to blog.  My absence from blogging lately is not due to any lack of desire or interest.  Just you know, life.  Just like everyone out there in the big world, we’re busy, trying to fit 28 hours of activity into 24 hours a day.   Here’s a peak at what we’ve been up to:

– Summer!  Tradition states that Seattle summer begins on July 5, but mother nature did not get the memo this year.  Weather has been fantastic and this past week it has been real, honest to goodness summer.  Not just the glorious 75 degrees and sunny Seattle summer, but hot!  85-90 degree days.  Sun! Sun! Sun!  I’ve been loving it, as have the girls.  Here they are straight chillin’ in the weather.

Bathing Beauties

 – Commuting.  My office moved locations a few weeks ago so instead of us all working/going to day care within a 6 block radius of each other, I’m about 3 miles away.  In the grand scheme of things it is not that bad, but we’ve had to rearrange our commuting schedule.  With the change in car pool route and day care drop off/pick ups, A’s commute in the morning is about an hour and my commute in the evening is about 90 minutes.  If you weren’t tired before you left work, 90 minute commutes and wrangling two kids out of day care will certainly make you tired by the end.

– Computers.  My old laptop heaved a big sigh and breathed its last breath this past week.  After trying to coax it to log in remotely to my work computer, fire up the blog or just update Twitter, I realized the inevitable, I needed a new laptop.  After some research last weekend, I ordered a fancy new Windows 8 machine (with touch screen!).  It had a quirk that required a trip to the Microsoft store to fix but now, good as new. I’m still figuring it all out but it is quite fancy looking, light and functional (best of all).

– Two year olds.  Have you tried to rush a two year old?  Or get them to move on anyone’s schedule but your own?  If so, then you know where the bulk of our time is spent.  If you don’t, well I probably have a few choice words about the amount of free time you must have and wondering whether you are trying to save the world with all that time.  But that’s just the bitter toddler mom speaking, don’t mind it.

– House Hunters.  Somewhere in the past two weeks between the end of the NBA season and a complete lack of interesting television during the week, we discovered the 10pm House Hunters and 10:30pm House Hunters International.  We used to be huge HH fans before buying our house.  In fact, but for new jobs that didn’t allow for taping schedules, we were totally going to be on HH when we moved to Seattle.  The problem with HH is it makes you want to buy a house.  We even went to open houses last week.  We fell in love with a house.  And then we came home and tried to imagine getting this house ready to sell.  I can’t even blog once a week, how would I stage a house??  So we’re doing some minor renovations like redoing the bedroom and installing new counter tops.  (and by “we” I mean some very nice people we will hire.) (BTW, HH Intl is really the best hate watch out there.  There is no one easier to hate than a family looking for a luxury condo with comforts of home in Nepal.)


So, that’s life in a nutshell right now.  I’m hoping for glorious summer weather all weekend as well as some quiet nap time that I can spend blogging and catching up on things.  How’s your summer going?

Haters Gonna Hate

There are several different types of mommy blogs.  Crafty ones, kitchen ones, God ones, working momones and then the uber angry ones where they seem to hate being a mom, hate their children and generally hate their lives.  I’m not going to link to examples of this type of blog, because I’m not trying to point fingers, but in reading a blog like this recently I became really concerned that maybe my blog may come off that way.

 I am far from the perfect mother.  I’m not shy about whining on this blog (or twitter) (or Instagram) (or a variety of other social media locations) that being a mom can be hard.  But I have to say, I hope that no one who reads my blog thinks that I hate being a mother.  Or that I hate my kids.  Because I really, really, really don’t hate it.  

Everyone has good and bad days and sometimes on the bad days you just need to vent.  I get that.  I mean, that’s what Twitter is for, right?  But I don’t get entire blogs dedicated to why being a mom makes you miserable.

So I guess the moral of this blog post is just to say, I love being a mom.  I love my girls.  I have good days and I have bad, but I hope that no one ever stumbles across my blog and thinks, wow, that mom is really angry and really hates her life.  Because I don’t.  Promise.

IMG_01154

Greetings and Salutations!

Hi and welcome all comers to Two Washingtons! We’re super excited to be featured as the SITS blogger of the day today.

As part of a separate blogging exercise yesterday, I was examining what my blogging “niche” is. I felt I had no niche – and how could I be interesting with no niche?! A fellow blogger took a look and said, really, no niche? You’re totally a mommy blogger! When did that happen, I wondered?

Well, let’s go back to May, 2010 when my husband, A and I decided to follow our dreams of living on the West Coast, pack up the dog and cat and move to Seattle. We left Washington, DC in June 2010 and I started this blog as a way of keeping up with our friends and family in the “Other Washington” while we lived in this one. June, 2010 brought lots of news for us – new jobs, new homes and, oh yeah, I was pregnant! Sweet LC joined the Two Washingtons family in February 2011 and a mommy blogger was born with her.



Pretty standard Seattle Saturday morning – coffee, baby-wearing, dog park

 This blog has been a saving grace for me many times in the past 18 or so months of its existence. It has allowed me to stay in touch with those in the Other Washington, meet new friends in this Washington, discover new things about Seattle and best of all, reach out for help when I am at my mommy wits’ end.

Take a look around, meet the family and hopefully come back tomorrow to see what we’re up to then!

O What a Year

I saw a Twitter trend today of #2011in3words.  For me it would have to be “Became a Mom.”  Part of me is hesitant to label the year that way because as much as LC means to me and our family, I hate to be defined only as her mother.  Even though I’m not just a mom, there is no way around this year really being my year of motherhood.  It is harder than I ever imagined, but all that cheesy stuff Google wants you to believe?  Yeah, it’s all true.

Let’s take a look at the year that was.

January

Our travel plans fell through and our last “no baby” new year was low key.

By the end of the month, we discovered we’d be parents a little sooner than expected, as I embarked on my bed rest adventure

February

Well, this is really where things got serious, huh?

We became a family and were all together for the first time in 3 weeks.

March

Being a mom is hard.  Donuts help.

LC begins her blogging career.

April

I joined the ranks of the working mothers out there.  As the article says, I’m tired.  A lot.

LC and I honored my grandmother and watched a young woman become a Princess.

May

We walked in our first March of Dimes March for Babies to celebrate our healthy preemie.

At this point I decided I was an expert on babies and made a must have list for all you newbies out there. 

June

I considered whether growing up in one Washington versus another would make LC a different person – or me a different parent.

I may whine about being a mom a little (or more than a little) but I took some time out to thank the man who makes it happen.

July

I realized this raising a girl thing may require me to be made of stronger stuff.

At this point, after blogging about LC for 5 months, I became concerned she may become overexposed.

August

It is still true.  LC’s mom does not want your advice.

September

FOOTBALL!!  LC’s first football game brought a tear to my eye.

Getting sick made me realize just how far away friends and family are and wondering about the merits of a Two Washington system.

October

We took a baby to the beach.  Life was pretty good.

Honoring our constitutional duty as parents, we took a picture of LC next to pumpkins.

November

I pondered about one of the great sites in Seattle (and wondered why no one told me the weather in Seattle was not always like the amazing streak of luck they had Summer 2006).

We did Thanksgiving our way, and it was fantastic.

(Oh, and I blogged every day for a MONTH.  For reals.)

December

We enjoyed the wonderment of LC’s first Christmas and then had a very special Christmas weekend.

Thank you for being a part of this incredible year.  I didn’t start Two Washingtons to be a “mommy blog” (not that there is anything wrong with that. . . ) but having a kid, well it becomes pretty much the center of everything.  I hope you enjoyed getting to know LC and watching us on this journey of figuring out this parenting thing.  (Or trying to figure it out.  Ok, we kept her alive for 11 months and I’m calling that a success. )

18 months ago when we moved to Seattle, I couldn’t imagine how things would work out and I’m pretty thrilled with how things are going.  So I hope you stick around in 2012 as we continue to live our life in this Washington.

Happy New Year from Two Washingtons!

Mission Complete

At the start of this month I took the NaBloPoMo challenge – that is the National Blog Post a day for a Month.  I am proud to have completed the challenge and published a post every day of the month of November.  Sure, some of the posts were like this but they weren’t all like that.  I definitely feel like the experiment made me a better blogger – learning that blogging is almost always better than not blogging, reaching for some new topics and hopefully providing some interesting content for my readers.

So thanks for sticking around for the month.  I may not keep up with a new post a day, but I promise to keep posting more regular content and I hope you will keep checking us out.