Making 2020 Your Year

For years I’ve been just like everyone else- making New Years resolutions only to get lazy and slack off 2 weeks later or forget what I even promised in the first place. Eat healthier, stop cursing so much, do more exercise….blah blah blah. I can bet a million dollars you’re guilty of making these empty resolutions too.

This year, however, I’m determined to do things differently. How? I’m simply not making resolutions.

IF ONLY IT WERE THAT EASY!!!

Instead, I’ve been thinking about my life goals & decisions. The key word being -decision-. Instead of a resolution, promise, or any other adjective you’d like to insert in there, I’ve been trying to look at it all from a different perspective.

While reflecting one day….aka while drinking wine in the shower as my kids yelled from the other side of the locked door….I began to think, what do I really want out of life? What will make me happy in this new decade? What do I want to accomplish that will make me proud in the subsequent decade? Sure I’d love a boatload of money and to eat pizza every day while wearing Louboutins and galavanting the world……but once the buzz from my wine wore off and I actually got to thinking seriously about what I wanted, the ideas came flooding in. “How am I going to keep track of everything?” I thought to myself. My first instinct was to look at Pinterest. Let’s just say I was inundated with inspirational quotes and articles about how to integrate celery juice into your everyday life. No thanks. After a bit of searching, I stumbled upon what appeared to be another mundane article about vision boards. Something in me made me click the article and as I began to read, I could feel my perspective shifting. This particular author talked about how a vision board is simply a place to physically put your ideas. But it’s up to you to manifest them. Sounds easy, right? Cut out a bunch of cool looking pictures, paste them to a poster board, write “Vision Board” with your tween’s glitter gel pens, then voila!! Nope. Nope. Nope….

I once read a quote that said a dream is just a dream until you write it down, then it becomes a goal. But that goal doesn’t become anything more until you put forth actions. That’s when it becomes real. (or something along those lines). My point being, it became clear to me that I could still utilize the ever popular Vision Board, as long as I mapped out a way for me to manifest these goals into reality.

My particular board is still a work in progress….but don’t worry I promise to share it soon….

In the meantime, I’d love to hear feedback from readers. Do you have a vision board or something similar? Does it help you to accomplish your goals?

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Here are some steps that I’ve found truly helped me thus far:

  1. Ask Yourself What You Really Want

It’s that simple. If you don’t know where to start, try grabbing a blank piece of paper and jotting down everything that comes to mind when you envision your ideal life. Nothing is off limits here (except maybe a rainbow unicorn lol).

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2. Compartmentalize your Ideas

Placing your ideas into categories (ie: friends, family, personal development, health, money, travel) will help you map out the areas upon which you should focus on. After all, the law of attraction can’t work if you don’t know what you’re asking for.

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3. Create Action Steps

Similar to a wealth management advisor mapping out a financial plan, you can do the same with you life. Start small and think about how each day (or month, or year) you are going to attain that. I know in my goals, a big one was travel, so I started with one long weekend trip, then one extended family trip, working my way up to an international trip that involves intense planning & saving.

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Some Important Things to Remember:

  1. NO ONE IS JUDGING YOU.  I know it’s hard to believe because in today’s society there are no secrets and there is no discretion. People can be down right crude to one another. But guess what? This vision board & these goals- they’re YOURS. No one is going to see them unless you share them, and even if you do decide to share and the particular person(s) don’t agree….well fuck them…seriously. No one on this earth can tell you that what you want out of YOUR life is wrong. Always remember that.

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2. IT’S A WORK IN PROGRESS. Your visions & goals do not have to be static. Just as you grow and change, so will they. Don’t feel pressured to have to complete something the original way you wrote it down or envisioned it just because. Trust in yourself and your journey this life has given you. It’s ok to always be a work in progress. I feel like I am. b2cf4e799298e54e6dae4a22f8d7fd56

3. BE AUTHENTIC. This personal road map, or vision board, or mission, or goals, whatever you prefer to call it, is for only YOU. Try to let go of society’s norms and be authentic to what you want and what your heart tells you. Sounds a bit corny, but it’s true. As mentioned earlier, the Law of Attraction can only work if you put something out into the universe- so put out what YOU WANT….not what society tells you that you should want.

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At this point I believe I’ve covered how you and I can both work together to make 2020 OUR YEAR. Even if the only thing we do is create a vision board. 

 

xoxo Robin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Road Back To You

Doesn’t the title of this post sound like a U2 song? As an avid fan, I think it does {lol}.

However, the true nature of this post is to follow-up on my last one entitled “Mommy Burnout”. What I’d like to talk about now is how do you get back to “yourself” when you don’t even know how you got off track?

I like to think of it as when you’re exploring in the woods. Especially as a kid, I would always follow a trail, then something would catch my eye- usually something beautiful or exotic. Before I knew it, here I was surrounded by a gorgeous forest, yet scared because I was lost. In those minutes it took me to get back to the trail, I was terrified, unsure, and quite frankly in tunnel vision. But once I found a glimpse of the path, I again was at ease.

Truly, this is the journey ahead. That time between hitting your rock bottom and getting back on track to live your fullest life is the hardest. Trust me, I know. Whether it be with substance abuse, physical ailments, mental ailments…..they all affect us the same…..as we are looking, or for some, discovering for the first time, what our path is.

One way I have discovered honesty and calm is through art. No, I have no talent in this subject whatsoever. I even go to those sip & paint events, which are guided classes, and it still looks like a 3-year-old did my painting. But, there’s something about mixing the colors and the brush strokes on canvas which help to harness positive energy. Or at least for me. Regardless of the end result, the painting itself creates a good environment, allowing me to think clearly.

Music is another one of the ways to touch the soul. As a mom, usually the only music I get to hear is whatever is playing on the Disney Channel. But, what I found works for me is to play my Pandora on my phone while taking a shower. It helps to block out the noise from the kids, and its private time where I can take a deep breath and feel the music. Lately I’ve been on an Amy Winehouse kick, but I also listen to everything from Blink 182 to Frank Sinatra to 80’s Pop. Taking a moment to listen to the words of the song, or even just the beat truly helps me when I’m in a funk.

Physical Activity should honestly be at the top of this “list” of ways to get back to yourself. This is an area I’ve been seriously lacking on lately. I can sit here and blame the winter, blame my IBS issues, blame my kids….but they’re simply excuses. I haven’t made my physical well-being a priority in the last 3 months. But that’s the beauty about exercise- there’s never a bad day to start. So today, I’ve sent my younger two to daycare for a couple of hours and carved out time to do some yoga & meditation. Now, some of you may be thinking that yoga isn’t a workout. Trust me it can be. For me, I’m starting with yoga because I want to stretch, do sit ups, push ups, and asanas before attempting to meditate. I also don’t feel ready to go brave the cold today and do a full on hike by myself in the snow-covered trails. That I’ll leave for another day- hopefully Sunday or Monday when my husband can join me. Being out in nature together is one of our favorite things, and I think it will allow us some much-needed bonding time. Anyway, as I was saying, just moving your body will help you mentally and physically. This I can attest to. You can take baby steps, or a huge leap, if you like. Please just make it for you.

Writing and Journaling is another big one for me. This blog in itself has been a saving grace. There are many times I begin to write a post, only to alter it or delete it completely because it may not be “share worthy”. Those thoughts and ideas reside mainly in my personal journal, but nevertheless, help get out the things that are on my mind.

Whatever creative or physical outlet is feels right to you is where you should go if you’re like me….trying to climb back up to where you feel you should be in life. Another quite interesting way to think of it is that this low or difficult point may just be part of your journey. There’s no “normal” in this world. Who’s to say that what you’re feeling or experiencing isn’t ok? Only you can be the judge of that.

Well, it appears that I’ve gone off on a philosophical tangent. Sorry about that. I hope that no matter what you’re dealing with, you find peace and serenity. Remember that after the storm comes a rainbow. Corny: yes. But I sure can’t wait to see my rainbow.

 

xo Robin

 

Mindfulness & Our Children

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Mindfulness is a concept that has been around for thousands of years, yet seems to be getting much more attention as of late. Adults (and I’m sad to say children as well) are more stressed than ever, and more connected than ever. Despite all this “connection” we are faced with greater anxieties, bullying, mistreatment, and I truly feel that the younger generation isn’t taking full advantage of the beauties of life. But what can we do about it?

That’s where mindfulness comes in. Google dictionary defines the term as, “1. The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. 2. A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”. #2 is what I’m talking about here, now. If we can find little ways to help our children accept and process their feelings and situations in the present, I believe this will help them when faced with difficulties such as bullying (whether it’s cyber or in person), empathy, anxiety, or any other challenge whether it be in the classroom, with friends, or on the sports field. Studies have shown that when we teach our children to slow down and soak in the surroundings, rather than whiz by them and try to change or confront every little thing, they experience the following:

  1. It boosts their self-esteem & emotional awareness (ie: knowing that something like anxiety will pass, and feeling confident in dealing with tough situations)
  2.  It encourages positive behavior. This means we will have kids who understand and feel empathy, happiness, and like they are in control of their thoughts / feelings.
  3. It decreases feelings of aggression, and promotes conflict resolution among their peers.

Now, on to the “doing” part. I’ve just begun my journey with my 3 children (and myself) to achieve mindfulness, but here’s what we are working on:

  1. Use sensory tools. My 4-year-old daughter has a speech delay, so she sometimes learns best when using visuals to express herself. I made up index cards with different feelings on them, then asked her to point to them throughout the day. When she was having a tantrum and couldn’t calm down enough to tell me what was wrong, I laid out the cards on the floor, read them to her (loudly as she was crying), and asked her to point to the ones that showed how she was feeling. As expected, she pointed to the mad and sad ones. Simple right? Well, then I asked her to turn the cards over. On the other side of each card was an activity. On the mad one, I had written, “draw a picture of a pizza pie, then pretend to smell the pizza, and blow on the pizza. Repeat the smelling / breathing on the pizza 3 times.”. To my surprise, my daughter walked over to her art table and did it. Yes, I helped her draw the pizza, as she was too upset to focus, but once we started the breathing, she was able to calm herself. Afterwards, I asked her what she was feeling, and she said “happy”. I told her it’s ok to feel mad and sad sometimes, as long as we can deal with it and get back to feeling happy.
  2. Take it slow. Rather than trying to create little soldiers of mindfulness {lol}, I just started asking questions randomly throughout the day, such as, “Do you hear how sweet that bird’s song is?” or “look at how many clouds are in the sky today”. Other days I’ll ask, “how does that make you feel?” while reading a story, or “why is this your favorite blanket? Is it the color or because it’s so soft?”. To children, I’m just asking basic questions. But what they don’t realize is that I’m actually making them slow down and look, smell, feel, touch, what’s going on in the present moment.
  3. Express gratitude. I recently saw a pinterest post on creating a gratitude journal for children. I loved the idea. I don’t know about you, but my kids spend way too much time complaining about what they don’t have, instead of being thankful for what they do have. I’ve asked my 7-year-old to write one thing daily, while my 4-year-old and I work together on hers. Then at dinner, we have the option of sharing our journal entries. We don’t remember to do it every day, but we are getting there. Here’s the link I used if you’d like to print one out too: http://enjoythelearningjourney.com/gratitude-journal-for-kids/
  4. Get outside and experience nature. I can’t stress this one enough. I’m noticing that being outside will most likely be a theme through most of my blog posts, but it’s a suggestion which is so important. For children, animals, and adults alike, nature creates a calming place for self-reflection, learning, calming, and improving health. This one is easy for our family, as we love to go kayaking, play at the playground, and go on hikes.

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I hope this post has a bit of resonance with your own lifestyle, and if not, that’s ok -everyone is different. It’s just my personal opinion that we need to raise a generation who is more accepting, loving, and mindful of themselves & those around them. My hopes for the future are that I raise 3 tiny humans to become kind, compassionate, confident women that can positively contribute to the world, and create their own happiness.

 

xo Robin

 

Adventures in Pea Soup

Pea Soup…..sounds exciting right? WRONG. It isn’t exciting at all. It’s just way too cold up here in the Northeast to do anything except cook or curl up with a good book or watch Netflix with a glass of wine. Since my three girls are running around screaming [which is synonomous with playing in this house] and monopolizing the family room- cooking it is for me.

But what to make??? OH! That’s right- yesterday my mom stoped by and dropped off her leftover Christmas Eve ham. My go-to with leftovers is typically an omelet, casserole, or soup, but I’ve settled with split pea & ham soup as well as ham & cheddar biscuits. After all, there really is a lot of ham left.

Ok back to the soup. I’ve never made pea soup. My mother-in-law is the one who makes an amazing, thick, delicious soup. But it’s ok, “I got this”, I told myself. I looked at a quick recipe from one of my old reliable cookbooks and was off. I began by simmering the ham bone and 4 bay leaves for about 3 hours . The smell was actually quite good, despite it’s fatty salty appearance. At about 2 1/2 hours I cut up 2 onions, 2 large carrots, 3 ribs of celery, and sauteed them in olive oil till softened. Next, I added 2 cloves chopped garlic & 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. I cooked everything until it was a nice golden brown and smelled delicious. At the 3 hour mark I added a 32 oz bag of frozen peas to the broth, along with a couple teaspoons of dried thyme & freshly cracked black pepper. Once the peas had boiled for about 45 min I added the veggie mixture & 3 cubed yellow potatoes. The soup simmered for another hour before I pulled out my trusty immersion blender to try and thicken it up. I blended pretty well, yet the soup still was very thin. Chris, my hubby, suggested letting it sit overnight, as “everything tastes better the next day” anyway.

So, I waited. The next morning I came downstairs, took off the lid of the soup pot….and nope, still too thin. “Shit” I thought to myself. Now any other person would probably think I’m crazy for being disappointed just because the soup was a little on the thin side. It tasted great, smelled great, but to me it was a recipe gone wrong. Fast forward to that afternoon. I bought another bag of peas, simmered them (separately) then added them to the soup and pulled out the ol’ immersion blender again. Better but not perfect. The taste had changed a little. Not necessarily in a bad way, but just more “pea-ish” lol (See I can’t make soup yet I can create new words LIKE A BOSS).

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably bored and wondering why I wasted multiple paragraphs discussing my pea soup. However, I’ve shared this experience because sometimes in life we need to be ok with not being perfect. For me personally, it’s something I’m working on. I KNOW inside that no one can be the “perfect wife” or “perfect mother”, and yet I create crazy high expectations for myself in all areas of life. I guess sometimes we just have to be ok with making crappy, thin pea soup.

Boiling the stock:

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Final Product:IMG_5144.jpg

 

xo Robin