Friday, March 9, 2018

This is 39 (Month 4, Check-In 2)

I purposefully skipped one of my goals last month (updating this blog for a second time) because the end of the month was just Too Bananas. Between finalizing everything for Cycle for Survival and then getting ready for a six-day fun/work trip to Miami, I thought I could squeeze in one more update, but then I just had too much on my plate. And instead of stressing myself out, I figured who the F cares if I do one update in month four, and three updates in month five? (The answer to that question is "no one."). So here we are.

Here are a few updates from the end of month four:

Attend a yoga class: Okay guys. I went to a hot yoga class. I thought it'd be "interesting" to try it out. So I got a free week at Hot 8 Yoga and had reallllly hoped that I would like it. Unfortunately the yoga studio smelled gross, which put me off right from the start. I thought for sure there'd be a diffuser or something (anything!) to make sure it didn't smell of sweat, but, not so much. I also didn't love the instructor or the flow of the class. I made it through without dying (bonus!), but I knew I wouldn't go back. Would I try hot yoga again? For sure. Just not at that studio.

Nurture my marriage: I don't mean to be all new flashy, but MARRIAGE IS F'N HARD (said Captain Obvious). Like really hard. Steve and I have had our fair share of ups and downs over the years and the last year has been particularly challenging. Steve doesn't do well with me traveling and we tend to go through a cycle where the first half of the year is great and the second half of the year (which coincides with my work travel and when Summer Steve turns into School Steve) isn't. And there have been some other challenges that I won't go into, but they've been hard and pushed both of us into some not so fun places of discomfort. When I added the goal to nurture my marriage in the fall, I didn't know exactly what that would entail. I just knew that I had to put more care and attention and love into my relationship with my husband.

A lot of our challenges have had to do with the energy each of us were bringing home and adding to our relationship. We've both been paying more attention to that, and I've been responding positively to the ways in which I've seen Steve work on this. It's made a big difference for both of us.

I'm no expert on nurturing a marriage, but here are a few things that I've done that has made both of us smile and brought a warmth to our relationship that I'm really digging:

Heart-shaped lemon ricotta pancakes for breakfast on Valentine's Day! I got up early so I could make Steve's favorite pancakes. (And then documented the whole thing, which almost ruined Steve's mood. Note to self!)

Soaking up knowledge from those around you is also super helpful. I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by people whose marriages inspires me and teaches me about ways in which I can do this differently (and sometimes, how to be better, too). One great example of this is the podcast I listened to of Dax Shephard interviewing his wife, Kristen Bell. Dax just started a new podcast called the Armchair Expert and Kristen was his first interview. Their bickering, their honesty, their clear love and admiration for one another- all of it shines through in this. And there is such a realness to how they show up for each other, what challenges them in their relationship and I found myself nodding along and in some instances, 100% getting it. It's a long interview, but I totally recommend listening to it- here you go!

I found these really great blank cards from Paper Source and have left two little notes for Steve to find:

Get a Ligthbox! We've had one for a while and just got around to using it for more fun/loving purposes. Steve even added his own message that I got when I came back from my trip to Miami last week and it made me laugh and smile. 

It's such a small thing, but can make a big difference and add a little bit of fun to your home and love to your relationship.

I learn every day about being a better wife and a better partner for Steve. I'm not always the best at it, but I am always trying. And so is he. And as far as marriage goes- it IS hard work. But if you're with the right person, it's always worth it. Even the bad times. But especially for the good ones (duh).

I've got a lot on my mind right now in terms of nurturing my marriage because I have to really weigh and consider this against my annual solo trip to Ireland that I take every June. If I put nurturing my marriage first, I wouldn't go. But that also seems like a really big personal sacrifice that I'm not willing to give up. Eeek. My hope is that Steve and I can plan a trip together for the two of us so that I can still do this trip which fills up my soul and sustains me all year long. (Full disclosure, I'm going to Ireland in October for my 40th. But that's going to be, like, a big thing with a group of people. So it won't be the Molly-centric trip where she gets to do whatever she wants whenever she wants without having to worry about anyone but herself.)

All that side- I'm smiling more, I'm spending more time with Steve, I'm listening more and I'm feeling supported, loved and taken care of by my husband. And I'd like to think that this goal is helping to accomplishing that. Screw that. I know this goal is helping to accomplish that.

Track each day's food in the Weight Watchers app: Yeah...I'm still not doing it. I'm following Weight Watchers for the most part (my trip to Miami threw me off and I haven't quite gotten back on track yet). But even when I'm making good food decisions, I haven't been tracking the food.

Here's the thing. I have to work on my relationship with food. I have to do more work on improving my all or nothing tendencies when it comes to food. And maybe Weight Watchers isn't the way to go. But I have to find something that's a better match. I was very conscious about not putting weight-specific goals on my This is 39 list because I'm So Sick Of All of That. I'm 4+ months into this year and I feel like I'm getting further away from the food/weight/body goals that I've set for myself.

While I'm not promising that I'm going to start tracking and following the program 100%, I am going to spend some time this upcoming month on making some positive changes to my relationship with food. Scouts honor (does it matter that I'm not a Scout?).

Use my real camera 1x/month: I took a glorious day off from work on February 16th and was gifted with a gorgeous sunny and clear day in Santa Monica. I took my camera and went off exploring and lunching. Santa Monica was sparkling and shining:

I'm in love with that second photo of the sailboat. I love the shimmery water and the simplicity of the photo. And the other two photos perfectly showcase how lucky I am to live some place so freaking beautiful.

Volunteer 1x/month: I loved my experience volunteering with Food Forward. This organization "fights hunger and prevents food waste by rescuing fresh surplus produce, connecting this abundance with people in need, and inspiring others to do the same."

I met up with a small group of volunteers at the (Wednesday) Santa Monica's Farmer's Market so we could collect fresh fruits and vegetables (which would normally go to waste) so we could then donate them to hunger relief agencies in the area. The process was quite simple- we split up and went up to each farmer asking if they wanted any boxes for donations. If they said yes, we put the boxes together, wrote their name on the box, handed it over and made note of how many boxes they took. Once all farmer's had been approached and all boxes had been handed out, we took a break until 15 minutes after the market closed.

I used my break time to pick up a few things and was pleasantly surprised when I was given things for free or severely discounted (I was wearing a Food Forward apron). I tried to pay, but I got a variation of this comment "No no. Thank you for what you're doing." I really wasn't expecting that, but it was very much appreciated.

When the time came, we started walking back around and picking up the boxes from the farmers. And I gotta tell ya, I walked away feeling even more appreciative of and impressed with each farmer. I love that they were willing to donate their produce to people who truly needed it.

The boxes filled with produce was brought back to the middle of the market where we organized, weighed and then dispatched the goods to the organizations who were receiving everything. It was great. And two hours later, I was on my way back home to work.

A few days later I got this great email: Thank you for joining us at the Santa Monica Wednesday Farmer's Market on February 21. We really appreciate your time and support for Food Forward. Thanks to your help, we were able to collect 1,295 pounds of fresh, local produce and donate 100% to Groceryships, Mother's Kitchen, PATH Villas at Del Rey, SMC Students Feeding Students, Step Up on Second and St. Joseph Center.

I loved the experience and I'm already signed up for another shift!

How yummy do those veggies look? All from the farmer's market!

So that's how the second half of month four went! I can't believe I'm already 1/4 of the way through This is 39!


Jeannine,  March 13, 2018 at 2:37 PM  

I love all of this. Marriage is work...but it's "worth it" work. Thanks, Molly. ❤

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