2020 Resolution Breakdown: Take Some F Word Time

Take Some F Word Time is my second 2020 New Year’s Resolution.

Because I want to take back my house and Get an F Word Hobby, I want to add to the quality (and quantity) of time I spend with my husband and son.

How?

Step 1: Make breakfast. 

Right now, my picky eater enjoys two things for breakfast: yogur’ and ‘nacks — and honestly he’s so picky that I don’t fight him about the maybe 10 things he’ll eat.

I just feed him those things.

Well, no more! Improving the cycle means dragging my sleepy butt out of bed earlier and making breakfast.

Some days that might mean eggs, sausage and toast. Other days that might mean toaster waffles and yogur’.

I mean, no one’s perfect, but definitely no more ‘nacks.

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Eat the eggs.

Step 2: Focus on family.

I’m a working mom, and my husband is a working dad.

Our son spends more than a third of his day with other people. Absolutely amazing people — but they’re not his parents.

When we all get home from work and school, we’re exhausted. Especially the toddler who’s been behaving all day.

At the end of the day, we’re not focusing on family — we’re sprinting toward bedtime.

Again, I say no more! Improving the cycle means bringing quality (and quantity) to our limited time.

That means…

  • Dragging a chair into the kitchen, so our son can help us cook dinner.
  • Eating together as a family — as often as possible — unless the toddler already ate because he’s not about to wait for food he doesn’t want to eat anyway.
  • Playing, instead of relaxing after a long day — but that doesn’t have to be every day. Some days, momma needs to recline (and snuggle a toddler).
  • Taking walks after dinner when the days get longer and warmer, which can be every day for all I care. Walking FTW. Plus, we love watching our son explore.
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He’s already so good at helping me make coffee.
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Just FYI. He has his own chair.

We’re going to ease into it. One weeknight. Two. Maybe three? While I want to give our son more time, I also know that we need time to ourselves to recharge.

Introverts, yo.

Step 3: Do Fun Family S***

We’re about to renew some local memberships to our favorite places, including Botanica Wichita and the Sedgwick County Zoo.

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The playground garden at Botanica had so many things to climb over and under.
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He didn’t listen to us about this mean blue pigeon in the Jungle.

Our super active toddler loves climbing, exploring, jumping and running. Botanica and the zoo offer endless opportunities, but there’s even more in Wichita that he hasn’t experienced or explored yet.

  • A library filled to the brim with books made for rough toddler hands.
  • Baby goats at Elderslie Farms.
  • Cowtown actors reenacting gunfights and slinging sarsaparillas at the saloon.
  • Dozens of playgrounds with slides, swings and sand pits to dig in.
  • Farmer’s Markets full of food I want him to pick out for himself.
  • Gyms made especially for super active toddlers complete with ball pits, foam blocks and toddler-only trampolines.
  • Movie nights made for kids, so there’s no fear of screaming ruining anyone’s good time. (We’re in this Pixar nonsense together, moms.)
  • New exhibits at Exploration Place.
  • Riverfest!!!
  • Splash pads to beat the summer heat.

We also received a 2020 Bucket List from Ria Farmer, Realtor.

Not all are toddler friendly options — he can’t set a monster toddler foot in the Frank Lloyd Wright Allen House.

But I could see us breakfasting with ice cream at Little Lion, getting outside at the Great Plains Nature Center and taking ourselves out to the ballgame at Wichita’s new baseball stadium.

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Mom and dad will be spending an afternoon at Johnson’s Garden Center at the greatest beer festival in Wichita: the Iron ChildHead Competition.

So.

Many.

Fun.

Things!

In 2020, we’re taking the F word time to do them.

2020 Resolution Breakdown: Get an F Word Hobby

Get an F Word Hobby is my first 2020 New Year’s Resolution, and I have so many ideas.

Before becoming a mother, I had a ton of hobbies. Some of my favorite activities included cooking, drawing, painting, reading, salvaging “junk” found at antique and thrift stores and writing poetry.

The birth of my son took the fun out of a couple of hobbies. Cooking and reading, for example, became chores. At the end of a long day working and parenting and housing, I didn’t want to cook — and reading new books with new characters took too much emotional and mental energy.

Energy I didn’t have.

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One hobby (yoga) was TAKEN from me by pregnancy. Obviously, I’m still not over it.

A good many hobbies, though — the ones I enjoyed for the benefit of self-expression — had to be boxed up and taken to the basement where my suddenly mobile baby wouldn’t eat them.

Charcoal, brush balm, oil and watercolors do not a teether make (unless you’re a baby who will put anything and everything into your mouth).

Well, my son is older now, and he puts far fewer things in his mouth than he used to — so I’m taking back my hobbies and finding some new ones along the way.

Here’s my current never-complete list of happy hobby ideas:

  • Crafting — I don’t know what this means yet.
  • Creative writing exercises to inspire new poetry.
  • Crocheting rugs and scarfs and shawls.
  • Drawing with charcoal, oils and pastels.
  • Gardening.
  • Going to antique and thrift stores.
  • Joining MakeICT.
  • Making tapestries — the drapey ones that are made of yarn.
  • Reading books that don’t rhyme (and that I haven’t read 10 times already).
  • Salvaging the furniture I find at antique and thrift stores.
  • Sewing.
  • Taking pictures of bugs, which I’ll explain after the bathroom remodel.
  • Yoga, damnit!

Most of my happy hobby ideas don’t have a goal because hobbies don’t have an end.

I’m not making it a goal to read a certain type or amount of books in 2020 — I just want to read.

Flip Side: If I write enough poetry, I might someday have the goal of publishing my work.

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I haven’t read ALL of these books, but I’ve read a few of them as many times.

I’m not making it a goal to sew my own clothes — but maybe I’ll sew some curtains, or a dress, or some throw pillows.

Flip Side: If I make a beautiful tapestry, it might hang in my dining room on the wall encasing my heater.

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No nails or screws. Command strips only.

I’m not making it a goal to cover my unadorned walls with my own art — but I might frame the only piece I have from high school that was any good.

Flip Side: I do plan to hang a lot of pictures of bugs in a bathroom.

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Bugs that are yellow.

My goal is to Get an F Word Hobby, and I’m liking my odds of finding one I can do often enough to make it a hobby.

2020 F Words: New Year’s Resolutions

Our 2019 resolutions were categorized by F words: finances, fitness, food and… f(h)ouse.

Obviously, F words couldn’t cover the complete list. I haven’t read the dictionary. I’m not searching for a synonym for “house” that begins with an F. Psh.

In 2020, though, every resolution will contain an F word.

The best F word.

Get an F Word Hobby

Prior to parenting, I had hobbies. Creative, fulfilling hobbies. Cooking, decorating, drawing, salvaging, writing, yoga.

Hell, I even read books that didn’t rhyme.

After my son was born, I abandoned all of my hobbies. Cooking became a chore. All the art, breakable decor and photos came down. I packed away my charcoal, paints and pencils. I was proscribed from yoga entirely by my physical therapist — still the case to this day.

And the house transformed into my son’s play space. An extra-safe, dull, totally decoration-free arena where he could crawl, explore and scatter toys.

Well, I’m taking it back.

My art, decor and photos are going back up. I’m unpacking my pencils. I’m pulling my desk out of storage.

His toys are going in his room. (Wish me luck.)

And I’m getting an F word hobby in 2020.

Take Some F Word Time

Am I taking from my son by making our house less his space? Yes, but I’m planning to give him something in return.

Time.

Our day-to-day schedule is wake, work/school, eat and sleep. We shove all of our family time together in the two and half hours between getting home from work and toddler bedtime.

It’s the smallest window of our day, and it isn’t always pretty.

In 2020, we’re making that window bigger and giving him more quality in our F word time.

How?

First, I’m going to make work-life balance a priority in 2020.

Because I abandoned all of my hobbies after I became a mother, I turned to the activity I was best at for creative fulfillment.

Work.

I love my work, but I spend too much time outside of it focusing on it. So, to Take Some F Word Time, I’m changing my focus. (Hence why my first resolution is to Get an F Word Hobby.)

See, I’m trying.

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Si’ dow’, he says. Cheee, he says. He says cute s***.

Second, we’re going to do more as a family in 2020. Activities that benefit us all by getting me walking (for my pain) and tiring out the toddler (for our sanity).

  • Exploring at Botanica Gardens or the Sedgwick County Zoo
  • Going to the farmer’s market
  • Playing at one of the parks we love on the weekends
  • Taking walks after dinner
  • Visiting grandparents and great-grandparents on the weekends

Even before we had a child, my husband and I loved these activities — and the tiny toddler terror loves them now.

I get my house back. He gets to jump in puddles. Win-win.

Remodel the F Word House

In 2019, we turned the lights back on. In 2020, we’re putting lipstick on our pig, er, house — countertops, flooring, paint. You name it. I’m changing it.

Not only does the house need some TLC, it will also be my part of my F Word Hobby.

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I’M SO TIRED OF LION’S MANE BEIGE OMG.

I love a fresh coat of paint as well as the tedious focused work of stripping layers of it off something that used to be beautiful.

Plus, remodeling the house will absolutely be part of my “might lose weight” resolution. Because omg it’s exhausting, and I’m already sore.

All of my “active minutes” during Thanksgiving break were me painting the dining room while the toddler napped or slept. 

Our goal is to do as much as we can DIY, but we might have to call in the professionals to rip out the carpet, pad and staples tarnishing the PERFECTLY GOOD hardwood floors under them.

What were the 50’s(?) thinking, for F word sake. (Seriously, this wood is OLD, and the carpet pad under the “new” carpet doesn’t look super new…)

Take Care of My F Word Self

I faced a host of health hullabaloo in 2019: eczema, GAD, hair loss, hormonal imbalance, PMDD, thyroid cysts and, as always, chronic back pain.

My body is a mess, but most of its problems stem from poor serotonin receptors. (Turns out, it was “all in my head,” or wherever serotonin is made. Also too lazy to look up science.)

Thankfully, I took time in 2019 to find a diagnosis, get treatment and pull myself back out of the hole postpartum left me in. I’m going into 2020 armed with a will to fight and a priority to Take Care of My F Word Self.

Including all our favorite F words, of course… finances, fitness and food.

Happy New Year, y’all.

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How Did 2019 Resolutions Go?

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Less than great, that’s how.

“Getting our s*** together” was the theme of 2019, and we barely touched the surface.

Here’s our end of the year update.

Finances

My husband already had his s*** together, setting up his 401K more than five years ago. Me? Well, I waited until the very last possible day to set up my retirement account at work this year.

And it almost didn’t happen.

Thankfully, our accountant chased me down weekly between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I finally turned in all the paperwork December 18.

Finance win.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take the time needed to collect all the other nonsense retirement accounts I created at the various other jobs I’ve had to bring them all together.

Finance fail.

Returning Resolution: Finances. Sigh.

Fitness

Our failure at fitness resolutions likely occurred because we didn’t have a solid goal. A SMART goal, if you will. We didn’t plan to drop a dress size, lose any specific amount of weight or work out consistently.

We’re parents. We’re tired.

One success? I found something that keeps my pain under control without stomach-lining-stripping OTC pain medication.

Walking.

Sitting for long periods of time and standing for any amount of time cause pain. Walking feels OK, so I go for walks — especially after a long meeting in a hard plastic chair. And I can make it through a day without too much complaint.

Updated Resolution: Walking.

Food

Woof.

I want to say we did well.

I also don’t want to lie to you because I remember all the times we gave into the toddler’s demands for a “nack” for dinner, ordered takeout and threw away leftovers.

At the end of the day, my husband and I are exhausted. The toddler becomes a tiny terror. We don’t have the energy or patience to make a healthy dinner every night.

Again. We’re parents. We’re tired.

Returning Resolution: Food.

Fouse [House — remember, I ran out of F words. #foreshadowing]

For nearly two years, lights and receptacles in half my house haven’t worked — most annoyingly in the kitchen. We had three different electrician teams diagnose our house.

Only one of those electricians stuck with us to find out what was broken where and how to fix it.

Prime Electric, specifically Jason, spent a year and a half working on the wiring nightmare that is my 1922 house — and he turned the lights back on. Without rewiring the entire house for $15,000.

Hallelujah.

FIVE STARS. POSITIVE FACEBOOK AND GOOGLE REVIEWS. RECOMMENDATIONS TO FRIENDS FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.

That’s how much I appreciate this electrician and the work he put into our hot mess — that isn’t a hot mess anymore!

Updated Resolution: Now, actually remodel the f(h)ouse. (I have 3 million ideas.)

And Time

Days take forever, weeks fly by, and we can’t believe tomorrow begins a new year. Where did 2019 go?

See y’all on the other side of midnight with new resolutions.

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A Host of Health Hullabaloo

June begins Month #6 of 2019’s getting our s*** together New Year.

I wish I had better news for you, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Getting our s*** together took a back seat to getting my physical health — and associated sanity — back on track.

I think I went to see a doctor once a week for two months. It was exhausting.

My biggest scare happened the last week of April, when a large, painful lump appeared protruding at the base of my throat.

Two doctor’s appointments, three vials of blood and a sonogram later, and we discovered fluid-filled nodules on my thyroid. Words like “cyst,” “cancer” and “biopsy” were flung about by my primary care physician and the radiology tech.

Eep.

Thankfully, the nodules deflated on their own before my scheduled ENT appointment. The ENT decided that — since they’d shrunk and he saw no solid masses in my sonogram — I didn’t have to have a biopsy.

Hallelujah.

Fluid-filled nodules rarely become solid masses, and solid masses rarely become cancer. However, the ENT said that if the nodules constantly flare and cause constant pain, he’d recommend REMOVING MY THYROID.

No.

I’m keeping that sucker. Stand down, cysts. Stand. Down.

Turns out, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis runs in my family. Another chronic something to add to the chronic list of chronic nonsense in my new normal. (An update on the chronic back pain to come.)

I just sighed heavily.

Filters

Still rocking accident grams.

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Finances

I don’t even know what a retirement account is anymore.

Fitness

Considering I hurt myself doing the most minuscule of movements, I’m giving up on this one. I’m going to sleep in, read books in the evening and enjoy my rolls. I weigh 140 pounds of no-longer-gives-a.

Food

Here’s a win.

No more takeout two or three nights a week. My husband and I cook dinner at home nearly every night. At least four nights a week. Another night is leftovers. Two other nights consist of what a Junior League friend of mine coined as “Snack Dinner” where we fend for ourselves (aka sandwiches).

Here’s an ongoing loss.

My toddler eats six things. “Cackers,” yogurt, Annie’s bunny-shaped macaroni and cheese (Not any other kind of macaroni and cheese. Don’t come at him with some tractor-shaped crap. Only bunnies.), peanut butter sandwiches, “nanas” and toddler pouches.

I see toddlers eating salad on Instagram.

How?

How do you do it?

If you approach my toddler with anything other than those six things, he loses it. We prepare a plethora of different types of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner — and my kid won’t eat any of it.

He doesn’t even eat chicken nuggets.

CHICKEN NUGGETS!

My baby-food baby used to eat soft carrots, mushy peas, blueberries and oatmeal. No more. Last week, I made him a colorful fruit salad of watermelon, blueberries and strawberries for dinner. It was practically dessert. Straight up trash, according to him.

Actual dessert? He’ll eat that. “Coocoos” (cookies), cake, ice cream, chocolate. Loves it.

I guess that’s seven things. I’ll let you know if he deems it necessary to ever eat eight things.

I ate canned beets as a child. They were terrible. But I ate them. Because I was fed them, and you don’t not eat at grandma’s house.

Jeez. This kid.

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Enjoying chocolate “coocoos.”