Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's Traditions

My sweet almost 7 year-old loves traditions and rituals even more than I do. He cracks me up. 

He's requesting some kind of tradition for Valentine's Day. Once we start something, he will never, ever forget it. So I feel some pressure to get it right the first year. 

The hard thing is that Valentine's Day is so close to my birthday and his birthday, so I don't want to do anything that overlaps with our birthday traditions. Henry suggested that we write love letters to each other, but I'll already be writing Henry a letter on his birthday. It might be fun to get a cake on Valentine's Day, but we already do that for our birthdays. 

His friends wake up to baskets of candy. I have no desire to put something like that together every year! Presence, not presents. 

Maybe a scavenger hunt that includes all the reasons I love them? 

Pizza and a movie on a school night? 

Pancakes for breakfast on a school morning? 

Maybe we make brownies and Valentine's cards for the neighbors? 

We could make Valentine's treats and deliver them to a nursing home? 

Maybe fill out a little template about each other, similar to this book?

Here's a sweet idea for a whole day of intenseness--too much for me! 

All right. I think we will have a Family Love Day: wake up early for waffles/pancakes, fill out an appreciation template about one person, brainstorm ideas about what to do when we get home from school (e.g., movie night, game night, making treats for neighbors, going to the children's museum, etc.). We will bookend the day with family time--talking about about we love about each other and spending time together. That sounds right! 

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Getting Our Budget Under Control

I've been sharing that Matt and I have some credit card debt that we want to actively pay down. As part of that, we have been trying to religiously use I've heard great things about You Need a Budget as well, but we are already all set up with, so we are sticking with it and trying to maximize our experience with it. 

One of the annoying things about is that it won't let you delete the budget categories that you aren't using. When it automatically assigns expenditures to categories, it frequently assigns them to categories that we aren't even using in our budget. When that happens, our budget looks like it's on track, but it isn't really.

While it's frustrating that I can't just delete the categories that we don't have budgets for, I did learn that you can click a button to generate a rule that always assigns certain stores into certain categories. For example, there's a popular restaurant here in Austin called P.Terry's. always categorizes it as "Fast Food" (it is fast food), but we don't use the Fast Food Budget. Instead, we code all of our eating out expenses as "Restaurants." I was able to go into Mint and tell it to always code P.Terry's as "Restaurants." 

While that will help with some of our recurring expenses, I came up with a hack to help us with the rest. I printed our list that correlates our Mint categories with which expenses are budgeted there (see an excerpt of the image above). For example, we spend money on parking so infrequently that it doesn't have its own budget category. Instead, we lump it into the Gas & Fuel category (along with tolls, which are also infrequent). Mint automatically codes parking as parking, so we have to reassign the category. It's hard to remember these infrequent things, so having a list for Matt and one for me should be helpful! 

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

My Favorite New Thing

I know this is a dumb post, but I couldn't help but share my new favorite things: food covers

I am really, really trying not to buy things on Amazon, but I have been wanting these for more than a year. I saw them at a birthday party at the park, and they make so much sense in Texas! I regretted not having them all throughout last year whenever we hosted a party on our deck. I ended up trying to cover the food with dishtowels, which makes it very difficult to see what is available to eat!

I'm excited to try these out at Henry's birthday party! 

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Reflection & Rejuvenation: February

My first ever Monthly Self-Summit went well. 

I spent about 1.5 hours preparing for the upcoming month. I wrote three birthday cards, scheduled our monthly Saturday Supper (which happens to be Henry's birthday party!), and reflected on what I wanted to make true for the upcoming month. 

(As an aside, I don't want to live an overly rigid life, and I have to monitor myself closely so that I don't cross over the line (or so I can step back over, after I do cross it!). I really do love being intentional and purposeful--it's just so easy for those characteristics to become overly rigid.)

Celebrations first (I'm working on celebrating before I jump to the problem-solving; it's a perpetual problem):
  1. I feel like I'm working on a lot of substantial stuff with my leadership coach
  2. I'm maintaining a 2-hour window of free time for myself each night
  3. I'm periodically waking up early to journal
  4. I love being in my new office
  5. I'm being more patient with the boys and savoring our time together
  6. I had so much fun at our monthly Saturday Supper in January. The weather was perfect. We had both sliding doors wide open and gathered on the deck. The children played in our "adventure playground" area by building structures with bamboo sticks and string. Then they ventured down into the forest part of our land and started making pottery out of the dirt/clay. I just relaxed/chatted/ate.
Okay, now on to the problem-solving!

I threw out my back after doing so much moving of things to get our new school settled. It meant that I couldn't run at all, and I just started eating whatever I wanted to. Now my clothes don't fit and I feel so lethargic. But onward and upward! I've been doing my physical therapy exercises every night, and I'm going to get back to the trail this weekend. I'm excited! 

I also start therapy this month, which I'm excited about. I think it's going to be a good month!

For updates in between blog posts, check out Instagram

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Monthly Summit Idea

I was just listening to Kelsey and Chris's description of their annual financial summit, and it gave me the idea for a Monthly Summit.

On the 31st of each month, I'm going to spend two hours (~8pm-10pm) on the following activities:
  • Writing my Reflection & Rejuvenation post
  • Writing birthday cards for the upcoming month
  • Planning any goals for the upcoming month
I need to do this at work, too! I don't think I want to mix the personal with the professional on this one. I think I need to send time at work that day looking at the upcoming month and making plans. I think it would a really rejuvenating experience for me each month!

For updates in between blog posts, check out Instagram

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