A truth I’m having a hard time swallowing as a mom, especially now that I’m a mom of two, is that my time to work on my personal projects is becoming more and more limited. In March, I made a pretty big decision about a week in to enroll in EBA (Elite Blog Academy), which meant not only that we were dropping a lot of money on this course that would help me take the blog to higher heights, but it also meant that it took up any and every second I had to spare (and then some).
It meant that so many things started to fall by the wayside–planning and cooking meals daily, exercise, housework (not that I ever had that one down too well to begin with), and even reading (which is how you know I’m REALLY serious about something!).
By the end of the month, I’d come to some important realizations:
First, by devoting so much time and energy into one thing, I definitely did see greater gains in that that area than I had in a long, long time. I started an email list for subscribers (you can click here to sign up for that if you haven’t done so already), I revamped a bunch of old content for the blog’s Pinterest page, I did a specially-themed Finance + Frugality Week last week, and I saw a lot of growth in the right direction. (P. S. If you enjoy what I do on the blog, a super easy way to support it is to actually go to the blog’s Pinterest page and share stuff from that! It would mean so much to me.)
HOWEVER, I also realized pretty quick that that level of intensity is not sustainable, and that I’m going to need to find a way to incorporate what I’m learning in EBA with my life as it stands right now, which involves taking care of two small humans and managing a household, as well as keeping up with a demanding church calling and continually working on strengthening my marriage and the other important relationships in my life.
So I’m hoping that April will bring a bit more balance. I tried hard to set a lot fewer goals than I normally do, and each week when I review the week ahead to plan out my days and make my weekly to-do list, I have been keeping those lists extremely short as well, to include only the most important things. I’m hoping this will mean that I can still keep up the momentum I have going on growing my blog, but I’m also hoping that the month overall won’t be quite as out of whack as March was.
We shall see.
Here’s a recap of how exactly last month’s goals went down though.
Note: There are some affiliate links in this post, which means I get a small commission on any sales made through these links, at no extra cost to you. As always, I work hard to only promote products I own and love, or that I would seriously consider buying for myself.
Start a blog newsletter
- I started this early in the month, and I have totally LOVED having a chance to connect with many of you readers on a more informal basis! (I’ve also loved coming up with some fresh book lists for those emails, too, especially as they’re much less time-intensive than the ones I put up for the book round-ups here on the blog!) If you’re not currently signed up, I only plan on sending out 2-3 emails a month, and I try really hard to make them stuff that’s worth your time and inbox space. You can click here to get on that list if you’re interested!
- List 8 things on Ebay
- Ha ha, nope. Just nope. I didn’t do ANYTHING on this. Part of the reason was because most of what I have to sell are coats and we are basically out of the ideal season for listing those, but the bigger reason is that all of my free time was spent on blog stuff.
- This one probably only got done because it was making me nervous being so close to the deadline this year, but it did get done! It sure hurt to give up that $8000 tax refund this year (all the details as to why were in this post), but we’re confident it will pay off for us in the long run.
- Register the van
- I at least found the title, so we can finally do this one!!! (Of course, with all the money we dropped on EBA, all other financial things got pushed to April, but at least now we CAN register it…)
Finish sewing the pillow covers for downstairs couch
- My mom came up one day in March and helped me finish all these (and I actually did do a *small* portion of the work this time, so I didn’t feel totally useless). And I love them! All the house projects we’ve completed the past few months have just made such a difference in how our place looks.
Hem our new curtains
- The same day my mom came up to help with the pillows, we hemmed the curtains, which look MUCH better than before when they were puddling on the floor. I’ve never been a big curtains person, so I was pretty shocked to see the HUGE difference that getting new ones made to our basement family room! I can’t wait to share pics when the rest of the room is a little more put together.
- Set up crib in Raven’s room
- Nope. Again. And the baby’s sleeping habits are, if possible, just as bad if not even worse than before, so it looks like at this point, we might be banishing Raven to the basement for awhile when we finally move him over to the other bedroom upstairs. He has a surgery coming up which we hope will help a lot with his sleep, so we shall see. I’m putting this as a rollover goal for April, if for no other reason than I NEED TO FEEL SOME HOPE THAT I’LL BE ABLE TO CONSISTENTLY SLEEP IN MY OWN BED AGAIN (since Matt and I have been trading off “couch duty” for weeks now so that one of us is by him while he sleeps out in the living room in his carseat (due to his congestion) and the other can actually get a semi-decent night’s sleep).
- List lamps on KSL (maybe old throw pillows, too)
- Nope. Although I did end up throwing out the old pillows (they were gross when we cut into one to see if we could reuse the pillow batting), so…there’s that.
- Finish my Assigned Reading for this term
- You guys, I finally admitted defeat to myself on my self-assigned reading this year. It had worked SO WELL last year that I was sure I would have the same glowing success this year too, but it has just not worked out. I will probably do a post soon-ish about all this, but just know that I didn’t even start two of the three books I’d assigned myself to read by the end of March. Massive fail.
- Finish reading Brave New World
- Another big fat nope. Although I did read about 15 pages in it, so I’M COUNTING IT AS PROGRESS.
Finish reading over all the talks from last October’s General Conference
- Twice a year, members of our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) get to hear from the prophet and apostles of the Church, and as that next conference is coming up this weekend, I wanted to finish studying all the messages from the previous conference before that happened, which I was able to finish right in the nick of time on the second-to-last day of the month.
Optimize one old post for Pinterest
- Finally, a goal I actually totally exceeded my expectations on! With all the work I was putting into the blog this last month, I actually optimized several for Pinterest (though I didn’t do an exact count). If you want access to those posts as I revamp old content and make it fresh, you can check out the blog’s Facebook page (where I’ll often post links to the updated post), or follow me on Pinterest, where I’ll pin anything I update.
- Open up savings accounts for the kids
- I probably could have swung this one, but our credit union is a pretty far drive from us (about 25 minutes one way), and I didn’t want to use the gas to go out all that way for just that one thing, so this one will have to be saved for another time.
Go on a date with Matt
- Thanks to my mom staying overnight with us one day last month, we were able to go to the temple together and then out for ice cream after. It was a great way to make a middle-of-the-week night a whole lot more special!
Go on family day adventure(possibly to the small local zoo?)
- We didn’t end up going to the zoo, but we counted as our day adventure a huge family party at an indoor pool that was put on by our in-laws. Matt’s parents leave in about a week and a half to serve an 18-month mission for our church, so they did a super-fun day with all of their kids (and kids-in-law) and grandkids at the local indoor pool and then afterwards at Chuck-a-Rama. It was such a special weekend, and all of the pictures in this post are actually from that event.
Have at least one get-together with one of our neighbors
- I’m counting this one as complete, even though it wasn’t with one of our neighbors (it was with Matt’s coworkers). We invited them over for our Friday Night Pizza Night, and we had a fun time catching up with them. (Both the husband and wife work with Matt, and they have a son who’s almost the exact age of Mathias, which is fun.)
- Declutter one 50 Weeks to Organized area
- Nada. Our house took a big hit from me spending so much time blogging in March, so I’m overdue for some serious housework this month.
- Make 5 recipes out of The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner
- I made one. It’s usually not hard for me to make at least the five I shoot for every month (to meet my 101 in 1001 goal of cooking my way through a whole cookbook), but this month, I was terrible about meal planning and making a big dinner every night. April will be better!
Other notable accomplishments that weren’t necessarily pre-planned:
- I bit the bullet and enrolled in Elite Blog Academy (as mentioned above). For me, this is a HUGE investment into myself and this blog, but as blogging is something I’ve done and loved for over 10 years, I figured it’s not going anywhere soon and that it might be worth investing some more into it. So far, I’m liking it a lot!
- We got both me and the baby into our respective doctors to try and figure some health stuff out. For me, nothing has been figured out (story of my health here, people), but for the baby, we got some clear answers and a clear solution! Hooray! (More about all this in my upcoming Sentence a Day post.)
- We got a TON of plants/bulbs from our friends who are re-doing their yard and used them to start filling in some of our blank spaces. When we moved in, the yard for this house was set up to be as low maintenance was possible, which basically meant there were almost no flowers, minimal shrubs, and a lot of wood chips and rocks to discourage weeds. While the low-maintenance thing can be nice, I LOVE flowers and Matt and I don’t mind spending a good portion of time out in the yard, so we’re slowly changing all the bark beds into actual garden beds, and we’re super excited to see what our yard looks like this summer!
As I mentioned above, I’m hoping April brings some balance back into my life. Now that I’ve completed a lot of the heavy frontloaded stuff for EBA, I think blogging will take up a more manageable amount of time every week. I’m also forcing myself to have certain times where I just don’t let myself work on it so that I avoid burnout.
April is also a very full month, since my in-laws are leaving for their mission in the middle of the month, it’s Raven’s birthday month, and we celebrate Easter. Throw a surgery for the baby on top of that plus some upcoming plans with friends and family, and we’ve already got a super full April planned!
Therefore, I decided not to rollover all my unmet goals from March (though I did do some) to try and keep my list somewhat manageable, so we’ll see if April goes better than March did!
April 2019 Goals
- Go to Baby Animal Days
- One of our favorite annual traditions! We’re actually having Matt take off part of one day to try and avoid the huge Saturday crowds, and I’m excited for Mathias to have his first Baby Animal Days experience 🙂
- Do something special for Raven’s birthday
- We’ve told all the grandparents who live close enough to reserve the night of her birthday for something special, but we still haven’t decided exactly what that should look like. Seeing as her birthday is next week, I’d better get cracking on making some solid plans!
- Register the van
- Ugh. Just need to do this so I can take it off this list already!
- Set up crib for the baby in Raven’s room
- While the crib remains in the garage, my hope of ever getting a decent night’s sleep again is basically extinguished. WE NEED TO DO THIS.
- Make 5 new Food Nanny recipes
- I need to get back on the whole making-dinner-every-night bandwagon. Matt’s been having to take some pretty, ahem, unusual lunches to work every day since I haven’t been cooking much, and I lost two pounds last month because my eating habits were so erratic. Time to get back on track!
- Index 100 names
- Working on family history and genealogy is one of my favorite hobbies, and since I haven’t made much progress on this particular 101 in 1001 goal (of indexing 1,000 names), I figured this would be a good month to put this on here, especially as it will force some more balance into the month. (In case you’re wondering, indexing is when you take old records–such as old government census records, birth certificates, etc.–and you type up the information so that people can find it via search engine. It’s a valuable service that anyone can provide. If you’re interested in volunteering your time, you can click here.)
- Finish Brave New World
- I’m starting to really dislike this book, but part of that is just because I always feel guilty whenever I sit in the middle of a book for too long. I just need to push through and get this one off my current reading stack already.
- Register Raven for preschool next year
- Can’t believe it’s already time to do this! We were much smarter about preschool for this next year this time around though, so we already have her spot lined up and everything–we just need to fill out the official form and make the first payment. We’re going with a preschool that’s a bit closer to our house (within easy walking distance, which will be awesome!) and that’s also a little less expensive, so a big win-win all around.
- Bring out summer clothes for the kids
- The clothing situation has started to get ridiculous as we have multiple sizes out and almost no summer clothes in the drawers to speak of. We definitely need to impose some order in there soon, especially as Raven has almost exclusively started to dress herself now, so I need to make sure that everything fits that’s in there.
- Go through Raven’s shoes
- Raven’s shoe situation is even worse than her clothing situation. It wasn’t that bad up until about a month or so ago, when she must have had a noticeable growth spurt or something, as she seemed to have sized out of nearly everything we have out.
- Make two new raised garden beds
- We LOVE the two raised garden beds we did last year (for all the details on those, including a total cost breakdown, you can click here), and so we’re building two more this year. One is going to be for our tomatoes and peppers (since they did so poorly in the spot we’d planted them in last year), and the other is a cutting flower bed just for me! I’M SO EXCITED!
- Graft new branches onto apple trees
- We found out last year that the two apple trees in our backyard are actually wild, meaning that though they produce a form of Red Delicious apples, the fruit is essentially no good. To take advantage of the fact we have fully grown and mature trees, however, we’re choosing to try to graft in other apple varieties of the non-wild kind, which, if everything goes well, should mean that we have good apples in 2-3 years or so. (And we’re actually maybe going to attempt doing two varieties on each of the two trees, so that could be fun!)
- Donate all my clothes that are too small
- Before having kids, I had quite an extensive wardrobe, especially when it came to more “professional” attire like cardigans, skirts, slacks, etc. (for my teaching job). Since I spent a decent amount of money on that wardrobe and LOVED it, I have been saving it ever since, hoping that it would one day fit again. Well, I finally came to a realization–I haven’t fit into those clothes in five years now, and even if I somehow managed to lose the final 10 pounds to get me back down to fit in those again, I still would really have no place to wear many of the pieces. Basically, I realized there’s no reason I should still be holding onto them. So this month, I’m planning on going through all my clothes and just letting it all go.
It’s going to be such a busy month, but a really good one! What are your April plans?