A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Happiness Project #1: SLEEP

I’ve got to work on non-pharmacologic management of my lupus symptoms now that I’m staying off of the Alleve for my joints. I know from the last couple of years that poor sleep is a huge trigger of bad lupus days for me. Poor sleep also makes it harder for me to deal with stress in general and might make it harder to lose weight (more on that in links below). All together, these things are ample motivation to make improving my sleep the first big Happiness Project I tackle in my #40by40 goals.


I’m a task oriented person and certainly more successful when I have concrete habits to track. From the Happiness Project book and website with Gretchen Rubin (here), I found some great charts for keeping track of my sleep related tasks. In addition to buying a new pillow (little things help!), I’m going to incorporate these as my daily tasks to sleep better:


Stop caffeine after 3 pm. I love my coffee, so this may be painful, but on the plus side maybe it will steer me toward drinking more water in the evenings.

Elixir of the gods

Make tomorrow’s task list for work BEFORE I leave work. Frequently, I’m swamped by stress at night about what I have to do tomorrow. I’m going to try reviewing my schedule for the next day and making my task list before I leave work, to try to head off some of this angst.
Turn off devices at 9 pm. Period. No TV, phone or other blue lights. This might seriously impact my ability to watch TV with Darrell, but we have the weekend for that (and I’m already down to only a few shows that I watch anyway).
Have a consistent bedtime and wake up time. 9:30 pm – 5:30 am would get me 8 hours of sleep and have me up in time for 7 am meetings or for workouts in the morning. Getting into a consistent pattern would help tremendously (with exceptions for date night and other rare occasions, of course).
Adopt a bedtime meditation. This can help both with transitioning to sleep and with dealing with those twilight anxiety episodes that often derail my sleep.


This bedtime meditation might have helped Wednesday night when I couldn’t sleep because of stupid Mom-brain anxiety over whether or not anyone would come to this guy’s birthday party:

First grade!

He has a back-to-school birthday, which is a really hard time to schedule a party both because everyone is busy and because it’s hard to know who to invite – old friends? New friends? Both? We elected for a party a little after his birthday and the start of school (it’ll be next weekend) and an invitation list of both new first grade classmates and some kindergarten/summer program friends. Because O wanted to invite first grade classmates, we had to wait for the class list to come out – which it did last week, while I was away. By the time I got home, got the invitations written and mailed, most people would be getting their invitations Wednesday and Thursday of this week, with only 10 days before the party. In the meantime, we found out that another classmate has a party on the same day (AM and ours is in PM). I was freaking out with Mom-guilt over sending out invitations too late and would anyone come to his party and how would we handle it if no one came. All totally unnecessary mental drama, I know, but my brain is like that at bedtime sometimes.


All is well. I’m at 5 RSVPs now, which is enough of a party for me and for O. I’ll sleep better now. πŸ™‚ Bedtime is a hard for those of us with a worry-wort mindset so a bedtime meditation will be very helpful I’m thinking!


What are your strategies for better sleep? I also got a lavender spray for my pillow that’s supposed to help sleep, but mostly it just annoys Darrell.


Resources for Sleep & Weight Management:
Lack of Sleep & Weight Gain (WebMD)
Sleep Loss & Weight Gain (USA Today)
Molecular ties between lack of sleep and weight gain (NIH news release)
Sleep and Obesity (Review article in Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care)
Sleep & Lupus:


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Weekly Wrap-Up: A Change of Scenery in New Hampshire

First, good news: After ten days without Alleve, my kidney function is back to normal. That means it isn’t the lupus itself so I don’t have to worry about taking any immuno-suppressants or getting a biopsy or anything. Bad news is that my arthritis is back with a vengeance without the Alleve. I look like an 80 year old woman creaking around until noon. I hurt everywhere. It could be worse though – I’m SO relieved that my kidneys are okay and I can still get around, even if it is slower and creakier than I’d like. I also stopped putting off getting my cholesterol and diabetes screening tests done – still normal, thank goodness!

Now, on to workouts for the week, which were great even if they weren’t necessarily the long walk/easy walk/tempo and speed workouts I’d get at home. I think the varied terrain and hills more than made up for that though!

Monday Lots of walking back and forth across the resort, where the conference center was a 10(ish) minute walk from my room. Lots of time to get in extra steps!

Tuesday An hour of kayaking, or more accurate – half an hour of kayaking and half an hour of lounging about taking selfies with the ducks. πŸ™‚
Wednesday 5 miles of hiking, with lots of hills and dodging rocks and trees. It was gorgeous and tough! I tweaked my knee a little on the down hill side, but overall really enjoyed myself and was pleased with how quickly I could navigate everything.
Thursday After Wednesday’s big hike, I settled for a shorter but still super hilly hike on Thursday. I think those hills count as a tempo workout given how steadily and hard to work on that walk!

Friday Travel day, but I woke up for an easy flat walk around the resort. Travel was thankfully uneventful and I got home to have dinner with my family, which was lovely. It was a carb-a-licious and not remotely healthy dinner given how tired and cranky I was, but at least it was dinner with my family.


Saturday My parents came to visit for a super quick weekend. I decided to go to breakfast with Oliver before they arrived rather than workout, which meant I had an unchecked box on the workout calendar but it was worth it to have that time alone with my guy.

Sunday I spent hours in the pool at a party, which counts as a workout of sorts, right? πŸ™‚ The biggest success of Sunday was making cakes for the party. Both Oliver and my secretary Raven have birthdays this week, so I somewhat foolishly volunteered to bring a birthday cake for each of them to this work party. They turned out well, I must say.

Lemon cakeLemon blueberry cake with cream cheese frosting (AMAZING!)

Bb8Pioneer Woman’s Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting (our go-to birthday cake)

It’s funny, but I made reasonably good food choices all week while I traveled (aside from alcohol) but once I got home, it was a whole different story. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were full of choices I KNEW were bad choices. I did what I know how to do – pick back up and start again on Monday. Maybe this time I’ll go a little longer before I have to start over again. πŸ™‚ The stress of travel, worrying about kidneys, frustration with hurting and the stress of my parents’ flying visit were all things that trigger my most carb-craving comfort food cravings. In the interest of giving myself credit, I had only one piece of each of those gorgeous cakes. That’s a VAST improvement over how I’d handled cake plus stress in the past. Baby steps in the right direction.

Now, I’m back to normal workout schedules. This week, I have speed work, a 35 minute easy walk, 25 minute power walk and a 6 mile long walk. I’m going to try to get those walks in first thing in the morning as much as possible because moving early in the morning seems to really help the arthritis.

What’s your families go-to birthday cake? We’re chocolate people, but that lemon-blueberry cake is divine and may make its way onto the regular rotation!




Goals for August!

I got away from setting goals every month and you know what happened? I stopped maintaining my healthy diet and my exercise habits. Between that and the fact that I have 40 fun new things on my to do list this year, I think it’s a good time to get back to goal setting! Of course, I’ll stick with my training plan and work my way up to 7 miles by the end of this month’s workouts. However, it’s good to make a couple of extra goals too.

Goals for August:

  • Meet the Garmin’s step goal every day: Seems like a good way to steadily work up my movement, even on rest days.
  • Get 25 workout stickers (21 last month – raising the bar!)


  • Master the recipes from my Thai cooking class: Spring rolls, pad thai and crying tiger steak.
  • Have an adventure (I think kayaking and hiking to see waterfalls in New Hampshire count so this one is already done, but an adventure a month is on my #40by40 list so gotta keep track!)


  • Another one of my #40by40 goals achieved for the month: I made what I think will be a good mentoring connection at the meeting I just attended. Huge win for this introvert!
  • Make the next cake in my Great British Bakeoff book with Darrell.
  • Happiness Project for the month: SLEEP! (more to come on this) Improving my sleep is going to hugely important for my lupus if I’m going to have to stay off of Alleve thanks to my stupid kidneys.Β  **Technically I’m going to give myself 6 weeks and have this by my August and September project given both its importance and the fact that I was traveling at the beginning of August.

Of course, surviving the back to school chaos is also on my to do list for the month. Next week, it all begins again!

What are you hoping to get done this month?


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Weekly Wrap-Up: 4 weeks down!

I’ve checked off four weeks of boxes in the training plan “Mama’s Mystery Medal Walking Half Marathon” and apparently that’s enough to make this feel REAL in my mind. Yesterday, I was flipping through my calendar trying to find time to schedule something in October and steered clear of my scheduled race date. It feels like a small but very important win in committing myself to this training plan, in that I’m treating my race of one just as seriously as I would a big race I’d paid for. Wins!

Weekly Workouts: This week was a recovery week in the plan, so no speed or tempo workouts – just lots of easy walks. With the distraction of my lupus nonsense and travel, I was grateful for the easier week.

Monday Rest day, although I did get in lots of walking at an Omaha museum doing their cool new spy exhibit with Oliver (solved the mystery!)
Spy games

Tuesday 30 minutes easy walking

Wednesday Rest day

Thursday This was supposed to be 40 minutes, but I was slow getting out of the house. I’m proud of myself for getting at least 20 minutes rather than nothing at all though – again, a sign I’m moving in a better direction in terms of commitment to exercise!

Friday 20 minutes of easy walking (and I had to grab a jacket thanks to a lovely freak cool spell in August!)

Saturday 2.5 miles easy walking: Darrell & Oliver decided not to meet me at the ice cream shop, so I ended up walking an extra half mile home from the ice cream shop. That makes up for shorting that earlier workout, right?

Sunday 30 minutes of lovely walking in New Hampshire!Β  I wasn’t sureΒ  if the giant culvert you see behind me was something that I was supposed to walk through or not but decided to take the chance. It was. πŸ™‚ I felt very adventurous plunging into it nonetheless!
New Hampshire
It’ll be nice to be here among these gorgeous trees for my walks this week. This week, speed workouts and tempo work are back on the schedule. My 5 mile walk will actually be a 4 mile hike with the conference group (I’ll tack the extra mile on somewhere in the day). I think the added hills and technical challenges of the hike more than make up for the fact that I won’t do all 5 miles at once, don’t you?
Today’s workout will be cross training in a kayak and/or on the stand up paddle board. I won’t lie – I’m wary of any workouts at all this week. I’m hurting. I ache everywhere. Even one Alleve a day was apparently doing a ton to dampen my arthritis aches and I am seriously feeling it. It makes me pretty grumpy, which is probably dampening my effectiveness in networking at this meeting. Ah well.

Moving is definitely helping. Beer helps (the grumpiness and the aching and the impaired networking) but I’ve got to keep an eye on that – not the healthiest compensatory mechanism! I don’t have much of an appetite, I suspect due to the aching, but am trying to make the healthiest food choices I can.

Hopefully, this will be worth it and my kidney function will look better when we recheck next week. I think I’ll adjust to the aching with time, so long as I keep up with my activity, my rest and my sunscreen.

My goals for this week are simple: Get my workouts in. Get my sleep. If I can do that, that’s a big win for now.

Thanks for your good thoughts and wishes regarding my stupid lupus. πŸ™‚ I know it’ll all be fine – just a bump in the road.

Anybody else having freakish cool August weather? I wish I could share ours! It was such a lovely break and definitely one of my favorite things about Nebraska. These little cool spells almost never happened when I lived down South!




Stupid Kidneys (aka Bump in the Lupus Road)

More accurately, a bump in my creatinine. Boo.

Creatinine is a molecule that’s a byproduct of muscle metabolism / breakdown and it gets used in medicine as a marker of kidney function. If it is high, particularly if it is higher than your normal and you haven’t suddenly massively increased your muscle mass, doctors get worried about your kidneys.

Worried is exactly how my poor little rheumatology fellow looked the other day when I ran across him in the hospital after my check up this week. (One of the minor inconveniences of working in a medical school is that you run across your doctors in the hall occasionally – awkward!) You never want to see your doctor look worried. It turns out, my creatinine has gone up a lot since last time we checked it and is in officially “elevated” range. The good news is that there’s nothing else that seems wrong and my other kidney tests are okay so far.

It could be a blip. It could be due to the Alleve I take every day (although I’ve been cutting way back on that over the summer, so I’m not sure it’s that). It could be the sign that I’m developing kidney complications from my lupus, which is unfortunately very common.

For now, I’m stopping the Alleve, drinking a lot of water and stepping up my vegetable intake. Turns out, the best diet for chronic kidney disease is the DASH diet – aka the hypertension diet, which I’ve followed before and is generally a pretty “eat healthy stuff” kind of diet. Other than the massive amount of veggies it recommends, it’s pretty much the way I eat on Weight Watchers – just need to step up those veggies. I’m already good about watching my sodium intake and don’t eat a ton of red meat, which are also in the “good kidney” diet guidelines.

It’s also going to be very important that I do all of things I can do to help my lupus settle down, which means REST, manage my stress, get my exercise in and wear my sunscreen. Not only will this help lupus overall (and maybe my cranky lupus-kidneys), but it will help my joint symptoms. Today is my first day without Alleve in ages and my hands have been stiff, sore and swollen all day. If I’m to go without Alleve to help my kidneys, I have to do everything else I can to help my hands settle down.

Action items:

  • Loads of water!
  • Loads of veggies!

Amping up veggies

  • Walk every morning!
  • Hat and / or sunscreen every time I go outside, including walking around campus at work.
  • Work on sleep (looks like that’ll be my first task in my “40 by 40” happiness project)

Think good thoughts for me. We’ll recheck my labs when I get back from New Hampshire. Hopefully things have trended back down and this was just a blip. I’ll keep you posted!


Weekly Wrap-Up: Feels Like I’m Training Again!

There’s something about checking off all of the workouts on a calendar that makes me feel like I’m REALLY on a training plan. It feels great to have met my goals for the week!


MondayΒ  Rest day!

Tuesday Speed work: 15 minutes easy warm-up followed by 3 cycles of 45 seconds of speedy walking and 2 minutes easy recovery, with 5 minutes of cool down. It is so tempting to shorten those 2 minute recovery periods (which seem SO long!) to 1 minute, but I’m respecting the plan and sticking to it. I do like the slightly longer “speed” intervals as I at least feel like I can get up to speed in that time. It’s still hard not to run though!

Wednesday I flew into Chicago late Tuesday night for an all day meeting in the Chicago airport Hilton, followed by a flight back home at 10 pm Wednesday night (ugh!). I’m very proud of myself for not letting travel disrupt the plan: 25 minutes easy walking, in the Chicago airport. I got dressed to go work out and couldn’t bring myself to walk on the treadmill in my hotel. Instead, I headed out to the airport walkways (hotel in the airport) to get in my 25 minutes and some early morning people watching.

Thursday No workout because I had a 7 am meeting (after getting home after midnight from Chicago!) followed by a 3+ hour Thai cooking class immediately after work. It was so fun to go to cooking class with Darrell and learn all of these yummy recipes! If you’re in Omaha, this was at Creme de la Creme andΒ  I highly recommend it!

Rolling spring rolls(Pic from the Creme de la Creme site – rolling spring rolls)

Friday I meant to wake up early for my tempo walk but was wiped out from Thursday and Friday. Boo! However, I did end the day with a surprising workout: tubing down the Elkhorn River. This was my first experience tubing and I will say, it is more of an ab workout than you’d expect -holding yourself steady in that tube – based on how sore my abs were all weekend! I had a great time with my team on our first group retreat. It also checked the box of my “adventure a month” from my 40 by 40 list!
River float

Saturday I know I said I’d stick to the schedule for which days were assigned to which workouts, but it is just easier for me to get a workout in on both weekend days than it is on three weekdays. If I’m going to do that, I need to shuffle things so that I’m doing an easy walk on Saturday and my tempo walk a little farther from my long walk. This week’s tempo segment got a little longer: 10 minute warm up; 15 minute tempo walk (17ish minute miles) and 10 minute cool down. I ended my walk at the new ice cream place by my house and stretched out front in the grass while I waited for Darrell and Oliver to join me. Nothing like Saturday afternoon ice cream in the summer. πŸ™‚ (Not that this lactose intolerant girl had ice cream – but it was fun to watch Oliver enjoy himself!)

Sunday It was a beautiful day for a long walk and I headed out for 4 steady miles, at a 18:30(ish) pace. I have a hilly neighborhood, so it felt like a good workout and that was so nice after a relatively lazy few months!
4 milesI actually ended up with closer to 5 miles, since I ended my 4 miles by meeting Darrell and Oliver at a park and then walking another mile home with them. It’s so nice that we have parks we can walk to!

In terms of meeting last week’s goals, I definitely did all of the workouts as prescribed, if not exactly on the day prescribed, which was an improvement. I also did some stretching on Saturday, but given the way my legs feel today I should definitely be doing more of that. I’m working out more than I have in a while and need to be careful or I’ll hobble myself. I confess there’s part of my mind that says “this is just walking” – ie nowhere near as strenuous as running, but I still have to be careful because a) I’m not in the physical condition I was in as a runner and b) 13.1 miles is a LOT, whether you’re walking or running. I have to respect my body and treat it well.

This week is built into the training plan as a recovery week, with all easy walks. I’ll have to shuffle the days so that I can be sure to get everything done as I have a SUPER early flight to New Hampshire on Sunday morning. Fortunately, with 4 easy walks and a 2 mile “long” walk, that shouldn’t be too taxing to move around. I’ll plan on walking the easy walks on Tuesday-Friday and the 2 miles on Saturday and leave Sunday for rest. I’m looking forward to next week’s walks being among the forests of New Hampshire. I’ll be at a work meeting in Waterville Valley in an off season ski resort all week. I’m sure there will be adventures to be had!

Have you ever done a river float? It was fun to just float, drink and chat – aside from the utter clumsiness of getting myself into and out of my tube!



Weekly Wrap-Up: Mama’s Mystery Medal Half Marathon Week #2

Apparently to make Mama’s Mystery Medal Oliver needs cardboard, glitter, markers and a picture of me. It should be interesting. πŸ™‚

This walking half marathon plan is the BEST idea I’ve had in a while. After years of training for running races, I’m very accustomed to having a plan to follow and workouts to hit each week. Working out falls to the bottom of my to-do list without a set goal (as I’ve learned over the last 6 months – and 30 pounds). Even this solo walking half marathon is enough to get me up and moving! I stayed up way too late last night rewatching Sherlock and still, when the alarm went off at 5:40 this morning, I hauled myself up to get out and do “speed” work. I definitely wouldn’t have been that ready to go if I didn’t have a race deadline.


Monday Rest day

Tuesday Speed day: 30 second speed walk/2 minutes easy walk. The intervals got a little longer, which was good. With last week’s 10 second intervals, things were too short to feel like I was doing anything. This week, it bumped up to 30 seconds and that felt a little more like I could speed up and maintain it for a bit like a true interval.

Wednesday 20 minutes easy walking – I am loving easy walks during this super summer weather!

Thursday/Friday I was supposed to do my power walk but missed it between life and heat and who knows what.

Saturday Oliver & I walked a mile and a half from Village Inn to Hy Vee after breakfast while Darrell drove home to get some things we needed for our day of errands. It was mostly uphill, but because I was occasionally pausing to encourage the small fry to come along, I don’t think I can count it as the “Power Walk” it should have been. It was worth it though, to see how excited Oliver was to help me get my sticker for the day. πŸ™‚


He’s used lots of sticker charts in his little life, so he’s definitely used to this and gets excited every time I get a sticker.

Sunday 3 miles easy walking, with my missed 10 minutes of “Power Walk” thrown in the middle. This time, the Power Walk portion was in the 16-17 minute mile range, which is a little faster than last week. Progress!

Man, does it feel good for my legs to work again. However, going forward I need to be better about:

  1. Follow the schedule – Keep easy walks and rest days in between the long walks and speed/power walks. I’m not in the shape I was 6 months ago and should respect the plan.
  2. Don’t combine workouts – Each one serves a purpose. Counting 3 miles as my long walk and Power Walk isn’t the same as doing those separately and I know that. I can get away with this kind of “cheating” early but will regret it later if I don’t follow the plan!

This week, I have a little travel but it shouldn’t throw things off too much. I’m flying to Chicago tonight for a meeting in the airport Hilton all day tomorrow and flying back home again tomorrow night. Happily, I already know that the food that’s going to be ordered for lunch is healthy (grilled chicken salad) and I’m in that airport enough that I know I can find a healthy dinner too.

Gifts!I’m bringing one of my favorite birthday presents with me to wear tomorrow to remind me that I can do anything I put my mind to – big leadership meetings or making healthy food choices or squeezing in quality mom moments among the work.

My goals for this week are to start incorporating some yoga and stretching into my week. Using these muscles again to train, I’m going to get stiff before I know it. I’m also going to follow the training plan as it is written – no combining things or cheating!

What are your goals for the week?




Weekly Wrap-Up: Picking up momentum, a step at a time

It’s been the kind of week where this has been ready to post since Tuesday and I’m just now hitting publish! What happened to the lazy days of summer?!

I need a title for my walking half marathon. Mom’s Mystery Medal Half Marathon? Maybe that’ll do for now, while Oliver is deciding on his theme. For now, we’ll just say that week one of training is done and it feels good to say that again!

The workouts for week one:

Interval workout: 10 minutes warm up and cool down, with 4 intervals of 10 second sprint/2 minute easy. This was so weird! 10 seconds is NO time at all so I overshot every time – when you’re walking it takes at least that long to “get up to speed.” It was also super hard not to run during these. I am determined to stay safe and keep my feet on the ground, but it’s hard!

Easy walk: 15 minutes (easy peasy!)

Power walk: 10 minutes warm up and cool down with a 5 minute power walk in the middle, which is a “walk at a comfortably fast, brisk pace.” Right now, that’s around a 17 minute mile for me. It’ll be interesting to see how that changes as I move forward.

Long walk: 2 miles this week, which felt easy but I know it’ll get tougher quickly enough! I hopped out of the car at the car wash and walked home while Darrell and Oliver washed the car. It’s definitely a win to have shoes in the back of my car at all times! I need to make sure I add a hat and sunscreen to my stash so I’m ready for squeezing in workouts whenever I can (borrowed O’s hat this weekend!).
Summer flowers
Each week follows this outline, with intervals, times and distances increasing as we go along, just like a running plan would work. Note: This training plan (updated on the side bar!) is based on Katie’s Walk Your First Half Marathon plan. I also now have a race day: October 15!

I squeezed in two extra walks for my stickers and am really enjoying this pleasant feeling of soreness in my legs from exercising regularly again. I had really fallen off the workout wagon in a big way!

Food choices have also been good and I’m back down a couple of more pounds from a gain around my birthday. I’m taking it bit by bit and know I’ll get there. It’s surprisingly easy to fall back into my old “good” habits and simultaneously recognize where I’m deviating too often (here’s looking at you, desserts and booze!). I wonder if I’ve fallen into drinking and eating more in response to stress because I haven’t been running? Hopefully this walking training plan will help me stay on track by giving me that goal and physical outlet back!

Speaking of booze, I have a couple of boozy events coming up. Ugh. I have a week long meeting in New Hampshire, where I have to network and that has always lead to lots of alcohol because frankly, introverted little old me needs to be lubricated. Sigh. On the more fun side of the equation, I have a river float trip (this month’s adventure from my #40for40 goals!) and an office pool party coming up. Summery drinks on the menu for those events too. For all three, I think I’ll plan to alternate water with alcohol at every time, which will help tremendously, as well as focusing on “lighter” options for the food & other associated goodies. I’ve definitely noticed even a single drink causes a bump up (bloating, I know) in my weight these days. Middle age is just great, isn’t it?

I’m already doing well with my other #40for40 goals. I styled my hair TWICE last week (not well maybe, but at least I attempted it!), had a July date with Oliver and a July date with Darrell. Darrell and I went to the community theater and were enchanted. We’re suckers for things with a small town vibe. We’re definitely joining as supporters for the theater and my husband surprised me by saying that he’d like to get up on stage on perform with them! Meg – you’ve got to help me help him carry through with that desire!

I’m also working on that “notice my pretty” bit. I’m astounded now when I look at my pictures from a couple of years ago. I looked AMAZING and yet I still felt fat. I’m determined not to do that this time. This week, I’ve worn great clothes that flatter me and have felt like a million bucks. I’m working on appreciating ME rolls and all so that I don’t get so blinded to myself as I gradually work my way back to a slimmer, healthier self.
Any other benched runners have a hard time not running? It is so tempting, especially in those “sprint” intervals, but at the same time I’m very relieved I’m not having to run in this heat!



Forty by Forty!

I turned 39 years old last week, which means 40 is just around the corner and I’ve gotta say – I’m looking forward to 40! I am so much more confident in who I am as I approach 40 than I was at 30. I have grown so much over my 30s and I think my 40s are going to rock even more. I decided to make a list of 40 things I wanted to do to celebrate this last year of my 30s and get ready for the greatness that is to come.

This list is in no particular order and isn’t a list of self improvement goals or anything like that. There are a couple “grown up” tasks on the list that I really want to get a handle on this year, but mostly – this is a list of FUN stuff. I’ve already got plans to check some of these off of my list this month to start this year with a bang!

1 – Use more candles.
2 – Use more wine glasses.
3 – Wear more of my jewelry. I have gorgeous necklaces and earrings! I need to break them out more!
4 – Learn to ice skate.
5 – Start a happiness project ( more on this to come later! )
6 – Learn to style my hair.
7 – Socialize at least once a month.
8 – Learn to do my makeup.
9 – Make cocktails! ( Bar set purchased today – Thanks Mildred! )
10 – Master 5 new recipes.
11 – Work through the Great British Bakeoff cookbook with Darrell.
12 – Read my stack of books.
13 – Hang my marathon medal up in the house. Own my awesome!
14 – Learn to wear scarves.
15 – Own my non-craftiness and purge all of those unfinished projects.
16 – Build & stock a bar (to go with #9!).
17 – Pursue leadership training – Time to own the fact that I’m a leader professionally!
18 – Practice gratitude daily.
19 – Explore my state.
20 – Find an exercise I enjoy as much as running.
21 – Kiss someone every day.
22 – Learn self defense (again and again and again).
23 – Meet one new person at every work or school function I attend.
24 – Do something new / have an adventure every month.
25 – Learn to play a Christmas carol on my piano (yep, have a piano I can’t play!).
26 – Have a mini spa day every week. I have a ton of spa-ish stuff. Time to use it!
27 – Go dancing.
28 – Notice my own prettiness.
29 – Find a charity to support.
30 – Build up other women.
31 – Go on more lunch dates and happy hours.
32 – Take a wine class.
33 – Send out thank yous to my mentors.
34 – See a concert.
35 – Understand our financial situation and stay more up to date.
36 – Learn to make bread.
37 – Master a signature party appetizer/side dish/dessert.
38 – Use the spice mixes in my cabinet (have a ton I don’t use!).
39 – Listen to new music (open to suggestions!).
40 – Date each of my guys at least once a month. This month, painting with Oliver and Thai cooking class with Darrell.
Date day

At the rate we’re going, my house is going to be overrun with these paintings. Oliver asked me to go back later this month to paint a snowman he saw on the calendar, so we can have it for a Christmas decoration.

I’ll keep you updated on my list as I move through these things – should be fun!!! (Should also be fun for any of my friends who are in town or go visit, as a lot of these involve sharing food & drink with people!)


Weekly Wrap-Up: Stickers galore (and a new plan!)

This week has felt like I was finally back on track with activity. Check out all of these stickers:
Those represent walks and dance workouts and strength training and most importantly, making that effort EVERY DAY. Well, most days anyway. For example, we were at the zoo Sunday and rather than sitting with Darrell, playing with our phones while O played in the splash pad, I asked Darrell if he’d mind supervising alone while I went for a walk. Thirty minutes of hilly hiking around the zoo later, I’d earned my sticker and felt much more productive than I would with 30 minutes of sitting around while O played!

I know, I know – I’ve been here before, where I finally felt like I’d found my workout mojo despite not having a race to train for. Not running has really made it hard to be consistent with workouts. I decided that the best way to get around that problem was to train – just not to run. I’m going to follow a training plan to WALK a half marathon (link here).

I struggled a lot with the logistics of walking a half marathon and mostly, doubt that I could resist running if I was in a race with other runners. I’ve settled on a one woman walking half marathon and Oliver has agreed to make my medal. I still need to map out the workout dates around my schedule and will update my half marathon tab and “race” day on the home page as soon as I’ve got it all figured out. This definitely feels like the kind of accountability I’m used to, even if it is for a one-woman race!

I actually did the first walking “speed intervals” today, which was just odd. By the time I felt like “okay, now I’m walking fast!” – the interval was over. It was REALLY hard not to run, but I’m sticking to my plan of letting my neck heal for a few months longer. It was surprisingly easy to get up, check the calendar and head out to check off that workout though – I think this will really help!

I’ve felt good about my eating this week too, even if the scale is still stubbornly stuck. I’m getting more and more back into my good habits from when I was losing and maintaining successfully, like focusing on fruits and veggies (LOVE the Costco vegan frozen burgers!) and not finishing everything on my plate when I’m eating out.
Leaving some on the plate

I know if I stay the course, my body will thank me. I also hereby promise to stop putting off getting my lab work done! I keep delaying it because, I confess, I’m worried it’s going to be abnormal with this weight regain. I’m worried my blood sugar will be high and my cholesterol and triglycerides will be off. You know what – if they are, I need to know it so I can tackle the problem! Avoiding the test just delays the inevitable. If they’re abnormal, the changes I’ve made to get back on a healthier path on the first step to fixing them. I need to “woman up” and get this done.

So, I’m soliciting ideas for a theme for my one woman walking half marathon. I can’t promise O is going to incorporate any of my suggestions into the medal he makes, but he might take your ideas more seriously than mine.

Date day
My little artist spent a lot of our painting class this weekend telling me “You don’t have to do it exactly like she says Mama” πŸ™‚ Who knows what kind of medal I’ll end up with!