Checking in on my goals

Kristin doesn’t remember to read this blog very often, but when she does she’s generally very complimentary about it and thanks me for taking the time to document our lives. This past Sunday we finally hung a bunch of family photos on the wall of the living room, and she was visibly disappointed that I’m not in any of them. Admittedly I chose the photos that we had printed, and she told me in advance that she wanted to make sure that I was in at least one of them, but I honestly could not find a decent photo of me and any of the kids that fit with the rest of the photos. I’m sort of bummed about it too, but to be honest I also take great pride in being our documentarian and have been loving the creative challenge of trying to take great pictures of our family. I have a long ways to go, but the process is really very gratifying.

At some point in recent weeks when Kristin sat down to catch up on multiple blog posts that she’d missed, she read the one about my birthday and commented aloud that I seem to be really diving into my goals. She may have commented before getting past the first one, but it was still nice to reflect for a moment and think that she might be right.

While I haven’t done a single thing to increase my level of exercise, and I feel like my demonstration of calm and patience for the kids varies wildly from day to day, I do think that I’ve made some genuine progress on goals one and two: engaging my creative side on a regular basis, and making more social plans with friends.

For starters, I finished knitting the scarf that I started making for Jonah roughly three years ago! It was fun to finish because it was the first time that I looked up the right way to weave in ends (and I had a lot of them since changed yarns many times). I also had to take out a row right at the end, because I’d forgotten to leave enough yarn to bind off, and removing stitches is something I’ve never understood how to do. I pulled out a knitting book and went to work, and sure enough I made it happen. While I used to give up easily when encountering things that felt frustrating, being a parent has given me a newfound sense of persistence in large part because I’m constantly reminding the kids that “we can do hard things” and we’ve been actively working on helping Jonah be less afraid of making mistakes and be more willing to try things he might not succeed at the first time. I find that creative endeavors are way more fun when I’m not so afraid of doing it poorly.

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In addition to the knitting, I did Valentine crafts with the kids, painted simple Valentines for everyone, I’ve baked and decorated cookies a few times, and while I don’t write blog posts often enough to keep anyone’s interest for very long I’m still doing it somewhat regularly and taking the camera out a lot more often. I still need to take some active steps to improve my photos (besides practice, that is) but it’s only March 1st so I’m pretty confident that I can get there before the year is over.

I’m enjoying creative activities so much that lately I’m itching to start something new. I probably would have begun a new knitting project, but I wasn’t able to get my hands on the yarn I wanted (I really love this stuff and want to make everything with it), and then couldn’t really decide on a project and got distracted by life. While I was in New York, K took the kids to a friend’s house for dinner one night and Jonah was introduced to a show he’d never seen before. I think it’s an Amazon original show, called Annedroids, and it’s actually kind of cute. It’s about a girl who builds these incredible android robots in a junkyard, and the two neighborhood kids who discover it all and become friends with her. There’s lots of science and hypotheses and teamwork; it’s a show I’m happy to let him watch. I told K tonight that I really want to do robots for Halloween this year, and her only response was “You exhaust me.” Yeah, I can be a little over the top when it comes to planning ahead, but I think this time it’s simply because I’m craving a creative project.

In regard to social plans we haven’t done much inviting over, but we did have that one small get-together with a couple of neighbors after the block party, and we’ve been to the homes of others on a few occasions. Being in New York for four days was wonderful in many respects because it filled up my tank, so to speak, with lots of amazing conversations and quality time with people I’ve missed. But I also came home feeling like I needed to switch off for awhile, since being on and engaged in conversation from 9 a.m. till 11 p.m. for four days straight really wears me out. I’m doing some introvert recharging and hoping to get back into making some social plans in the coming weeks.

As I’d anticipated, leaving K and the kids behind was really tough. I think that staying busy helped, however, and in retrospect I think that it was quite valuable for all of us. I needed to see for myself that Jonah could handle it, K got some incredible bonding time with him, and while she didn’t have anything to prove as far as I was concerned, she absolutely demonstrated her willingness and ability to go above and beyond what was necessary to keep the wheels turning. Every day she seemed to schedule something extra to add some fun and variation to their time without me, she made sure to have exclusive play time with Jonah every night after the twins went to sleep and before she put him to bed, she took everyone out for pizza and ice cream, she took them to friends’ houses. I think that she made the time about as wonderful as she could have, and I’m eternally grateful. And our friends who covered mornings for us? They were amazing, as I should have expected. Jonah’s teacher told me that he seemed quite proud to show them around his school and teach them the drop-off routine. I’m probably headed back to New York at the end of May and the first week of August, but I’m feeling better about it now that we’ve all been through the experience.

Now that I’m reflecting on it, I suppose figuring out that piece of the working-remotely puzzle probably should have been on my list of goals for the year, since it was obviously going to come up eventually. This arrangement is teaching us all to be more adaptable, and I’m relieved to be over the anxiety-ridden “first trip.” Hopefully we’ll all grow in ways we hadn’t even expected. Now to find a project that will keep me from starting Halloween costumes in March…

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