Why I am not setting New Years Resolutions this year

new years resolutions, goals, new years goals, 2018 goals, 2018 resolutions,

I love the New Year, I always have. For a girl who spent most of her life looking through rose-colored glasses while meeting goals, there is nothing better than the new year. A new year brings a beginning, another challenge, a brand-new planner, and usually a new journal (since I had filled the others up). I would also tend to set several resolutions or goals at the beginning of the year, fully intending to see them through.

It usually lasted about a week.

This year looked absolutely nothing how I thought it would. A year ago today I was sitting in our house in Grinnell, probably reading books with Tristan and answering text messages from work because they called me constantly. Now we are back in Missouri; 3 moves, a new family member, and one ill-fated RV idea later. I work from home and am seeing excellent progress being made towards my goal of being able to be a full-time blogger, which has been my dream since before the creation of this blog.

It’s time to pause, to reflect. It’s a lot to reflect on.

So in the spirit of personal growth, I will be doing things a little differently this year. I’ve been mulling over ideas, and have been discussing them with Peter. The biggest thing we have been talking about is the difference between setting a resolution vs a goal.

Peter never sets New Year’s Resolutions, but always accomplishes his goals. I always thought the terms “resolution” and “goal” were interchangeable until I married him. Even after marrying him, I still set resolutions that I believed were goals. So for clarity’s sake, some vocabulary:

(From Webster’s Dictionary online):

Resolution: a firm decision to do or not to do something.

Goal: the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. 

Peter explained it to me this way: Resolutions are things you say would be nice to accomplish. Goals are roadmaps to a desired outcome. One is a wish, the other is a map.

I like resolutions, and I like goals. The thing is, I’m very good at getting excited by something and throwing everything else to the wind, including previously set goals or resolutions. Most things that I wanted to do last year I didn’t accomplish, except for our family vacation and having our second child.

So this year, our goals for the year are very simple. We have a few family goals (2 vacations to specific places and a move to our dream neighborhood later in the year), financial goals (we are back to being debt-free after we sold the RV and now we just want to build up our savings again), and my blogging goals.

On social media recently I’ve alluded to some changes I’ll be making here on the blog. One of those changes is to return the blog to its original purpose. For that purpose, I have created a mission statement. This mission statement will be the filter I use when deciding what types of things to write about and promote:

CrunchyHippieLife.com is where readers learn how to live a healthier, natural, and environmentally-responsible lifestyle on a budget. 

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this change. I’ve felt a little all-over-the-place when it came to the blog. I knew it had lost its purpose, and I’m so pumped to refocus.

I’m especially excited to get back to the frugal finances aspect, and help you all save money. I created a list of 25 ways to save money in 2018, available as a free download. It’s not your average “use coupons at the grocery store” list either. This is 25 legitimate “tough love” actions we have taken to cut our expenses down. These ideas are sure to save you hundreds each month!

Related: How to Make (not just save) Money using Ebates

Since I’ve learned so much about blogging, I started a new page on my top menu “Make Money Blogging.” I want  to protect the blog from blogging about blogging (a common joke among bloggers is that the only ones who make money are those who blog about blogging), but I also want to share my resources. I wrote a 10-page mini ebook about everything I’ve learned in the 12+ years I’ve been a blogger. This ebook covers multiple topics related to a profitable blog, and includes my resources that have helped me become successful. It is also available for a free download, because I want to share this knowledge with you.

As far as learning about blogging goes, I was able recently to invest some blogging profits into the popular Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course, and am working through that now. It is so full of actionable information, I am very excited to be learning from a blogger who makes over $100,000 per month from her blog. She is very knowledgable and makes it so easy to understand. It will take me a while to go through all my old posts and get them “Pinterest-ready,” but it will definitely be worth it.

I have also committed to posting monthly blogging income reports, both for accountability purposes and to measure my progress. My first one was written last month about how I made over $650 on Black Friday, and I am excited to start working on December’s in the next few days.

If there are things (within the mission statement) that you would be interested in reading about, please leave me a comment and let me know!

Thank you so much for being a reader this year, I look forward to growing with you all in 2018!

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Welcome, Baby Dean! The Story of Our Second Unassisted Birth

Unassisted Birth Story #2:

Ready for a birth story? If yes, you’re in for a treat. If no, well, carry on my wayward reader.

After two episodes of false labor in the weeks prior (that left me just a joy to be around), I woke up at 5:30 on September 14th in order to be at work by 7am. Because State was in our building for our annual inspection. On my last official week at my assignment. #awesome

About 10 minutes into being awake, I started noticing that the uncomfortable feeling that often accompanies eating bad Indian food was actually going away at fairly frequent intervals. As Peter left for the gym, I mentioned that we might not have had to wake up so early after all, as I was beginning to think that these contractions, feeling different than my last two practice sessions, were actually going to lead to something. I texted my boss (and my replacement DON) to let them know I wouldn’t be in at 7. They were so excited and told me to keep them updated.

I tracked my contractions for about an hour, noticing they were fairly consistent. They were increasingly uncomfortable, but I was still able to walk through them. I rubbed some black pepper essential oil on my back to help with the back labor.

Contractions became irregular around 9am, but still uncomfortable. I decided that a hot bath sounded delightful. MY GOODNESS, I had no idea how comfortable it would be! I could feel the contractions but was still able to relax through them.

The hours marched on and contractions were still uncomfortable but irregular. I wasn’t concerned since every labor is different. I focused on relaxing. Peter made a labor playlist for me with nature sounds, Native American flute music, and several Xavier Rudd songs. We diffused Balance essential oil and I just focused on relaxing, with Peter checking in on me frequently, topping off my coconut water as necessary. I was also texting many of my coworkers and keeping updated on how the state inspection was going.

Around 3:45pm I was getting irritated at how long this was taking with seemingly little progress. I hopped in the shower because showers make everything better and after about 5 minutes I started getting little tremors and increased pressure. Recognizing this was most likely transition, I got out of the shower and headed to the bed, where I had created a nest of waterproof pads.

I was right. Transition hit hard and furious. Fetal Ejection Reflex was strong, and just after 4pm my water broke. I think most of my 50 pound weight gain had been in the waters, because it didn’t just break, it exploded everywhere (sorry to those of you who are more visual). I called for Peter and told him that my water broke, “and also we might want to get new pillows.” He asked what the water breaking indicated, and I told him that Baby K was coming fast and it would be soon.

Right again. The pressure was so intense I didn’t think I could bear it. It was pressure to the point of pain. I buried my head in my pillow so my moans wouldn’t scare Tristan, who was in the living room watching DinoTrux at the time. That didn’t work well. I yelled/screamed for Peter again, who ran in, leaving Tristan in the living room yelling for me.

When Peter came in, I told him I could feel the baby crowning, and he jumped into the role of birth coach, excitedly updating me on progress. “I see it! There are the eyes! The nose is out – it’s a cute little button nose! There’s the mouth! The whole head!” I breathed out the shoulders and caught the baby as the rest of the body slid out gently (a VERY different birth than Tristan, who shot out head and body all at once like a squid). Peter asked “What is it?” I looked down “it’s another boy!”

We were both shocked, we had been expecting a girl the entire time. Every single old wives’ tale “test” indicated girl, except the Chinese Gender Predictor chart.

Peter let Tristan in immediately and we introduced him to Baby Dean. His face lit up when he saw the baby and we told him he had a brother. He had told us months ago that it was “a brudder” because he wanted to ride bikes with him and “guys ride bikes, mom.”

I took a picture of Dean and texted it over to my boss and my coworker who had been following progress via text all day. She texted back saying that my boss announced Dean’s birth over the intercom system. There was a contest going on at the facility, and $50 went to the staff or resident who had the closest guess for birth date, gender, weight, and length. One of the CNAs won!

our second unassisted birth story
first moments earthside

Peter took Tristan to the local coffee shop to get us some coffee while I relaxed with baby Dean. I did my full nursing assessment, and was surprised to see a true knot in his umbilical cord. Gotta love that natural Wharton’s Jelly, keeping the knot slippery and open during labor!

By the time Peter and Tristan returned, the cord had stopped pumping so it was time to clamp and cut. I wiped off Dean (who had a huge healthy meconium poop all over me, just like his brother), diapered him, wrapped him, and handed him to Peter while I delivered the placenta. I felt great, so I got up and took a shower (my third of the day) and enjoyed the fact that I could fit back in my t-shirts without my belly hanging out underneath.

I drank a bottle of beet juice and snuggled on the couch with my TWO sons while Peter cleaned up the bedroom. Within two hours of birth, we were all sitting on the couch watching The Cleveland Show and texting our friends our happy news. It was so relaxing, and we marveled at how lovely it is to birth at home.

approximately 2 hours after birth

I used my Clary Calm roll on quite liberally the first few hours – those afterbirth pains are no joke! Thankfully, that took the discomfort away and I was able to snuggle with my boys without constantly squirming from the pain.

I recovered much faster from this birth than Tristan’s. I’m not sure whether to attribute that to better nutrition, drinking copious amounts of coconut water during labor, knowing better what to expect this time, or most likely a combination of all 3, but I’m thankful.

We named him Dean Alexander Sirius. He weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces (only 3 ounces heavier than Tristan! I was expecting a much larger baby), and was 19 1/2 inches long. He has super long fingers like Tristan and I did and smaller feet than Tristan, so he can fit in all those adorable footie pajamas that Tristan could never wear. He sleeps for long interludes (including overnight) and is just starting to show some lady-killer dimples.

Sometime in the near future I’ll share about our second night as parents of two. But for now, I have baby snuggles to return to.

Oh yeah, and we bought an RV.

Talk to you soon! 🙂

 

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Settling Into Life, and June/July goals

Happy July!

We have lived in our little house for almost a full month now, and while we are still refining our routine, we seem to have found a natural rhythm. We are all making friends, participating in community activities. Tristan goes to toddler reading time each week and absolutely loves it! Peter goes to the gym in the mornings before I go to work, which allows us to have evenings free as a family. Peter also plays for my facility’s softball league this season, so Monday-Thursday evenings we can typically be found at the field for practices and games.

We have committed to a healthier, more plant-based diet for our family and have found it surprisingly inexpensive and easy to do. Check out our produce-heavy shopping trip this week!

Sunday mornings have become my “prep” days, where I batch-prepare most of what we will eat for the week. I cut up fruit, hard-boil eggs for lunches and snacks, and prepare healthy breakfasts for grab-and-go in the mornings. I also take this time to mentally plan out a rough meal plan for my lunches that I bring to work and our weekly supper menu.

We are officially 29 weeks, and for the most part I’m feeling pretty good. I’ve started dealing with some SPD pain in the past couple weeks, but that has almost completely resolved by being consistent with my prenatal routine (more on that soon!) and using a maternity support belt.

Now, let’s look at my poor, ignored 2017 goals:

2017 Goals Progress:

Personal Goals

Complete the 15 Days to a Healthier You challenge in January This was so beneficial for me. It was much more holistic than I had anticipated and I’ve really been mindful of more aspects of health since this course. I’m drinking more water, processing emotions (something that is very difficult for an ESFP personality type like me since we prefer to be happy all the time, even if that means that we have to ignore issues or just hope they go away). Crystal will be hosting another challenge later in the year; be sure to sign up to be notified for the next round!
Complete 2 yoga challenges and 1 CouchTo5k challenge. I found a prenatal yoga routine on Youtube that I really enjoy doing, I just haven’t done it consistently. The CouchTo5k might have to move to next year, since with my SPD I’m proud of myself for walking consistently. And I made that goal before I knew I was pregnant.
Quit coffee for the month of January. I felt really good about giving up my coffee, and it was a good experience. I drink it daily again, but it’s because I truly enjoy it, not to avoid headaches.

Family Goals

Save a certain amount (I will update you all on our progress by %). We are 69% of the way to our savings goal for 2017!
Take an actual family vacation. We had a wonderful family vacation to Branson, MO before we moved to Nevada!
Find a meal plan system that works for us and stick with it. We are loving the plant-based lifestyle!

Business Goals

Get my blogging/writing done early before my family wakes up. I’m hoping to get started with this again now that we are settling into routine!
Complete 2 Pinterest improvement challenges. Keep track of numbers before and after to see if it’s making any difference. Not started yet.
Stick to an organizing system for income and expenses. Not started yet.
Transition to a different hosting platform for the blog. Done! Now hosting through Siteground, and their customer service is amazing!
Post in CHL at least 2 days/week. This will be happening again soon!
Send at least one newsletter a week This did not happen at all. But I will get on a schedule!
Submit at least one freelance/guest blog post every week. This also did not happen at all in June with everything transitioning.

 

Hopefully there won’t be too many surprises in July and I can actually get these goals accomplished! It sure would be nice to get to check some things off.

 

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Amanda and the Terrible, Horrible, Hilariously Awful Journey to Nevada

If you missed the announcement last month on Instagram, we are currently living in Nevada! We decided to follow my dream of travel nursing and now get to explore the country. Our first assignment is in a tiny town in northern Nevada, and we love it!

But the journey here was a bit of a comedic atrocity.

Since we will be provided furnished apartments wherever we go, we sold all our furniture and downsized significantly. It was difficult going through our belongings (especially kitchen items!) and deciding what to sell and what to keep. Thankfully, everything we posted sold quickly!

On Wednesday, May 31, we loaded up everything that was left and sent our driver off with the Uhaul. Our first two days of the trip were pretty uneventful (we stopped the first night somewhere in the middle-western side of Nebraska, and the second night in Salt Lake City. We were hoping to meet up with some friends who live in SLC, but that didn’t work out (and you’ll see why).

On the way into Salt Lake, we noticed some people on the highway frantically waving to us. We tried to figure out if something was wrong and they were trying to alert us, until we saw their license plate – not only was it Iowa, but the same county! We waved back, and those of us who weren’t driving were able to communicate towns of origin and trade phone numbers. We texted for awhile and ended up Facebook friends. It was hilarious!

And here begins the “terrible awful:”

I woke up in the hotel in Salt Lake around 5am and noticed Tristan was breathing a bit heavily in his sleep. Poor little guy had a stuffed up nose and a fever. I gave him some water and went back to sleep snuggling him. I woke up just as he threw up on me. So into a tepid bath he went and I got cleaned up. Since we only had a shower stall in Grinnell, he had never had a bath before. He loved it and it perked him right up!

At breakfast, he turned around on my lap to give me a hug and smeared banana and yogurt all over my last clean shirt, so I had to wear one of Peter’s t-shirts.

We stopped somewhere in Wyoming to use the rest stop. I went in and the bathroom looked like it hadn’t been updated in about 40 years. One stall was occupied, one stall was just nasty, one stall was missing a door, and the handicapped stall didn’t lock. I laughed, because what else would be inconvenient today? Little did I know.

The rest of our trip in was pretty uneventful. We very much enjoyed driving into the mountains once we hit Nevada. It was basically a two-lane highway heading straight between two huge mountain ranges. No power lines or street lights to be seen, just nature. It was wild, untamed, and gorgeous.

We arrived to our pre-arranged accommodations at a camp ground shortly after 2pm. We had been told by the agency I work for that we were booked into a single-wide trailer for 3 weeks until a 2-bedroom house became available. Well…

The trailer was literally 20’x10′. The door was so narrow that we could barely fit through. My pregnant belly didn’t fit in the bathroom, and Peter could only just stand up in the shower because there was a skylight dome (that was covered in bugs). I think the campground heard the agency say that we needed someplace for 3 people and thought to themselves “this trailer can sleep up to 5,” not “3 people will actually live in this for 3 weeks.”

After a frantic phone call to the agency “yeah…this is absolutely not going to work” they put us up in a motel for the weekend and promised to find something for us the following week. “But this place has a microwave and a fridge in the room so you don’t have to eat out all weekend!”

Turns out, some of the rooms have a microwave and fridge. Not ours. And the parking lot was too tiny for us to bring the Uhaul back. And all of our clothes were, of course, packed towards the back of the truck.

So there we were, out of clean laundry, out of food, in this tiny town (you guys, Walmart is 240 miles away!). We went to the local store and had to each buy a few new outfits. They didn’t have maternity clothes, so I had to buy a few pairs of pants for work that are several sizes larger than my usual size, just to fit around the belly.

The motel managers moved us to a room with a fridge and a microwave, and the microwave shorted out in the middle of heating up our first round of food. I laughed so hard I fell over and cried. What ELSE was I supposed to do?? The manager replaced the microwave and we were finally able to “cook” our own food for the first time in 4 days.

Monday June 5th was my first day at the new job, and I was so happy to find out that my boss had connections with a local landlord. She explained the situation to him and he said he had a house available that we could move into the next day.

So, we have now been in the house for over a week, it’s fully furnished (with a brand new couch and brand new mattress!), and things have finally settled down. I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated simple scrambled eggs or homemade coffee so much in my life.

We spent last weekend going through everything we packed and downsized by 10 boxes. Since the travel nurse life will have us moving every 3-4 months, we wanted to make sure that things are much easier next time. We will be getting a hitch attached to the back of the SUV so we can pull a trailer instead of renting a van and a driver. We will be packing more efficiently, and bring a lot more clothes, just in case!

Throughout everything, I have to say that Tristan has been the absolute best traveler. He adapted so quickly to every situation, and even though he had a fever, he found a way to be content and reasons to smile. His only concern was that he was with Mommy and Daddy and that’s all that mattered. His vocabulary has exploded since the move and he’s averaging 2-5 new words each day. He inspires me daily to find things to be joyful about and teaches me how to approach challenges with confidence.

Oh, and I love my first assignment. The people are so nice and the facility is wonderful (and the view from the front porch isn’t bad, either!)

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I survived! (aka, February recap)

2017, goals, goal progress, checklist

It’s embarrassing that I haven’t posted here in almost a month. In complete honestly, I have been avoiding posting anything for about two weeks now, just because I’ve been embarrassed about my lack of blogging.

I make sense.

Here’s a recap of our February, followed by a goals progress report.

I’ve been working an average of about 50 hours/week at my job. Between that, family time, and this whole growing-a-human thing, I’ve been wiped out. Exhausted. And definitely not ready to wake up at 6:30am to work on blogs.

In February I was given inspiration from a friend to start a new blog based on my love of Harry Potter, blogging, and wanting to create good things but not being the best at it on my own. It needs a lot more building work, but I’m hoping to have it live this summer.

We bought our car! In February we paid cash for a new-to-us Ford Escape with less than 100,000 miles, leather interior, a moonroof, and a fancy-schmancy stereo that has so many buttons I still haven’t figured out how to change the time. Tristan is still so excited about it that every time we open the garage, he points to it, lets out a happy yell, and claps excitedly. I’m thrilled that we were able to get a vehicle that is better for our family within our budget. It was a huge encouragement for us to meet that goal so quickly!

2017 Goals Progress:
Personal Goals
  • Complete the 15 Days to a Healthier You challenge in January This was so beneficial for me. It was much more holistic than I had anticipated and I’ve really been mindful of more aspects of health since this course. I’m drinking more water, processing emotions (something that is very difficult for an ESFP personality type like me since we prefer to be happy all the time, even if that means that we have to ignore issues or just hope they go away). Crystal will be hosting another challenge later in the year; be sure to sign up to be notified for the next round!
  • Complete 2 yoga challenges and 1 CouchTo5k challenge. Yeah, no. I didn’t make any sort of progress on this in February. 
  • Quit coffee for the month of January. I did it! I can’t tell if I have any more energy than usual, but coffee is back to being a treat that I choose to enjoy rather than need to survive. It’s more fun to have coffee with Peter on the weekends now that I’m not depending on it to wake up.
Family Goals
  • Save a certain amount (I will update you all on our progress by %). We are 42.5% of the way to our savings goal for 2017. 
  • Take an actual family vacation. We scheduled our vacation for May!
  • Find a meal plan system that works for us and stick with it. This comes and goes depending on our daily schedule and the severity of my pregnancy aversion to whatever is in the refrigerator. Hoping this improves with the second trimester!
  • Grow a garden. I’m actually going to delete this after this month, because we decided to not grow a garden. Between the timing of the baby coming and work and running two blogs and wanting to actually have some time to explore and create and just be a family, we opted instead to continue purchasing from Aldi each week and shopping at the local farmer’s market when it opens.
Business Goals
  • Get my blogging/writing done early before my family wakes up. This has been nonexistent in February due to my increased need for sleep in the last month of the first trimester. 
  • Complete 2 Pinterest improvement challenges. Keep track of numbers before and after to see if it’s making any difference. Not started yet. 
  • Stick to an organizing system for income and expenses. Not started yet. 
  • Transition to a different hosting platform for the blog. Done! Now hosting through Siteground, and their customer service is amazing!
  • Post in CHL at least 2 days/week. Again, nonexistent in February. 
  • Send at least one newsletter a week (be sure to subscribe! I share what I’m learning, what kinds of fun things we discovered, and good deals if I find them). This did not happen at all. 
  • Submit at least one freelance/guest blog post every week. This also did not happen at all in February. 

Well, we survived February…and already most of March. I’m looking forward to actually crossing more goals off our list in the March recap!

 

 

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