October Goals

My mood, as I write this, is very… anxious? I even read my horoscope the other day, like THAT was going to tell me something. I just feel tense, like I’m anticipating something is going to happen. It’s weird.

The funny this is, October was a spectacular month. In all sorts of ways.

Pay off students loans 

Remember how I was feeling a little stressed about money a couple of months ago? Well, um, that’s because I was missing a paycheck. Apparently I was never paid for my first week at my new job and I never noticed because I thought the payment schedule was always a week behind.

Hooray! I’m getting an extra half paycheck this month! My first instinct is to go on a little shopping spree, but I’m going to TRY to be responsible with it…

Plus, it occurred to me the other day that next year I’ll be able to keep my tax refund! (Last year I used it to pay off my school loans) I’m excited to spend it on whatever I please! Maybe a trip? Maybe some new furniture? Who knows?!

Take myself on a date once a month

I actually didn’t do this this month, but that’s because John actually suggested that we try a different restaurant every week of Seattle Restaurant Week! This kind of blew my mind because John is generally pretty stubborn about trying new restaurants. And I can’t really blame him, it’s so much cheaper to eat at home and he can cook just as good as most chefs. But I LOVE trying new restaurants. So we laid out our plans, Vietnamese one night, Korean the next week, and French to finish it off. Surprising us both, we loved the French restaurant, Maximilien, the most by far. We ate pate and fish soup while the sun set over the sound (the most gorgeous view in Seattle, I’m sure of it) and had Cornish hen and spaghetti squash and mushrooms as it became dark out. An incredible creme brûlée and sorbet completed our meals. It was a perfect date spot for us, but definitely a great spot for tourists visiting Pike Place Market for the first time.

PS: My date for December is one for the books! I can’t wait to share!

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Do something politically active once a month

I didn’t do this. I said I would… but I couldn’t really decide what to do. ACLU? But, I don’t really agree with everything that they do. And I wanted to donate to journalists in some way, but there wasn’t an easy way to do that. I feel really guilty, but I just got to a point where I was stuck and couldn’t decide. The news has been hard to read every day, but I am seeing some evidence, some inkling of good in there too.

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Set monthly exercise goals 

This month I was DETERMINED to try two classes at the gym. And of course, I never did. Excuses, excuses Morgan! I’m setting a goal to at least try them before the end of the year and I think I can make that happen.

The one thing John and I definitely did though was cut back on bread for the month, in a major way. And we also said no to desserts almost 100% of the month. I’m learning that even though I don’t eat that unhealthy, I also am an emotional eater. I feel bad, I eat ice cream, then I feel chubby, then I feel worse. It’s a stupid, pointless cycle and it needs to stop! I’ve learned a lot about my after dinner cravings and am learning that I don’t regularly need dessert. I also have paid more attention to the carbs that I eat. There have been tough moments during these yes, ok, DIETS, and I can’t say that I haven’t given into cravings a few times, but I’m more aware of what I’m eating than ever before.

I think it’s working too. My skin has been pretty clear. My hair feels soft. I feel like some clothing is feeling looser than they did a couple months ago. Our goal this coming month will be slightly different and I’m excited to see where it goes!

Do something special for John once a month

John is really into Bladerunner. I have to be honest… I didn’t really like Bladerunner that much. I mean, I get why people liked it, but I didn’t get all the fuss. Anyway, for John’s October date I got tickets to the Cinerama and we both LOVED the movie. Absolutely, totally loved it. It’s definitely the best movie I’ve seen all year. It was beautiful, the story was great, the sound was amazing… it was just all kind of perfect. I couldn’t believe that it got such bad ratings and so few people saw it in the theaters. I told everyone I could how much I loved it.

After the movie we took a walk around Belltown and ate lunch at a Mexican restaurant that John loves. Overall, I think he was pretty happy with his date!

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Meditate everyday

I honestly haven’t been great at this. Maybe that’s why I’m so twitchy! I have started to take more breaks for walks or lunch at work, just to get away from my desk for a bit and that’s been working great. I’ll meditate after this, I promise.

Make a new friend

I like the people that I work with… does that count? I’ve tried to sit and eat lunch with my coworkers more and even though it can feel awkward, it’s been almost completely wonderful every time (Ever sit down at a table and a couple stand up to leave? It’s just a coincidence, but still!) I’ve never worked in a place where almost everyone is completely nice all the time. It’s almost a little weird to me at this point!

Other things that happened in October…

Stranger Things 2 was AMAZING

We went to the Funko headquarters for Sean’s birthday and I think they had a pretty great time. Gabrielle got 2 and Sean got 5 Funko Pops. I even had fun and I don’t see what all the fuss is over these little plastic dolls!

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I did not dress up for Halloween this year. I KNOW. Am I sick??? In my 27 years I have never not dressed up. I’ve been everything from a chicken (first costume), Belle NOT Beauty (best costume), to a bride, a witch, a pirate, a bumble bee, a Playboy bunny, Wonder Woman, Rosie the Riveter, Marie Antoinette (most embarrassing costume), to Hillary Clinton (second best costume). I don’t know if it was the election, not having any real plans this year, or my workplace just wasn’t into it, but I just couldn’t muster up the energy to care. I’m saving up what energy I have for next year. Now I just need to figure out what I’m going to be!

John’s new job gave him a free sous vide and I’m been the eager guinea pig for John’s recipes. The filet mignon was the best thing I’ve ever ate, and everything that we’ve tried has been so fun! He’s gotten frustrated a few times, but we’re figuring out the kinks and trying new things all the time. Plus, I’ve tried it twice now and I haven’t messed anything up! Both meals turned out so much better than if I had used the oven.

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John and I bit the bullet and FINALLY set a date for our Chicago trip! At the end of January we’ll be freezing our butts off and having a blast in a new city. I’ve already planned the entire itinerary. I can’t wait!!

I got a pedicure that was totally crazy for me, a dark emerald green. I know painting nails is so silly, but it really does make you feel so good!

We bought a new rug for the living room and it’s totally changed the game. Now the old living room rug is the bedroom rug and we’re feeling much more cozy than before!

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September Goals

September was a weird month. A lot of things felt like they were in limbo and completely out of my control. Me, being me, HATED that lack of control. The entire month felt a bit like me trying to rock climb through a mudslide.

Pay off students loans 

To start the month off strong, John was let go from his job on September 1st. We knew it was coming, his role was very project deadline-oriented, but had expected it to be a few months out. Luckily, he had been applying to other jobs already and had interviews lined up. Plus, they paid him generously for his time and gave him an extra month of health benefits. That week, he had two great interviews and the next week a company in Seattle offered him a job! It was amazing timing and honestly, it’s an incredible company (I’m more than a little jealous) but I went into a quiet, but full blown panic mode. John was a champ and helped clean the house and sold over $700 of his furniture projects, but it was a stressful time. I felt like I had hunched over to protect myself from being hit, only to never had been hit, and so I slowly, inch by inch, recovered.

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Take myself on a date once a month

I don’t know if it was because of the damn wildfires (yes, they burned into the month of September! So. Gross.), or the kids heading back to school, or John’s furniture projects taking over the house, but I went into major nesting mode this month. It was tough to pry myself away from the house. So, I asked John to join me on my date. He was skeptical, and honestly our dinner at Seven Beef wasn’t even that good, but our wine before (ok, ok) AND after dinner at L’Oursin was incredible. I totally sold John on natural wine and it was such a cool neighborhood spot. I even got dressed up. It was such a fun night together and we even got home after 9!

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Do something politically active once a month

It’s starting to feel like one thing after the other. It’s exhausting. I’ve had days where I don’t open up the newspaper because the news has been so overwhelmingly terrible and scary. I knew I wanted to do something for the Hurricane Harvey, then Irma, Maria, then the earthquakes in Mexico. (Doesn’t it feel like we’re being tortured?) I donated to a charity called Save the Children, because Charity Navigator recommended them for all these natural disasters. If you haven’t already, please donate to organizations that are helping these areas recover. You never know when it will be your town that will be hit by something horrible!

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Set monthly exercise goals 

First, let me tell you about our apartment. I promise it will make sense in the end. We live in an old brick apartment that was built in 1908. It has big windows, hardwood floors, subway tile, built ins… aka all the little bits of character that make John and I swoon.

After the flea infestation was resolved last summer, we realized that our water pressure was really low in our shower. As in, there were times of the day that zero water came out of our shower. Throughout our year and 3 months of living here, we’ve complained, about once a month. Finally, last month our landlord said that they would fix the pipes. What we didn’t know is that they were going to shut off the water 12 hours at a time, almost every day for 2 (now going on 3 weeks). Even when the water was “on”, we got barely a trickle of water coming from our shower and there were days when our kitchen sink had zero water because they broke the pipe. Plus, there was a hole that they had to fix in our guest bedroom wall, plumbers were entering our unit when we weren’t there (and not telling us first) and now we’re supposed to expect another week of intermittent water.

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John and I’s exercise goals were to go to the gym 3 times a week. We also set a diet goal of wine twice a week and pasta or rice once a week. Butttt we couldn’t cook. And we couldn’t shower. And there were days when I lost my temper… big time. And John got really frustrated with me for being so angry.  There was a breaking point for me where I took myself out to dinner for pasta and wine and relished my little treat. Though I went to the gym at least 2-3 times every week, and had wine 2-4 times a week, and had rice or pasta 1-2 times a week, I still feel like we failed this challenge. It was out of our hands (and my control, ahem) but I think we did the best we could with what was given to us.

Do something special for John once a month

I admit, it sounds a little lame, but I bought John a new interview outfit. I was hoping it would help him get a little extra confidence, but also a fun chance to go shopping together. He ended up finding a great tie, shirt and pants that went together really well and he looked so sharp! John, being John, refused to let me take a picture of him, but hey, he got the job.

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Meditate everyday

Work was extra trying this month and I realized that I needed to learn something, FAST, or it could result in lost opportunities for the company. That being said, I was teaching myself something that I’ve never done before. I’m essentially being asked to fail, over and over, until I don’t fail anymore.

And this isn’t how I work. It’s not even that I don’t like to fail, I just DON’T. So this is tricky, and very stressful for me. Even when I’ve meditated, sometimes it takes a couple times for my mind to quiet. I just keep trying to relax and breath and stretch and take breaks.

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Make a new friend

Nope. But I did have an amazing lunch with a good friend that turned into a manicures and shopping trip later in the week. Even though she was going through a stressful time in her life, it was nice to just vent to each other and take some girly time for ourselves!

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So September was a trying month. But I’m actually REALLY looking forward to October and November. Sean’s birthday is in October, Gabriel’s is in November, John and I have already decided on his dates for October and November, Seattle Restaurant Week is coming up AND there’s Halloween and Thanksgiving in there!

My thoughts are filled with “what will I wear for Halloween?” and planning our next trip. Plus, we have a whole new diet we need to stick to. I have lots of movies in my Netflix queue and a stack of books to read. I have a lot to look forward to and it’s really exciting!

August Goals

Pay off school loans 

I’m not really sure what I was expecting, but I thought of August as some magic month where I was flush with cash and basically living the life of the kid from Blank Check. Reality was, I started a new job and the payment schedules really screwed things up. Plus, my reimbursement from my work trip to Arizona took a lot longer than I ever expected. I definitely felt a pinch. And I’m foreseeing that I may need to pinch a bit more for a while longer in order for things to start settling down. I keep promising myself that I will start planning a trip, any trip! Soon. Very soon.

We did take a short trip to Oregon to see the eclipse because John and the kids were VERY excited to see it. It was a short and chaotic trip, with crazy homeless people, the busiest trip to Powell’s, a train delayed 3+ hours, a loud hotel, meh food and crazy religious groups telling me I’m a sinner, I’m still glad we went. It was an awesome, once in a lifetime experience.

Take myself on a date once a month

While I didn’t take myself on any particular dates, my lunches have been INCREDIBLE. Some food porn:

Do something politically active once a month

When I first joined my new job, I heard about how a group was participating in the Obliteride. I donated some money, but I honestly didn’t feel very invested in it. I wasn’t able to make the event and the organization didn’t even send an update after the ride for how much money they raised. Of all my donations so far this year, this was the one I was the least proud of… I just don’t really see where that money went.

Set monthly exercise goals

My focus this August has been on my wine consumption. After watching one of my favorite bloggers rave about her alcohol cleanse, I started take a closer look at my intake. Some weeks, I would have a glass of wine or two (never more) but it would be almost every day of the week. I feel like at a certain point, you’re not even enjoying it anymore… it’s just something that you do. I’m planning on cutting back my drinks to two days a week so that when I have my glasses of wine I’m really enjoying them and they’re something to look forward to.

Throughout the summer, John prepared meatless Monday and fish Tuesday night dinners. They were delicious! Sometimes I think he does his best cooking when he’s confined by ingredients.

Now that the kids are back home and things have (maybe a little) started to settle down, John and I are embarking on a September diet. I can’t wait to see how it goes!

Do something special for John once a month

John’s grandma passed away surrounded by her loving family. We were able to watch her funeral through a live stream (oh technology!) and it definitely put a damper on John. He felt so much guilt for not being there with her in the very end, and able to attend her funeral. Needless to say, August was a rough month for him.

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When I suggested our date be bocce ball and beers at Rhein Haus he agreed half heartedly, but I don’t think he was particularly excited. Once we got there though, we had such a fun time playing and being silly. Plus, he didn’t realized that they served sausage! We ordered a sausage platter and pretzels and chowed down on some tasty German fare. He ended up having a great time!

Meditate everyday

I have actually done an amazing job at meditating regularly this month!

I had been using a free meditation app but this month I bite the bullet and ordered a yearly subscription. There are so many more sleep options and I actually look forward to them! Instead of thinking, “I’ll watch just one more episode” or “I’ll read a chapter in my book before bed”, I take the time to put on my eye mask, cozy up and turn on a sleep story or meditation. I’ve noticed that I’m falling into a deeper sleep and staying asleep for longer periods of time!

Make a new friend 

As with all new environments and communities, things have been tough to navigate at the beginning of this new job. I get the sense that I’m rubbing some people the wrong way, but I’m not sure how or why. Because my job is very different from other people’s jobs, I’m finding that there’s a lot of misunderstanding and growing pains. The one thing I’m most glad for is starting the same day as my coworker. My biggest fear was that she was going to be tall, skinny and gorgeous… and of course she was. SIX FOOT, covered in awesome tattoos, and oh, she sews her own clothes! Luckily though, she is the nicest, funniest person and is very patient with me. We went out to a belated lunch for her birthday and downed oysters and rose!

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Overall, I have to say August wasn’t my best month. The weather really got to me… it was an incredibly hot month (by Seattle standards) and the state was plagued with thick smoke that made me break out and gave me a terrible 3-week eye infection. I had to wear glasses, which I absolutely hate doing, and breath that nasty stuff for far too long. I used any excuse to be inside, in air conditioning, that I could. Our old apartment was roasting hot because every time we tried to turn on our air conditioning, the power would go out. Eventually we found an AC solution, but it was a rough couple of weeks living in a tiny apartment with four cranky humans and two cranky cats. On the plus side, I got new glasses that made the smoke induced eye infection situation slightly more tolerable…

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…And we dragged the kids to the Pacific Science Center to see the Terracotta Warriors and enjoy some much-needed airconditioning. The IMAX movie explaining the warriors wasn’t the best, but seeing them in person was really impressive and everyone really enjoyed the rest of Pac Sci. I especially loved the butterfly exhibit!

John and I celebrated our official anniversary of what has been 4 years together! At some point we determined the date to be the middle of August, but I somehow forget it EVERY year. John never does. This year he surprised me with beautiful Van Gogh-looking sunflowers and a bright red basket to use for the grocery store and farmers market.

It’s crazy that 4 years have flown by so quickly, but then it also feels like we’ve been together forever.

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July Goals

Wow. It’s amazing to think about how long the month of July felt.

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My trip to Maine to see my grandparents feels like it was ages ago! This year my grandparents organized a big birthday party for my Nana and all four brothers brought their families for the 4th of July weekend. Instead of staying over the holiday, ($$$) I came down a couple of days early to spend time with my Nana and Papa.

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Those first couple days were just blissful. We sat around and chatted, drank wine, ate lobster rolls and rode in the Buick. For full two days or so, I completely forgot about real life and just transported to Maine summer life. My grandparents are some of my most favorite people in the world.

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Once the family got there, things definitely became more chaotic and I could feel myself getting a little cranky and overwhelmed. The really cool thing though was that I got to spend some one on one time with two of my young cousins, Maddi and Piper. I’ve always been a little bummed at being the oldest cousin, but both of my parents were the oldest and I was the oldest, so most of my cousins were kids or babies when I went away to college. On this trip, I got to know Maddi and Piper a little bit and they are really cool people. We sat quietly and drew pictures, watched movies, chatted, and ate. It was a huge difference from my boy cousins/tornados!

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Something I really enjoyed was spending some time with just my Nana. We went to the Fat Boy (two of the BEST lobster rolls!) and then went antiquing because I really wanted to find an old painting of a ship in Maine. I was totally blown away by this old mill building, the selection was incredible and my Nana was game the whole time, browsing just as much, if not more, than me! I found the perfect painting, AND it was on sale, plus a cool old bottle and a piece of petrified wood.

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Just as I was leaving for my vacation, I put in my two week’s notice. Pretty much since day one, I had been unhappy with my role at the company. I had a VERY hands off manager (who I’m fairly certain forgot I was there most of the time), and a teammate who enjoyed working against me more than working with me. It was a very isolating and lonely environment to walk into. Plus it took a long time, too long, for my coworkers to talk to me and even after a year I think only a handful really accepted me. I was worn out.

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I was passively applying to roles that popped up in my LinkedIn feed when I came across a really interesting construction company that was using technology to make buildings more affordable. I sent in my resume and a generic cover letter and didn’t think much more of it. After they reached out, things moved quickly, TOO quickly! And I of course panicked. Nothing had ever come this easy before! I wasn’t even miserable at my job yet! How much do these people even know about me! Still, I accepted the role, excited for my new manager and to work on a TEAM, a real marketing team. Plus, it’s in the same building that I’ve worked in before, in a neighborhood that I love, with excellent restaurants. My first week flew by in a blur and I just finished up my second week, where they flew me to Phoenix to meet even more coworkers! It’s been nuts, but I really like my team, I really like the office, and I really like the work.

 

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When I got back from Maine, we celebrated the 4th of July with the kids in Capitol Hill. This summer (knock on wood) has been so mild and completely delightful really. I even wore a sweater on the 4th! I had bought the kids what I thought were fireworks, but were really just poppers, and still they went NUTS.

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The 4th of July used to be my favorite holiday, but now it just doesn’t feel as special somehow. I think it’s this whole being an adult thing, you watch kids having the fun you used to have! Oi.

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Lots of other smaller but just as spectacular things happened this month…

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My farmers market finds have become better and even better. This month I finally found chicken eggs AND artichokes! I went alone some weeks and other weeks Gabriel came along and told me he actually really likes going with me. How cool!

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My beautiful friend Casie and her boyfriend Luke adopted a kitten and have named him Hemingway. When Casie first showed me a picture of Hemi last month, I legitimately cried over our lunch. I’m so proud of them for taking on this responsibility and nursing this sick kitten to a healthy life! Hemingway is a GORGEOUS cat, with the most beautiful coloring, but also with a really spunky attitude. I’m kitten-sitting him this weekend and even though Casie bought me a thank you gift, it’s really a gift to me to spend some time with my god-cat!

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Because the weather has been so mild, and John and I have been pretty overwhelmed with work, we really haven’t seen much of a reason to get out and do much this summer. I feel a little guilty that we aren’t doing more for the kids, but honestly they’re in such a gross-stinky-preteen-grunting-this-is-so-lame phase of life that I haven’t pushed it much. Last weekend I took the kids to a VR arcade in Ballard and they had so much fun, it was hilarious to watch!

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I also took the kids to Hotcakes one night as a special treat. They can sometimes be so fun to be around… and then they want to go back to their Kindles. This summer with them has been really calm so far.

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I made the most of my long weekend before I started my new job by reading about flowers while laying in the sun. Weekends don’t get better than that in my book!

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Pay off school loans

SCHOOL LOANS ARE ALL PAID OFF!!!! It took 7 months and a concerted effort, but it’s finally finished. This month I treated myself to a few new things like a new keychain and a new dress for the new job, and I’m going to start planning some small trips for the next 6 months or so. I’m so, so excited.

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Take myself on a date once a month

Just before I finished my last job I took myself on a lunch date to Le Pichet. I’m going to miss being walking distance to Pike Place Market, but if I’m being honest I very rarely went to the market all that much because I was so busy at work. I treated myself to a glass of rose, a tasty slice of quiche, and let my mind wander for a bit.

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I also treated myself to a lunch date and Kau Kau at my new job. I absolutely love getting lunch in that spot and am so happy to be close once again!

Do something politically active once a month

This month I donated to Real Change. I try to buy their papers when I can and I’m a huge supporter of this organization.

Set monthly exercise goals

There were a couple of weeks were I didn’t go as often as I would have liked. It frustrated me, but because of stress or travel, I just didn’t make it. I’m going to do better this month and try to have a better diet!

Do something special for John once a month

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I also took John on a date to an indoor mini golf bar in Seattle, called Flatstick Pub. He found out last month that his grandma, who practically raised him, was dying from pancreatic cancer. It’s hit him hard and he’s gone back east twice now to spend time with her before she passes. I just wanted to see him get a little silly and I think we had a lot of fun!

Meditate everyday

I’ve actually been trying a few different things to decompress this month. Manicures, massages, and writing down my thoughts have made a big difference in tandem with the meditation.

Make a new friend 

I’ve met a lot of people at my new job that I’ve really connected with, and it’s been awesome. Plus, I now have Hemingway as a god-cat, and he counts… right?

June Goals

Pay off school loans

I just have $309 left to pay! After July is over, I’m going to start planning a solo trip somewhere fun!

Take myself on a date once a month

I tried. I really did! But this adorable restaurant in San Francisco was closed on Sundays and it was the only time I could have made it work.

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Honestly though, John and I went on really slam dunk dates this month. We went to Shake Shake Shake in Tacoma, a place I’ve been dying to go to (and it was super tasty!).

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He treated me to a beautiful dinner at an adorable hotel for my birthday (and we went antiquing, and we went on the world’s coolest hike). We went on our first free museum night in YEARS. Every meal was super special and memorable in their own way.

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Do something politically active once a month

This wasn’t politically active per se, but I joined a group of coworkers to raise money for Parkinson’s disease and altogether we raised almost $5,000! As we raised the money, so many people came to us with their stories of friends or family members who have been affected by the disease. It was heartbreaking, but reaffirming. Health care is in a scary place right now and anything people can do to help those that are sick is so, so necessary.  Plus, it was a gorgeous day to walk with my little family and coworkers!

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Set monthly exercise goals

That month has been crazy, to say the least. Still, I’ve managed to mostly keep up with my goals! I’ve been getting biweekly massages from Cameron at Dreamscape Massage (he is incredible) and in my last massage he suggested that I work more on my core strength which could help my back.

“WELL THANKS” I thought. Even at my skinniest itty bitty body size I’ve never had abs. Or anything that remotely resembled abs. So what’s the point of building core strength if I’m always going to be chubby there? Slowly I incorporated more core workouts and I’ve already noticed a huge difference in my lower back pain. Core workouts still suck, but at least it’s given me a renewed focus!

Do something special for John once a month

After our trip to Idaho last month, I was planning on taking John’s car to the car wash again, but he beat me to it! I honestly just lavished in his attention this month and will get back on track next month. I love that we have different birthday months. May is always about John and June is always about Morgan 🙂

Meditate everyday

 

It wasn’t a bad month of meditating, but it wasn’t great either. I gave it a good effort and I’m proud of myself! When things get crazy, I tend to shut down or get really cranky. I’ve noticed that I’ve been going with the flow and am much more relaxed than I would normally be in these situations!

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Make a new friend

I’ve considered taking this one off because it’s been making me feel bad every month. But you know what? I spent a weekend with my dad and stepmom. I got a beautiful lunch with a friend who’s adopting her first pet (a cat named Hemingway!!). I’ve spent some really wondering days with John. The kids are here for the summer and we’re getting frozen yogurt and chatting all the time. I truly am enjoying where I’m at right now.

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Other things in June… 

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I flew to San Francisco for work, but got a chance to hang out in Napa with my dad for the weekend. Other than it being 106 degrees (and no AC!) we went wine tasting and to church and I think it was a pretty good Fathers Day weekend for him!

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For my birthday (oh yeah, I’m 27 now!) John took me to Ape Cave, a hike I’ve been dying to go on ever since I heard about it! It’s the longest lava tube in North America and was so deep underground that when we turned off our flashlights, you couldn’t even see your hand in from of your face. My imagination went wild and it was so much fun!

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It’s officially farmers market season and that’s pretty much all I think about now 🙂

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We took the kids to Golden Gardens for a low tide beach walk on a hot and sunny day in Seattle. The kids kept their complaining to a minimum (sort of), but I think they actually had fun!