Have you been wondering what ever happened to my monthly goal-setting series? I’ve been working hard to bring it back for the second half of 2022! If this is your first visit here, thanks for joining me! Back in 2019, I decided to start setting three specific goals for myself each month. My objective was to be more intentional in my day-to-day life. Last year, I found myself in need of a more gentle, grace-giving approach. One that offers me accountability, joy, and connection – but with much less pressure. I decided to shift this to a series of monthly intentions. Here are my August intentions for 2022.
“The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.”
—Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting
Whelp, July has flown by faster than I could have imagined! Here we are already smack up against the final weeks of summer and the upcoming school year! We’ve packed A LOT of adventures into the past few months. While I’m always one to savor summer as long as I possibly can, I also find myself craving the return of routines and rhythms of the fall. It’s pretty public knowledge that autumn is my very favorite season of the year.
This year though, I’m feeling bittersweet about it because our oldest is going to be starting Kindergarten. I am truly so excited for him and for this new season of learning and growing for all of us. Yet I am also grieving what feels like the end of our family freedom in a lot of ways. And closing this chapter of his childhood makes me almost afraid to blink it’s gone by so quickly. I know I will find peace in balancing my emotions about it all. For now I’m just trying to hold space for the both/and of it. Meanwhile, I’m stretching the sweetness of these carefree summer days out as long as possible.
In July I chose three intentions for myself. In the past I’ve taken some time in each new post to reflect on those from the previous month.
Summer is always a bit more chaotic for us than other seasons, inviting boundless disruption to our (already pretty chaotic) routines and schedules. And the more the chaos in our lives, the more wrenches I find wedged between my intentions and the outcomes! This past month the biggest wrench was having Covid finally catch up with us after 2.5 years of avoiding it! Our household got hit pretty hard. It took us down for a solid two weeks before we started feeling remotely like ourselves again. Needless to say I wasn’t in the best headspace for productivity. But I also wouldn’t say last month was a complete wash. There is so much to appreciate in the accountability I get from these monthly intentions. At the same time, I know how important it is to give myself grace.
Remembering that the value of intention setting is in the process, not simply the outcome, is key.
My first July intention was to get back into blogging. I posted two times in July and now I’m coming in a few days later than I’d hoped (still here though!) to my first August post. Seeing as I only posted two times the entire year leading up to last month, I’d say it’s progress. I still feel drawn to do more and remain unsure of how to make it happen. It continues to be a trial and error experience for me but I’m here for it. For now I plan to just keep showing up when I can, however I can. I want to prioritize holding space for this process because it truly is something I love.
My second intention was to get back in the habit of doing daily morning pages. This one proved more challenging for me. I struggle with creative consistency any time I’m away from home. Especially if I’m away WITH my whole family (several of whom tend to be very early risers!). When I went back and counted, I noted eleven entries for the month. Not great, but also not a complete fail. I keep returning to the page eager and hopeful time after time. I believe I’ll find my way back to better rhythms as our lives settles into more structure in the upcoming season.
This part of my creative process is so important, offering such a powerful outlet for me. I’ve thrived in seasons when I held space for this practice in the past. From my dear diary days of childhood, journaling has been a path for expression. A way for me to work through emotions, experiences, and to help ground myself in day to day life.
Intention #3 was to have a daily marriage check-in with my husband. Fortunately, being on vacation together for two weeks out of the month and then all being sick together for another two weeks provided me with ample opportunities for daily connection with him. We haven’t mastered marriage-ing by any means (we’ve only been at it for 9 years now!). But we have come a long way together. We are growing and evolving as partners, parents, individuals, and in our friendship on this wild adventure every day. It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely worth it to both of us to continually pour intentional energy into this foundation of our lives together.
All that being said, I’m ready to start fresh in August. I know I need to anticipate some grace-giving with the transitions of summer ending and starting school. Plus I’ll need to account for another week away from home early in the month. I hope you continue to enjoy following along and to help hold me accountable. Maybe you’ll consider joining me in setting your own intentions? Or possibly find some inspiration within these monthly posts!
Without further ado… here are my August intentions!
My July Intentions 2022
1. Wash smaller loads of laundry (more often).
Some days I feel like the never-ending piles of laundry in this household will be the death of me. Or at least the death of my (already limited) motivation towards this particular task of housekeeping. The persistent realization that it will neverrrrrr end absolutely haunts me. Unless we move to a nudist colony I suppose… but do those even exist any more? Ok, seriously though, that’s probably not the life for me anyway. The first thing you need to understand about this situation is that this chore is totally self-designated. I am way too opinionated about HOW the laundry gets done to relinquish the task to others in this household. In my defense, I’ve had one too many favorite items of clothes ruined in attempted chore change-ups. If I want it done my way, I suppose I better just suck it up and do it myself, right?
No matter how much I try to stay ahead, I have yet to find the key to successfully managing the process. I’ve tried so many different approaches. Doing one load every day, minimizing the amount of laundry we have in our home. Trying to have a “laundry day” where I knock it all out at once in a single day. Setting timers and reminder notifications so I don’t forget to swap wet clothes from washer to dryer before mildew sets in. I’ve tried involving the kids in the process – sorting, turning clothes right-side out, pairing socks, putting their own clothes away. No matter the strategies, it remains the most daunting and overwhelming task on my to-do list.
Why is this one of my August intentions?
When we returned from our latest trip, I had the laundry of 4 people x 7 days on my immediate chore list. Add to that – the beach towels we used (for 9 people) plus dirty sheets from 5 beds. I love coming home from a trip to clean sheets but I don’t particularly love washing the dirty ones before we leave so needless to say, they pile up. On top of all of this, Paul needed to wash a load of his work scrubs (which he usually handles himself but I try to help with when I can) so we added that into the line up as well. That’s at least 8 loads of laundry (and I have a pretty large washer/dryer so it handles a decent-sized load)!
As I stood in the laundry room trying to strategize which load to start first, I felt a wave of anxiety setting in. The mountain range of different piles winding through the hallway behind me – clothes, towels, sheets, scrubs – suddenly felt unsurmountable. Any motivation I initially felt upon arriving home, totally vanished.
I wanted to head straight back to the beach and bury my head in the sand!
I had already done the hard part! Sorting everything into respective piles is something I started doing after reading Kendra Adachi’s The Lazy Genius Way where she talks about “batching.” I discovered that when I keep my loads sorted by category, it makes the folding & putting-away parts of the process less frustrating for me. Thus making the overall process less frustrating for me! Unsorted loads take me FOR-EVVV-ER to finish. Keeping towels with towels, kids clothes with kids clothes, just seems to make the final steps feel less daunting somehow.
I’d piled all of the kids’ clothes together into a load that would have easily fit and typically running them all through in one cycle is my way of “powering through” the process. I had also put all of the beach towels and guest bath towels into one pile. And let me tell you – they were HUGE piles. In that moment, something in my brain clicked. What if I cut those sorted piles down even more, just to see what happens? I quickly separated the kids clothes from their pajamas, the beach towels from bath towels, the regular sheets from guest bedroom sheets.
I’d instantly doubled my loads but halved the (wo)man-power needed on the back end of this task to fold and put these things away!
Into the washer went the first (now reasonably-sized) load. I set a timer on my watch to remind me swap the load to the dryer, hiked over the remaining 400 piles, and released a huge sigh of relief. Had I just unlocked the key to solving my never-ending laundry dilemma? Eureka! Well… maybe, maybe not – but I’m gonna try it and I’ll let you know how it goes in next month’s post!
>> Action plan: Cut the size of my loads down into smaller, more strategic parts. Do loads more frequently (but not on a “schedule”). If I reduce the size AND sort the piles into things that can be easily batched on the folding/putting away end, I can simplify the whole process and (hopefully) be more inclined to follow through from start to finish. All it takes is a little procrastination to back-log all of my efforts. I won’t even tell you how many times I’ve had to start a load completely over again because it sat long enough to mildew!
I think it’s been the negative anticipation of the HUGE loads I typically end up having to fold and put away that has kept me dragging out the whole dang thing. I’m hoping that by reducing the required end-efforts, I’ll get to revel in the gratifying feeling of accomplishment (hooray a load completed!). And I’ll also harness the momentum needed to power through with more endurance and enthusiasm.
2. Eat Breakfast Regularly (and not just the kids’ leftover mini waffles)
Lately I’ve been noticing that I don’t have a very consistent habit of eating a healthy breakfast in the morning. Most days I start with a cup of coffee and then maybe scarf down a few leftover scraps from whatever I serve the kids that meal. It usually hits me around lunch time when I’m feeling famished and jittery – that I often completely forget to eat at all! Ironically, I almost always make sure they get a fairly well-rounded breakfast. Think: hard-boiled egg, a few mini waffles with whip cream, a handful of strawberries, maybe some yogurt or a smoothie. Even if I simply made myself an extra plate of whatever they are eating it would be amazing!
Why is this one of my August intentions?
Growing up I always heard “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and I know how important is is for us to fuel our bodies with good food. We eat pretty healthy in general at our house but when I really examine my morning habits closely, I have to admit I’m not doing a great job taking care of myself this way. As Noah starts kindergarten this fall, I think making time to sit together and eat breakfast has the potential to be a very grounding and nourishing way to start our days as a family.
I want to incorporate this better habit for my own health, but also because I think it will help us be more intentional with our time in the mornings and set a better example for my kids. Plus, for the month of August, I’ll be doing everything I can to stockpile my favorite summer fruits so I have no excuse for skipping a delicious and simple-to-make parfait or smoothie for breakfast.
Action plan: Put “eat breakfast” on my morning check list. I’m a list lover and most mornings I even add “coffee” to my list just so I have something easy to check off that I do every day! Adding it to my list will help ensure I’m not forgetting to eat. I’m going to make sure I have easy options available – hard boiled eggs, yummy fruit, yogurt cups, and english muffins on hand. These are all things I enjoy that are simple to pull together for myself without much extra brain power or energy! Also, we are going to spend the last 2 weeks of August practicing our daily rhythms for the upcoming school year. This will give me a chance to work in time for me to sit down and join the boys for breakfast each day as part of our new back-to-school morning routine!
3. Slow down and savor the last weeks of summer
We’ve had an incredible summer so far this year. It’s always a season filled with delight and everyday adventures for our family. This season has been jam-packed with beach trips, pool dates, swim lessons, birthday parties, backyard cookouts, summer camp, visits to our local children’s museum, and lots of quality time spent with friends and family. I’ve loved every minute of it and I know my family has too! But as we slide headfirst into August and the start of a new school year looms just a few short weeks away, I’m starting to crave a slower pace to our days to help us preemptively rest up and recalibrate for what’s to come.
Why is this one of my August intentions?
Back-to-school is going to be a big whirlwind transition for us this year and I really want to savor these final weeks of freedom with a different energy than we’ve had over the past few month of. After the amazing summer we’ve had, I think we all need to recharge a bit and collectively lean into what these last lingering summer days can offer us. Fall is just on the horizon and I LOVE fall so so much (did I mention that already?!).
Inevitably we will hit the ground running those first few weeks and honestly, I’m here for it. But there is so much sweetness and magic in each season that I want to fully embrace. Truly one of sweetest parts of the summer season are the lazy days. The popsicles on the porch, lounging in your pjs past noon, basking in boredom, staying up late to catch fireflies and then sleeping in the next morning kind of lazy days. We need to sprinkle in a few more of those into this season and slow down a bit so we can feel rejuvenated and fresh for fall.
Action plan: Block off a few days to do absolutely nothing. Turn off our phones. Sprawl out on the front porch by the fan with stacks of books and iced coffee/popsicles. Eat our weight in peaches, cherries, and watermelon. Take more pictures of the kids with the sweetness of summer dripping down their chins and the shimmering sun in their hair. Let them be bored. Run through the sprinklers. Blow bubbles. Draw with chalk on the sidewalk. Nap in the hammock. Go for walks around the neighborhood at dusk and look for lightening bugs. Rest up and slow down. Savor the slow. Stock up on summer magic.