Hello! Welcome to the first post of my Monthly Intentions series for 2023. Back in 2019, I decided to start setting three goals for myself each month. My objective was to be more intentional in my day-to-day life. After a couple of years, I found myself in need of a more gentle, grace-giving approach with a little less pressure. Still striving for a process that offers me accountability, joy, and connection – I decided to shift this to a series of monthly intentions. I’m definitely not always consistent in sharing from month to month, but it has remained a great practice for me! So I’m back with my April intentions and hoping to keep this momentum going!
“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke
On the topic of “intentions…” let me start with how I had good intentions to finish this post and share it by the beginning of the month! But that didn’t happen – such is life these days! All too often my best intentions get thwarted by a thousand other things that come up and take over. What once was a regular practice (the posting of my monthly intentions) has now become something so sporadic that I doubt anyone will even care that this one is being shared 10 days already into April!
I’m really striving to prioritize becoming more “proactive” rather than “reactive” in my every day life. This is something I really struggle with. When I find ways to be intentional about it, the energy of our days feels less chaotic somehow and we all benefit from that. The grace I give myself is that I am a constant work in progress. Constantly evolving. Truly aiming to embrace a growth (with grace) mindset.
All of that being said, we had a wonderful Spring Break last week. Packing and preparing for a full week away from home took precedent over getting this post all wrapped up with a tidy bow to share by April 1st. We spent 7 days adventuring, laughing, and genuinely loving our time together. The first part of our week we stayed at my mama’s house in Virginia with our Airstream “The Chill Pill” parked in her back meadow. The kids get to run wild and free when we visit there and it’s so good for all of our souls. It’s definitely one of our favorite “happy” places to visit.
Next we headed up to visit Washington, DC for a bit. On our first full day we visited the International Spy Museum. It turns out that it is designed to be more entertaining for kids a little older than ours. A lot of the exhibits were over their heads but they enjoyed themselves nonetheless. And we learned quite a bit of interesting information along the way. In the afternoon we explored some some really cool playgrounds around the neighborhood.
The second day we all rode bikes up to the Smithsonian National Zoo. This was by far a highlight of our trip. We spent at least an hour in the Reptile House (our boys are totally into snakes these days – eek!). They were both completely awestruck over the King Cobra exhibit. And they spent quite a bit of time wowing other zoo visitors with their extensive venomous snake knowledge like mini-zoologists. Did you know that the King Cobra is the longest venomous snake in the world? It can grow up to 18 feet in length! Niko will be quick to inform you though, that the Inland Taipan is actually considered the most venomous snake in the world!
Another fun part of our visit was getting to see the elephants showering themselves with their trunks from a pool of water to stay cool. Oh and the monkey exhibits were awesome! My personal favorite part was seeing the Gibbon monkeys! They absolutely won our hearts with the most loud and animated spectacle I’ve ever witnessed at a zoo. We laughed so hard at their antics – it was delightful!
Our final hurrah there in DC was a plan to go to the Children’s Museum. But by the time it came to get moving, we were all wiped out. So we decided to pivot and take the pressure off our ourselves, vowing to put that at the top of our lists for our next visit. We ended up finding a cool neighborhood movie theater so we walked/scootered there on our last evening in town to see the new Mario movie. It wasn’t anything to phone home about (IMO haha) but the kids enjoyed it and the experience turned out to be the perfect low-key pivot for us.
Overall it was a fantastic Spring Break. Adventuring together as a family is by far one of my favorite things to do. It always fills my cup. But as I’m sure you can relate – there’s a lot of catching up to to once you get home from a trip like that. So here I am, catching up with my April Intentions. I know I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. This space is SO important to me. Finding more opportunities to connect with you is constantly on my heart. And at the same time, I’m practicing holding space for grace and flexibility. I know that life isn’t going to get less hectic or busy any time soon. Setting intentions is a wonderful practice for me. Sharing them with you here is a wonderful form of accountability for myself.
So without further ado… here are my April Intentions!
My April Intentions 2023
1. Take myself on a Reading Date once a week
One of my very favorite things to do is read. It is also one of the hardest things for me to find time to do since becoming a mama. While I love the feel of an actual book in hand, these days I swear by audiobooks to fill my book-loving cup. Nonetheless, my nightstand and desk are still piled with books I want to read. I’m typically reading more than one book at a time, mostly fiction or personal growth-type books, and always at least one book club book a month. Have I mentioned the virtual book club I started a few years ago? (Let me know if you’re interested – it’s awesome!).
Recently I stumbled across a great podcast episode by Laura Tremaine. She is the author of Share Your Stuff – I’ll Go First and The Life Council (her newly released book on friendship that I’m actually reading right now! Her podcast is called 10 Things to Tell You and she is one of the very few podcasts that I enjoy listening to. In this episode she talks about how she takes herself on “Reading Dates” – where she goes out to eat by herself and brings a book along to read. Let me tell you, I was VERY intrigued by this idea. And after trying it a couple of times, I’m totally sold!
Why is this one of my April intentions?
First of all, I’m always looking for easy ways to show myself some love. This is a fantastic option for me! I am not one of those people who feels awkward sitting alone in a restaurant or coffee shop (or movie theater for that matter!). I have a small window of time during the week when my kids are both in school. That makes for an ideal opportunity for me to take myself out on a Reading Date as a regular part of my self-care routine! Secondly, scheduling something like this for myself means it’s more likely to happen! I can fit it in with intention rather than trying to read in the random scraps of time that present themselves from week to week.
>> Action plan: Add these Reading Dates straight into my calendar on a weekly basis. Leave a #tbr book in my car so there is no excuse of “forgetting” reading material on the day of. Treat myself to a fancy coffee or quiet lunch somewhere to make the time feel even more special. Enjoy!
2. Send out a Spring newsletter before the end of the month (ish)
I haven’t sent out a newsletter in FOR-EV-ERRRR and it’s been killing me! Anybody catch that Sandlot reference there? What a great movie! Haha ok – let me try to stay on topic here. Sending out a newsletter has been one of my favorite ways to connect with friends from this cozy little corner of the internet. Yet lately, I’ve been terribly neglectful in writing any love letters to you!
For whatever nonsensical reason, a big lapse of time seems to create more pressure for me about getting it done. Which means I resist writing them for even longer! This also happens to me with phone calls to catch up with friends! The longer the lapse in between, the harder it seems to make it happen! But if your inbox is anything like mine, you might not have even realized you’ve been missing me! The truth is, I’ve been missing this connection between us.
Why is this one of my April intentions?
Spring always finds me feeling inspired to create better rhythms with my creativity. I also want to lean into more authentic ways to engage with you in this incredible community of ours. I’m SO incredibly grateful for you and all the light and love you share with me in this space. I am so thankful for the solidarity and support we find together here. And especially for the opportunity for us to share our stories with one another. And I really WANT to connect with you this way! Instagram is fun and all (I honestly do really love IG!), but what if Instagram went away? How would we stay in touch then? Having a newsletter is one guaranteed way to know we can always be in touch no matter what happens with social media in the future.
Action plan: I’ve started a planning doc and have already gotten a lot of the parts pulled together for the things I want to share in this upcoming newsletter. I’ve also started brainstorming new things to “call” it other than a “newsletter” because I think part of my problem is how stuffy that feels for me. I’m going to approach this one with grace and flexibility. I need to remember my whole objective when I write them! Simply to stay in touch, share some love, keep it real, and connect with you! It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that!
>> Not signed up for my newsletter yet? No worries! Click HERE to sign up today! It would make me so happy to have you!
3. Organize our family mudroom to maximize the benefits of it for this season
This third intention was a tough one to choose because I had SO MANY options to consider. Spring gets my mind chomping at the bit to organize and create better systems for our family. However, this one presented itself clearly to me this morning as I sent Noah upstairs to find another pair of socks. He had misplaced the first pair I had given him (minutes ago) and couldn’t find them anywhere. We were running late for school.
Upstairs he went in a hurry and back down empty handed in tears because he “couldn’t find” any other ones. So UP I went to get them from the sock bin which is ridiculously kept on a shelf higher than he can reasonable get to anyway. On my way back down I huffed to myself about how I need to FINALLY MOVE the dang sock bin down into the mudroom where we keep the shoes EXACTLY to avoid frustrations like this.
You see, I’ve been planning to move the sock bin downstairs since the first time it occurred to me. We keep our everyday shoes in bins right by the back door. And the everyone does a great job of utilizing this system. Having the socks upstairs isn’t working well for our family! Keeping them in the mudroom would totally help streamline our process for getting out of the door more efficiently and smoothly.
Why is this one of my April intentions?
Honestly, it just needs to be done. It makes SO MUCH MORE SENSE to keep the clean socks right next to where we keep the shoes! Why haven’t I moved them yet? Also, I’ve had enough of the scrambling around to find an umbrella or raincoat on stormy days when we have to walk to/from school. Enough trying to find the baseball glove, bike helmets, soccer shinguards, or ju jitsu uniforms right before we have to leave for one extra-curricular or another. It’s time to pack up the winter coats, hats, and gloves now that spring is finally here! We have to make room for the sunscreen and bug spray again! Our mudroom needs a major overhaul to get us (and keep us!) more organized in this new season.
Action plan: Take time to think through the plan of how to best organize the things we want/need to keep in that area. Sketch it out to visualize it more easily. Consider if we need any different types of storage (or if that box I brought home from Costco will serve well enough as an organizing bin!). Declutter the winter items from that area and pack them up to put in the attic. Then actually PUT them in the attic. Bring the items we want to have there in and get to work trying some new systems.
I will have to remember to give myself (and my family) grace as we work with the new systems. And most importantly, stay flexible on changing them up until we find what works best. That last part is hard for me sometimes. It’s when I tend to give up on processes like this so I include that for accountability sake! Finally – share before/after pics in my next intentions post and to Instagram for further accountability.