beating January

09 January 2015

or crushing January might work too.

I accidentally initially titled this post, "beating February" ... but the power of positive thinking does not a time traveler make. Weird.



back in December ... when the cold weather still held a little bit of its acceptable Christmas magic.

Oh, I know it's cliché to talk about and maybe some people love January because fresh starts and blank pages and all of that rap music but January is always a rough month around here and I'd like to think I'm not alone.


I need to channel my inner Theo but all I want to do is pull a Phoebe. For 31 days.

My only resolution at the start of ever year is simply: do not die during January. It's freezing (I know we don't live in the coldest climate but -10 with windchill is frigid to me! Our brand new furnace is about to have a heart attack and I'm not above preheating the oven in the morning because our kitchen doesn't have a heating vent), there's still a massive chunk of winter to go, it still gets dark at 3:50 in the afternoon - or so it FEELS, and not all the coconut oil in the world is going to save my dry skin that rivals an onion left to bake in the Sahara. Sebastian is dying to go outside ("just wear a coat, Mom!!" and I'm dying not to take him ("find me an electric coat, and then maybe, Bash!!") and Simon is always always on a time consuming rotation (which I kind of prefer - get it over with during a gross month!) so by the the time 6:08 in the pm rolls around general mayhem is rocking and rolling real loud and proud around here.

However.

I tried to come into the month doing something very foreign to my usual skill set by being proactive (did I type that naturally enough p-r-o-a-c-t-i-v-e) about the month-o-doom and not let it get the best of me so that I might not succumb to the depths of despair like some fictitious one I know. There's a fine line between ambitious and crazy and I think my little list of little goals falls somewhere three miles behind the ambitious line. Prepare to be overwhelmed. But I do promise not to use the word intentional ... not once.

Here's what I've got.

More reading: If I keep my mind occupied rather than dwelling on the aforementioned list of January grievances .... logic tells me I'll be one cm ahead in the race. I've already read a couple books this month and I'm even thinking of dipping into something less, "let's escape to the most shallow end of the literary pool" during nap time to something with a little more meat on its bones (I have this spiritual memoir) because we all know the road to success is paved with the best of intentions. I'm TERRIBLE about just stupidly zoning out on my phone when the kids go down so ... I figured out how to download e-books from the library (welcome to adulthood, Grace) which has been a total and guiltless game changer.

More exercise: I guarantee if there were some way (well, I'm sure a Fitbit could totally tell you) to show how active/inactive we were month by month ... January would be a tiny blip on my chart. I'm prone to move very, very little when it's cold which is stupid. If he's not working overnight Simon usually gets home with just enough time for me to hand off Theo and Phoebe and take the older kids to the gym for the last ~30 minutes of gym daycare at night which they love and then Theo gets some much-needed third wheel love while Phoebe is in bed and I get 28 minutes of cardio/people watching. I never want to go (end of the day! let me just drape myself on the couch!) but I'm always so happy I did. And of course, during the day ... any bonus DVD action is a big plus.

More eating not-junk: After doing Whole30 in November ... I dove mouth-first into Thanksgiving and Christmas fare and felt the wrath of the crap and jumped right back on the Whole30 train on January first. I'm making it 99 times easier on myself (details to come in an entirely different post, party hats - find them!!) by allowing smoothies with compliant ingredients (so maybe I'm doing more of a 7/8 Whole30) and not stressing about eating compliant formerly frozen food when I need to (which is sort of often) to cut down on store runs and prep time and it's a lot easier and I feel so much better. Off my Whole30 soapbox because I know 99.9% of you do not care about that. 

Getting up before the kids: I hate this one. I know it's the secret to every mom's success but I get my best sleep from 4-7 every night/morning so this is tough. But! Once Theo starts cock-a-doodling around 6 and wanting a drink of water before he (usualllllly) goes back down for a bit, I'm alert enough (okay, back on my Whole30 soapbox for a sentence) thanks to a good night of sleep and lack of processed food hangover to get up and start getting breakfast ready and maybe even take a shower if the stars are aligned correctly. It makes the morning run SO much smoother than waking up to crying kids. But you already knew that, you early birds and your mouths full of worms, didn't you?

Anyway, no one has ever used the words "impressive" and "Grace Patton" in the same sentence so let's hold my Clydesdales and stop with four pillars of hope for the time being.

Anyway, aren't you glad I shared? Surely! You must be!

Any other feasible tactics I missed? I'm all hungry eyes.


And so is she.

27 comments:

  1. If the windchill is above 0 (preferably 10), my kids don their snowpants and gloves and play in the backyard. Even 10 minutes a day helps them go way less crazy!

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    1. smart!!! Our backyard can only be accessed by super steep and dangerous stairs (stupid first time buyers - not thinking) but maybe when Theo is napping I can let the older two go out :)

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  2. I've just recently (as in, this week and last) started waking up before the kids. I don't even do it to be productive. I just lay there and read a book or enjoy the delights of scrolling through instagram without someone begging to use the phone to watch Superhero Squad. And I can't leave my room or else early bird Forrest will know I'm awake and start begging for breakfast. But those 30ish minutes of quiet in my room before I have to do the mom thing are really, really nice.

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  3. I LOVE books, but after having a kiddo, I found that I had no time/ability to focus on a real or electronic book anymore. It was weird and very sad for me.

    This may seem strange, but the gamechanger for me was discovering books on tape (ala Audible). I initially tried it because I had a godawful commute (45 minutes one way after dropping a then 6 month old off at daycare), but then i discovered the magic of playing a wonderful fictional world in one earbud while leaving the other ear free to listen for disaster as I let my little one play or enjoy something like Stella and Sam on Sprout while I picked up toys for the gazillionth time or got some dishes into the dishwasher or, you know, sat like a lump on the sofa, NOT watching Stella and Sam on Sprout.

    Granted, the multitasking model means that I usually want to listen to the book on tape twice, but hey, that means that the cost per listen just got cut in half, right? =)

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  4. My Sisters the Saints is excellent :)

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  5. You are the best thing on the internet. January is The Worst. I am always shocked to think we are near the end and then realize that there is at least one more week in January than there should be. I loved everything about this post. I think I've commented before, but I just have to say that I love your blog so much. My life could not be more different from yours (big city lawyer mom to one), but I look forward to your posts so much. The humor, the keeping it real, the everything.

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    1. and you are the best thing to happen to the comment section! Thank you Kate!! It's fun hearing about people in slightly (ha!) different situations that read the blog - it really makes my day. Thank you so much!!

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  6. I don't live in the land of the frozen tundra but I still can't get myself out of my oh-so-warm bed before the little ones awake. It doesn't help that the youngest is still waking throughout the night. Until she ends that insanity, I'm not sure I can handle it. I do agree, though, that it makes the day so much better when it is started off with an hour or so to myself.
    Hang in there.

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  7. FYI I love hearing about whole 30!! And -10 is cold you are allowed to complain haha.

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  8. Amen on the best sleep of the night/day happening between 4 & 7 in th am. But, DH will go back to work, then get back on the road (plane) and I will be left alone with the childrens. And if I ever want to is hoser again, I must rise before they all start screaming. Ugh,melast favorite plan ever.

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  9. I'm really curious and not trying to be critical: do you mean whole30 compliant? Where you say whole30 complaint? Or is that a thing?

    If it were me, it'd be nothing but complaints.

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  10. On my gosh where did you get those hats!

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  11. I HATE this time of year - my hysteria borders on irrational - so I'm glad I'm not the only one. It is SO SO cold, I worry about the flu, the kids always seem to be sick....UGH. And my husband is just like "so what? It's cold. No biggie!" without understanding how EMOTIONAL this is for me. And everyone else is off making resolutions and all this awful stuff. While I am just rolled in a ball willing it all to be over. Gosh I would be lousy in pioneer days.

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  12. I love the Overdrive library app! A friend just told me about it before Christmas and I wrapped presents to a great book!

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  13. On the reading front, I just finished Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel. I recommend it. Amazon link:

    http://www.amazon.com/Station-Eleven-Emily-John-Mandel/dp/0385353308/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420892110&sr=8-1&keywords=station+eleven

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  14. I almost feel a tiny bit guilty that we have all the windows open and the fan on, but since I have to watch you love the heat when we're in the cold, not so much ;) I like reading the classics, Austen is still girly romance stuff but it feels more, um snooty? Or like brain food. Also spring cleaning, that's my Jan thing.

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  15. I love My Sisters the Saints. It was one of the first books that I read at the beginning of my conversion. I've been hanging out in the shallow end lately too... Divergent trilogy anyone?

    January is the worst (weelll, maybe February is worse up here in Wisconsin). I am with you, and I'm trying to do a lot of the same things to make it less ugly. Just think how wonderful January will be for you next year!!

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  16. My Sisters the Saints is great! After that one, look into Walking with Mary - definitely not a shallow read but easy to read a chapter at a time in a snap, at least for me. I'm with Kate - my life could not look less like yours (single gal, tax accountant :)) but reading your blog makes me laugh out loud and I will check IG just to see what the Pattons are up to if I need a day brightener, especially Jan-Mar when I'm in the throes of "busy season" (so I'm with you on the Jan hating. I just want to survivvve the first 3 months of the year, then I'll make some "new year" resolutions.)

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  17. I can now commiserate with with you from afar because, after being there last week, I know the hell that is cold St. Louis. It was awful. I know I grew up in the midwest and it should be nothing new to me and blah, blah, blah, but I've forgotten for good reason. All of our kids had chapped cheeks and got sick the day after we arrived and were miserable the entire rest of the trip! Awful, awful, awful. With that said though, aren't you so very much looking forward to Tampa? I bet you're dreaming about it on the daily... :)

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  18. January is my favorite month to read beach novels.

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  19. Great post! I hear you with surviving winter with little kids. I could certainly never swing getting up before the kids, but it's a good idea.

    I try to catch up on blogging and reading blogs at this time of year since business is slower. I've been really into taking baths once a week to relax and escape ;) I've been trying a bunch of different ones from Pinterest (Epsom salt, essential oils or Tree Hut scrubs). Cheap and not too time consuming. My neighbor is hosting a "favorites party" tomorrow and I love that idea.

    With the kids, I asked for several arts/crafts as Christmas presents (dinosaur kit, paint, crayons). I'm hoping for snow so the kids can try snow painting indoors which I saw on Pinterest. I'll do indoor playground places which are fairly inexpensive. I think we're doing ice skating (indoor) this month through Christopher's school. Going to try a play date this month too. The library runs lots of free events for kids! I've met so many moms through that.

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  20. January is my nemesis. And the rest of winter. I try not to think how much more I have to get through...so...wine.... ;)

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  21. We had a weekend of 30 degree weather here in Texas and I'm so over it. January can end now, please.

    Recently read All The Light We Cannot See and I loved it.

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  22. I'm really liking your blog these days. It's like, sit down with a cup of something warm at the end of the day and read the Camp. Love it.
    Have your heard about the movie "Unbroken"? Just finished the book and it's amazing---the end is especially amazing. Apparently Hollywood totally glossed over the most meaningful part (surprise) so I super super recommend reading it. Really inspiring.

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  23. I thought of something today that made me think of this post and I just had to share it with you. The dry winter skin that no amount of coconut oil can cure? Its days are numbered. Since moving from Missouri to Florida, I almost NEVER use lotion. I wouldn't be caught dead without the best quality lotion in every bag I owned when I lived up "north". Now? I don't even know where a bottle could be found. I think I've had the same one for the past three years. It's magical. Magical! Humidity sucks, yes. But I'll put up with in exchange for finally not having dry skin. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and its name is Tampa. You can do it!

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  24. love your post. I also hate January!! your surviving Jan ideas are great, but getting up before the kids sounds like a better idea for Lent ;)
    good luck with another whole30... we did it in December, and I'm having a hard time adjusting to "normal food" again. http://nomnompaleo.com/recipeindex -that's where I found most of my favorite whole30 recipes.

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