Month in Review: February

Life Rundown

February started off pretty, well…February-ish. Quiet. Dull. Going through the motions, but peppered with a few fun things here and there.

We went to the outdoor street festival, Mittenfest:

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There were a few Friday evenings with friends and beers:

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And there was running:

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We went to a wedding at one of my favorite places in Milwaukee, the Best Place at the historic Pabst brewery:

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And cats were cats:

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Midway through the month, we got a freak heat wave here in the Midwest, with a string of days that saw record-breaking highs in the 50s and 60s. It was as if the record that played through the seasons was suddenly skipping – restaurants brought out their patio seating, people shed jackets and went out in shorts, birds chirped, the scent of bonfires and grills lurked among streets. In February, in Wisconsin.

Right around this time, Kevin and I began the process of getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan and looking at houses. It’s something we’ve been dreaming and talking about forever, and we finally hit our tipping point and jump-started the process. Things started to happen fast – we met with a realtor, saw some properties and within a week were *gulp* putting in an offer!

Then, midway through the afternoon of Thursday, February 23rd, we got word that our offer was accepted by the seller.

So much for a month of going through the motions.

Goals/Resolutions Progress Report

  • Grow in my minimalism practice: I decluttered my closet and created a capsule wardrobe! Post coming soon!
  • Read 36 books in 2017: My reading momentum died down quite a bit in February. I actually went a couple whole weeks without getting much of it done, because I just was never in the mood to crack open my book. Once again, due to timing I only read one full book this month: Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove, a light and humorous novel about a notoriously curmudgeonly man, his spirited and motley crew of neighbors, and the unlikely friendships the develop. Before that, I finished a book I started in January, Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, historical fiction about the different ways in which two sisters deal with – and resist – Nazi occupation of France during WWII. Then, after I finally finished A Man Called Ove, I started Ben Winters’ Underground Airlines, a present-day novel that imagines America just as it is now, save for one little difference: the Civil War never happened, and slavery still exists in 4 states. I also broke my rule about reading 2 books at a time and started Bea Johnson’s Zero Waste Home, a nonfiction account of one family’s quest to minimize their household waste and get closer to a “zero waste home” (she has a blog if you’re interested; that’s what interested me in the book!) So, I’m still not caught up to where I “should” be to be on track for my goal, but at least I’m not really any farther behind.
  • Cleaning up my diet: We did well on this the first week of February and then kinda fell off the wagon.

Running and fitness have gone okay. Not great, but not bad either. Just sorta hangin’ in there. The dark cold winter climate has made it really hard to stay motivated, and I didn’t even realize how much of an effect it was having until we had that freak spell of spring weather this month.

With some long runs in the books now, I am feeling a lot more confident that I can complete the Canyonlands Half Marathon without issue in a couple weeks. However, I am coming to terms with the reality that with my 16-24 mile training weeks, I’m going to get a pretty shitty time. Maybe that will be good for me, though. Maybe the experience of running a personal worst and then seeing that life goes on afterwards will force me to get over my neverending battle with race performance anxiety.

The days of being able to revolve so much of my life around training are coming to an end. Changes in priorities, finances, and the demands on my time will be forcing running into a different role in my life. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. My life these past couple years has suffered from a lack of momentum, and for a while, pouring myself into race training was a way of filling the void created by boredom. Well, boredom’s not going to be a problem for me in the near future, and my hope is that my relationship with running will actually improve now that I’ll be using it as my “me time”. I’ve always said I’m not one of those “running is my therapy” people, but maybe that will change too. The good news is that if things go according to plan with our closing process (FINGERS CROSSED), we will be moved to our new home well before marathon training starts in June, so while I’ll still be busy and stressed this summer I’m hoping it won’t affect my training too much. Although I suppose I should cross my fingers for that, too.

Improvements for March

I decided to put this section in my monthly recaps because I thought it would be good to use the happenings of the outgoing month to formulate constructive ideas for what I can do going forward, instead of just making these sweeping declarations of “this month is gonna be all about this and this and this!

But now it seems a little silly that the only thing I would say about the upcoming month is how I’m going to be better at diet and decluttering goals and following a training plan, you know? So, I’m going to skip the “improvements” this time around.

This will be a very eventful month for me. Late in the morning of Sunday, March 12th, I will officially turn 30 years old. I’m already getting one heck of a birthday present, but then the next day we board a plane for Utah to spend the week exploring Zion and then Canyonlands and/or Arches National Parks, a vacation we will cap off with my running of the Canyonlands Half Marathon – my first race of 2017 and my first in over 5 months.

In the meantime, we have a lot – and I do mean a lot – of work to do to be ready to move in 5 weeks (our closing date on the home is the first week in April!). We will need to work our butts off to pare down our belongings and get ready to move out, and on the other side of things, there is much to be done to prepare for closing.

We have our accepted offer, we’ve had the inspection, but we still have a couple more hoops to jump through before we can officially exhale and call this house ours. Everything seems to be going swimmingly so far and will likely work out just fine, but I’m still terrified that I’m going to jinx this somehow and it’s going to be snatched away from us. Let’s just say I will be holding my breath nonstop for the next 5 weeks.

But, allowing myself to think positively for just a moment, I’m excited for the opportunities this new chapter will bring. Call me vain for thinking of this, but new homeowner follies will make for great blog content, obviously. It will be a good fresh start for us on our minimalism journey, as we are not only forced to pare down our belongings and our budget, but more importantly, to think about how we want our home to function and what values and lifestyle we want it to embody and reflect. And the work that lies ahead of us – oh, the work. We will be busy, and broke, and a little stressed. But I’m excited for that too. I think it will feel good for me to throw myself into something new. I’m ready for the challenge of it all.

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21 thoughts on “Month in Review: February

  1. Love this! I’m just coming off of a running break after a big move and I’ve finally gotten back to the point where I feel like my runs de-stress rather than stress me more. I look forward to reading about your adventures!!!

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  2. Congratulations on having an accepted offer! That is so exciting! I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that your closing goes smoothly.

    Can we bring back the February heatwave for March? It was such a nice respite from the cold, grey days of winter. It was cold and rainy this morning which really does not inspire me to get out there and run.

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    1. Thank you! I’m sure March will have some curveballs of its own. I am trying to be positive and not think about what these winter heat waves will mean for this spring/summer…at least this time I’ll have air conditioning.

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  3. First off, congrats on the house! Eeeek! That’s so exciting. Secondly: “for a while, pouring myself into race training was a way of filling the void created by boredom” This this this! How are we so alike? My relationship with running has definitely evolved since we’ve moved, but now I am looking forward to summer training. Not so much as a time-filler, but as an extracurricular activity that I love.

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    1. Thank you! Haha I love that we are alike!!

      I agree, I’m looking forward to hopefully being in a mindset of training because I want to, not because it’s a second job. I’ve cut back on my mileage and days run and I’m really starting to find my groove with it. I will probably end up running fewer miles/days this training cycle than last, but I think it will help me enjoy it more this summer.

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  4. LOVE the new blog LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! I feel like I have your same outlook on running right now. I’m doing the work for Boston, but it is what it is. I just don’t feel the same oomph as before to log every little detail about every little mile, or to even stress over it at all. Maybe because my interests shifted (pole!) or maybe because after two years of chasing a PR, I just needed to cool it. I am at the point where I know I love running and don’t want to live without it, but I needed some balance.

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    1. There is a lot of that going around, it seems. It’s funny how to some degree, a lot of people in the blog world begin to go through the same things at roughly the same time. I remember when I was in the thick of my gung-ho training, it seemed like a ton of run bloggers were also training hard. Then we all started to fizzle out at the same time. And now a lot of us are in that awkward “I want to come back and train but the fire isn’t fully there anymore” stage of renegotiating our relationship with running. So it’s nice to know we’re not alone!

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  5. Congrats on the house – soooo exciting!! I hope the closing and moving process goes well for you! I’ve heard Nightingale is such a great book – I really need to add that to my reading list.

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  6. The house! That is such exciting news!!! Let the adventure begin!!!
    It sounds like time will fly by between now and closing.
    I have not gotten very far reading as of late–I keep falling asleep at night when I open a book!
    One of the things I have decided is a challenge for me with marathon training is the length of a training “season”, I get 3/4 finished, and I feel ready to move on to different goals. It feels too long term.
    We had a week of nicer weather (although we still have snow). This weekend was a true NH “spring” feel–the kids messing around outside in shorts in 50* weather, amid the piles of snow. I feel like I need to protect myself from being too hopeful about the spring weather, March and April are LONG months here!
    I am SO excited for you. Will you still be in the city?

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    1. Thank you Cheryl!! Yes, we are still in the city of Milwaukee. That was one of our requirements. We also wanted to stay in the current area of town we live in, and we were lucky to find somewhere nearby. We are a tiny bit farther east and south than before, which will lengthen our work commute a bit and take me away from my preferred bus line, but we are only 2 miles from where we live now. The nice thing about being in the same area is that I can still run on familiar routes!

      I totally get what you mean about the “3/4” thing with marathon training. I always feel the same way – so over it. It’s just such a long time to work toward one goal on one day. This year I am going with a 16-week training cycle instead of 18 weeks. Part of the reason I’m trying to base build/stay in shape is that I want to be able to shorten my actual training cycle.

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  7. Wow! Congrats on the house! One of my coworkers has been trying to sell her current house/buy a new one, and it has been a PROCESS, so it’s wonderful to hear that so far things have gone well for you. I hope that continues for the next five weeks!

    I’m SUPER excited to hear about your capsule wardrobe! I got a new job just about a year ago, and it had a totally different dress code than my old job. I took a capsule wardrobe approach to creating my new work wardrobe and was really pleased with how everything turned out. It also makes shopping these days much simpler, since I know what I have and what I need. (She said, as if she’s gone shopping at all since last March when she had to buy all those new work clothes. Hahaha. I hate clothes shopping, so buying an entire new wardrobe in a day was pretty much all I could handle for the entire year 😛 )

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    1. Thank you!! We definitely got lucky in some aspects, but we also made good buyers because we are not also trying to sell a property, so I’m sure that contributed to things moving along a little more quickly and easily. Now it’s just the waiting game…

      I really need to get my butt in gear and write my wardrobe post. I’m the same way as you – I hate clothes shopping and don’t have a lot to begin with, so I was surprised at how much clothing clutter I still managed to accumulate. My dislike of shopping actually contributed to m failure to create capsules in the past – I didn’t have a good understanding of what I truly needed and I didn’t buy quality clothing OR take good care of it.

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  8. How exciting!!!!! Congrats on the house. I know exactly how you feel about sitting around holding your breath. I was a total basket case even though our loan processor told me that I was an ideal candidate and had nothing to worry about. The day I got my mortgage approval letter I cried tears of relief!

    I’m selfishly looking forward to all of your new house content to use for my own inspiration. While I definitely have not gone the minimalist route in my house, I am also trying not to let things get to cluttered. I can’t wait to see what you do with your place!

    You definitely have many exciting months ahead with the house, vacation and eventual race! 2017 is your year!

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    1. Thanks so much, Kristina! It’s funny, I’m actually worried more about IRrational things, like that the seller will just wake up one morning and change their mind or something. About the more practical stuff, like appraisal and loan processing, I’m strangely calm. Go figure!

      Is it weird that one of the reasons I’m so looking forward to April is so I can start writing post after post about the new house? LOL. I’m such a product of my generation. But now I’m really looking forward to reading about other new homeowners’ journeys and ideas. I even dug up my old Pinterest account!

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