Summer Bucket List 2017

“What are you doing this summer?”

It’s the Big Question everyone has been asking the boys and I since school ended three weeks ago.

For the first two weeks my answer was, “A whole lotta nothing for now.” I’m a huge fan of unwinding and taking a break, especially when there is a break in scheduled activities. Which, for those first two weeks, we did.

We definitely aren’t having a lazy summer. I’ve enrolled the boys in swimming lessons and my hope is to keep them both enrolled twice a week until September. L has a speech therapy evaluation scheduled in a couple weeks, and if they deem it wise to move forward he could be in those 1-2 times a week for the summer.

Unfortunately though, we haven’t really had anything planned that screams FUN (outside of a night trip to Great Wolf Lodge with my newest sister-in-law, which was fun!). My brother-in-law’s New York wedding this past spring sucked any extra money we had for a night or two away. Admittedly, I am disappointed in that – I really think my family needs time away together. But that couldn’t be helped and I’m hoping that a few day trips will suffice.

I always have a list of things I want to do with the boys over summer vacation, but this year I was inspired to write it all down. I took it a step further and wrote our list on poster board and taped it on the wall where we could all see it.

This is the first year I’ve sat down with my boys and asked their input on what we should do this summer. It was fun! Despite having to do this while they played in the sandbox because they didn’t want to sit down for a discussion. It worked though.

Summer Bucket List via

The boys gave a few suggestions that definitely won’t happen (like visiting their cousin in New York). And I wrote down a few knowing they most likely won’t (like a beach trip). But overall, I think we’ve got a pretty good list of activities that are doable and can plan ahead for.Summer Bucket List 2017 via

I can’t wait to start crossing things off!


2017 Goals and Intentions

For the past month, at least one of us has been sick with something. It started with L coming down with a respiratory thing (I am fairly certain it was an allergy-induced asthma reaction to my in-law’s dog though I have no real proof). That turned into pneumonia. G hasn’t seemed super sick, but definitely off. He’s more whiny and tired than usual. Mr Boots has been dealing with a virus and is on a second antibiotic to try and get rid of it.

I’ve been feeling weird off and on through all of this, but I think I finally caught the bug yesterday. I’m exhausted and my throat and head hurt. I’m hoping I can chug along with some over-the-counter stuff, but it certainly sucks being sick when you’re the one who has to keep little people fed and out of trouble.

It’s been an excuse to lay low and reflect on the past year and what I want to do or do differently this year.
Goals and Intentions via

Goals and Intentions via

Personally, in 2017 I’d like to…

Read more books

I originally had this as “Read 10 books” and I really thought about it and realized that was a huge goal for me. Too huge. Especially because some of the books I want to read (I’m looking at you, Game of Thrones series!) are long. So, I’m setting the intention to read more books that are just for me.

Organize the house

Our kitchen cabinets need a good going-through. Our master bedroom closet continues to be a dumping ground for “things I’ll get to later.” Other parts of the house need a good sorting, but these are the two areas I want to tackle this year. I think all the clutter and stashes of stuff is affecting me mentally. I’m debating on reading up on the KonMari method – if any of you have tried it out I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Run 2 races

My BiL is getting married in New York this spring and he and his fiance are running a 1/2 marathon the day after their wedding. They’ve invited their guests to join them and I’m seriously considering running the 10K the race is offering. (I don’t think I could do a 1/2 marathon with barely any training!) Mr Boots isn’t too keen on staying in New York longer than necessary, but I might be able to sway him since it’s 1) got a 10am start time and 2) the boys don’t have school the next day, which means we don’t really have to rush home.

I’ve got my eye on The Color Run (affiliate) and Color Rush, which I participated in two years ago. Because running through colors is fun! But we’ll see what happens.

Get outside more

You know what I learned last year? When my kids are outside they fight less. I yell less. They tire themselves out. So, even if it’s to let them run around for 15 minutes before dinner, I’m hoping to get outside more this year.

Complete a photo challenge

My D5500  came yesterday!! And woah, do I have some learning and familiarizing to do. It’s definitely a step up from the D3100 I’ve been using. Practice makes perfect, so I have my eye (once again) on doing a 10 on the 10th (take 10 pictures on the 10th day of the month) or a Photo a Day (take one every day for a month).

Complete Capture the Everyday’s 2017 Photo Challenge

Kimberlee recently reached out to me about her new photo challenge. It’s geared towards moms who, like me, want to use their fancy DSLRs more than their phones to take pictures of their families. Since I’ve upgraded cameras I thought this would be a neat thing to try. I don’t think it’s too late to sign up, so visit her site, Capture the Everyday, to learn more and register!

Blogging Goals

Post once a week

This has been a goal of mine for months, but I feel like I keep failing. I actually want to give myself a sticker for posting today because not feeling well was looking like a good excuse to skip this week.

Create a rate sheet

The end of 2016 taught me that I can make money from my blog/social media. Like, more than just a cup of coffee money. So, at some point this year I hope to create a rate sheet so I can send it to brands that send pitches to me. I turned down a couple neat ones because I didn’t want to write simply in exchange for their product. I have no way of knowing if they’d have paid me for a sponsored post, but I’ll never know because I wasn’t prepared in asking.

Choose 5 blogs that I love and comment on them consistently

I love more than 5, but I suck at commenting and really want to get better at doing it more. I thought 5 was a good number to start with.

What are your goals and intentions for 2017?

2016 Done List: A Year in Review

Last year I wrote two goal posts for 2016: 16 in 2016 and a Wellness Goals. Some things got accomplished. Some didn’t. Actually, the “didn’ts” totally outweigh the “dids.” So, instead of writing about what I wanted to do and whether or not I accomplished it, I’m listing what got done in 2016. Some of these things didn’t even make it on my lists as goals. They just happened and are worth acknowledging.

Reflecting on what was accomplished instead of what wasn't done | A Done List: 2016 Review via

Reflecting on what was accomplished and not what wasn't | A Done List: 2016 in Review via

* I bought this double jogging stroller (affiliate) which did make me walk/run more. It meant I could take both boys on jogs/runs while Mr Boots worked – so there were no excuses if he worked late or weekends.

* I ran one 5K and earned an actual medal. I signed up for a second race for Mr Boots’ work, but an inclement weather outlook and the fact it was an hour away made Mr Boots cancel.

* I logged 1009.1 miles on Run the Year. Not even close to the 2016 miles I wanted to run/walk. 5 miles a day is harder than it sounds!!

* I organized and led my city’s Climb Out of the Darkness walk for the second year in a row. It grew a lot from 2015!

Climb Out of the Darkness Team Virginia Fredericksburg 2016 | 2016 Done List: A Year in Review via

* I wrote a guest post for Postpartum Progress. I was so incredibly honored when they told me they wanted to publish it.

* I went to the dentist and was (shockingly) cavity free! I found a new one and liked him so much more than the one I was going to previously. My next appointment has been set and I can see myself getting back into going twice a year.

* We got family photos taken! I enjoyed this more than going to a studio.

2016 Done List: A Year in Review via
Photo Credit: Giraffe Tower Photography Kristin was so patient with us as the boys weren’t very interested in having their pictures taken

* We took our first family vacation. It was just a weekend, but I was so excited to take the boys to the beach. We’ve been on trips, but they have been for family events or visiting friends. I think it stressed Mr Boots out, but it gave me such joy to introduce the boys to the ocean.

A list of what was accomplished in 2016. | 2016 Done List: A Year in Review via
I want a do-over though because it was cold and rainy the entire weekend.

* I used my DSLR more often and edited more in Photoshop Elements. Mr Boots gave me money for Christmas for a new camera, and I ordered a new (refurbished) Nikon D5500 (affiliate) earlier this week. I cannot wait for it to arrive!!

* I graduated from therapy for my postpartum anxiety. This was my biggest accomplishment. I’ve been in talk therapy off an on since I graduated college, but not once did I stick with it long enough for a therapist to dismiss me. I still have bad days, but I feel a lot better than I did a year ago, and much much better than I did two years ago. It reiterated to me that maternal mental illness is temporary with the right help.

I hate therapy. Even though I know it’s beneficial, I have quit going before I probably should have. I’ve quit when it got too hard. I quit because it was too expensive. I quit because the therapist wasn’t a good fit. I quit because I moved. But I need more than a prescription for Zoloft to get me through the first year of my kids’ lives, so off I went when I felt I was descending down the Rabbit Hole after L was born — because @postpartumprogress helped me realize I needed to be my own advocate when it came to my maternal mental health. This was my 6th time in therapy, for one reason or another. Ive never had a therapist dismiss me because I made great strides and didn’t need them anymore. Until today. Today I heard the words “If you think you’re ready, you can stop coming. But I think you are.” After almost a year and a half, I was told I could see my therapist as needed, but if I didn’t need her again that was okay. For a year and a half this woman has provided me a safe place to share my intrusive thoughts, vent about parenting, let me cry over L’s challenges, and help me see how strong my mother’s intuition really is. She taught me that a good therapist, one you click with, makes a huge difference and is worth every penny — and even the 3 hour total commute to and from sessions. She understood my postpartum anxiety and gave me resources to learn more about what I was going through — and how common it is. This made me see how much of a mess I really was during G’s first year, when I was too scared to discuss my intrusive thoughts with anyone. I went from being an 8 or 9 on the anxiety scale to a consistent 3 or 4 (normal for me). I opted not to reminisce about my journey at today’s appointment, but I know where I am now is a much better place than where I started, and that deserves some ice cream. In the chocolate covered waffle cone. I still struggle with anxiety, always have and always will, but today I can celebrate overcoming one of the hardest parts of my #motherhood journey. #anxiety #ppa #postpartum #mentalhealth

A photo posted by Emma? (@muddybootsndiamonds) on

OMGoodness, re-reading that caption has made me bawl.

Tell me, what would you put on your 2016 Done List?

16 in 2016

I’ve been doing a lot of list posts this year, so of COURSE I decided to start the new year with one: 16 in 2016.

Trying to accomplish 16 things in a year seems more obtainable than trying to accomplish 101 in things in 1001 days (which I failed at doing. Failed!). Making this list was a lot easier to do as well!

16 in 2016

  • Hang shelves in 1/2 bathroom.:
    • Our 1/2 bath is sooo close to being completed. All I really need are 3-4 shelves to put up above the toilet. I’d like these from Target, so I’m waiting to see if they go on sale.
  • Playroom makeover.
    • I’ve got my paint colors picked out and I’m fairly confident I could do the painting myself. I just need help ripping off the shelf that goes around the entire room.
  • Organize our closet.
    • This has been on our to-do list since I was pregnant with L. My plan is to pick a weekend to send the boys to their grandparents’ house so Mr Boots and I can spend a couple of uninterrupted days organizing it.
  • Print G’s 1st artwork book.
    • I’m very close to having all the photos of his art and craft projects until his second year of preschool organized into a book. I have three more to add and then I’ll be ready to send it to the printer!
  • Create album for L’s second year.
    • I’d like to get caught up on organizing and printing albums in general…
  • Create album for G’s 3rd year.
    • Ideally I’d like to have the photos picked and arranged in said albums so when I see a great deal I can simply order them.
  • Create album for G’s 4th year.

16 in 2016 A bucket List of What I'd LIke to Accomplish this year via

  • Work on my Gone With the Wind cross-stitch
    • Orignally, I said I wanted to finish it, but I don’t see this happening. So, I just want to work on it a few times this year. Fun fact, my mom started this cross-stitch when I was in 6th grade. That was, like, 20 years ago! She gave it to me to finish because she hated how much green was involved.
  • Complete 21 Day Fix
    • This might not happen as early into 2016 and I hoped, but I will be doing it this year. I have been pinning 21 Day Fix recipes for months and am starting to make them for dinners so I like to think I have a kind of-sort of head start.
  • Cut back on eating out.
    • We’re bad about this when Mr Boots doesn’t work. I know eating out eats a huge chunk out of our budget and with us needing a new-to-us car, and likely car payments, this is the first spending habit I want to change.
  • Participate in the Angel Tree
    • I’ve wanted to do this for a few years now. G is old enough to help me shop and I think he and I would have some fun doing it.
  • Run two 5K races.
    • Preferably one with some bling!
  • Complete C25K.
    • I’ve tried to complete this twice this year with no luck. Maybe 2016 will be the year!
  • Hire a professional photographer to take our family pictures.
    • After two bad quality experiences with Picture People, I’ve decided we’ll splurge on one photography session with a local photographer. I was so disappointed we didn’t have a good family photo for our Christmas cards this year.
  • Create nice printables.
    • I have ideas for printables for our 1/2 bath, but I’d really like to try and makes some to sell as digital downloads to earn a little extra income.
  • Learn how to melt/temper chocolate.
    • I attempted to do this three times this year with no luck. I want to be a master by the time Christmas rolls around!

What do you want to accomplish in 2016?

30 Days of Lists: September 2015 {Days 6-10}

Day 6: My Favorite Things to Eat for Breakfast

This one made me super hungry.

30 Days of Lists day 6

Day 7: If I Knew I Couldn’t Fail I Would

30 days of lists day 7

Day 8: On My Pinterest Boards

Feel free to follow me or some of my boards!

30 days of lists challenge day 8

Day 9: On My Fall List

I’ve done about half of these!

30 days of lists challenge day 9

Day 10: Favorite Souvenirs

Now I want to travel somewhere.

30 days of lists day 10

Are you interested in what I listed for Days 1-5 of the 30 Days of Lists Challenge? That post can be found here.