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The BoldHeartMama desires to enjoy living out the choices that she’s made for herself and for her family. She is a relentless learner: curious, inquisitive, and open to the possibilities of her life and of the human condition. She understands that there isn't one right way—she asks questions that dig deeper to make sense of it all and to find her own path.

She pays attention to and nurtures whatever it is she really cares about, letting go of the rest (for now) knowing she can't do and be everything all at once. She embraces her imperfections in favor of "good enough"—her imperfect self, her imperfect home, her imperfect mothering, her imperfect desires—and she never stops evolving as a woman and mother. She is a BoldHeart, authentic and true to herself.

The BoldHeartMama knows there is only this one life and she's all in. She is present and engaged and making things happen. Her intuition is her guide. She seeks to be inspired and relies on her creativity and her resourcefulness to solve the big and little challenges that she and her family face together as they navigate their relationships and their world.

The BoldHeartMama is willing to take calculated risks to make her biggest dreams come true. She is living out her BoldHeart in the moment, making small moves and taking little steps that add up, and she's cultivating a good life for herself and her family in the process. Read More!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Big Dreams

Over the past few years we've felt increasingly out of sync with our core values; passionate about authenticity, but short on time, and stretched thin by the demands of work, parenting, and suburban life.

It all began when we purchased our home (click for a tour!) in a bedroom community that feeds into the urban sprawl surrounding Washington, DC.

Next came the realization that commutes into the city require multiple forms of transportation and total upwards of 3 hours every day, that the traffic is relentless no matter the time of year, time of day, or day of week.

Too far away from any meaningful community center and not a thing within walking distance, we're a little lonely out here, and recognize the limitations that our location has on the pursuit of health and fitness when forced to jog in loops or else meet head to head with major traffic byways ill equipped to cater to pedestrians. Even the gym is a 30 minute drive away.

Then we regretted not having a fenced yard for safety, privacy, the pursuit of a garden or the enjoyment of an outdoor space intended for people gathering.

Our list goes on and on.

So to counter the creeping lack of control over what is, at times, a depressing reality given the state of the housing market, we devised another list to describe the ways in which we hope to eventually live (some of which we manage to execute now, even in the face of circumstance), and that we Intend (with a capital I!) to achieve with our next move.

To live in or near a small urban city: Richmond, VA or the greater Sacramento area, CA are our top picks

To dwell in a custom bungalow that we design and build from the bottom up: Ever heard of Sarah Susanka and The Not So Big House? This is the heart of what we want for our home. Oh, and we want a little piece of land for the kids and our pets, and room to live outside where the air is fresh.

To live a more active lifestyle: Yes, the gym is one thing, but a lifestyle more conducive to activity is what we crave--do we have easy access to natural amenities like hiking, camping, and parks? Is our neighborhood an enjoyable place to spend our time, and was it designed with it's homeowners in mind? Can we easily access and explore on foot the local fare and culture?

To love the environment: Recycle! Compost! Make our own cleaning products! (We do recycle)

To eat for health: Buy local, organic produce and animal products whenever possible, eat clean, bake and cook daily from whole foods. (We do buy organic eggs, meats, and dairy, and occasional produce.)

To increase our self reliance: Less dependence on our cars, a vegetable garden to harvest from throughout the year, bake and cook staples like jams and breads, learn to can fruits and vegetables, own a couple of chickens for their egg laying skills.

To simplify: Less spending, better organization, and better use of our home space, more focus on people and building relationships--these days it feels like every ounce of our effort is focused on ourselves and making it through each day, it would be great to have more time to truly relax, and enjoy each other, our friends, our family, and our neighbors.

To give back: Make time to volunteer as a family, for our neighborhood and the larger community. (Andy volunteers hundreds of hours each year for the neighborhood in which we live, but I would love to find some kid-friendly options as well as focus on some of the social issues that I'm passionate about.)

In the spirit of New Year's Resolutions, of which I am generally not a fan (LISTS on the other hand, yes!), we identified some steps we can take now to propel ourselves forward and make due while we wait and wait and wait for a stroke of luck and a market change.

I'm thinking that routine and tradition will be our motto for 2011. The activities that bring rhythm and meaning to every day, those are the ones I want to focus on, as well as a few extras:
  • I'm already anticipating my transition to stay at home mom, although I may have accepted an offer to return to work on a part-time basis for the summer and early fall months of 2011, I do believe that establishing a new routine with two kids will bring a certain element of needed predictability, and make big returns in helping me reign as domestic goddess while remaining organized and sane with something left to give at the end of the day.
  • Explore Prince William County park system for pleasant walking and hiking trails
  • Try our hand at mixing up some effective, and family-friendly cleaning products
  • Find an easy, tasty recipe for whole grain bread, and another for cinnamon raisin
  • Join a CSA in the Summer and add eggs and cheese to our share
  • Take advantage of the local Farmer's Market for fruit, pasta, and meat
  • Organize the black holes of our house--the walk in closet in the loft, a craft closet in the family room, my office space, and the kids' closets
  • Establish a better system for chores
  • Declutter! We've already identified several big items to unload onto Craigslist, but I bet we can find more.
  • Volunteer for Community Cleanup, and identify a local opportunity for Roscoe to volunteer some time and energy, perhaps something related to animals.
So there you have it. We're looking forward to the new year, as a family of four, and in pursuit of our best life, we hope to continue to make choices that bring tangible value to every day that we have together. Happy New Year!

8 comments :

  1. Wow, wow, wowww! Love all of these goals! Great post.

    I just got home from the country and it always has me rethinking my suburban lifestyle.

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  2. Excellent lists! I love that you have outlined your goals and then set out a list of ways to achieve them. That can be very hard to do when you feel bound by circumstance.

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  3. you? are adorable. for anyone else i would think these goals are sorta lofty, but not for you :)
    <3 Lisa

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  4. Going through similar things over here. I esp resonate with the housing situation, although you have the space but not the 'hood and I have the opposite. We are also "stuck" here a bit longer than originally anticipated. My big thing this year (which gets to be Husband's big thing, too, since he chose to marry me!) is going to be organizing our house and making the most of all the space. And we are also on the same bandwagon to keep increasing the local food + eco-friendly cleeaning solutions.

    We WILL be domestic goddesses with plenty of time for ourselves! (Somehow...)

    PS - I'm going back and forth on the CSA thing. I think the thing that will hold me back this summer is the fact I'll be either uber pregnant or living life with a newborn for the summer. I don't want to commit to a CSA if I can't follow through with all the food prep. So maybe a weekly FM visit? Are you at all concerned with time + all those veggies?

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  5. I love it! Living in Chicago feels so out of synch with my values- but moving back to Denver is so not an option for us now. Especially as I'm about the be the sole earner for our family as my husband transitions to being a stay at home dad. I would love to find a way to make things work here, without feeling like I've lost myself.

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  6. That's a great list, but as you have decided further down in the post, small steps can be taken now. It's the all-or-nothing approach that sends many of us back into complacency.

    Of all these steps, though, living closer to walkable destinations seems like the most effective thing you could do. That's likely to result in neighbors, fences, opportunity to garden and compost, far less driving, and a more energy-efficient existence.

    Research those smaller cities to find the greenest communities, if and when you have the opportunity to relocate to wherever you'd like.

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  7. Laura: Andy asked me the same thing about having time to use all the greens from the CSA, but if I'm not blogging about it every week, I'll probably be more inclined to stick with the recipes that we know and love (and I'm sure we'll try out a few new ones too) which is way less time consuming. And the good thing with veggies is that they are just as great raw, as incorporated into dishes so there's a lot of versatility and maybe I'll be in the mood for huge salads all summer!

    Nancy: That's kind of the bottom line. A new neighborhood and a detached home would almost naturally solve a majority of the issues we face and lend itself to easily adopting the rest. It's fun to think of what the next move can bring, and hopefully it won't take the 7 or 10 years predicted!!

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