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The Big 3-5


5 years ago today, I tuned 30 and published a blog post with some larger than life goals attached.  I had decided to participate in a 101 in 1,001 challenge, which consists of setting 101 goals for yourself and living them out over the course of 1,001 days (2.74 years, to be exact).  I remember drafting the list one sweltering afternoon in the passenger seat of my minivan, AC blaring in the muggy Wichita heat.  Waverly napped in her carseat, and Ryan walked around used car lots looking for a Tahoe to get us through the snowy Kansas winter.  I remember the feeling of excitement and commitment I had the moment I pressed 'publish', and could so clearly see all of the adventures that lay before us.

3 months later, I found out I was pregnant, and the majority of that list went RIGHT out the window.

I went back to my original post last night, and decided to look over the list for posterity.  I was surprised to find this sentence floating among the resolutions:

"I don't want to wake up, be 35 with a 5 year old child, and feel like all I have to show for it is a well-refreshed Facebook feed.  I need to start living life again."

THAT certainly gave me a chuckle.

I don't think I gave "35 year old me" a second thought.  I remember so many details about my 30th birthday- what I wore, what I ate, what we watched during the Summer Olympics, what I bought with my mom at Von Maur as impulse birthday presents.  Life is SO DIFFERENT now- another child, another state, a dog, and a new job that I would have confidently bet you $10,000 5 years ago I would never have on my resumé.

It's been 10 years since I moved to New York City, and my baby girl starting Kindergarten next week...  the milestones are building up all around me, and I hate the feeling that I'm slowly becoming too attached to checking Instagram to put the phone down and fully LIVE life.  Looks like it's good timing to get this thing going again.

Here is what the next 2.74 years of my life is going to look like (in no particular order):

 1.  Take a yoga class
 2.  Take a cooking class
 3.  Learn to can a food (make jam or pickles?)
 4.  Go camping
 5.  Finish my KonMari decluttering process
 6.  Have a garage sale
 7.  Plan a vacation with my childhood girlfriends and their families
 8.  Read 1 new book every month
 9.  Drink 100oz of water every day for a week
10.  Create and complete a capsule wardrobe
11.  Take a closet inventory and build a wardrobe look book
12.  Do the Bolder Boulder 10k run
13.  Attend a CU Buffs football game
14.  Take a watercolor class
15.  Take an Irish step dancing class
16.  Go flyfishing
17.  Take a vacation to the beach and collect seashells
18.  Visit Carlton Landing, OK
19.  Take my children to San Juan Island for a weeklong nature vacation
20.  Throw a game night party
21.  Plant a cut flower garden and give bouquets to friends
22.  Put in a vegetable garden
23.  Take a vacation to our family ski condo in Keystone, CO and finally teach the kids to ski
24.  Start a nature journal
25.  Visit a farmers market once a month
26.  See Hamilton
27.  Learn how to make a pie crust from scratch
28.  Sew mysef a dress
29.  Get a blog redesign
30.  Record an oral history of my mom and dad
31.  Research and put together a family tree for the Mr and I
32.  Read for 30 minutes every night for 1 month
33.  Go social media-free every weekend for 1 month
34.  Pay off Ryan's student loans
35.  No iPhone in bed for 1 month
36.  Put together a master birthday calendar
37.  Send each person on the birthday calendar a birthday card *before* their birthday starting in January
38.  Embroider a needlepoint hanging for each child
39.  Make 10 Christmas presents for friends and family
40.  Throw a dinner party
41.  Make one of Julia Child's famous recipes
42.  Learn how to tie a tie
43.  Learn how to tie a bow tie
44.  Memorize 2 Christmas songs on the piano
45.  Learn how to make felt flowers
46.  Read my Bible in a Year Bible
47.  Find "my" Bible verse
48.  Write a thank you letter to an old teacher
49.  Save $100 a month for a rainy day
50.  Create a meal planning system that works for our family
51.  Go 1 month without eating out
52.  Learn how to play Bridge
53.  Learn how to play gin rummy
54.  Make Waverly's baby album
55.  Make Wilder's baby album
56.  Re-join the public library
57.  Go orchard picking (apple, peach, whatever comes up first)
58.  Meditate every day for 1 month
59.  Lose 10 lbs by New Years Eve
60.  Participate in a bible study from #SheReadsTruth
61.  Blog my way through the 101 in 1,001 challenge
62.  Organize ALL of my photos, get them out of the computer and into photo books to be looked at
63.  Have professional family photos taken once a year
65.  Donate to a diaper bank once a month
66.  Learn how to make scones/tea cakes/traditional tea time foods
67.  Have a picnic
68.  Collaborate with my mom to make a family cookbook
69.  Collaborate with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to make a family cookbook
70.  Learn how to make candy from my mother-in-law
71.  Teach both kids how to swim
73.  Cook with 1 new ingredient a month
74.  Try 50 new recipes
75.  Take my children to London and Cambridge to see where I lived in college
76.  Redecorate/style our bookcases
77.  Take the family back to New York City
78.  Take a photo of the kids together every day for 1 month
79.  Go to bed by 9:30pm for 1 month
80.  Learn how to make a homemade Chai Tea Latte just like Starbucks
81.  Host a board games night
82.  Hit Level V with Rodan + Fields and qualify for a company Lexus
83.  Floss every day for a month
84.  Organize all my Rodan + Fields business paperwork
85.  Listen to the top 50 albums on Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Albums list
86.  Climb a 14er
87.  Read 25 books from my AP English book list from 2000
88. Read a comprehensive book about mythology
89.  Go through ALL of my 9(!!!) inboxes to clean them out and consolidate the accounts
90.  Save up for a Lulu McGee work computer
91.  (re)Learn Photoshop
92.  Improve my handwriting
93.  Learn how to french braid
94.  Learn how to drive a manual transmission car
95.  Develop a list of 15 tried and true family recipes for dinner
96.  Visit somewhere in the South and eat 6 traditional Southern foods
97.  Take a road trip to a new place once every 6 months
98.  Learn how to play my favorite song on the guitar (Ray Lamontagne's Acre of Land)
99.  Clean through all my memorabilia boxes and do something with them (Blurb book? Scrapbooks?)
100. Buy myself an Airstream trailer
101.  Throw a party for completing my list!

Happy 35th birthday to me!

Let the games begin... again...

xoxo,
Lulu
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Lulu
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I really miss this space.

I miss coming back to this blog, this tiny little bright, cozy corner of the Internet that was all mine and was such a big part of my life for so long.  I miss taking a few minutes out of my day to pull up my laptop, drink a glass of wine (or 3) and keep track of the big things in my life, and the little things in my life, and the completely mundane things in my life that would have been completely forgotten about had I not recorded it for posterity.

Wading through the sometimes pointless, sometimes obnoxious, and often cringe-inducing (what is with the third person references, Lulu?!) posts in these archives allow me to look back and really marvel at some of the things I've done in this short life of mine.  Sometimes I sit at a stoplight in my 2011 Town and Country minivan, The Adventures of Peabody and Sherman blasting from the travel car TV behind my head, and can't believe there was a point in my life where I lived in New York City for 3 solid years.  

I'm happy that Instagram is a "thing", and that is allowed me to microblog, if you will, over the last few years to capture some day-to-day snapshots.  But I came back to this page for the first time in a looooong time- it's been almost a year since I even typed in the URL-  and am sad I didn't take the time to recap my trip to visit Ryan when he lived in Prague during grad school.  I'm sad I didn't rehash what it was REALLY like to semi-solo parent a destination wedding trip to Mexico with 2 small toddlers (newsflash: mostly not very vacation-y).

I'm not the journal writing type (good Lord, you should SEE my handwriting in real life), and I'm not good at keeping up on photo albums in this digital camera/camera phone age (the kids don't even HAVE baby books yet, which makes me feel guilty on a regular basis).  This has always been that little space in the world I have to catch little snippets of life and save it for later.

But bringing yourself to actively start blogging is a hard thing to bring oneself to do these days- there's this self-imposed pressure to have the most bright, clear, professional photos and the most spectacularly styled house and curated closet; a second-guess that the post you want to put together on your favorite recipe is somewhat "less than" because the cutting board is sitting on the brownish-greenish-grey granite of the house you rent, instead of on the crisp Carrera marble counter of that modern farmhouse of yours people can't seem to stop pinning photos of.

But that's just not who I am- I don't spend piles of money at Resto Hardware, and I can't DIY crown moulding into my rental house.  I can't do seasonal posts on the greatest new children's clothing, because right now I only shop for the kids once a year.  Nobody is going to be moved by my fashion posts because a) aloof fashion poses were never my strong suit (my modeling career abruptly ended at the age of 8 after a few print ads and a commercial for the local cable company), and b) I've mostly transitioned to a capsule wardrobe so I wear similar versions of the same thing each week.  Part of me feels like if I'm not doing those things to the Nth degree, or if I don't have a gimmick or some focused blog theme than I'm a mess and have no business posting on a public website.

But I'm kind of a mess- I'm trying to navigate this messy world just like all of you are, and I like weird, disparate things (I'm pretty sure I'm the only person on earth who was gifted the new book from Dita Von Teese AND a book on soil composition called Teaming With Microbes).  I'm ready (again... I think...) to get back to putting my chaotic, messy, awesome life back on my website, and have a place to come back to in 6 months or 6 years and cringe and laugh some at more.


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Lulu
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A Year In Our House

A Year In Our House



One year ago today, Ryan flew out to Carlsbad, CA to start his first day in his new job.  I woke up at 5am, packed up our hotel room, and grabbed some drive-thru McDonald's breakfast on the way to meet our moving crew and semi truck full of personal belongings.

I stepped foot in our empty house, put down the kids and my coffee on the hardwood floor, and turned to lock the door behind me.  Wilder crawled over to my hot coffee and spilled it all over the floor before I had the chance to take one sip.  No caffeine, no paper towels, no backup.

That's when it dawned on me that I'd be facilitating an entire move into a new house without my husband, with 2 small babies in tow (and without caffeine, no less).  I'm a very capable and confident person, but in that moment I wasn't sure how I would survive another relocation, the settling of another home, and more importantly surviving the next 6 months being a stay-at-home mom so close to the old job I loved, all while Ryan commuted to California every other week for work.

The move went great, the house was settled faster than any we've ever had, and most importantly, we've had a really, really great year.  Here's to another summer of greyhounds fresh from the pink grapefruit tree in the backyard that is now one of my favorite places on earth.


Back Yard 2015
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101 in 1,001 List - An Update


Well, that was embarrassing.

I just remembered that I was "actively" engaged in the big 101 in 1,001 List project I set out for myself in August of 2012, just a few months after we relocated to Wichita with a newborn in tow.  It's so funny, because I can picture where I was (waiting in the minivan while Ryan looked at a used car to buy) when I started drafting the list, and even remember the excitement of pushing Publish on the post detailing my list.

But now, I review the list, and can't help but snort (frequently) at some of the lofty goals I had set for myself-

No. 86- Watch AFI's Top 100 Movies of All Time?  Fairly cool in theory, but what do I do if they're not on Netflix?  It's not like I have a Blockbuster around the corner anymore, and I certainly don't have the motivation to start stalking them all on the local library website.

No. 87- Read 25 books from my AP English book list from 2000?  Another goal I've had since... well... since  I actually took AP English in 2000.  But I can't even re-prioratize my time to get through the pile of 50+ "I traded frequent flier miles I couldn't use for free subscription" magazines I've been hoarding in the garage for the last year.  And let's be honest- if I finally did carve out some reading time, the October 2014 issue of Food & Wine magazine would easily trump Dostoevsky.

Many of the items were centered on getting to know our new-to-us-at-the-time state of Kansas (visiting the Plaza in Kansas City at Christmastime, drive through the Flint Hills, take a family river fishing trip to Missouri like we used to do when I was a little kid).  We were actually able to hit more of those than I expected, but the rest went out the window when we relocated to Phoenix a year ago.

I'm a little bummed that some of the ones focusing on philanthropy (No. 65- donate to a diaper bank one a month) Waverly (like No. 49- save $100 a month for the baby, or No. 62- writing a letter to the baby every month on the 31st) all fell WAY short of expectations.  But I'd say that the (wonderfully) impromptu addition of No 102 to the list - Have a Second Baby- kind of threw everything out the window there.

For you-know-whats and giggles, I think I'm actually going to try and finish out the last month as strongly as I can.  I'm hoping to catch up on blogging about the other items I did manage to cross off my list, because a) that'll be fun to look back on in 10 years, and b) it will make me feel slightly better about one more grandly drafted list that I was too lazy/busy/overwhelmed to complete.  C'est la vie.

xoxo,

Lulu


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Lulu
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One Year in Phoenix

One Year in Phoenix


(This post was originally posted on my Instagram account, but in true Lulu fashion I got the date wrong so am memorializing it on the blog)

365 days ago, we took a couple of one-way flights from Wichita back to Phoenix. As we boarded our layover flight from Dallas to Phoenix, I ran into a half dozen of my old US Airways coworkers who were commuting back home in the thick of the merger with American Airlines. 

I felt a little lost, if I'm completely honest, as I could have been on that work trip myself but had left the company one year prior (working virtually part-time was hard with a 1 year old and no child care, but a 15 month old and newborn in the same situation would have been way too much to handle).  Here I was, surrounded by peers I respected on an airplane filled with the sounds of my fussy baby boy...  I will save an actual story of boarding that plane to Phoenix for another time, because it's still two comically painful to tupe right now.  Suffice to say, I was moving back to AZ with a completely new identity as a stay-at-home mom, and had no idea what being in Phoenix would be like as a mom and not a hard-charging corporate go-getter. 

I've had some growing pains, but am closing out this first year feeling so blessed for my current job and raising these sweet babes in our amazing home in an amazing neighborhood alongside my best friend. Phoenix- you've been good to us.

    


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Lulu
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