Intentional Updates: We’re Pregnant! (#OLW2018)

Baby Petre! // lynnepetre.com

As a follow up to the previous intentional updates, I can’t not acknowledge probably the biggest news of the year for our little family: I’m pregnant!

I’m now solidly in my 3rd trimester with this baby due mid-January; overall, still feeling good and very excited to meet our kid in a few (short) months.

I picked ‘intentional’ this year partly because we knew this was the year we wanted to start trying to grow our family; our life had calmed down somewhat. We were/are finally living in the same place, at the same time, with no impending significant life changes on the horizon; we live in a house and neighborhood we love, are gainfully employed and just felt *ready*.

And now, we’re here, mere¬†weeks away from meeting our baby which is exciting, and crazy, and amazing, and exhausting, all at the same time. As I type, this little peanut I’m growing is kicking like crazy and I don’t think I’ll ever get used to or get tired of this weird and incredible sensation…even at 2:30a in the morning which seems to be a preferred time to get some exercise. This week, I head back to Cincinnati for a shower our families are throwing us and I’m excited to spend an afternoon with so many women I love in one place who are all gathering to support and celebrate our growing family.

We (obviously) really have no idea what’s in store for us but have been doing our homework, taking birth classes and generally preparing as much as it makes sense to (I hear little infants like to run their own show in the first weeks/months). But overall, we’re feeling really *good* about this impending life change, ready and excited to adjust our lives to bring a new one into it and to figure it all out as a family of 3.

Until then, we’re enjoying these last weeks/months as a party of 2. ūüôā

Intentional Updates (#OLW2018)

olw2018

Earlier this year, I set my word for 2018 as INTENTIONAL¬†for a¬†whole host of reasons. After spending the past couple of years just trying to keep my head on straight, I wanted to be more deliberate in how I approached life this year. My focus has been using my time, words and money more intentionally and, like words I’ve selected in past years, it’s been exactly the right word at the right time.

TIME

This year, I gave myself the gift of slowing down. I’ve pared down my extracurricular activities and prioritized¬†the things that bring joy and value to my life. Less time running around, more quality time with family, friends and myself. More time exercising, more time sleeping.

I also quit Facebook this spring¬†which I haven’t regretted for one second. Like most of us, I was spending most of my Facebook time scrolling mindlessly which brought very little value to my life so I downloaded all of my data and deactivated my account. In my post-Facebook days, I have realized that I found out about a lot of events/things to do via Facebook and without it, I know a lot less about what’s happening but right now, I’m okay with that. It means I have to work a little harder to find the cool things to do and I have to be more proactive (ahem, *intentional*) in reaching out directly to friends to coordinate activities.

WORDS

At the outset, I had meant this to mean reaching out to friends and family more regularly and to be more thoughtful about the words I say to myself and others. While certainly unforeseen at the beginning of the year, I found this reminder very helpful during some challenging situations mid-year in which delicate/thoughtful wording and conversations were key. I’ve been working to strike a balance between audience, content and emotion so that I’m communicating the right thing to the right folks at the right time.

MONEY

My primary¬†objective here is to spend my discretionary money more intentionally. Instead of shopping for brand new clothes, could I instead shop for new-to-me clothes at the thrift store, Poshmark or Ebay? And while I’ve bought some brand new things, I’m proud that my of my clothes this year have been upcycled from someone/somewhere else. It also meant really asking myself, do I need that (THING) or do I just want it? Most of the time, I just want it and taking the time to really consider it has helped me see this.

Throughout the year, this goal has grown in scope to include also bringing in money more intentionally. Alex and I have a monthly ‘inventory check in’ (borrowed from THIS podcast episode) and during this,¬†we talk about our short and long term financial goals. Most of our friends know that Alex has an impressive side hustle that inspired me to see what small things I can do to bring in some extra cash to help accelerate progress towards our goals. Through watching dogs on Rover.com and selling clothes/shoes on eBay and Poshmark, I’m bringing in minimum of $150+ extra a month for minimal effort. Not bad!

The other area of intentional focus for me this year has been reducing my environmental impact where possible. I’ve invested in reusable utensils and a metal straw that I keep in my purse to avoid plastic flatware and single-use straws as much as possible. I’ve replaced tin foil on our baking sheets with silicone baking mats, paper coffee filters with a cloth filter, disposable cotton face wipes for¬†reusable cloth face wipes and I try to refill through bulk bin purchases where possible (thank you, Zero Market!). These tiny changes we’ve made have reduced the waste in our house as well as money we spend on single-use items. We’re so far from perfect but I believe these small efforts do make a big impact, holistically (especially if we all made similarly small changes!)

I’ve appreciated the perspective and mindset this word has given me this year and am looking forward to closing out the year with continued deliberate action.

Mid-Year Check In

Sunset // lynnepetre.com

Hi, hello, howdy. It’s been a minute! As we approach mid-year reviews at work, I thought it was appropriate to do the same in my non-work life.

So what’s been going over here in PetreLand in 2017? Let’s see…

…I cut a bunch of hair off for my birthday. New ‘do for 32!

Birthday haircut // lynnepetre.com

…we took a French vacation for the second year in a row (and celebrated Alex’s birthday while we were there).

Paris trip 2018 // lynnepetre.com

…spent some time outdoors with a little brother who¬†isn’t so little anymore.

Hiking with Q // lynnepetre.com

…celebrated¬†my youngest¬†sister’s high school graduation (WHAT?!)

Graduation 2018 // lynnepetre.com

…and totaled my mom’s car immediately after the ceremony, short hours before our family hosted a massive graduation party at my mom’s house (sorry, Mom!). Thankfully, no injuries!

Car Accident // lynnepetre.com

…I sang and danced¬†with my long-distance bestie and Taylor Swift over Memorial Day weekend.

Taylor Swift at Mile High // lynnepetre.com

…we broke out our tent for the first time this season for some good ol’ fashioned car camping.

Car camping // lynnepetre.com

And that brings us about up to speed! I’m really bad at snapping photos these days but, whatever. Ya only get one life and I’d rather live mine mostly away from my phone screen.

Overall, the first half of this year has felt really GOOD. Settled. For the first time in a long time – years! – it feels great to be in lock-step with my husband, aligned on our goals, sharing a schedule and a home. I’m excited about this summer season in life – we have plans for family to visit us, for us to visit family, to spend weekends in the mountains, to slow down and savor the moment as much as possible.

I hope your mid-year review turns up several happy memories as you reflect back and start looking ahead to the next several months of 2018.

2018 One Little Word: Intentional

olw2018

Several years ago, I started selecting a word for the year to use a a guide for the upcoming days and months ahead. In the early days, it was a reminder to have PERSPECTIVE through wedding planning (shoutout to 2012!); followed by: CREATE, FOCUS, LIGHT, RESILIENCE and INSPIRED.

Last year’s word, INSPIRED, was the right choice for how I felt, though, I wasn’t in the right headspace to be able to act on it as I expected last January. I’ve belabored the point here – and I swear I’ll move on! – but I was just trying to keep my head above water! 2017 was the year of flailing through the water, half tread/half breast stroke, trying desperately to get to the wall to get a grip and catch my breath. I¬†wanted ‘inspired’¬†to keep me looking up,¬†to remind me to actually swim and not just tread, through the tumultuous political climate and the¬†cascading transitions in my personal life; and it did but in a less splashy way.

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

It’s been moments of inspiration, instead. In the back half of the year, and specifically the last several months, I’ve prioritized reading books that excite me, listening to meaningful podcasts. I worked with a stylist to help up my fashion¬†sense and I’ve started exercising regularly again.¬†I’m even taking the time to cook which…is not a thing I’ve ever really enjoyed or have been good at (these things are related, I think). INSPIRED is alive in well, even if¬†it means smaller gestures than I planned.

This year, in the *right* headspace, my word is INTENTIONAL. I want to be more deliberate in a few key components of my life like:

How I spend my TIME: At a high-level, prioritizing the people and things that bring me joy and further my growth as a human vs. cramming another activity or event into a day/week/month just to do it. Also choosing to take care of myself. Basically, Kondo-ing my agenda.

The WORDS I use: To be more thoughtful about¬†how I interact¬†with family, friends and co-workers. This means taking more time for reflection, too. I also hate (HATE!) texting but realize it’s a necessary evil and I need to get better about timely responses (i.e. use those cellular words more often).

The¬†MONEY I spend: Primarily, I mean this to be less ‘luxury/nice to have’ spending (e.g.: spending $4 on a kombucha that I love but is not necessary) and more¬†consideration of how/where I’m spending my money. Asking, ‘do I *really* need That Thing? Or would I rather save those dollars for a downpayment?’

Overall, I’m starting 2018 in a far more optimistic¬†and energized mindset that I’ve felt in a few years. I’m excited about the year ahead (even if our president is tweeting casually about nuclear war) and where this little, impactful word will take me.

Weekend Drives in Colorado

The past few weeks have been pretty perfect, weather wise, in Colorado. Crisp mornings with warm afternoons; the quintessential fall, if you ask me.

A few weekends ago, Alex and I headed west to Golden Gate Canyon on a Sunday, the day before the first October snow, to catch our last glimpses of alpine leaves. Unfortunately, most had already fallen on the trail we hiked but the drive in/out was stunning.

Then, when Alex’s parents visited last weekend, we gave them the full Colorado tour, driving from Denver to Buena Vista to Leadville Copper and back home on I-70. I didn’t think to record snippets till after I had delicious BV diner food in my belly so this is a taste of the back half of our drive.

I recorded these on my phone so they’re nothing to write home about but in thinking about inspiration and finding beauty and light in the world,¬†I’m posting here to preserve the memories.

Hope you’re enjoying a lovely fall wherever this post finds you, too!

Currently (May/June 2017)

currently-may-june-header

And just like that, another several weeks have flown by. How is it July?!

Hands down, May was hectic chaos. Alex came back from Europe and spent a week with me in Denver. I spent a week house/dog sitting for a friend. I spent a week in Pittsburgh for MBA graduation festivities and the long awaited ceremony. Alex and I spent a day in Cincinnati before flying back to Denver and move into our apartment. Two days later, our friends from BSchool arrived for Memorial Day weekend.

I wouldn’t trade the experiences we had but it sure did wear me out.

Hilariously, in May, Alex and I outlined our summer weekends and planned to keep these free to spend time hanging out with each other. These past two years were high-stress and low-free-time so we both were really excited to just BE together again.

But, as it goes,¬†the universe had other plans and we did a bad job protecting our free time. We traveled to Cincinnati for a long weekend to support a friend who’s mom passed away. I started (assistant) teaching a backpacking class with Colorado Mountain Club. We watched pups. Alex went to South Carolina for a bachelor party while I did an overnight backpacking trip with my class. And on the last day of June, part of my family arrived for a 4th of July family vacation.

I’m trying really hard to take better care of myself as these past two months have not felt emotionally or physically great. What was supposed to be a low key summer with few commitments quickly ballooned into the exact opposite and after so many years of running around like a chicken with my head cut off, I can’t keep doing it. I need to protect my time, I need to protect my mental and physical health. I need to make time to exercise and pack my lunch and *eat breakfast*. I need to say no to commitments. If I want things to be different, if I want to feel different, I have to act different and make better choices for me.

The rest of July and August are just as packed as May and June but I’m working hard to take a step back, slow down and take care of myself.

Step one: keep hydrated during this hot, dry week!

Currently (April 2017)

For my 31st birthday in March, I embarked a new, digital mode of memory keeping to chronicle a year in this moment in my life with an¬†app called 1Second Everyday (1SE) which is…exactly that.

Shoot a short video every day, save a 1 second snippet and that’s it! I’m able to save a compilation of days and I’ve decided to group mine by month until my next birthday. A few times in the recent past I’ve downloaded 1SE and tried to make it stick but usually lost steam after the first couple of weeks. But not this time! This time, I’m committed.

While seemingly easy enough to shoot a 1 second video, I find it very challenging to remember to shoot the damn video. Despite working for a mobile app company, I am so not into my phone Рas anyone who has ever texted me can affirm. So for me, 1) having my phone in my hand and 2) thinking about capturing a short video during an interesting part of my day (and there are many!) is not my forte.

But 2 months in, I’m am doing a better job at remembering to capture moments. There are noticeably a LOT of Rover.com dogs in this April segment – partly because I watched several dogs but also because I was/am still trying to find my 1SE groove.

I’m excited to see how these videos change over the months; already, May’s seconds are more interesting and I’m refining my style and doing a better job keeping this little project top of mind and finding moments of inspiration throughout my days.

Happy Birthday, Alex

Sunrise at Grand Canyon NP // lynnepetre.com

Yesterday was Alex’s birthday and while he’s still traipsing around Europe, I’ve felt his absence more than usual. Mostly because it’s his birthday but partly because the end is SO. FREAKING. CLOSE. that time, in general, is moving as slow as molasses. So tonight, I celebrated by eating his favorite pizza and drinking a beer I know he loves, imagining he were here to enjoy it with me. I feel like this lends itself to¬†a sad, spinster-esque joke but alas, this is my life these days.

As I was flipping through photos saved on my computer, I found this one of him watching the sunrise over the Grand Canyon in August, 2015. It feels fitting to linger on (and share with the internet) a photo that marked the beginning of the MBA school journey when the end is so very near. In 8¬†days, my husband will be back in America. In 11 days, he’ll be in Denver with me for a week. In 1 month, he walks at graduation and we’ll celebrate with our family and friends in Pittsburgh before making our way back to Denver for good.

It’s been a long, winding road, full of twists and turns we never expected. But nothing worth doing ever came easy, right? I’m just hoping we covered enough of the hard stuff to buy us some low key moments as we kick off this next, less winding chapter in a handful of weeks. But honestly, whatever moments are thrown our way, I’ll just be grateful and excited to have my person back to navigate through it together.

One Time, We Went On Vacation

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

To Europe! For two whole weeks! Together!

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

As Alex was considering¬†which capstone track to pursue, we very quickly decided that he should absolutely do the study abroad track. (Well, in real life, he wasn’t 100% sold at the beginning but I aggressively talked him into it; 6+ WEEKS IN EUROPE! WHEN ELSE IN YOUR LIFE WILL YOU HAVE THIS OPPORTUNITY! I HOPE NEVER UNLESS I’M WITH YOU! GO TO EUROPE!) So Europe it was!

Tepper encourages students to travel during their breaks and gives an extra ‘experience week’ during winter and spring breaks. There are typically ‘treks’ organized that students (and partners!) can participate in and experience Japan or Israel or Yacht Week or Silicon Valley and more. We did not participate in a planned trek either year but we certainly made the most of our experience week this year!

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

We planned to spend 2 weeks in Europe together, prior to Alex’s capstone starting in Germany in mid-March. Before¬†the unexpected anxiety, we’d planned to bounce around, spending a few days in various places. After anxiety, we opted to chill out instead: 5 days in Paris, 2 days skiing in Chamonix and 1 day to explore Germany before I left and his program started. It was relaxing, recharging and perfect.

Rather than a play-by-play, I’m opting instead to share snippets of our week via photos.

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

I can’t even overstate how much we needed a vacation – both as individuals and as a couple. Sitting on the plane to Frankfurt, we reminisced about the last time we took a vacation…4.5 years earlier for our honeymoon. Between vacations, we took many long weekend trips, road trips, ski trips with friends – but never a vacation for just the two of us with the sole intention of doing whatever the heck we felt like.

Now, I’m back into the swing of Denver life while he finishes his last few weeks in Europe before coming home for graduation. To say I’m anxious for him to be home (especially with current, unpredictable government) is an understatement. 3 weeks!

 

Winding Down Life in Pittsburgh

Schenley Park, Pittsburgh // lynnepetre.com

When we decided to move to Pittsburgh for Alex’s MBA program, the almost 2 years we would be here felt like an eternity.¬†We were upending everything in our live and I felt like I was getting the short end of the stick – I would be trading co-workers and a well connected community¬†in Denver for working at a kitchen table and no network in Pittsburgh. Time moved so slowly last year and I struggled to see the forest, I could only focus on the big, seemingly obstructive trees.

Working from Home // lynnepetre.com

But now, 1 school year in Pittsburgh, an insane summer in Denver/LA (and several places in between) and 6 months of long distance living, we are closing down our time in Pittsburgh. That move we made in 2015 feels like yesterday and eternity ago at the same time; so much change, growth, tears and cheers have been sandwiched into these past 18 months.

This week, I’m in Pittsburgh for my last week of working remotely with a Pittsburgh address — we are moving out of our apartment this coming weekend and a sublease tenant will move in and take over the remaining months of our lease.

And then, the next round of exciting chaos begins!

In March, we’ll travel to Europe together for two weeks of REAL VACATION – no school, no work, no obligations – and I couldn’t be more excited. After I head back to Denver, Alex stays for a few more weeks for his study abroad capstone in Germany. When he comes back, he’ll give a final presentation at school, we’ll spend a week in an Airbnb in Pittsburgh, celebrating and savoring our last moments on this journey and then, he’ll graduate with his MBA. Following graduation, he’s moving back to Denver (!!!) and we get to start ‘real life’ together. After living in limbo for the past 3 years, we both cannot wait for regular schedules, normalcy and dual incomes again.

Petre Road Trips // lynnepetre.com

This week, though, I plan to soak up as much as I can in the ‘burgh. Running my favorite routes, eating at my favorite restaurants, visiting my favorite local shops and spending time with my favorite people. It’s hard to believe this is it!