Category: goals

Maternity Leave Goals

Baby Girl is due two weeks from today! I am so excited. I am very fortunate to have 12 weeks off for my maternity leave, and while right now that sounds like an enormous amount of time, I know it’s going to go by super fast. My plan is to work up until this baby is born so that I have as much time with her before I go back.

My one and only focus during this time will be learning to care for the baby, but I thought it would be helpful to break up the weeks into 4 parts to help create some boundaries and slowly work up to a routine once I do go back to work.

I have no idea what to expect from this time off. These all may be very lofty or I may end up getting more done than I think, but for now I’m trying to give myself very small goals and low expectations.

maternity leave goals

0-3 Weeks: 

  • Put an out of office on my emails (including personal) and don’t check any emails during this time.
  • Be okay with not answering the phone or responding to texts
  • Sleep as much as possible
  • Get used to nursing / feeding
  • Have my sister Lucy take newborn photos

3-6 Weeks: 

  • Start checking personal emails and responding to friends and family
  • Go strawberry picking!
  • Write any thank you notes from gifts received in the first few weeks
  • Start looking into eating plan to lose weight
  • Bake something, even if it’s from a box
  • Go for a walk in the neighborhood 5x a week

6-9 Weeks: 

  • Go to my 6-week post-partum doctor’s appointment
  • Check back into work and finalize the date I’m coming back
  • Start running again, even if it’s super slow, and aim to go for a run 1x a week (once cleared from doctor)
  • Have a play date with friends once a week
  • Cook dinner 2x a week
  • Start pumping and figure out a schedule that will work
  • Check back into daycare to finish enrolling her (assuming J finds a job by this point)
  • Start navigating a routine with sleep and feedings
  • Go for a walk in the neighborhood 5x a week

9-12 Weeks: 

  • Continue navigating a routine with sleep and feedings
  • Have a play date with friends once a week
  • Figure out what clothes I’m able to wear and buy any new outfits for work/life
  • Order and mail birth announcements
  • Go for a walk 5x a week
  • Go for a run 2x a week
  • Cook dinner 2x a week
  • Check and sort through work emails
  • Do a practice run of what a typical daycare / workday will look like

Okay mamas — what would you add to this list? Is this too unrealistic? Is there anything you did during this time you would recommend? Any experiences or stories would be helpful!

January to April Goals

Happy New Year, friends!

happy new year

Normally I jump into the new year with a list of goals and resolutions, but this year is a little different. It’s going to be a big year of transition for us, both with a new baby due in the spring and career changes for J, so I decided to stick with just the next four months.

So here are my new year goals before our baby arrives:

– Go on a trip with J. We are going to Asheville this weekend as a little babymoon getaway. Should be a chilly, but lovely time!

– Go to church whenever we are in town. Last year we got into the habit of making church optional, only attending when we had time or when it was convenient. I’d like to change our mentality so if we are in town there’s no question of whether we are going, just which service.

– Unplug and start to create healthy technology habits. I’m a little nervous about introducing a baby into this ever-changing digital world. I am not sure yet what my stance or parenting style will be on the amount of screen time we will allow, but I really want to be intentional about my screen time, starting now. I’m still trying to figure out what exactly this will look like, and want to do some reading on the topic and see what has worked for other people. If anyone has any ideas of things that have worked for you, I’d love to hear!

– Blog about our Europe trip. I have about a dozen blog posts partially written that I have been meaning to publish. Even though the trip was almost a year ago, I really want a record of our itinerary for my own purposes to reference in the future.

– Create a new budget and stay on track. Our budget looks very different this year and starting this month we are making some pretty drastic changes. It will probably take a little while to adjust, but ultimately we need to stick to the new budget and adjust our lifestyle accordingly.

– Finish getting my nursery set up. This includes:

  • Get a crib and assemble it
  • Find an upholstered glider
  • Finish finding prints and hang gallery wall
  • Hang book ledges on the wall
  • Make a mobile to hang over the changing dresser
  • Empty and clean the closet and dressers
  • Wash all of her clothes and put them away

– Clean and organize the house. I have a huge long checklist that I’m working through (using the KonMari method), and I really want to have things as clean and organized before April as possible.

– Say YES as much as possible. As long as I am feeling well, I want to say yes to friends and family as much as possible, since I know that life after a baby will be altered dramatically and my top priority will be caring for an infant.

What goals do you have this year? Anything we should add to our pre-baby to do list? :) 


September Goals


Oh heyyy, Internet! It’s been a while. Let’s just ignore the two-month radio silence and jump back in shall we? Because September is here! One of my favorite months! Time to get in the last sunny days of summer and enjoy the first hints of fall. This month is going to be pretty busy with three out of four weekends out of town… labor day weekend at the beach with my inlaws, then a mountain trip with friends, and then heading to Charlotte for a friends’ baby shower. I’m also turning 30 this month so there’s that. :)


August goals (I didn’t publish on the blog, but made them anyways):

  • Paint our guest room
  • Make a headboard with my sister/ See the progress pic here
  • Try three new recipes
  • Tidy home – garage
  • Don’t buy stupid crap! 
  • Finish two books
  • Eat a protein-rich breakfast most mornings 

September Goals:

  • Continue to eat a protein-rich breakfast in the mornings
  • Try to get at least 8,000 – 10,000 steps on average per day with my jawbone
  • Finish two books
  • Organize the garage

What are you up to this month? 

Summer around here + July Goals

Thanks for all of the love on my last post. I’m learning that vulnerability breeds vulnerability and since sharing I have had the privilege to hear from so many with similar stories of loss and hope. My heart goes out to all of those who have lost children — whether in the womb or out of it — and I can’t wait to meet these Heaven Babies one day.


Well, we are in the thick of summer! This season is always a quiet, slow season for me, even though I’m still working full time and we have trips or plans every weekend. But my time and schedule are more relaxed and the long sunny days make time slow down.

Our culture is always looking forward and getting you ready for the next season. It’s only a few days after July 4th and already I’m receiving email promotions for this fall, and the other day I was in Target and walked by their Back to School display. Too soon, advertisers! The first day of Summer just a few weeks ago!

It’s not just our culture, but my nature that plans ahead. It has been a hard few months and there are daily reminders of what I lost everywhere I turn. All I want to do is rush through and get this hard part over with, but I’m trying to give myself grace to be sad. Because losing a pregnancy is worth being sad over. I’m trying to feel my way through it, finding the gifts in the midst of pain. When I am still and start to look, I see moments of grace and joy all around me. I don’t want to rush through and miss those.

So I’m trying to enjoy this hot summer moment I am in today. As cliche as it sounds, I literally will never live this day again. How incredibly fleeting is that!

It’s been a few months since I’ve shared my goals on here, so here are mine for July:

  • Get back into the blogging habit and write 8 blog posts, even if I don’t publish them all
  • Average 10,000 daily steps on my jawbone
  • Finish reading two books
  • Go to the pool at least once
  • Go blueberry picking
  • Limit grains, sugar and dairy during the week to balance out my fun food-filled weekends
  • Continue tidying up my home, specifically the kitchen and pantry this month
  • Be mindful of what I spend my money on and don’t spend any money on clothes or accessories

What are you up to this summer? 

April Goals

Tap, tap. Is this thing on? Yes? Oh good. It’s nice to be back and write you all again! I feel like it’s been months since I’ve written on here, which is silly because it was just a couple of weeks. But I’m hoping this month to get back into the practice of blogging and share all of our fun adventures from our trip to Europe (search #thetravelingneels to see snippets from the trip), and other little life updates.

Ahhh, spring. This time of the year is magical. The days are getting longer, the trees are starting to bloom, and everyone comes out of hibernation into the sunshine. This month I hope to focus a lot of my efforts on our yard. That is one area in my life where I feel very inadequate — I know so little about yard work and landscaping! The list of things to do is very long, but I’m hoping to take it one item at a time and hopefully gain a little confidence in the process. Does anyone else struggle with yard work? Any tips for how to manage and keep up with it all?

april goals

April Goals

  • Celebrate our 4th anniversary
  • Finish reading two books
  • Create a video montage from our trip
  • Start writing blog posts about our trip (I could fill the rest of this year with posts!)
  • Throw a baby shower for my sister!
  • Clean up our deck
  • Consider planting a flowering tree in the back
  • Get prices for pavers and/or stone pathway for the backyard
  • Weed flower beds and add more mulch
  • Plant herbs

What are you up to this month? 

PS – April goals from 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009

February Highlights

Oh February! It was such a good month. For the shortest month of the year, it sure lasted a long time and we managed to pack in a lot. Here are some highlights from the month.


Super bowl party at the casa.


Wedding shower for my little sister.


Galentine’s Day party with my neighbors.


Valentine’s brunch with J’s family.


Lots of snow and ice and freezing rain the second half of February.


My parents’ backyard, a day before my sister’s wedding.


At the rehearsal with J, my sisters and brothers in law. Our family is complete!



My sister’s lovely wedding, the last weekend in February.

Here’s how I fared on my February Goals:

  • Host a Galentine’s Day party
  • Book everything for our trip to Europe
  • Try a new restaurant with J
  • Host a shower for Lucy!
  • Finish three books
  • File taxes
  • Walk an average of 10k steps/day using my jawbone / Averaged about 8k. 
  • Go for a run at least twice a week 

March Goals

March has arrived, and with it comes daylight savings (hallelujah), warmer weather (amen), and our long-awaited trip to Europe (what! what!). The countdown is on — one week until we leave! This month will be spent preparing for the trip, traveling and then recovering afterwards.

hello march

March Goals

  • Average 10,000 steps on my jawbone
  • Finish reading Making Things Happen
  • Make a video montage from my sister’s wedding
  • Celebrate my dad and two sisters’ birthdays
  • Travel to Europe! And do all of the things on our London and Paris bucket list!
  • Watch at least one Paris-filmed and London-filmed movie before our trip.

PS – See more goals from March 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009. Also, fun fact, I started this blog six years ago today. Can’t believe it’s been so long!