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[Sylvaa] - Baseline


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2022 is here! We are (pretty much) settled in the new house (sans internet, which is a whole other can of worms), travel is still on hold, and the family is working on a new schedule. Oh so many shiny new things to build a challenge on!


A quick (spoilered) intro for anyone who doesn't know me:


I am an almost 40 year old mom of 4 (21, 19, 18, 17) and grandmother of 1 (3 this month!). I work in medical consulting, so up until the pandemic, I was traveling 80% of the time. My family and I just moved into our dream home on 2 acres of land, so we've upgraded both house and yard size. This house also has room for a shiny home gym that we are planning on setting up around May of this year (happy early birthday to me).


Being an Adventurer to me includes being up for anything. I love taking on new challenges, both physical and mental. I try to keep my workouts well rounded, but I do tend to fall into a do all the things! trap that I've been working on breaking (not super successfully so far).


This challenge, I'm working on keeping a baseline to build on for all of my future challenges. This is even more important now that we have this nice new house to keep up with (and if we are being totally honest, homemaker isn't something I'm naturally good at). With that in mind, I'm trying to keep the bar realistic and reasonable while I develop new habits in the house.


Goal 1: Morning Routine (develop one) - I currently waste a lot of time in the morning doing nothing. And not that there is anything wrong with doing nothing, but it tends to rush the beginning of my day more than I'd like. I don't have an official start to my day and I'd like to get in the habit of having one. Over the past few weeks, I've stopped hitting snooze and get up from a single alarm. 


Goal 2: 40 Work Tomatoes - This is an ongoing goal that is the baseline I had set previously, but don't always hit. I play fast and loose with the tomato theory. A work meeting counts as a tomato (regardless of time). Crossing something off of my list counts as a tomato (regardless of effort). If I run out of tasks, I use a tomato timer set to 25 minute intervals to make up any remaining tomatoes. 


Goal 3: 20 Home Tomatoes - This one is still in process. I'm trying to figure out what a reasonable amount of home tomatoes will be for me. I'll get this linked in my Google spreadsheet at some point to look at recurring tasks versus one off tasks and we'll go from there. But the overarching goal is to make sure I'm keeping up with all of the things I need to do to make sure my home looks nice and stays that way.


Goal 4: Do something active daily. This is currently vague on purpose. I live on the east coast US and the cold is not my friend. So I'm not limiting myself to any specific activity. If the sun is shining, maybe I'll go for a run. I've got a shiny new kettlebell program to do with my son when he wants to join. The goal is to get used to moving daily, so that when the gym gets installed, I'm more likely to use it. 

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And this will be for tracking!


Week 1:

  • Morning Routine - Currently consists of getting up, starting the dishwasher, putting away clean dishes from the night before, then some sun salutations while I wait for my coffee. 
  • 42 work tomatoes - this was actually a surprise because I thought I was slacking more than that!
  • 30 house tomatoes - this one might need re-worked a bit
  • Something active 6 / 7 days (although I'd argue that the cleaning I did on Saturday should count for something!


Week 2:

  • No changes to morning routine; potentially starting a morning workout routine, but that means changing my alarm and I haven't yet.
  • 42 work tomatoes - this does not surprise me this week
  • 18 house tomatoes - but I do think I forgot a few
  • Something active 7 / 7 days (it was close, but the one day I almost missed, I got a quick workout in)


Week 3:

  • I haven't done anything different here. The baby was away for part of last week, so I didn't need to change my workout time
  • 38 work tomatoes - this was out of 32, due to Monday being a holiday
  • I didn't actually count tomatoes this week, but I did get everything done
  • 5 / 7 active days; one I missed because it was supposed to be a run day and we got a snowstorm and the second because I ran out of time with other things going on.

Week 4:

  • Getting my kitchen cleaned in the morning is really nice. I feel like if nothing else, the space is more welcoming. It's honestly been easier to work out at night (we tell the baby we are going to bed, he goes upstairs, then we go workout), so I haven't felt the need to really add anything else to my mornings. I feel like I should be doing more in the am, but I'm also not a morning person and need to accept that.
  • 46 work tomatoes. Based on the meetings last week, this isn't surprising. I had a lot of people time last week / this past weekend, so I'm still working on getting my equilibrium back, but this week should be better. 
  • I still didn't count tomatoes. And I also didn't mop. We had a lot of guests in and out of the house this weekend that made finding the time difficult (not to mention trying to do it around the baby). Everything else got done though. I'm using people as an excuse because I have just been a bit mentally drained after the past week / weekend. 
    • As a side note, last night when it was time for the baby to go to bed, we cleaned up his toys (he definitely helped, but he's also 3), he picked which toys he wanted to take back upstairs, and that's how we started his evening routine. I heard him later on at night, but it made a pretty clear end to playing / beginning to bedtime. It's also something that is easy for us to incorporate.
  • 6 / 7 active days. I missed Friday night as I had plans. I could have done it when I got home, but I didn't. 

Week 5:

  • 44 work tomatoes. This actually includes getting some things done and off my plate. Yay for less meetings.
  • Got all my house work done. I'm finally getting to the point where I'm like, I have to sweep and vacuum more than once a week. It's nice to feel like it's a priority versus being like, I'll get to it when I get to it. I also mopped. 
  • 7/7 active days. 
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Congrats on the house! I know the stress of moving (and settling) into a "new" home. And with my kids, my "home tomatoes" usually get smashed. But I have faith you'll get yours sorted and soon the awesomeness will commence.

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Will this be a random conglomeration of thoughts? Why yes, it will be!


We are finally celebrating Christmas with my parents this evening. My dad was diagnosed with COVID right before Christmas, then my mom tested positive before New Years. So now that they are out of quarantine, we are getting together. I'm very excited because it's one step closer to getting Christmas cleaned up. This weekend we are taking our tree to a goat farm and that will be the last thing that needs done (fun fact: apparently goats love Christmas trees). Not that there is anything wrong with Christmas or celebrating for a while, I'm just ready to have the house "normal" for really the first time since we moved in.


The kids have all been home and readily accessible to the baby for quite a while (with holidays) and now he's kind of "on his own" (like, his mom is here, but none of the other kids are). He's struggling to adjust to not having everyone around. We are working on getting him on a better schedule, but it's been a challenge with everything else going on. He woke me up at 7:30 this morning, opened my curtains, then informed me it was "good morning time".


My son and my husband are starting to work out with me, which is really nice. I like having the extra accountability. Except we are also all sore together. 

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1 hour ago, Sylvaa said:

Not that there is anything wrong with Christmas or celebrating for a while, I'm just ready to have the house "normal" for really the first time since we moved in.


I feel this. We keep the tree up until Three King's Day (tomorrow!!) and I'm so looking forward to taking it down at the weekend. It feels like the house has room to breathe again.


1 hour ago, Sylvaa said:

My son and my husband are starting to work out with me, which is really nice. I like having the extra accountability. Except we are also all sore together. 



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"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." --Michael Pollan
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I love your tomato strategy.  Following for new house adventures. 

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More in depth Week 1 update:


This week, we found out that the internet issue isn't actually with our Internet provider, but rather with our electric company, who needs to do something first (they need to run power to the amplifiers). So the estimated completion date is currently end of February. I guess as long as we have a date.... 


I haven't been sleeping well, so my morning routine has been kind of wonky. I've been playing around with trying different things, but what's been easiest is putting away the clean dishes, starting the dishwasher (when needed), and then a few sun salutations while waiting for my coffee. I'm not sure the morning is ever going to be my jam though, and I'm learning to live with it.


I'm actually surprised I made my work tomato goal. I think part of it was catch up from vacation and part of it was an extra meeting or two that got added on to my calendar. I've been trying to find a good balance between meetings (which I can't control), tasks I actually cross off my list, and "open tomatoes" that I can fill in as things come up. 


House tomatoes were relatively easy, and I think I'm going to have to repurpose what I consider a tomato. It's been based on either zones or tasks (but not both), but it was considerably easier than I thought to hit the number I needed to. I don't know if I made this too easy or if I've just been overly slacking on cleaning (this is totally possible). We did order groceries this weekend (we had stopped for the month of December) and I think that contributed though. Even on a quick grocery week, we're still out of the house for a good 2.5 - 3 hours versus the 1 hour for pick-up. So I got a good bit of time back on Saturday. That gave us enough time to drop the tree off at the goat farm and get another 3 boxes unpacked. We're at the point in the move where it's hard to figure out where the stuff we still have to unpack needs to go. We've thrown a lot away (it's really been in no condition to donate, since a lot of this spent over a year sitting in a garage) and we need to get some storage shelves for different areas before too long.


Working out has been nice, because I've been doing it with either my son or my husband. If my son stays with this for the rest of the month, we are buying some heavier dumbbells for him to use as a reward (it's also building up our gym piece by piece). I did get a heavier kettlebell this month, but he's not 100% sold on the kettlebell (don't worry, I'm getting him there). I have missed two runs because of the weather / cold, but I'm making one of them up this afternoon. I'm not super worried about this, I know that I'll miss some runs over the winter, I just want to start working on the time on my feet. 


This past week really ended up being our first week of "new normal." It's been such a crazy December, with having to finish up some things at the rental and trying to get unpacked enough to live in the new house and then the holidays that it was nice getting back to a more regular routine. I'm hoping this challenge keeps steam the whole way through. :) 

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Sylvaa is having a cranky day and just wants to complain. No action needed. I'm just venting. :)

  • My MIL got my step-son today from school (this is the usual process). They stopped and got bagels. Well, my step-son took his bagel to his room, left it on his desk, then went to the bathroom for some unspecified amount of time. He came back and the bagel was gone. So he's blaming the dog (the dog that I am 95% sure never went into his room, but whatever). He got limited sympathy from me, so he had to complain to people until he felt he got the right amount of sympathy. It's super annoying - like I don't have to feel bad for you for not making good decisions. We have a German Shepherd. While she is petite, there is not a lot of space on a desk that she can't reach. We have had said dog for 7 years. She is not new. 
  • My daughter is getting on my nerves from an overall standpoint. Some background: my daughter is on the schedule for a breast reduction surgery (currently scheduled for May). She has historically had back pain to the point where she has been in tears. I try to be understanding because I really can't argue. Like, I do not understand. I can try to empathize, but I've never been in her situation, so I understand I don't really get it. With the move to the new house, there is significantly more house for the baby to be in. And my daughter spends all of her time in her room on her bed, while the baby just does whatever. Occasionally, she'll get involved if she HAS to, but she's really relying on the rest of the family to be responsible for the baby most of the time. And I'm just over it. And to an extent her surgery coming up is making it worse (because I've got serious concerns that she's not going to change her habits because it's her "normal" now). Of course I can't really figure out if that is going to happen until after her surgery and healing, but I'm not really holding my breath.
  • My step-daughter has a job (on campus). She's been getting some extra hours over winter break because someone left, which would be fine. Except she literally acts like she's got the hardest job in the world (she works on campus at the Library). Now I get it to an extent. She's never had a job, she's not even used to being in school 8 hours. So working for 8 hours is a big change. But she acts like she's the only one in the house who has a job and has to work. It's super annoying. Yesterday, she got whiny because when my brother said he would grab dessert for the family (which she wanted) I told him to take the kid's car (she's currently the primary driver of that car) and she was complaining about having gas all planned out and it messing up her planning if he took that car. (For reference: there have been two trips over the past two weeks she hasn't had to take which were further than the grocery store, which is less than a mile from our house). 
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It's a great start to a week when you forget your computer password, follow the directions from your IT for fixing it, and that doesn't actually fix the issue.


Last week was rough. I had a lot going on and not a lot of family support, which always makes things harder. I got a few runs in which really helped my mood, but not enough (it was really cold, so I'm going to have to do something about warmer running clothes). It did end with some good talks, particularly with my daughter, which should help long-term. I definitely ended up retreating to my kindle books more than I have for a while, but I guess if that's the worst I do, not really a big thing. 


I've also noticed that without the internet, I waste less time. This is probably the best outcome of not having internet. It's easier to get all the things I want to get done, done because I have fewer distractions (well, it's not even that I have fewer distractions, I'm just less likely to do distracting things on my phone). Even hitting fewer tomatoes, my house is still getting cleaned. I did get to the library this weekend and got some books, including a gardening book, which is giving me grandiose ideas for my house. 


I've already changed my alarm to earlier in the morning to see if I actually will get out of bed and do a workout. It's not something I've consistently ever done in the morning, but it's been a struggle to try to workout with the baby around (he wants to come and workout, which is adorable, but since he's currently not listening, we've stopped). 

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Your life is a whirlwind of activity as usual,  yet still I'm surprised! I don't think I'll ever get used to it 😅 


I would go spare living in a house with so many people, I'm not surprised you get under each other's skin occasionally.  


Good job running in the cold,  i guess at least you don't get too sweaty! How cold are we talking?  12 degrees is bloody cold for me these days!

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         Endor, LVL 45 Half-Elf Ranger 

PR and Motivation Log | Current Battle Log 


                    Feb-March 2022 Challenge


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I feel like everything has pretty much calmed down, which is weird. Like, I'm so used to having a million things going on that now I don't know what to do with my life without chaos. I think that's part of the gardening ideas. I've got to have things to do. This past weekend I ended up meal prepping for my husband, son, and daughter because I had the extra time. 


It got pretty bad towards the end of our time in the rental, because we were all so ready to have more room. And this is coming from a fairly close family (like we actively choose to spend time together). Now it's just little things that pop up occasionally because living with people in general is hard. 🤣 In the new house, we have enough room to give each other space, so it's not really as bad as it was. 


Also, I'm in the US, so my 12 is in F, not C. It's currently 30 (-1), feels like 21 (-6). I'm actually excited because it is supposed to warm up enough to make for a nice run. 

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5 hours ago, Sylvaa said:

gardening ideas

Have you thought about growing some edible things?  I grow a few different chillies, including some exotic ones and enjoy eating them in various different ways.  


5 hours ago, Sylvaa said:

It's currently 30 (-1), feels like 21 (-6).

Gaaaaah! Haven't been in those temps for about 20 years! 

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         Endor, LVL 45 Half-Elf Ranger 

PR and Motivation Log | Current Battle Log 


                    Feb-March 2022 Challenge


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3 minutes ago, Endor said:

Have you thought about growing some edible things?  I grow a few different chillies, including some exotic ones and enjoy eating them in various different ways.


I guess I haven't talked too much about my gardening plans. Yes! I'm fully talking about a fruit and veggie garden, not flowers. We're planning on getting a few fruit trees (apples, cherries, plums, and apricot) to plant along the back side of the property and then next to the house we are landscaping stairs to the basement entrance and then putting in raised planter beds around them, with trellises around. Current plans include lettuce, tomato, carrots, potatoes, green onions, melons, squash, zucchini, garlic, assorted herbs, assorted berries, and whatever else I can find seeds for that grow. We are also doing some landscaping around the house and I'm including witch hazel, American hazelnut, elderberry, juniper, and American ginseng in the list of shrubs to include. And milkweed. Because monarchs.


My goal is to try to grow a good portion of the fruits and veggies that we eat (and also can / freeze what we can to use through the winter months) and include native plant species as much as possible. I'm also making sure to not include invasive species. Because it's kind of who I am as a person.


My dad (my mom and dad are building next door) is also planning on getting at least one bee hive too. 

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Yay! Were new home garden buddies this year! I'm also planning some landscaping around non-invasive/native plants.


What kind of soil do you have?


Also, American ginseng? Do you have forest on your property? My understanding is that ginseng is an old growth forest plant... though maybe with the right kind of mulch and fertilizer?



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--Stronkey Kong--


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44 minutes ago, Stronkey Kong said:

Also, American ginseng? Do you have forest on your property? My understanding is that ginseng is an old growth forest plant... though maybe with the right kind of mulch and fertilizer?


I'm going to see if I can get it to grow under the trees. But if not, my parents do! 


I haven't done any soil testing, but there is a lot of red clay. I'm planning on having most of my planting in raised beds due to the clay, but my dad was telling me our soil out here isn't as bad as the house I grew up in and we grew a good bit of veggies there, so we'll see. It's also one of the reason why I'm trying to stick with native plants as much as possible.


Yay for plant buddies though! I feel like the Adventurer's guild is slowly turning into Hobbiton.

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On 1/19/2022 at 1:43 PM, Sylvaa said:

I feel like the Adventurer's guild is slowly turning into Hobbiton


I can (for obvious reasons) totally get behind this :D

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