My 2018 List of 100 Dreams, part 2: Personal and family

It is List of 100 Dreams week on the blog! Yesterday, I shared the first part of my current list. Those items mostly centered on career and travel. The list goes through many iterations as I cross things off. For instance, when I first wrote this list last month, I wanted to redo the guest room. This is now done! So I crossed that off. But I can usually generate some new desires.

Here’s the first part of the “personal and family” section. I welcome suggestions on making any of these happen!

43. Go out to brunch. We used to do this before having kids.
44. Brush up on botany. Learn the names of plants/trees, particularly those that grow around here. This helps with writing — great for description! — and also makes the woods more enjoyable.
45. Throw some dinner parties. Maybe even the Martha Stewart Living type where someone hands you oysters on the porch (in winter!)
46. Have some sort of regular friend get-together. Bonus if the first letters of our names form an acronym.
47. Take voice lessons
48. Take more family photos and print them up.
49. Put more photos + art on the walls. It’s pretty bare in the house. Maybe even commission some art.
50. Sing the Bach B-Minor Mass. This is still on the list and has been so since 2010! I learned it for my college choir, but then I went to Australia to study abroad before the performance, so I never got to sing it in a concert.
51. Go to outdoor summer concerts. Also, some concerts of big name bands/performers. I have some friends who took their daughters to Taylor Swift and they said it was really fun.
52. Attend more symphonies and ballets
53. Read through some of my old journals. Some of them. Some should just be burned.
54. Keep going on the time logs!
55. Visit some breweries (maybe a local PA tour!). And beer gardens. We already did a local ciders + historic mansions tour last weekend.
56. Do puzzles with the kids but also puzzles solo. It’s a good way to relax at night. I like Crocodile Creek, so should buy more of their 200-300 piece versions.
57. Walk A to preschool some mornings
58. Do one-on-one days/times/adventures with the kids (Mommy Days, birthday stuff, etc.)
59. Read out loud to the older kids. I am already doing this 6 days a week with my daughter, so it’s more for the older boys. We started reading The Hobbit and then I lost momentum.
60. Get a regular public library visitation going, especially so the 9- and 11-year-old have enough stuff to read.
61. Be a homeroom parent (note: I currently am one, so this is ongoing)
62. Spend a month at the beach (but with childcare until the kids are older, if anyone recalls my 2-week “vacation” I mentioned on the podcast)
63. Create a really nice dollhouse, inspired by the miniature rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago and Queen Mary’s rooms at Windsor. I’m kind of waiting until the kids are old enough not to ruin it!
64. Learn to throw a ball and a frisbee in a non-embarrassing fashion
65. Learn how to apply make-up
66. Get better bed linens. We actually just did this for all the other beds, so now it’s time to get new ones for the master bedroom, and generally make it more of a sanctuary.
67. Flowers! More inside, and and step up the gardens outside. Also, visit more big gardens. I go to Longwood probably 4 times per year.
68. Maximize our outdoor living space. This may be the next big reno project.
69. Commission a major a cappella or solo instrument choral work. There aren’t a whole lot of performance length pieces that don’t require a full orchestra.
70. Make some Christmas ornaments, and sometime decorate the whole house nicely for Christmas. Also, visit some lovely Christmas-decorated homes.
71. Finish the cross-stitched stocking I started when I was a teenager! Or get someone else to do it. It’s sitting in my office, taunting me right now…

Photo: Cezanne at the Barnes — combining things I like — botany and art

13 thoughts on “My 2018 List of 100 Dreams, part 2: Personal and family

  1. Thanks for sharing your list, thanks for the inspiration. I have a suggestion for 71. Finishing your cross stitch. Put it on your office desk for when you have conference calls that don’t need your full attention. When I need to know what is heppening but not activly participate in a phone meeting from home I try to occupy my hands so I still pay attention. That way I don’t get tempted to check email and then can’t properly focus on the call. This way you will make progress on the cross stitch and not be tempted to multi-task in a way that is distracting.

    I recently started listening to your podcast and love it – keep it up!

  2. Make the dinner parties simple so that you actually follow through with them. Pinch of Yum ( had some awesome pointers on how to form a dinner club where the host in only responsible for one main dish and the guests fill in the gaps. I have hosted similar dinner parties, and they work amazing!

    1. @Amy – thanks for the tip! Yes, asking guests’ to bring side dishes would be smart. Though honestly, I’ve hosted several Thanksgivings and they are not really that tough. I think it’s just about scheduling stuff with friends on a non holiday that trips me up.

  3. A fellow professor mom and I made appts at Sephora before the fall semester and got GREAT lessons on make up for our late 30s. We walked out with a haul and 2 months later are keeping it up. We both say how much better we feel for having done that, esp. when we roll into class exhausted (but looking fab).

    1. @Jennifer – yes, I suppose it is like anything else – make-up application is a skill. For much of my life I didn’t think about it, but as I near 40, it turns out that being “effortlessly beautiful” requires more effort.

  4. #59 Jim Trelease has an amazing book called The Read Aloud Handbook. He also has a great website which has lots of suggestions of inspiring books for ages and stages.

  5. #71 it depends how you feel about the stocking project, but I recently commissioned someone (via etsy) to complete a quilt I had started with my grandmother and sister when I was a teenager. It languished in my basement for 15 years because, honestly, I didn’t really want to finish it. It is now done and giving it to my dad brought him a lot of joy. It wasn’t bringing anyone any joy in pieces in the storage bin. Least of all me.

    1. @Byrd- I might wind up outsourcing it, because I am not sure how much I’d enjoy it plus the fact that it is sitting there is kind of nagging at me. We shall see.

  6. #65 Have you come across Lisa Eldridge‘s website yet? Love her video tutorials, which range from basics and 5 minute make-up to more complicated looks. If there’s any chance – this make-up pro/working mum would certainly make a very interesting interview partner

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