Did you think you had finally moved past the time of seeing everyone’s “New Year resolution” posts? Surprise! How about reading just one more for an extra boost of motivation (since most of you have already failed yours by now…just sayin’!). I know I always get inspired reading others’ goals, I hope ya’ll feel the same after you breeze through mine.
My lateness in posting this isn’t because of procrastination, which is a first around here. It’s not even really due to being too busy (which honestly, I have been). I purposely decided that I wouldn’t begin resolution brainstorming until the first of the new year. I wanted to end 2015 by reflecting on the past year, rather than already making plans for one that hadn’t even begun yet. I decided that I’d spend the beginning of January thinking hard about what I’d like to improve on, personally. I chose to take my time, planning out parts of the year to come and filling it with goals to work towards. I didn’t want to rush the process to meet a blogging deadline or so I wouldn’t fall behind with what other bloggers were posting about. I’ve dedicated a lot of thought to these lists and I’ve now reached a point of satisfaction with them. Lists? Yup, I’m sharing resolutions and goals.
I look at resolutions and goals as two different ideas. To me, resolutions seem more like things you hope to start doing on a more regular basis. They seem more like good habits or routines that you want to try to form or strengthen, and to be ongoing for a long period of time or even for life.
Goals, on the other hand, are one time events or achievements that one can work towards over time. Sure, they may require a little bit of routine and repetition to get there, but these are things that can be crossed off from a list once the goal has been met. So, I made two separate lists.
In no particular order, here is a good chunk (not all of it) of what I hope to aspire to in 2016…
- Drink more water. It’s embarrassing how little water I’ve been drinking on a daily basis. My goal is for a minimum intake of 90 ounces a day (about 11 cups). I’m dehydrated often, and I think this is causing me to have more headaches (which I never used to have), yucky skin (which is usually healthier than not) and decreased energy.
- Incorporate juicing and smoothies into each week. This is something that I’ve already begun to do this year. I successfully made smoothies on three days during last week and juiced on two. Fruits and vegetables are expensive, especially organic. And it seems like I’m getting little juice from the large amount of produce I’m using. So due to cost, I’m happy with keeping juicing to a twice a week maximum. The smoothies I’ve made so far have replaced breakfast for both my husband and me. I’ve changed things up a little here and there between them but each has been delicious and filling. So far, I’ve used ingredients like frozen bananas and frozen berries, rolled oats, peanut butter, almonds, chia seeds, flaxseed, almond milk, spinach, kale, Greek yogurt, Kefir, avocado and honey. I’m really enjoying this resolution so far and don’t know why I wasn’t doing this already?!
- Begin a fitness routine. I mean, any routine will do here. Going from nothing to something is a success in my book. Even if I only manage to walk on my treadmill for 15 minutes each day, I’ll take it. Of course, my hope is for this to grow into something bigger than that, yielding me with some impressive results. But I’ve found that putting so much pressure on myself in the past has ultimately led to pushing myself too hard, too fast…leading to failure. So I’m taking a more causal and laid back approach and will be sure to pat myself on my love-handled back for every small victory. Sorry, but I’m the heaviest I’ve EVER been right now. Before kids, I was wearing a size small shirt/top. Almost 5 years later and I’m wearing an XL top and my pants have increased by 4-5 sizes. I basically live in oversized shirts and sweatshirts, yoga pants and/or pajamas. And I hate going out into public or even worse, the idea of running into people I haven’t seen in a while. I’ve crawled into a “bunker”, so I call it, and need to get outta here. I need to live, I’m too damn young to be hiding from life. I’ve got a goal of losing around 35 lbs, total. I haven’t broken that down into a certain number of pounds per month yet, but I will…and it will be realistic.
- Homeschool Mia. Let’s not all freak out at once here, let me explain. The idea of homeschool is a very fresh one that Dominic and I have been humoring over the last month. I’ve decided to create an at-home, academic program for Mia until she’s of Kindergarten age which will be in a little over a year. I’m confident in my ability to successfully carry this through because I used to work at a private school for over 10 years and have enough experience with teaching 4 year olds through the 2nd grade. Depending on my experience with Mia from now until she turns 5, we’ll make a decision then as to whether or not we’ll be enrolling her into a public school, private school or continue to homeschool her. By then, she’ll be ahead of any public Kindergarten class so I’m hoping we’ll be able to afford a private education. For the last month, I’ve been researching non-stop on different methods, materials, worksheets, curriculum and so forth and just where to even begin. I actually began our little “Mommy ABC School” (as Mia calls it) two weeks ago. It already has its own hashtag on Instagram: #mommyabcschool. Mia has really taken to it so far and has learned about letters A and B (started C this week), counting, identifying numbers, apples (life cycle, identifying their parts, cooking applesauce and more) bears (their habitat, the food they eat, hibernating, etc.), winter, colors, shapes (and how to draw them), caterpillars (life cycle of a butterfly, raising our own butterflies) days of the week and months of the year. I’ll definitely blog more about this topic separately. This has been very time-consuming so far, but I’m excited to have begun an academic focused program that pushes her more than your typical preschool can. Currently, she’s still attending preschool a few days a week for its social benefits. If you have any resources that you’ve found helpful or would like to share your experiences with homeschooling, PLEASE, share away! No, seriously. Puh-lease!
- Pre-plan each week’s dinner menu. This is something that I’ve been doing already, but sporadically. I want to create the habit of planning the menu each week and gathering all ingredients for the recipes once a week, too. I predict this will save me a lot of time since I’ll only be grocery shopping once a week and because I won’t have to rack my brain each evening over what to make for dinner. I also want to take this goal a step further by choosing recipes that will fully use up all the groceries bought for that week. I hate using half of an onion, for example, for one recipe and then not having any need for the other half until, of course, it’s too late and it’s rotting away in the fridge in an unseen corner in the back. That’s just money down the drain….or into the trash. I’m better than that.
- Create and follow a specific budget. Getting a firm grip on our finances is a huge resolution for us this year. We need to create a very specific budget that allots a certain amount of money to each aspect of our lives. We need to identify where all of our money is going. Doing this will help us use our money more efficiently and effectively and will also allow us to create a better savings and to help pay off our debt (see list of goals below).
- Create a weekly routine for myself. I suspect this resolution to be my most difficult to follow through with. I’ve attempted this a handful of times but have stuck with it for no more than two weeks. What it is, specifically, is a written out routine of basically how I want to organize each day of the week to efficiently accomplish my responsibilities and chores. I think these routines have failed in the past for me because I never scheduled “me time.” So, my days were filled mostly with work like dusting, organizing, vacuuming, dishes, loads of laundry, folding clothes and putting it all away, picking up toys and books, planning and preparing meals for 3 other humans (2 of which, three times each day not including snacks) and 3 dogs, Windexing windows and mirrors, cleaning toilets and tubs and sinks, paying bills, playing and reading with the kids, grocery shopping, preschool drop-off/pick-up, etc. Each day I felt like a robot. I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. Sure, I want to live in a clean home but I certainly don’t enjoy the process of attaining one nor do I prefer to spend all of my time doing so. I want a life, too! Where was the time for anything I liked to do, like sew? Blog? Practice photography? DIY/Create? Grow a new hobby/interest? Visit a new place? See new sights? This time around, when I plan out my routine, I’m making it a point to schedule some much needed “me time”. I have to be a priority, too. I hope for this routine to allow my house and life to be more organized and attended to. I hope it creates a balance, allowing all aspects to get my attention. Maybe then I won’t feel so overwhelmed and buried with things to do, which of course, is what keeps from avoiding it all. I’ve already laid out the routine for myself and have slowly been getting into the groove of it. Needs a little tweaking, but I hope it keeps me accountable.
- Try something new each month. This resolution is my attempt at getting out of the house and breaking up the monotony that is my life. I’d love for this “something new” each month to be a new place visited. I want to explore more. I want adventure. And I want to expose my kids to more than just preschool, the grocery store, our living room and backyard. Because honestly, that’s mostly where we spend our time. A big reason for this was because Margo’s first 6 months of life were really rough for us all. She was anything but easy and was very difficult to leave the house with. Now that she’s a rockstar, I look forward to escaping our “bunker” and living, rather than just existing. I think the best way to accomplish this is to pre-pick these adventures and schedule them each month ahead of time. Otherwise, I may just “forget” or avoid it all together. All of the photos seen here are from a nearby park that overlooks our city. As a family, we had never ventured out to catch the sunset before and this is exactly what we did here. It was a sporadic decision which fulfilled my “something new” for January and got us saying that we want to come here a lot more often for sunsets.
- Minimize our possessions/keep a clutter free home. Simply put, we have too much shit. This seems like a really easy resolution to live by, but in our house, that’s not the case. One reason being that we have minimal storage space inside our home. There’s only one built-in storage space that holds towels, sheets and toiletries/first aid and each bedroom has one closet. That’s it. Our garage is a decent size, but because Dominic’s pond business is based from home currently, it’s mostly filled with pond parts, supplies, fish food and tools. Big tools. Another obstacle I face is that Dominic and I differ in how attached we are to our things. It’s harder for him to throw things away. He always claims to have a use for everything, even though most of these things sit, untouched, for months to years. I’m better able to just toss it all. If it hasn’t been used or touched within the last 6 months, I want it gone. Here’s to hoping we can both work together to minimize our belongings to the things we actually need and use on a regular basis. Our possessions have been slowly suffocating me, and I’m ready to breathe easy this year.
- Blog 2-3 times a week. This space has taken a back seat to life lately. This bums me out because my main reason for blogging is to document memories and thoughts and experiences so that I won’t forget. My memory is worse than awful, I’ve already forgotten most of my childhood and my high school years. I hate the thought of forgetting my kids’ childhood and upbringing as well. This blog is a sure way to keep track of it all and I hope that my girls treasure this space when they’re old enough to view it, too. I’ve got so much to catch up on here and I feel like I’m already forgetting a lot of life, lately. I also love connecting with, learning from and being inspired by other bloggers and readers that I come across. My life, right now, consists of communicating mostly with a 3 year old and a baby. Blogging is a great way to connect to other adults, to have actual conversations and to see that so many others can relate to what I’m experiencing. It’s my little window out into the real world, while I’m “living under my bunker.”
- Regularly take probiotics. Have you read up on the benefits of taking probiotics daily? I have, and you should, too! I’m not going to get into the details, but keeping a healthy gut is crucial to overall health and immunity. Look into it. Not only will I be regularly taking them, but my kids will be, too. It ain’t cheap, but our health is worth it.
- Be a better friend. Am I good friend? I think so. Good listener, check. Advice giver, check. Secret keeper, check. Humorous, check. And I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but oh so much more! ;) No, but honestly the part of friendship that I seriously lack in is keeping in better touch with my friends! I’ve been more self-involved lately than I would like to admit. Kids truthfully do take up a lot of time, but I need to make my friends more of a priority as well. I want to be better at returning texts in a more timely manner. I’ve been guilty on too many occasions, responding to texts days later. I hate it when anyone does that to me, and so I’m sure my friends have been irritated with me on this, too many times. I want to check in with them on a more regular basis, too. I’ve always been the one to wait for friends to reach out to me and this needs to change. I also want to bring back “snail mail” in the process. I want to regularly send letters and fun cards on holidays, birthdays and just randomly to let them know I’m thinking of them. I’ve got a handful of solid friends that I’ve kept since high school, and even more that were made during my teaching job. And I miss them all so much, and the days when we were much closer than we are now.
- Plan a family vacation and save $$ for it. Aside from camping trips long ago, or an overnighter in a nearby town (like Santa Barbara or San Diego), Dominic and I have never taken a real vacation together…even before the kids (nope, no honeymoon either). We always talk about wanting to get away to some place tropical but never actually make an effort to plan for it. I think this summer, the kids will be of a decent age to take on our first vacation together. And so the pinning of locations commences. If you have any recommendations for a family fun adventure for us, feel free to share!
- Devise a concrete plan to become debt free. Unfortunately, we’re not out of debt (yeah, so about that family vacation…right?!). Debt is something we definitely need to eliminate from our lives, once and for all! Again, this is another goal that we talk all of the time about achieving, but don’t actually write up or organize a concrete plan to get there. I mentioned following a strict budget in my “resolutions” list, which is the first step to figuring out how much money we can actually use towards paying off debt. Once we know how much money to allot to it, we can then organize our debt into a list of which to pay off first. And then….knock it all off one at a time. I will give us one big pat on the back for rarely using our credit cards. Rarely. I’d say that about 85% of the time, we’re using cash/debit cards so that’s a big step already into the right direction.
- Plan our first family camping trip. Before having kids, Dominic and I really loved to camp. Our favorite spot together was in Bishop, CA because of it’s amazing scenery in the green mountains, the fresh air, the star-filled skies and the numerous streams and lakes for fishing in. Now that both kids are at an age that can handle camping, we’re all anxiously awaiting this family “first.” This is the year! I’m thinking Carpinteria State Beach would be a good first location over the summer. The weather should be warm, Mia loves the beach and we’ll be close enough to home and civilization should anything go wrong.
- Research private schools in our area and make appointments to tour them. I mentioned my goal to homeschool Mia above during just her Pre-K year. But, after implementing the homeschool program that I have planned for her, she’ll be ahead of any Kindergarten class in a public school setting which makes me want to choose a private school. We have no clue how much private school will cost, so we just want to get an idea of whether or not this is a realistic option for us. I may just decide to continue to homeschool Mia during her Kindergarten year, giving us another year to save money for a private school starting in the 1st grade. A lot of this is still up in the air, but it’s definitely time to be having this conversation as she approaches her fourth birthday in April. We need a solid plan for her education. And then a plan B and plan C.
- Find our very first babysitter! My mom has babysat plenty of times and a friend of mine watched Mia for a few hours while I was pregnant with Margo but that’s it. To be honest, the thought of someone else watching my kids makes me extremely uneasy. I’ve just heard way too many horror stories to be comfortable with it. This is definitely not a goal that I’m determined to achieve this year, because I don’t want to force anything that doesn’t feel right. I’m definitely willing to hold off as long as necessary until I find the perfect person for the job. But, I at least want to start looking and asking around among friends who may have a younger sibling or even a kid of their own who may be interested. The thought of actually getting out of the house with Dominic for some grown-up activities once in awhile makes me ridiculously excited.
- Take photography related classes to improve my skills and up my game. I’m not completely satisfied with my final, edited photos most of the time. I haven’t been able to pin-point whether it’s how I take the photos or how I’m editing them that isn’t yielding the results I’m looking for. So, I want to take a class that instructs me on the whole process of a photo session, start to finish. Preferably one that provides a model and is a total hands on instruction kind of class. The other class/es will be on working with Lightroom, which is the editing program that I use. I’m self-taught so far and I know there’s a lot more that I can do with it that I just haven’t tapped into yet. I want my photography skills and business to be something I’m proud of, to reflect a specific style that I’ve developed and to be desired by the community. I want my
phone to be ringing off the hookemail/text to be popping (it’s 2016, no one calls anyone anymore). I want to be busy and provide something special to my clients that stands out from the rest. I need to dedicate a decent amount of energy to make that happen, that’s for sure.
- Take a sewing class. I have an Etsy store that’s been lacking for awhile. Currently, I’m selling what’s left of the burp cloth sets I’ve made and my mom has some of her handmade, natural stone jewelry in the shop, too. I really want to extend my sewing skills to a higher degree of difficulty. Reading patterns isn’t something that comes easy to me, mainly because I’ve never been taught how. I definitely want to find a workshop or class that will show me the basics of sewing and using a sewing machine and how to read patterns. I would love to learn to hand-make simple clothes for babies and kids (like dresses, leggings, drawstring pajama pants, bibs, plush dolls (maybe), more detailed quilts (than what I can make, currently) and much more. I’d love for my Etsy shop to grow in regards to products along with gaining a decent sized audience who are interested in them.
Alright kids, that pretty much sums it up for me and my shit to get done this year. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me but I know deep down that I’m capable of achieving it all and more. I’ve reached a time in my life where it’s especially important to set the best example possible for my kids. Mia is at an age of soaking everything up like a sponge and of observing everything and everyone around her and questioning it all along the way…and remembering it, too! I don’t take this parenting gig lightly and I know that my girls wouldn’t expect me too, either.
Game on, 2016!