Happy New Year!

New-Years-Resolutions1

 

Happy New Year! I feel like we haven’t talked in so long! How’ve you been? How was your Christmas? Now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays are over, its time to start thinking about how you are going to make 2018 YOUR YEAR! Any plans? Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, I’ve got chu.

I’ve posted about this before, but I’ll do a little recap on how I like to do my resolutions list.

Write out “2018” vertically on a sheet of paper. Then, for the number two, write the two best things that happened in 2017. For the zero, jot down a habit you’d like to break in the new year. The one is for your one wish for 2018 (i.e., health, stability, find love, etc.) and the eight is where you list eight goals you’d like to accomplish over the next twelve months. Need help coming up with ideas? Here’s my list to help you get started!

 

2—The Two Best Things That Happened This Year

 

Adding to My Friends List

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No, I don’t mean on Facebook. I’m talking about real life, yo. This year I’ve really got to know some awesome ladies and have become super close with. It’s just nice to have some gal pals you can commiserate with, laugh with, and swap stories with who totally “get you”.

 

Teaching KidFit

workout

Last year was my first year teaching at my church’s Mother’s Day Out program. I enjoyed working with the Littles I taught but this year, instead of working in a classroom with the same kids all day, my co-teacher and I decided to shake things up and teach “KidFit” (basically P.E.). It’s so much fun! We get to see all age groups of kids AND we get paid to PLAY. How awesome it that?!

 

 

0–Something You Want to Stop in the New Year

 

Getting Unnecessarily Stressed Out

stressed

Ugh. I do this so much. Something trivial will happen, I’ll freak out, and then later I’ll think: “Wow that really wasn’t a big deal. And now that I’ve had time to think about it, I’m super embarrassed about how I handled it.” This happens to me frequently throughout the day. I want to be more relaxed—especially about stuff that doesn’t really matter—because I think that will add to my (and everyone around me) quality of life. *takes deep, cleansing breath*

 

1—My One Wish for 2018

 

Health

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Last year I saw so many people I know and care for come down with terrible sicknesses and diagnoses. My wish for the New Year is health—for me, my family, my friends, and acquaintances.

 

8—Eight Goals for the New Year

 

Get Down to Pre-Huff the Tot Weight

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This has pretty much been a goal since I gave birth to HtT…four years ago.

 

Find a Literary Agent

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Again, this has been a goal of mine for YEARS. Last year, I may have sat down to work on my book and find an agent ONCE. O-N-C-E. I really want to become a published author with a literary agent, so I’ve got to actually TRY.

 

Practice Banjo Everyday

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For our anniversary last year, Huff the Hubs got me a banjo! I’m super excited about learning and I’ve been doing lessons now for about three months. As you can imagine, it’s hard to accomplish anything when you’ve got two little ankle biters running amok, so my practice times have been few and far between (especially with the holidays). But, it’s the time for resolutions and I’m ready to stick to this one!

 

Be Consistent with Tot School

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I’m prayerfully considering homeschool my turkeys. For many reasons, of which I won’t bore you with now. I have basically two years to decide whether or not it will be the avenue our family will take, so I’m trying to get a glimpse of what it would be like by creating—and sticking to—lesson plans for Tot School. This is a BIG goal of mine for 2018!

 

Wake Before the Kids

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This is a constant goal. I want to wake before the kids so I can workout, shower, read a devotional, eat breakfast, and pretty much get my head in the game before, as Huff the Hubs calls it, “The Krakens awaken”, ha!

 

Read One Book a Month

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Last year I read two books. TWO. FREAKING. BOOKS. That’s it. My sister has read NINE in the past two weeks. Yeah. If I want to be a better writer, I’ve got to be a better reader. This means I need to read so I can learn from other writers I enjoy (and even some I dislike)!

 

Blog Consistently

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The holidays really threw off my groove. I felt like I was doing okay with blogging and then bam! Thanksgiving hit and it was all downhill. I want to blog more consistently; even if folks don’t read what I post, it’s a great outlet for me!

 

Save More Money

Walk-Away

When Christmas came around, I sadly saw my checking account was not as plentiful as I had hoped. Why? Because, Target Dollar Spot. And Chick-Fil-A. And Starbucks’ cake pops. And Chick-Fil-A. And Chick-Fil-A. (Seeing a pattern?) I’ve made up a personal savings plan for myself (I even made a spreadsheet in Excel, woot!) and I intend to make it rain…in the safety of my account.

 

What about you? What are your resolutions? Share in the comments below!

5, 4, 3, 2, 1….

1NewYearsEve

 

Its that time of year again, folks!

That time of year when people say they’re going to get fit, get rich, and get organized only to putter out around Valentine’s Day. But don’t worry, I’ve got a way to make your resolutions simple and attainable!

Remember on NYE 2013 when I blogged about how my sister was teaching her fourth grade class about resolutions? No? Then read this. I’ll wait.

You done? Good. Let’s continue…

Here’s what to do.

Write this out on a sheet of paper:

2

0

1

6

For the 2: Name the two best things that happened in 2015.

For the 0: Name something you want to STOP doing in the New Year.

For the 1: Your one wish for 2016.

For the 6: Six goals for 2016.
Here’s mine:
The 2 Best Things of 2015:
We Bought a House!
4homeowners
I had been a long road to buying our first home, but we did it! We lived with my sister, Bridget, for a year and a half and were able to save a 20% down payment! We’ve finally settled in and have *almost* everything finished!
BABIES!
2Cute-Babies-Group
My newsfeed has been blowing up this year with pictures of positive pregnancy tests and new little ones being brought into the world. I found out I was pregnant in July and my best friend found out she’s pregnant a few months after! Up with babies!
Something I Want to Stop in the New Year:
Putting chores before my kids. 
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Dishes can wait. Laundry can wait. Dusting can wait. You know what can’t wait? My little girl saying, “Momma, come dance with me!” or “Momma, you read dis book to me?” I’ve been really bad lately about trying to just get everything done that I forget that there’s a tiny human that craves and needs a lot of my focus and attention right now. These are precious years I’ll never get back. And, she’s going to have a little brother soon that will also require my time. Chores can wait.
My 1 Wish for 2016:
Health
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This year was filled with so many of my friends and loved ones getting seriously ill. I don’t like it! My wish for 2016 is that my family, friends, and I all have excellent health!
Six Goals for the New Year:
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Workout Consistently
I’ve lost some of my speed and endurance. I’d like to get that back!
Be Able to Live on One Income
Eventually, I’d like to become a SAHM. But I’d like to try living on one income for a while, just to be 100% sure we can do it.
Be Present
So much of my time that I spend with family and friends is consumed with thoughts like, “Okay, let’s get this over with because I need to do A, B, C…” or “I need to check Facebook one more time…” I want to be able to stop the distractions and actually be present. 
De-Clutter
Nothing like moving to show you how much crap you have and how much crap you don’t need. I’ve already started getting things organized for a garage sale next summer!
Save Money
Huff the Hubs and I have a lot of goals for our family and we can’t really do a lot of them unless we watch our spending and save. Now that the holidays are over, hopefully it will be a bit easier!
Travel
We traveled a little this year, but I’d like to take a trip with Huff the Hubs and a family vacation next year. We’ll see if my tune changes once Huff the Babe gets here!
What are your goals for the new year? Have you filled out the “2016” form? What would your’s say? Share in the comments below!

There’s An App For That!

Alright people, now that the hub-bub of the holidays are over (and it’s a Monday, and we all know diets can’t start on any other day of the week) we can officially start working on our New Year’s Resolutions!

 

It seems like the toughest part of keeping a resolution past February is lack of accountability. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard (or said):  “Well, I would go to the gym/save money/eat healthier, but I don’t have anyone to go with me/know where to start/have motivation.”

 

Thankfully, there’s an app for that! And by “that” I mean all of your excuses-ha!

 

Sparkpeople

Used For: Weight Loss, Healthy Living

Price in App Store: Free

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This is one of my FAVORITE apps! I’ve been using this site for over 5 years now. It’s similar to MyFitnessPal (which I’ve also used) but SO much more user-friendly. You can track your calories eaten, fitness minutes, calories burned, and water drank! And, you can sync it with your FitBit! (A little shameless plug: I used this app when I first started trying to lose weight and it helped me lose 35lbs!)

 

Good Budget

Used For: Money Management, Budgeting

Price in App Store: Free

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Huff the Hubs and I are all about Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps and implementing the Envelope System. The gist is you pay in cash for everything you purchase because it has more of an emotional connection to you. You also separate your money into envelopes labeled “Groceries”, “Gas”, “Food”, etc.  But, it’s not for everyone. Some people hate carrying around envelopes and others don’t like toting a bunch of cash in their purses because they like the convenience of debit/credit cards. Thanks to the Good Budget app, you can still utilize the Envelope System without carrying caboodles of cash! Just note the amount budgeted for each category and then track where you spend! Super easy!

 

Coach.Me

Used For: Wellness, Healthy Living, Relationships

Price in App Store: Free

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This app is an all-over-the-board-motivator! Whether your resolution is to stop complaining, start working out, or learn to play the piano, Coach.Me is there to help you achieve your goals! There are tips, forums, and plans to get you motivated, moving, and feel great—inside and out!

 

 

Are there any apps that have helped you? What are they?

End of the Year Wrap-Up

I have something special planned for Wednesday, so I thought I’d go ahead and get a jump on the New Year’s Resolution bandwagon!

Last year, I started a new way of thinking about my resolutions. I used to make a crazy long list of things I wanted to accomplish in the New Year, only to pitter out by the end of February. Then, my sister told me about what she does with her fourth grade students. I did it last year and I found it so much easier to track my goals!

Here’s what you do:

2: List the two best things that happened in 2014

0:  Name something you want to STOP doing in the New Year

1: Your one wish for 2015

5: Five goals you want to accomplish in the coming year.

 

Two best things from 2014:

1. Hermione’s milestones.

hermione

Watching my little Gryffindor grow from a precious little poop machine into a toddler has been amazing! Now she has teeth, can feed herself, babbles, says a few words, and is running like a Kenyan at the NYC Marathon!

2. Finishing my 30 By 30 List.

marathon

Oh my sheesh am I glad that I am DONE with that list! Well…almost done. Now I can focus on my 40 By 40 (I have time, right?). That list was equal parts fun and disaster. But it was great to experience and mark off those things I accomplished.

 

Something you want to stop:

chores

Putting other things before my family.

There are so many times when I’m running around like a mad woman, trying to get laundry put away and organize this and plan that only to hear, “Aw! Babe, you missed it! Hermione just did the cutest thing!” I’m missing moments, precious moments I won’t get back. The laundry can wait and the dishes won’t suffer if they soak for an extra hour. I have toes to tickle and snuggles to be had.

 

My one wish for 2015:

peace

Peace.

When I say “peace”, I don’t just mean, “Let’s all hold hands and sing kumbaya/give the world a Coke®”. I mean, I want peace in every aspect of my life. Peace in my home (i.e., no more nagging Huff the Hubs about his driving, being hateful because something didn’t go my way); peace in my heart (stop worrying—I will admit, I’m getting better!); peace in life (stop sweating the small stuff, see challenges as opportunities, etc.).

 

Five goals I want to accomplish this year:

1. Get back to fighting shape.

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I was my most confident when I felt strong. I felt my strongest before my second half marathon. My goal is to get back to that feeling and level of fitness.

 

2. Buy a house.

house

Don’t get me wrong, I love living with my sister. She’s been so accommodating and it’s been such a blessing (for her and us) that we’ve been able to bunk with her. But, I am really looking forward to being a homeowner, so started looking for the custom home builders already.

 

3. Go a month without spending.

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By “without spending” I don’t mean things we need to live (i.e., groceries, rent, gas for cars, etc.) I mean meaningless spending. Like going out to eat, clothes I’ll never wear, toys Hermione won’t play with, and countless stuff from Target’s Dollar Spot.

 

4. Read one book a month.

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I’ve knocked out the classic books I want to read, now it’s time for modern books and, if I think I can hack it, maybe a biography or two.

 

5. Travel.

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I have been to A LOT of places. I’ve been to Europe three times, Hawaii three times, and countless other places. But, I haven’t seen enough of my big world yet. There are so many historical sites I want to see and natural wonders HtH hasn’t seen. Good thing I bought new luggage on Black Friday!

 

What about you? What are your goals for 2015?

Dirty Thirty Wrap-Up

So, as you know, I turned the big 3-0 last week! And, to lament celebrate the fact that I am now “over the hill”, I decided to do a 30 By 30 List. Last Thursday, I told you which items I had crossed off (in JUST the nick of time!) and which ones I had left. Now, to wrap this fun little venture up into a nice little bow, I’m going to do a review/critique of my year(s) in accomplishing my goals!

 

Most Favorite Goal:

Sew and wear a dress/skirt

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This goal was tough. I’m no seamstress, and I was afraid of what I might make. But I actually really enjoyed learning about sewing! Plus, I got to spend a lot of one-on-one time with my mom which I don’t get much anymore.

 

Least Favorite Goal:

Watch all of AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies.

afi

OMG. This was such a cumbersome goal. While watching some of the films on this list I thought: “Why in the world is this on here?! Its AWFUL!” Some of the movies were just downright painful to watch (Sophie’s Choice, A Clockwork Orange, Apocalypse Now) and others left me scratching my head thinking, “What just happened?”

 

Most Time-Consuming Goal:

Run a marathon.

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If you want to spend your weekends waking up at the crack of dawn, running in freezing temps, and putting your body through all kinds of pain then, by all means, train for and run a marathon. I ran three times during the week and every single Saturday morning for almost five months. There were days I’d wake up before Huff the Hubs and Huff the Babe and not see them until lunchtime! It was tough!

 

Something I Will Never Attempt Again (Maybe):

Tie: Run a Marathon and Undertake a Big List (like AFI’s)

regret-nothing

Why will I not run a marathon again? Perhaps you haven’t read this post. Read it. It explains EVERYTHING.

Also, if you’re considering making a 30 By 30, keep the goals small. Don’t say, “I want to cook through Julia Child’s entire cookbook” and count it as one goal. You will regret it. Trust me.

 

Something I’d Like to Do Again:

Have A(nother) Baby.

She's my glow.

I’ve been feeling the itch to have another wee one ever since Huff the Babe turned 1. Plus, she needs a little sibling. Just not yet!

 

Goal I’m Most Proud Of:

Tie: Run a Marathon and Pay Off All School Loan Debt.

angels

Running a marathon is HARD. Not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Next to childbirth, it is the most difficult thing I have ever done.

When Huff the Hubs and I got married, we both brought in student loan debt. We wanted to be completely debt-free before we had a baby, and we met that goal! In a little over a year, HtH and I were able to pay off over $20K in debt! We were both so proud (and thankful)!

 

Goal I Didn’t Accomplish (And Wished I Had):

Tie: Get a Literary Agent and Buy a House.

Soon.

Soon.

 

I’m still working on finding an agent. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it happens at least before I turn 35! I told myself I’d try for a certain amount of time and, if it hadn’t happened yet, I’d assume it wasn’t meant to be and I’d throw in the towel. (Here’s hoping I hang on to that towel for a while!)

Don’t get me wrong, I am so incredibly grateful to my sister for letting Huff the Hubs, Huff the Babe, and I squat at her house. It’s helped us save for a down payment and has also helped her to have someone home to take care of her pup while she’s working on her Master’s. But still, I’m ready to have a house of my own. But, I know everything happens for a reason! There’s a reason we haven’t found one yet and I’ll just have to accept that and move on!

 

 

And with that, I promise to not post about my 30 By 30 Again. (Mostly because now its a 40 By 40–ha!)

 

Dirty Thirty

Well, everyone, my thirtieth birthday came and went.

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There were no fires. No floods. No volcanic eruptions.

Okay, I’m sure those things happened somewhere in the world, but in my tiny area of existence, no such things happened.

What did happen, you ask? I ate. And ate. AND ATE.

I basically ate anything and everything I could get my carb-lovin’ hands on from sun up to sundown! Doughnuts, cheesecake, Auntie Anne’s® pretzels, truffles, cupcakes, and more cheesecake. And you want to know something? It. Was. GLORIOUS.

cheesecake

Sadly, I didn’t get everything completed on my 30 By 30 list. I’m one book away from finishing my classic novel reading list (why, oh, WHY did I leave Gone With the Wind until the very end?!), I still need to protest something (I really wanted to join the students at Capitol Hill this week but couldn’t) and I’m looking for some folks to go in halfsies with for a bottle of Cristal (I wonder if a rapper would just give me some. They still drink that, right? Or is that too “1990’s”?)

30th bday

BUT, I have accomplished quite a bit! Here’s a recap of my list:

  1.  Watch all of AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies 
  2. Get a literary agent
  3. Work on a political campaign
  4. Finish my book
  5. Go to Italy with BB
  6. See Graceland
  7. Meet someone famous
  8. Participate in a protest rally
  9. Sew and wear a dress/skirt
  10. Read every Jane Austen novel
  11. Enjoy a bottle of Cristal
  12. Take Noah and Ellie to see The Nutcracker
  13. Go camping
  14. Finish my classic novel reading list
  15. Take a pole dancing class
  16. Run a marathon
  17. Get married
  18. Buy my parents something BIG
  19. Go to the Red Carpet to see a movie premiere/award show
  20. Go to every state
  21. Get a job I LOVE
  22. Have a baby (or two)
  23. Change the oil in my truck
  24. Buy a house
  25. Donate my hair to locks of love
  26. Make a meal from scratch
  27. Milk a cow
  28. Learn the guitar (one song all the way through)
  29. Go skinny dipping
  30. Pay off all school loan debt

 

Considering I’ve done all of these except eight (and I’ll be checking the classic novel list off soon!) I’d call this a success!  I told myself that I’d give myself a “grace period” to wrap up as many as I could by the end of the year. Those that do NOT get checked off will roll over to my 40 By 40 list!

I’ll be honest, I was sort of dreading this birthday. But now I see that my best years are ahead of me.

30th bday 2

Sure, my twenties were great! I ended a bad relationship (not Huff the Hubs!), found myself (and God) again, and then reconnected with the man of my dreams (yes, this time I mean HtH!). I went to Europe (three times!), got married, had a baby, and learned some important life lessons.

All of that—the heartache, the disappointments, and the wisdom I’ve gained—I think will be the arrows in my quiver I can use against anything that my thirties my hurl against me. To quote the prudent and zealous beet farmer, Dwight Schrute: “I am ready to face any challenges that might be foolish enough to face me!”

A lot of people say that getting older is the pits. I think it’s awesome! After all, it’s better than the alternative, right?

Besides, I love birthdays.

lily bday

Sometimes I set expectations too high, people don’t meet them, and then I inevitably take my ball and go home to cry in my birthday cake. But this year? My family and friends not only met the bar, but passed that bad boy in a blur! They really out-did themselves!

My sisters threw me a Downton-Abbey-esque Murder Mystery Dinner (and made me a sweet book):

mmd

 

Huff the Hubs spoiled me all day. And even got a pedicure with me! (Look how excited he was!)

pedi

 

But most all, I was shown love by those around me. And THAT, my friends, is what makes a great birthday.

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The Countdown is ON!

You guys.

I turn 30 in just a matter of days:

bday countdown

And I still have SO much left to accomplish on my 30 By 30 list!

 

#14. Finish my classic novel reading list.

I still have two books left:

christmas carol

 

gwtw

 

#1. Watch all of AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies.

There are just three left!

ben hur

 

 

jazz singer

 

last picture show

#8. Participate in a protest rally.

protestor

There have been A LOT of protests recently. None of which I feel so strongly about that I want to participate. My credentials for a protest are: they MUST be non-violent and they MUST be a cause I believe in. I’m hoping something will come up very soon!

 

There are a few other things that I know I won’t be able to check off by Thursday. Mostly because of financial constraints. But, I feel like if I can get most of them knocked off, I’ll feel pretty accomplished! Then it’ll be time to start working on my New Year’s Resolutions–ha!

 

How are you doing with your goals? Do you have a 30 By 30 List?