I've been plotting this post in my head for 2 weeks now, so I'd better get it written. I'd really like to record my goals for the year and put them up here to help make myself accountable. And I am going to try to group them into categories...that start with F. Because, why not?
This is driven by my fear (another f word) that I'm getting nothing done, that I'm just spinning my wheels. I'd like to do updates quarterly, if not monthly, to stay on track.
Develop a more structured routine for the children, especially on days when Teddy doesn't have preschool. The child LOVES routine, and on the days where we don't have one, I spend much of the day with him begging to watch The Backyardigans or Thomas.
Reduce mindless screen time for all of us. I am so bad with this. It's just so easy to pop on an episode so that I can get laundry put away without two little kids crying for my attention. In the evenings, it's so easy for me to lose myself on Twitter or Google Reader. But I want my kids to be imaginative and this is the time to nurture their development.
Have a minimum of one family adventure per month. This can be to a museum, a local park, a movie, skating on the canal, sledding, a trip - anything along those lines. For the majority of them, I'd like for them to be cheap or free.
Have at least one 'Date Night” per month. These can be 'you pick the movie and I'll watch with no complaining or distractions', or dinners out (like the ones we have when we cruise), but I'd like to have at least 12 this year.
Visit/chat with one old friend per month. I feel that friends are drifting out of my life, even those who live nearby, so I want to devote time to replenishing these friendships.
Send Birthday Cards/Anniversary to all loved ones this year, and get back into sending “Thank You” cards. Card-making is my hobby, but I often feel that I don't have enough time to make nice ones. I need to get over myself and just do it.
Better organize the toys. We need a better system, as the current one is killing me. We need better storage and a method of toy rotation. This will likely end up bleeding into the next task, too.
Tackle 6 organizing and 6 decorating or small renovation projects. They'll likely be inexpensive ones, as we're on the austerity plan for the next few years. But August will mark our 5th anniversary in this house, a house in which we still haven't hung our art. A fact that is totally the fault of my perfectionism. Poor Dave. This will include: better organizing my card-making supplies, as well as getting blackout blinds for the bedrooms that don't have them.
Try making laundry detergent. I love my Nellie's (which is almost identical to the homemade stuff), but I am going to give this a try once this year.
- Develop a routine for prayer. This year, I once again used Jen's 'Random Saint Generator' to help me find a patron/patroness for the year. Last year's was the lovely St. Anne (grandmother of Jesus). This year? St. Dorothy of Montau. People seek her intercession for such things as: 'Against Death In Children', 'Marital Problems'. She's also a patroness of 'Widows'. GULP. I have no idea what this year has in store for me, but I'd better get my prayer life sorted.
Go to confession at least 6 times. That'd be 4 more times than last year!
Be better organized with the Familia Group that I'm leading, as well as the one in which I am participating. I was really late with the follow-up email after our last meeting, and I do not want that to happen again.
Work on prayer with the kids. I also hope that this will keep me in the moment more; I've always struggled with that.
Pray the usual novenas, and perhaps add one more.
Attempt 30 new recipes. That's more than 2 a month. Let's do this!
Have 12 new go-to recipes. I'll need to try a whole bunch before the year is out in order to pull this off (see #1), and they can be in any category, but I want 12 new ones mastered by year's end. Some I'd like to have: the blueberry scones Arwen served, escargot, quinoa salad, Crockpot black beans, Johnny cake, and my Nonna's pizza.
Better organize my meal-planning. I'll need to organize all the new recipes I'm trying, anyway, so this is just a logical extension. More lists!
Make one meal per week from the pantry or the freezer. I generally do this, but I want to ensure that I'm using up my stockpiles so I'm making this a goal.
Be vigilant at introducing new foods to Veronica. I was spoiled by Teddy, who was an incredibly adventurous eater. While she loves fruit, her current preferences lean towards fat and carbs. We need her to eat more protein and vegetables.
- Join a CSA and plant a garden again. Full disclosure – I am currently reading “Raising Elijah” by Sandra Steingraber and it's terrifying me. Last year, I tried to garden in pots in our incredibly shady backyard. I got 1 bell pepper, 5 tomatoes, and maybe 30 cherry tomatoes. So – not so great. I did, however, grow delicious herbs that I am still using. So I'll try the cherry tomatoes again, and will definitely grow the herbs, but I want to support local farmers and have access to delicious, fresh produce. This will also help me accomplish #5 and #1 above!
- Try my hand at preserving. It might be tomatoes, it might end up being freezer jam, but I'd like to give this a shot.
Transfer the money for our TFSAs and Veronica's RESP ASAP. I'd like to send this to Jim within the next 2 weeks.
Continue tweaking the austerity plan budget to ensure our savings goals are met. I'd love to have a month where we buy nothing that isn't essential. Maybe during Lent I'll go for it.
Make over $1000 by selling/consigning things. I must get off my butt and sell the double stroller we never use, and some of our old diapers now that Teddy is potty training. I also need to bring more of my things to the consignment store.
Add info to our financial tracking documents so that all our stuff would be easy to access in case of tragedy. This one is depressing as heck, but
Start running again. We have a treadmill in the basement, so there's no need to run on the ice.
Run a 5k before the end of the year. It can be a fun one or a charity one, but do it.
Eat less junk and drink lots of water.
Go to bed every night by 11. I am TERRIBLE at this. I hope that the reduced screen time will help with this, too.
Set aside 5 hours per week (on average) to support Dave's big dream. Sorry to be so cryptic right now, but I have to keep it quiet. This will evolve as time goes on, but I need to set this goal.
Develop comprehensive tools (plans, budget) to support this, with professional help when needed. This, too, is a vital goal.
Read, watch or listen to something in French every day. Prayers count, too. I'll need to use French every day when I go back to work, so I need to flex these muscles again!
Read 75 books and recap them in a blog post. I managed to read 60 last year (recap post forthcoming), while abandoning another 20 or so because they were AWFUL, so I think this is doable. What? Reading keeps me sane.
Travel for pleasure at least 4 times this year. Details for 2 of these trips are already booked while another is in the works, but I think this is doable.
Watch at least 5 of the TV shows on DVD that we own. It's hilarious – we have a whole bunch of these that we keep meaning to watch, but don't. I'm thinking: FNL (I KNOW, OK! It breaks my heart to watch, though), Justified, Sports Night, The Vampire Diaries, and something on Netflix (maybe Bones).
Don't feel guilty about taking some time for me. That said, don't feel resentful that personal time is limited. I'm at the stage in my life where I need to view these activities as treats – things to savour and enjoy but not my full diet.
Finish What You've Started
Complete the album from our Australia/NZ trip (that was in Feb. 2008). Oy.
Write at least 12 blogs posts about the kids and what they're up to. My blog is serving as a de facto baby book right now, and I'm slacking. I should also document other stuff we're doing, too, but the stuff about the kids is both charming and fleeting.
Keep writing daily/weekly 'To Do' lists. I do stuff all day long, but I feel like I'm doing nothing. If I keep these lists, I'll stay on track AND feel like I'm accomplishing stuff.
Track these goals and do quarterly updates on the blog. At least it'll be blog fodder, and I can tweak the goals as needed.
Be ruthless about eliminating time wasters. Time ,while always at a premium, will be even more valuable this year. If the task doesn't tie to one of these goals, then DON'T DO IT!!
I think the very last one will be the hardest for me. But wish me luck, and I promise to keep you posted on my progress.