So it’s that time of year again; when everyone posts their resolutions and goals for the new year. I’m not immune to the appeal of ‘starting fresh’ and making a grand effort to improve myself and my life – the changing of the calendar from one year to the next is a natural transition, and it feels good and productive to have goals. Last year, rather than making ‘resolutions’ for 2016, I went with an overall theme for the year. It was trendy a few years back, but I really liked that idea, and it worked better for me than having ultra-specific resolutions.
My theme for 2016, so you don’t have to go back and find that post, was ‘mindfulness’, which is basically the practice of living in the present moment (hard to do when anxiety disorder is part of your life, which is why it felt like something I needed to work on). That’s still one of my favorite words, and I find that it will continually be on my list of ‘things to work on’. It wasn’t a total success, but, as my music teacher is often saying, ‘progress, not perfection!”. In that light, I do think that having an overall theme was easier to maintain than a list of ‘rules’ to have to follow.
Here’s a re-cap of my goals in that theme from last year:
meditation – I practice on my own, but I really would like to make it part of my week to go to the group sit at St. Mark’s. They meet twice a week; I want to make at least one of them.
health – movement and community – walking with playgroup; with the kids; family health; focus on cleaner eating
relationships – tend those I care about and cut loose those I don’t
I didn’t actually make it to St. Marks for meditation with the group, well … ever. The timing wasn’t something I could ever work into my schedule. After giving it some thought, and making my personal meditation practice a priority, I didn’t feel the need to practice with a group as much. Now, I’m content to continue my personal practice in private. As for simplifying… well, that didn’t work out either; at least not in the KonMari way. I did do some downsizing and re-organizing, but nothing that could be categorized as a clean sweep in the KonMari way. We finally got our storage building moved into our backyard, so that alleviated a lot of the clutter inside the house, but there’s more (always) to be done. It’s a process, so while I didn’t exactly meet my original goal, I don’t feel like that was a total failure, either. Health/Nutrition/Fitness are always going to be a focus – more so in the coming year with the decline in my parents’ health, but that’s a long story best told over coffee. I went walking with the group once, and tried to go with another group, but that didn’t work out according to the original plan, either. I did purchase a new bicycle a few months ago, so that’s what I’ve been doing, because I enjoy biking more than walking. The kids have their bikes, too and we ride together – another bonus. This year, I want to get a bike rack so we can take our bikes to local biking trails and ride (or maybe we can just work on increasing our distance and ride to a park that’s not too awful far away). As for relationships, I feel like I’ve been stretched too thin to effectively be a friend to some of the people I actually do care about. There are definitely a few friends who have become long-distance friends that I need to make more of an effort to connect with.
This year, I am going to go with the same one-word theme, but more action-oriented. Mindfulness can be an action word, but it feels more passive to me. Now, at the end of the year, I’m feeling antsy – like I need to move and ‘do’. To satisfy that need, I’ve chosen ‘create’ as my theme. Here are some things I want to create this year:
- space – both in a physical and metaphysical sense. In the real world, I want to create peaceful, relaxing spaces in my home. This means taking charge of clutter and possessions that no longer serve me or my family, or our purpose. I have really been drawn to the idea of minimalism over the past couple of years, and while I won’t say I am ready to go all in just yet, I feel the need to free up space in my home and my head, and I feel like downsizing all the things might be a step in the right direction. This aspect also includes clearing away obligations and activities that no longer fit my needs or bring me joy or relaxation, or free up time so that I can spend more of it with my kids and Loverly Husband. A relatively inflexible rule I’ve established over the last couple of months has been to say no to things I don’t truly, deeply enjoy or that put money in my family’s budget. I’m spread very thin, and I need to take back some of that time.
- memories – this is something that is so very important to me; that my children have a rich childhood filled with memorable experiences and traditions to carry with them throughout their lives and one day pass on to their own kids. We’ve made an effort to have game nights and do things as a family that do just that: create a memory. We only have a few years of ‘childhood’ left; I want to make the most of them. I’d like 2017 to have an emphasis on ‘creating memories’ – simple things like rock painting, cooking together, game nights, traveling and other fun (inexpensive, low-key) stuff.
- art – creating art is something I always come back to. This takes many forms: art journaling, writing, painting, crafting… I like them all. Some of the time I take from other things needs to be focused on creating more of the thing my soul craves.
- music – I started playing cello this past year, and began piano lessons earlier in December. I used to play flute and clarinet in school, but dropped it after I graduated. I’d forgotten how much I loved it; playing music occupies my entire body – mind, hands, attention, eyes – it’s a full-body experience. For someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, having something that’s so all-consuming to drown in has been an amazing relief. Since my kids are also taking music lessons (both on violin), it’s also something we can do together, which I love.
- change – activism has been a part of my life for years now, in small ways. As my kids get older and demand less of my time, I feel the need to get involved with larger efforts to affect positive change. I’m not sure exactly what route this path will lead me on just yet, but it’s something I am motivated to accomplish.
So… that’s my word for this year. What’s yours?
Happy New Year!
January 1, 2017 | Categories: Advocacy, All About Me, Attachment Parenting, Day in the Life, Holiday Lessons, Kid Craft, Personal Growth, Rambling Thoughts | Tags: commentary, life-lessons, mindful parenting, new years resolutions, nothing whatsoever to do with homeschooling, raising responsible adults, record keeping, SuperMom Complex | 1 Comment
Why, oh, why must vacations end?? This was our last week of vacation, and it is with much sadness and recalcitrance that I obey the dictates of the Bossy Book to get back to school starting Monday. <boo, hiss, boo>
If you know me IRL, then you know how insanely busy my life is. Between general ‘mom & wife’ life; homeschooling the kids (and running our local homeschool group); work and work; maintaining friendships and other relationships; and my SIMS 3 addiction; there’s usually just enough time between all that to eat somewhat properly and shower, with occasional naps (excluding Sundays which are my typical ‘day of rest’ to recuperate from my week). It’s very rare that I actually clear my schedule and just REST. But that’s what I’ve more or less done over the last 4 weeks. Barring a few homeschool/social engagements and meetings that I couldn’t put off (because I host them), most of my time has otherwise been spent home, playing Sims, reading, or binge-watching Bones (srsly – all 10 seasons that are on Netflix). It’s been *splendid*.
It is with much reluctance that I mentally start getting ready for next week’s return to schoolwork. To be fair, we’re not actually doing a full schedule; this is a continuation of our lighter summer schedule, which will last through the beginning of September when we start our ‘real’ schoolwork – 9th grade for my oldest, LBB (14); and 8th grade for PeaGreen (13). Our summer schedule mostly consists of math and reading and it’s honestly not all that taxing or complicated to prepare or oversee. The boys are both older now, so much of their work is self-directed; I’m there more as a ‘guardian of time’ to make sure they’re managing their time effectively and not skiving off (and honestly, I mostly set a timer and sip a cuppa while they’re working… unless they have questions, of course, then I’m all ‘Activate Homeschool Mom Teacher Mode – GO!!!’)… sorry; I’ve had a lot of caffeine today.
In other news, we’re going to be featured! Well, not ‘featured’ but possibly talked about… or something. I am actually not entirely sure what it is, which makes me nervous. I received an email a few weeks ago from a freelance writer for a local magazine, V.I.P. of Southeast Texas. They’re doing a feature on homeschooling that will be published next month, and wanted to talk to me/us. I went with another mom in our group and talked to the writer for a couple of hours all about homeschooling, from how it’s changed over the years (I was homeschooled way back in the 90’s), and how it looks today, with all the variations and options. I thought that was going to be the end of it, but I was contacted by a photographer for the article and asked to meet, so the boys and I met him at a local library and we sat for some (very staged) photos. I honestly have no idea what direction the story will take, and consequently no clue what it is that I will be putting my face to, all of which makes me very, very anxious – but hopefully it will be something awesome. I’ll post a link when the article comes out so you guys can see/reassure me that it’s not that bad.
I’m still working on getting the ‘homeschool high school’ post finished. If you’re an experienced homeschooler, then you know how lengthy and arduous the planning process can be. If you’re a newbie, well… welcome to your new life! Kidding… mostly. We’re doing a co-op this fall as well, so I will probably be adding a section to that post about how that came about – or maybe I will do a whole post on planning a co-op. If you have a preference, let me know in the comments!
Hopefully your summer is continuing, unimpeded by bossy school-time schedules and other fun things like jobs and stuff, but if you’re on the verge of vacation’s end, I lend you my sympathy and support – we’re gonna get through this – Together!!
July 16, 2016 | Categories: All About Me, Classes, Day in the Life, Homeschool Summer Planning, Rambling Thoughts, Vacation | Tags: balance, benefits of homeschooling, commentary, nothing whatsoever to do with homeschooling, random thoughts, SuperMom Complex, year round homeschool | Leave a comment
This past weekend, I got to take off with the girls for a couple of days Ren Festing it in Plantersville, TX. As much as I love my darling children and Loverly Husband, being a homeschool mom means that opportunities to pamper myself with time away from them are few and far between. I’ve been in a funk lately and this kind of break was very much needed.
If you haven’t been to a renaissance faire before, I highly recommend that you check one out, and if you are so fortunate to live near enough that you can attend Texas’ version, then you should most definitely put that on your list of Things To Do. Like our reputation suggests, in Texas, we do it bigger, and Ren Faire is no exception.
The Texas Ren Fest is one of the largest in the US, with 65 acres of Renaissance Goodness to be had. There are games, food and assorted craft vendors, plus tons of live entertainment – and the best part of all is the people-watching. From the elegantly made up professionally fancy-dressed staff to your average Joe and Jane with every culture and genre under the sun represented, the people-watching portion of the day is one of my favorites. We saw drag queen Geishas, a family of satyrs, gypsies and belly dancers, plenty of nearly-nude-but-for-chain-mail-clad barbarians and fur-covered Celts, elaborately costumed English Lords and Ladies, a Star Trek away team, a couple of Nazgul, Hobbits and Wizards and more than a few winged fey. Each weekend is a theme; this was the Highland Fling weekend, celebrating Scottish Culture, so there were many, many kilted men to oogle (and plenty to quickly look away from lest you see something you might wish you hadn’t). We joined the fancy dress fun as a band of gypsies complete with bells and coined skirts. Apparently, Saturday (Nov, 12) was a record-setting day, attendance-wise, with the most visitors on a single day, ever. How fun to be a part of that!
We truly had an awesome time. We walked and shopped, saw some shows (Tartanic (shirtless, sweaty men with bagpipes and drums *swoon*) and Sound and Fury (Testacles and ye Sack of Rome) stand out as the most memorable) and munched on tasty snacks – oh, so very much fun was had by all! Pictures! (Disclaimer: none of them were taken by me!)
Originally, our plan was to camp, but with the wildfires scouring the land (and they are bad – we saw acres of burned woods and dead trees on our drive out there), there are burn bans in effect pretty much everywhere, which makes camping not as much fun so we opted to hotel it instead. I don’t often get to do things like this without the kids, but when I do it’s always nice to come back home relaxed and in a better frame of mind. That said, I freely admit that I’m already looking forward to the next one!
November 15, 2011 | Categories: All About Me, Homeschooling Tips and Tricks, Rambling Thoughts, She said WHAT?, Socialization | Tags: mom's mental health, nothing whatsoever to do with homeschooling, SuperMom Complex, teacher's retreat, unrealistic expectations | Leave a comment
For the past few years, I’ve blogged my NYR’s on my MySpace blog. But since no one uses MySpace anymore, I’ve decided to import my resolutions here. My usual format is to post this year’s resolutions, and then do a re-cap of previous year’s with progress reports as needed. It’s a long post (so feel free to skip most of it. I’m blogging this more for my own accountability and record-keeping than for public consumption), but I find it entertaining and see no reason to alter that format, so without further adieu, here are 2011’s New Year’s Resolutions (completed on 12/31 and scheduled to be posted on 1/1 – FINALLY, a resolutions post made on the first day of the New Year!):
1: Home Blessing – this has been on the books for a while, and will finally see real progress this year. This resolution encompasses all the de-cluttering/cleaning goals from years past and includes anything related to making our home a nicer place to live in. We’re planning a major re-decorating/face-lift to our house in the spring, including painting inside and out, switching our bedroom into the master bedroom (which is currently doing time as a storage/library/craft room) and putting the boys in their own bedrooms. We’ll also do some appliance upgrades and redecorate. I’m excited!!
2: Teach the boys to cook. SFK was bragging about her 9-year-old dd making a four-course meal; I’m jealous and so shall attempt to teach the boys more about the culinary arts this year. The goal is to have them make at least one full meal each by… December 1st. That should give me plenty of time.
3: Attend a Writer’s Conference/Workshop (or a homeschooling one). Both would be ideal, but attendance at one or the other will fulfill this one. This is a re-hash of a previous resolution; before it was ‘attend monthly group meetings’. I think that the monthly group would be good to do, too, but I really want to try for a conference or workshop that is more in my field (so romance or sci-fi/fantasy or para-normal romance. And no, you can’t read them…yet).
4: Try veganism on for a week. I’ve tried vegetarianism on (it doesn’t fit), but never veganism. It’ll be a challenge.
5: Personal Growth. This is the one that I am lumping the rest of my writing goals and all of my health/weight loss goals into, as well as parenting goals (such as putting into practice/deeper study of NVC). I always have a couple of these listed, and I think it’s kinda cheating to have 4 of the same, on-going goals… so. I’m also putting things like: continue meeting meditation and spiritual goals, making time for ‘me’, blogging/writing something daily, etc. Some friends and I are re-committing to SparkPeople.com for this year (so if you wanna join me, come on!). I have many goals in that particular department, but I blog there too, so that’s where most of that goes.
6: Date Night with Loverly Husband at least 1x per month. We used to do this at least that often, but this year, it seems like that’s taken a backseat. Between homeschooling and him working more, it’s been harder to find time to go out. It’s not a ‘problem’, but I’d rather focus on this now, before it becomes a problem. One the plus side, we did get a mini-break in 2010, with plans for another in a couple of months. Yay!!
7: Dye my hair. Note to self: For the love of all that is salon, please visit the beauty supply shop and DO SOMETHING about your hair!!!! It’s been months – MONTHS – since you’ve put color in it. You have 6 inches of natural hair color. WTF?? That’s simply unacceptable. One cannot remain worthy of the moniker ‘Rainbow Brite’ with one’s natural hair color slapping people in the face. Before the month of January is out, you must fix this! And keep it fixed. All year.
8: Plan for lunch out better. When the kids were little, I had food for them on me all. the. time. I breastfed them for 3 years each, and I believe that had an effect on how they eat now. They’ve always eaten frequent small meals throughout the day; with no big meals and no set times, that meant that as an in-tune mama I needed to keep food in the bag so that I could meet their needs. When they started school, they had to adjust to a more common eating schedule and I got out of the habit of keeping food with us. Since we started homeschooling, they’ve fallen back into their normal eating patterns but I have not. So my goal for this year is to plan for food better – packing a cooler with appropriate small meals and snacks when we go out. This will help me with #5 as well.
9: Do something about my wardrobe. I am putting this one separate from the ‘home blessing’ because it’s not really about making space or de-cluttering (though that does play a part). I have a bunch of clothes that don’t fit (both too small and too large) and that are out-dated that I’ve held on to. It’s time to let go! I don’t necessarily need new clothes (though if certain portions of #5 are carried out, I may), but I would like for the clothes that are taking up my space to be ones that I like and wear.
I would do 10 because it’s such a nice, round number, but it’s become somewhat of a tradition to only make 9. So that’s my list for this year. I don’t usually post progress reports during the year, so don’t feel bad if you forget all about them until the end of December, lol. This officially concludes the ‘current resolutions’ portion of this post. If you’re interested to see how previous resolutions have held up over the years, feel free to read on!
2010’s Resolutions and Progress Report: Written on Jan. 2, 2010: Doing better… last year, I didn’t write resolutions till the 4th. That’s progress, baby!
That last bit still makes me smile. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone else’s resolutions and to seeing how you fared from last year. Good luck reaching them and Happy New Year!!
January 1, 2011 | Categories: All About Me, Attachment Parenting, Blogging/Awards, Breastfeeding, Personal Growth, Rambling Thoughts | Tags: new years resolutions, nothing whatsoever to do with homeschooling | 1 Comment