Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Goal Report Card

Last year I listed my goals and resolutions for 2015.  I was looking back at those goals this morning, and decided to "grade" myself in how I did for the year before starting a new set of goals.

I broke my goals up into categories: finance, health, school, parenting, home, and personal.

So, how did I do?  Let's evaluate.

1. Finance - I was a bit vague in this goal because it is a personal topic and this is all posted online.  I said that I wanted to pay off a "significant" portion of our debt.  We did pay off a personal loan.  We also cash flowed several projects including redoing the floors in our bedroom, creating a retreat space for mom and dad, having a new side fence built, throwing a First Communion party for Hudson, doing some major repairs on my car, taking care of some emergency repairs on Eric's car, new tires for Eric's car, and paying for a major air conditioning repair.

Our new floors and couch in the Parent's Retreat!

The new fence on the side of our house...paid for in cash.  Cash is King!

The good: Paying off one loan, handling every emergency and/or project with cash, and NEVER using credit.  (We can't use credit...we don't have any credit cards!)

The bad: We did not make much progress on my student loan, which is the last of our debt besides the house.

Looking forward: Work like crazy to pay down the student loan.  I HATE student loans.  It will be my absolute ambition to get my two boys through college debt free.

Grade: B+

2. Health - Again, I was vague on this one.  At this point last year I knew about Eric's desire to have weight loss surgery, but we had not made it public beyond friends and family.  I knew with Eric's major life change, my life and health were bound to change as well.  Eric had his surgery on April 15.  I jumped in with healthier changes two days later.  Eric has lost over 120 pounds.  I've lost about 35 pounds since last year.  I started running again in late summer, and I'll be running at least three half marathons in the first part of 2016.  Eric and I joined the gym, and we go super early every morning.

We joined the gym!  And we use it regularly!

The good: We both have lost weight. We are both more active. We both go to the gym.  We both work with the same coach to help us reach our goals.  I fall off the wagon, but I have not quit.  Even if I go on a two week food and slug-fest bender, I have pulled myself out of it and picked up where I left off.

The bad: I am terrible about hydration.  I still love soda.  (I gave up candy. I miss it every day.)  I fell off the wagon (but I never quit!).  

Looking forward: DRINK WATER!  And meal plan like my life depends on it.  Keep following my macros plan.  Keep running.  Focus on a more regimented weight lifting program. I also need to make doctor appointments and get a mammogram.  

Grade: A-

3. School - Last year I wanted to stay on top of lesson planning and grading.  This goal has highs and lows. The end of last year and the start of this new school year have been hard.  I wrapped up a year, took one week off, ran a summer school program for six weeks, and then piloted an iPad program.  Rough!  I just keep chugging along and need to remember that the difference I am making in the lives of kids might not be readily evident for some time.  I do get a kick out of older kids coming back and telling me that they miss my class!  I have to hang onto those moments!

No matter how crazy school gets, I have to always remember how blessed I am to be able to be a part of my kids' daily educational experience.  It is a given that I go on field trips.  I get to see every special event, sport, and accomplishment because I am right there with my babies.  Couldn't ask for a better place to teach!

The good: Started an iPad program with the best team around.

The bad: Keeping up with lesson planning and grading in a more consistent fashion.  Scrambling to get things done.

Looking forward: Make planning non-negotiable.  If my plans are in order, I feel a sense of accomplishment, and this allows me to be more relaxed in other areas of my life.

Grade: B-

4. Parenting - I wanted to start game nights and one on one dates with the kids.  Ummmm, big time fail.  I'm okay with this though, because I do not doubt that my kids get quality time with us.  Quite honestly, most of our time revolves around the kids and our activities.  One thing I enjoy is snuggling in bed with the kids and just talking with them at that time.

Time was spent with both of my crazy monkeys.

The good: Bed time snuggles, sharing private jokes with Evan, listening to Hudson's many, many stories!

The bad: I did not have game night or one on one dates.

Looking forward: Breaking the children away from their video games, continuing with moments of personal connection, practicing patience and understanding for where they are in life.

Grade: F (for the total failure of my original goal), A- for connecting with the kids in other ways.

5. Home - I had planned to follow FlyLady's 15 minute routines.  Sadly, I did not do this.  I had moments of taking great care of the house.  I also had moments of completely neglecting the house.  I did happen upon an amazing book that changed my outlook on possessions.  Due to this book, I donated and threw away BAGS and BAGS of items that were weighing us down.  Oh my it feels good to let go of items that don't bring us true joy.

Items waiting in a holding pattern to be donated.  Ah, it feels so good to purge!

The good: Donating hundreds of pounds of stuff, re-creating spaces in our house that work for us (the dining room is now a game/office room and it works because we don't need a formal dining room), creating a Parent Retreat.

The bad: I did not follow FlyLady even a little bit. 

Looking forward: Creating a cleaning schedule and sticking to it. We all feel better when the house is clean.  Continue working through the house to let go of anything that does not bring joy.

Grade: F for the original goal. A- for the donations and massive improvements in space usage.

6. Read - I started out faithfully reading every day.  And I loved it!  It made me feel good.  It made me feel smarter.  And for some reason that I cannot pinpoint, I fell out of this habit.  It might have been around the time that we created our parent retreat, and rather than read after the gym, I'd go in the retreat and turn on the tv and zone out for 45 minutes.  Selfish and lazy.  I WILL get back to this goal because of the benefits it gives me.

I read lots of great books this year such as this one.  I only wish I had read more!

The good: I read many great books at the beginning of the year.

The bad: I barely touched books after the summer.

Looking forward: Start back with the minimum of reading 10 pages a day of a self-improvement themed book.

Grade: C  - this is the average of an A and an F for the year!


I've shared my theory on life many times, although I don't know if I shared it here in writing.  My philosophy is that my life is basically broken into three categories: home, personal health, and job.  I juggle those three balls of life and try like crazy to keep them all in the air.  However, I've come to the conclusion that I can really only keep two in the air successfully, and one will inevitably fall to the ground.

Basically, I can give a great amount of effort to two areas of my life at a time, and unfortunately, one area usually suffers for a time.  Then I'll pick that "ball" up and give it some attention, and another ball or area of life will fall.

There are two ways of looking at my efforts: I can give mediocre effort to all three areas, but never really feel accomplished in any particular area of life.  Or, I can focus a great deal of time and effort into two areas and understand that the third area will just have to be on the back burner until my focus or priorities change.

I lean more towards the second scenario in my life.  I think it makes more sense to give myself some grace in understanding that life will naturally go through seasons in which certain areas of life get more attention.  I pay more attention to school at the beginning and end of the year or around crunch time like report cards and conferences.  I pay more attention to the home during vacations or decorating for holidays.  I pay more attention to health at the beginning of the year or the beginning of school.

I think I need to work a bit harder at giving effort to all three areas, but not feel quite so guilty when one area is neglected because I know its turn will come.

Overall, I think I did a decent job of working towards goals and resolutions.  Need to keep the effort up in the second half of the year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Year in Review

It's fun to look back and see how we've all grown and changed throughout the year.  And boy, was it a year for a lot of change with this family!


We started off the year with Eric having a talk with me about how serious he was about having weight loss surgery.  I was open to it, finally, and he whisked me off to an informational seminar early in January.  Little did I know how that first information meeting was going to change our lives!

We also had a 70th birthday party for my mom with lots of presents and friends.

A year has gone by and not much has changed in the case of Hudson's consumption of hot chocolate and whipped cream.

Evan played basketball and won an award at a tournament in Tulare.

I can still find the small dog and the small kid in front of the fire.

My partner teacher is still the best partner around!  And this year she has a new name because she got married!


We did a lot of this through January and February...watching Evan play basketball.

I drove my coworkers crazy by wearing mismatched socks under my boots.

I had a great 40th birthday, but I was so very sick.

It took several weeks to past this respiratory cold.  Ugh!

Hudson made his First Reconciliation.  It was a really special moment for our family!

Evan's soccer team went to the finals in State Cup and unfortunately lost.  (Don't worry...we would come back to take the title at the end of the year in December!)

Also this month, Eric and I went to several doctor appointments to move forward in his decision to have gastric surgery.  I was with him every step of the way and felt comfortable with the knowledge we gained.  At this point, the whole idea was still surreal, but it was looking like it was going to happen!


We started the month trying to get organized.  It always amazes me that we can find so much to toss on community pick up day.  I promise we don't live as hoarders.

Our Academic Decathlon team did better than ever before, and we took first place in Logic by a landslide!  That part was fun!

The kids participated in one whole track meet.

It really is fun to watch my boys perform athletically.

We joined the gym.


We celebrated Easter.

We had our accreditation visit at school.  My desk has NEVER been this clean!

Eric's surgery day.  This was taken after the surgery waiting to go home.  He has changed sooooooo much this year.  I'll never see him like this again...and I'm okay with that!  He has such a renewed outlook on life, great energy, increased confidence, and better health.

I can't seem to find a picture of Hudson's First Communion, but trust me, he was adorable!  It was a special and momentous occasion for our family. (I have a feeling those pictures are on the big camera.)


I read a book that quite frankly changed my life.  It helped me be okay with letting go of material possessions.  After putting many of this book's ideas into practice, it has been so freeing to let go of possessions and the guilt that can be attached to them.

One of the best things that happened in May was that Amanda got married!  She was stunning in her dress!

Eric, Hudson, and I participated in the Carry the Load Memorial Day walk.  We walked a half of a half marathon from the northern edge of Clovis to Downtown Clovis.  It was hard but so gratifying!


I made it through graduation and treated myself to a Diet Coke.

Last day of school.  Weirdos!

I made mango salsa for the first time, and I LOVE it!  I've made it several times this year.

We did a day trip to the beach with Evan's soccer team.  It was such a fun day!


I ran a six week summer school program.

We continued donating massive amounts of stuff to Goodwill and redesigned the uses of the rooms in our house.

I invested in new, expensive (for me) makeup, and my Junior High Team and I got busy developing our pilot iPad program.

Eric and I moved our bedroom to the living room for several weeks while we were doing a painted concrete look in our bedroom/sitting room.  It was weird being out here for weeks!

Cleaning the bedroom floor.

New painted floor!

The new couch in the retreat off of our bedroom.  This space is where we now spend most of our time.


Relaxing by the pool at the Westin in Mammoth.  Our nephew got married, so we had a mini vacation.  Driving through Yosemite was absolutely beautiful.

My friend, Aniesha, turned 40 and we spent a girls' weekend at a house in the middle of a vineyard in Paso Robles to celebrate.

Our air conditioning went out in August in the Central Valley.  That kind of sucked.

First day of school.


Hudson turned 8.

Basically, the month of September consisted of lots of work, lots of soccer, and lots of tired.


Evan turned 11 and requested a pet hamster of his own.  Introducing Edward.

We had a soccer game in the bay area, so we took a little side day trip to San Francisco to have sourdough bread at Boudin and hot fudge sundaes at Ghirardelli.

It is an 8th grade tradition to dress as a class theme for Halloween. This year we were Peter Pan and the Lost Boys.  Father Robert was Captain Hook and I was Wendy Darling.


Eric turned 47!  The boys and I drove to Hanford to have birthday lunch with Dad.  Oh how he loves his boys.  And oh how we love our guy!

We shopped with Grandma.  She had her knee replaced and was still recovering at this point.

A little elf named Buster came to live with us this year.  Hudson is amazed at how Buster moves around the house.


December was crazy, as always.  But it was fun.

By miracle of Christmas miracles, we didn't have soccer this day, and I was able to run the Jingle Bell Run down Christmas Tree Lane!

It was pretty far into December, but I finally got the decorations put up in the house.  Once it was all done, the house looked really pretty.

Evan's soccer team won FIRST place in State Cup in a pouring down monsoon.  The boys were so cold, but I think they would agree it was all worth it to hold that winner's cup trophy!

Hudson and Chloe in the Christmas Play with their instruments.  I love this little girl.  She is the spunkiest little thing!

This might just be my FAVORITE picture from the entire year taken on Christmas Eve.

It has been a great year with lots of happenings, life changes, and love.  Can't wait to see what is in store for 2016!