Category Archives: goals

Back From Alabama!

We had a great visit with family there. I swear, it was like going to summer camp (Nature walks! Fishing! Archery! Caving!) but with air conditioning, fridges, and showers (yay!). It was neat that the kids and I had just read Little House In the Big Woods the week before we went. It gave them a different point of view, both for the trip and for the book!

The Girl got to show off her baking and decorating skills with grandma, making cake pops and cookies and things. Great grandma taught my husband how to gut a fish. The baby ate the fish and begged for more.

I have a bunch of pictures to post, over the next week or so. And I lost 7 pounds!

Thanks to my wonderous in-laws for the use of the “Tiny House” as the baby called it. It was a really wonderful, wonderful trip. And as my husband said, I don’t think we’ll ever get tired of telling The Story of the Time We Took Great Grandma Down Into The Cave And Back Up Again.

Today we tried to let the mantis out again. She started to look comfortable out in the sun and the breeze, but she took the first opportunity she had to jump on my husband’s back and beg for a ride back inside, so she may just be a domesticated mantis now. (Yes, she’s back in the kitchen.)

The overturned plastic cups made great mini-greenhouses for some of the plants in the garden. I managed to save a few of the sick looking romanesco, kale, and mizuna with them. Today I replaced a few dead collards, a dead kale, a missing fennel, and thinned out where I accidentally dropped half a package of bok choi.

Goals: March Update

I made eight goals for myself in 2012, and updated you on them at the end of January and February.

I have to be honest, this was a tough month. The girls each had a fever for 5 days, I had some sort of bronchitis and maybe an attack of gallstones. Oh, and I threw out my back horribly at the very beginning of the month. We had to fix the garbage disposal. The husband had to work some extra hours. It was just one of those months where I thought I finally had everything under control and then it totally went crazy.

1. Lose Weight: F.
I’m back up to the weight I was at the very beginning of the year. I’m eating based on what won’t make me sick today, not what will help me weigh less in 5 months.

2. Get in Better Shape: F
Yeah, not so much. I sound like I have emphysema and I’m complaining about my aches an pains. I feel like I’m 80.

3. Wean the Baby: C
We had a few good days and nights with this, but she had a fever for 5 days, so I couldn’t really work on it then.

4. Keep the House Cleaner: D
I did my best under the circumstances.

5. Streamline bed time: B
Considering all the crazy, this has been going pretty well. We even had one glorious night where the baby went to sleep with Dad while I read each kid their choice of books and it was all over in 1 hour!

6. Write more: B
I think I did fine with that. I have many blog posts up and I’m happy with several of them, and even did some work on my book while I nursed the feverish baby for hours on end.

7. Volunteer: F
Not when there are dirty dishes on every conceivable surface of the kitchen.

8. More Trips: B
We had a great trip to Clara Barton’s house and I even planned a really nice day at the Cherry Blossom Festival. It was going to be perfect — the peak of the blossoms, on the spring equinox, on the 100th anniversary of the gift of cherry trees. How special! But no. Coughing and fevers don’t go well with that. But I get credit for almost doing it, right? Right??

So that gives me 3 Fs, a D, a C, and 3 Bs. And I think I’m being pretty lenient. Oh March…. you really dislike me.

2012 Resolutions, February Update

I made eight goals for myself in 2012, and updated you on them a month ago.

Here’s a quick update on my progress in February. For fun, I’ll grade myself! (And no, I don’t even grade the kids… but it’s easy to summarize my progress this way and maybe compare to other months.)

1. Lose Weight: D.
Same weight as a month ago. But hey, I didn’t gain any either, so it’s not a total fail!

2. Get in Better Shape: C
I haven’t had time to do much “exercise”, but I have been getting the kids out and about and to parks and things that take a lot of effort. We’ve gone on several hikes and trips with great amounts of walking (and carrying the kids!) and I think it’s helping.

3. Wean the Baby: F
Absolute fail. I miss sleep. I think I need to wait for a less clingy phase. Maybe next month…

4. Keep the House Cleaner: A+
This has been a great month for that! We spent two entire weekends cleaning up, reorganizing bedrooms and moving furniture around and dusting and going crazy. Also, the dishes are kept up with and so is the laundry!

5. Streamline bed time: B+
This has gotten better. The kids are going up to bed quite regularly, without a lot of coming back down for things they forgot. Not so much crying or whining, and the baby has mostly gone to bed in a shorter amount of time, usually 30-60 minutes instead of 120-180. (yay!) Reading the baby to sleep isn’t working yet, though. It just doesn’t settle her down.

6. Write more: B
This is going ok. I didn’t blog much in the middle of February, but really I can either do things or write about them, and I’d rather do things! I’ve been so tired at night from all the going out, putting kids to sleep, and so forth that I haven’t been up to much writing. I’m just getting over having accidental gluten, too, so the past ten days I’ve been operating on Very Little Brain and too uncomfortable by night to sit up at the computer. Plus, my computer was out of service another week, due to a failed memory module.

7. Volunteer: F
Um. Yeah.

8. More Trips: B-
We’re doing an okay job with trips. We went to Mt. Vernon for our big trip this month, and had a great time. I was hoping for two trips a month, but we spent most weekends and energy just cleaning up the house.

So I have 1 A, 3 Bs, 1 C, 1 D, 2 Fs. Needs work. 😉 Yeah, I’m a tough grader. I hope to see more improvement soon, once icky winter is over.

Resolution 8: More Trips

Description: Go see the local sights and events, either by ourselves or with family, friends, or homeschool groups. Visit family and friends we haven’t seen in a while.

Motivation: Every time I live someplace, when I move away I’m always sad to think of the things we never did. In California, I never visited Yosemite. That’s sad. And I love traveling.

Method: I freed up a day of the week from activities, plus we have a few Mondays free from cub scouts. I can use it to cook with Grandma, or plan a trip to a local place, like the Smithsonian. The baby is older, so we can travel further. Each week or month when I plan school, I will also look for local places that might tie in. I’ll read the news and other sites for local events. I’ve been making lists of places I want to do and things to do (like seeing the horseshoe crabs come ashore!) and I need to find the time and energy to plan those trips.

Minimum Place list:

  • Air and Space Museum
  • Natural History Museum
  • Any art museum
  • Any government building
  • The Mint
  • A battlefield
  • A factory
  • A farm
  • The zoo
  • Cherry blossom festival
  • Fireworks
  • The beach
  • Sporting event
  • Musical, play, ballet, something. A few of those, even.
  • Family in North Carolina
  • Family in Alabama
  • Camping!

Goal: At least one small and one big trip per month. We’ll start with two small ones, though. Also, visit all the places on the list — the very minimal list.

Related posts:

  • Resolutions and Goals for 2012
  • Resolution 1 and 2: Lose weight and get in better shape
  • Resolution 3: Wean the baby
  • Resolution 4: Keep the house cleaner
  • Resolution 5: Streamline Bed Time
  • Resolution 6: Write More!
  • Resolution 7: Volunteer
  • Resolution 8: More Trips

Resolution 7: Volunteer

Description: To step up and help out with friends, family, groups, the community, and so forth.

Motivation: I want to feel like I’m pulling my weight with the cub scouts, soccer team, homeschool community, and with people who are having a hard time with… anything. Times are rough, but I have it pretty good.

Method: Now that the baby is getting older, it should start being possible for me to actually function as a human being for an hour or two each day. I should be able to at least be near her without carrying her or attending to her 30 times a minute. (Now, of course, that seems to all be theoretical right now, but we’re talking goals for the year, not goals for next week!). I want to plan something for cub scouts, maybe an astronomy meeting. I want to organize a homeschool field trip. I’m interested in helping with the local food bank — heck, maybe they need someone to set up a gluten free section. Heck, I want to just watch my nieces and nephews a few times and let their parents have kid-free time. 🙂

Goal: I think this is one I will need to re-evaluate in a few months and see what we can do. A lot of these goals relate to the other goals.

Related posts:

Resolution 6: Write More!

Description: I want to keep this blog updated and work on writing a book that is in my head and won’t get out until I put it on paper.

Motivation: I need to get this book out of my head. I want to document our home and school and share with similarly minded people. I want to keep in practice with writing. Best case scenario is that it brings me joy, friends, or money somehow.

Method: Complete goals 1&2 to help my brain work. Complete goal 3 so I can type without a baby kicking my hands. It’s really hard to type when she’s kicking me, laying on my arm, and demanding a new Youtube video every 2 minutes. Complete goal 4 so I can find a nice clear place to work and my thoughts are in order. Complete goal 5 so I have more time at night and shift some school time to later. The more goals I complete, the more time I’ll have to write! I also received a refurbished laptop for christmas, so I can relax and write — often I just want to lay down, not sit at a desk. Plus, I now have the wonderful application Scrivener. It’s a game-changer. 🙂 I’m going to work on using the option in Blogger to publish later (like I did with this whole series!) in order to get ahead of my publishing date. This also lets me have a few days to sit on a post and edit it, which always help. Finally, I just need to schedule that hour or so in to the end of each day and actually *do* it!

Goal: Another ongoing goal, but if I make progress on the book and blog at least twice a week, I’ll be happy. Blogging every day would be spectacular. Finishing a book would be the cherry on top.

Related posts:

Resolution 5: Streamline Bed Time

Description: bed time has gotten out of control. We’ve had sicknesses, moving, kids getting older, too much nursing and 50 other things make bedtime non-regular.

Motivation: We need to get it until control in order to capture more productive time for me, more sleep for the kids, and higher quality reading for school.

Method: Currently the baby falls asleep late, while nursing and watching Psych. I’m hoping she’s finally at a point where I can read her to sleep (please don’t try to tell me I’m doing it all wrong. I know my kids and she and her brother were not reading-to-sleep toddlers.) We need to pick a time for each kid to get ready for bed and have a bedtime ritual and stick to it. this is going to take some trial and error. First see if I can read the baby to sleep. Then I need to see if I can combine her reading with her sisters’ without them just instigating each other and making me crazy. It would also be nice to add in time with The Boy, since we used to have our best conversations at bedtime. And it would be good to introduce him to some decent literature or read about science or something. So, to sum up, I’ll try reading the baby to sleep in bed, then try to add her sister, and if we can manage all this it should make time for The Boy and then for me later, plus help with school reading!

Related posts:

Resolution 4: Keep the house cleaner

Description: This is always my goal. It’s just… a disaster area. Too many little busy kids home all day, too many sicknesses, too many activities, too much work, too tired, too much stuff.

Motivation: I want to find the things we have, I want to be able to start a project without first finding the parts and clearing a space. It would be nice if we could easily have people over and even host cub scout meetings here or something. Oh, and clutter and dirt makes me nuts (see: Monk).

Method: I have so many cleaning lists. I often get set goals too high and burnout (see Hyperbole and a Half: Why I’ll Never be An Adult. NSFW or kids or people who don’t like potty language). I have too many people in this house who are not naturally organized. Heck, they are naturally *dis* organized. Chaos runs in their genes. But I think I’m finally to a point that if I clean things up and say where they go, they can put them back with some regularity. This has taken years to accomplish, and I’m pretty proud (see Smart But Scattered for information on using monthly contracts to help the kids get structure and Fly Lady for helping grownups learn to have house cleaning routtines). So, going forward we have:

  • Daily lists for each person. The kids’ are laminated so they can check things off. Mine are in Remember The Milk.
  • Lists for each room (not quite done, but getting there). We’ll concentrate on a room a day, repeating each month. At first it will just be cleaning and straightening, but eventually it will involve cleaning out cabinets and sorting and such. 
  • One day a week we’ll do quick routine vacuuming and cleaning of the major rooms. I hope to keep this under an hour.
  • Labels! If it helps, I’ll bust out the label maker.
  • A million reminders and fights with the kids. New contracts. Money or prizes to get them to follow their contracts.

Goal: I’ll know we’re done when the rooms get vacuumed and dusted regularly, the laundry is put away every week, the dishes are done every night, people can drop by, and I can plan events here without having a heart attack. This is another ongoing process, but we try to make it better every day, week, month, and year.

Related posts:

Resolution 3: Wean the baby

Description: She’s about to turn 2. I’m so so so tired of the nursing. End. It. Now. In fact, I’m having trouble typing this, because she’s pawing at me.

Motivation: She’s. Almost. Two. I can’t sleep at night, or type on the computer without her laying in my lap and kicking me. My nursing bras are falling apart and I refuse to buy more. And I do have trouble losing weight when nursing. I just crave fat and dairy way more.

Method: Oh, who knows. We just had a conversation about it. She agreed that she was willing to stop pawing at me in exchange for hot chocolate. But it’s just one battle, not the whole war. I’ll start limiting her to maybe 5 minutes a side and then that’s it. Then limiting her at night. None. NONE! She was actually weaning back in October before The Great Knife Wound of 2011 when I suddenly couldn’t walk and our activities all dropped to zero. She doesn’t nurse when we’re out and about really — so we’ll try filling our days with going places and doing things.

Goal: I’ll know I’m done when she doesn’t nurse. 😀

Related posts:

Resolution 1 and 2: Lose weight and get in better shape

Description: This is actually two separate resolutions, but listed together because they are entangled. You can get in cardiovascular shape without losing weight and you can also lose weight really unhealthily.

Motivation: I want to fit in my clothes more comfortably and have less back pain. I want to run around with the kids more and play with them. I love how much better my brain works when it’s had exercise. I never want to hear my daughter say “You can run, mom??” ever, ever again. I want to help with my son’s soccer team. I want to set a good example and feel good.

Method: To achieve this, I need to do two things: eat better food and exercise.

For better food, I need to plan dinners a little better, which should be easier now that the baby is older, the husband comes home earlier, and we have a couple fewer activities. I try to make a dinner and grocery plan in Remember the Milk each week, but there is room for improvement. I also need to find a better source of fresh produce. This is so  much harder without my beloved produce market in California. I also really need to make sure I don’t eat gluten. When I have some, I’m really sick for 3-7 days. I hurt, I’m sick, my brain doesn’t function, and everything falls apart. I never eat it on purpose, but accidents, especially with cross-contamination, do happen.

For exercise, I don’t have a solid plan right now, but I think I’ll start with 30 minutes on the elliptical per day, and hopefully add in weights when I can find them. Or swimming or bike riding or soccer, when available.

Goals: For goal 1, I’ll be around 135 pounds. For goal 2, it’s never going to be complete, but I’ll know the habit is established when I exercise every day for a month, barring illness.


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