Tuesday, January 26, 2016

2016 Goals

Even though it is now closer to February 1 than January 1 I wanted to make sure that I spent some time considering my goals for the year.  Though I often fall short of the goals I set for myself, I've found that it has been incredibly helpful for me to really examine where I've been and where I want to be. Many goals are the same as in the past years; some because I didn’t complete them and others because they ought to continually be on the list.

Spiritual Goals:
  • Daily Bible Reading
  • Focused/Planned Bible Study
  • Focused Bible lessons for the kids. I have an idea to do some form of journaling with them, but we'll see how that works out.
  • Start using the Scripture Memory System with the kids (and me!) again. This system has been a great tool to learning Scripture, but I've really fallen short with it recently. 
  • Develop a deeper and more specific prayer life.
  • Make an effort to be aware of others’ needs, as well as how to help those in need. Overcome my fears of reaching out to speak to people (the introvert in me really struggles with this . . .).
  • Make an effort to encourage brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • Always be ready and eager to share the gospel.
  • Maintain and exhibit an attitude of joy that should be evident in my life because I am hidden with Christ (Col. 3:1-4).
House Goals:
  • Clean out the garage . . . completely . . . in anticipation of possibly converting our garage to a master bedroom. We've already gotten a good start on this, but there is still a lot to do, including many more trips to Goodwill!
  • Get the house organized, and purged of excess junk. This past year I read the book The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, and it really opened my eyes. I started working through some of the methods in the book before we left for Paraguay, but didn't finish before we left. And once we returned from Paraguay things just seemed so crazy I never finished. I look forward to completing the process.
  • If/When we complete renovations on the house, clean out and organize thoroughly when we rearrange rooms.
  • Teach (and enforce) good habits to the kids for keeping their areas picked up. The kids have really been doing well with this lately, and Luke has even been helping out a lot more as well.
  • Keep up with Flylady’s daily assignments to help keep the house in a manageable state. 
  • Handle papers (mail, or otherwise) when they come into the home, rather than just piling them up to handle later.
  • Get one “house” project done each month (paint the front door, repair the floor, etc.)
  • This isn’t technically a “house” goal, but it fits here best: Keep our cars clear of junk and trash.
Health Goals:
  • Get back into a healthy eating routine. Prior to getting pregnant last year, I felt like I had finally figured out this healthy living thing (I'd lost weight, and even though I still needed to lose more, was really feeling great!). But between pregnancy and living in a foreign country for three months last year, my eating habits have somewhat fallen away. Time to get back on the wagon!
  • Exercise at least three times a week. Make it a point to walk more (for instance, like to pick up Ella from school).
  • Gain strength and endurance.
Family goals:
  • Eat at home more often, and actually plan meals for the week (it is easier to eat at home when you've planned!).
  • Cook dinner with the kids 1-2 times a month. I really want to involve them more in cooking, but I get stuck in this bad habit of not involving them because it is quicker/easier for me to do things myself (and dinner time always seems to be hectic around our house).
  • Try out a new meal at least once a month.
  • Cook a hot breakfast for the family at least once a week.
  • Stick to our budget, and look for ways to save more.
  • Evaluate/consider schooling for Ella and Troy next year. Ella was homeschooled for kindergarten, but has gone to public school this year for first grade. We've liked things about both situations and opportunities, but this isn't the post for that!
  • Get outside more with the kids.
  • Get down on the floor and play with the kids more.
Parenting goals:
  • Emphasize the concepts of respect and authority with Ella, Troy, and Luke.
  • Encourage Ella, Troy, and Luke to have the heart of a servant.
  • Encourage Ella, Troy, and Luke to be thankful.
  • Teach Ella and Troy to be aware of others around them, emphasizing humble hearts and teaching them that it isn't all about them.
  • Encourage Ella and Troy to follow Matthew 7:12.
  • Foster a good relationship between the kids (teaching them about sharing, patience, kindness, etc.).
  • Give Ella and Troy more responsibilities around the house (chores, etc.)
Photography goals:
  • Take more pictures! Pregnancy (particularly dealing with hyperemesis gravidarum, severe morning sickness, for my entire pregnancy) really does a number in my life, and photography is no exception. I often don't feel like doing much of anything, and picking up my camera was certainly not a priority when I didn't feel well.
  • Learn Adobe Camera Raw (I've always used Adobe Lightroom, but have been recently reading that Adobe Camera Raw might actually be the way to go).
  • Learn more about off-camera flash.
  • Learn more about Adobe Photoshop.
  • Learn more about graphic design.
Other goals:
  • Become fluent in Spanish. I really, really thought that after spending the summer in Paraguay, a Spanish-speaking country, that I'd be much further along in this journey. But I'm not (since our time down there, we've heard many people tell us that it takes most people a year in an immersion environment to become fluent). I did learn quite a bit when I was in Paraguay (and through Rosetta Stone leading up to our trip), but I have a long way to go.
  • Focus on having a optimistic response. I don't consider myself a pessimistic person (I don't have a negative outlook on life), but I do have a tendency for my first reaction to things to be very skeptical.
  • Exhibit patience towards all, but especially with the kids at the end of the day :) .
  • Work on time management, including getting up at a more consistent time in the morning, and going to bed earlier in the evening. This goal probably isn't going to really be feasible until Annie is sleeping at a little more predictable/regular schedule though.
  • Blog more! I've missed writing, and although no one may read it, I really enjoy it.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Happy 1 Month Annie!


You are such a sweet baby girl! In some ways it doesn't seem like you could already be a month old, but in some ways you seem much older than one month. You really have been an easy baby, and remind me of Ella as a baby in that way.


For instance, you sleep really well most nights considering you are only a month old. You got off to a rocky start in the hospital (barely sleeping at all the two nights we were there), and I was preparing myself for some really long nights ahead. But you have proven me wrong! Most nights you sleep at least a 4-5 hour stretch, and one night you even slept for a 7 hour stretch. You are spoiling me! We've had a few nights here and there where you've kept me up, but overall you are a really good sleeper.


You are also bigger than your siblings were at this age. I don't know how much you weigh, but you have definitely been growing! Your clothes are getting snugger (in fact, you've outgrown a couple of things already!), and I can tell you've grown when I put you in your bed, your carseat, or your swing.


You enjoyed your first Christmas this month as well . . . or should I say, you slept through your first Christmas. I think you slept through every Christmas celebration we had during the holidays!


You smile sweetly at times in your sleep, and it melts my heart. You also started making some sweet talking/cooing noises when I talk to you. You love white noise and being swaddled. You also like to be carried in my sling. You do not like pacifiers no matter how hard I try to get you to like them. You do like to suck on our fingers, and you've sucked on your hands a few times. I wouldn't be surprised if you ended up being a thumb sucker, but you haven't quite figured that out yet.


Your siblings absolutely love you already (although Luke was really unsure in the hospital!), and have been quite patient with you. They all love to help out by getting diapers or my diaper bag for me. They also all love to sing to you when you are crying. There are times we've asked them to sing when you've been sad, but they've also started singing to you when you are sad without us asking them. They love to give you hugs and kisses throughout the day, and always insist on a goodnight hug. Luke loves to tell us "Annieee cwying" when you are crying. Luke also likes to direct us to put you down in your bed or swing, and looks around for you if you aren't where he thinks you should be.

Your siblings holding you for the first time: 20151214-VW4A0675.jpg20151214-VW4A0648.jpg20151214-VW4A0663.jpg

Luke @ 1 Month
Troy @ 1 Month
I didn’t start writing these monthly posts for Ella until she was 17 months old