Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Years Resolutions 2011

I just want to begin this post by saying that I have three adorable and charming children. Ahem. On to the blogging!

So, I am not usually one for making New Years resolutions. In general I feel like they are a way to start off the year with failure.
However, Ontario's family has a meeting every year to set their resolutions together. They have 6 categories, and they are supposed to set a goal in each one. The categories are:

1. Physical
2. Financial
3. Emotional
4. Spiritual
5. Education
6. Career

So, this year I did it with them. I set goals in each of those areas. I was actually excited about it, because all of these were goals/areas of improvement that I had already been thinking about. I liked having time to sit down and write out specific goals and ways to accomplish them. Also, I am approaching it differently this year. These are my resolutions for 2011. I know that I will not do them all starting now, but I do want to have these accomplished by the end of the year. So instead of getting depressed and feeling like I am failing, i am just excited about having a plan for improvement that I can implement slowly over the course of the year. I am posting my resolutions on my blog for a few reasons. First of all, I want to remember them. Writing them down reminds me what they are. I am also going to print them out so I can hang them up somewhere visible that I will see them often. Secondly, I will feel more accountable if I know I have TOLD people what changes I am planning to make, instead of just telling myself it's okay that I haven't. Third, this makes a blog post, which have been sadly lacking in these parts. So, withour further ado, here are my New Years Resolutions for 2011, including comments on each section:

1. Lose 10 lbs, get more toned
2. Improve personal and family diet
3. Exercise 3x a week

I am not really as concerned about my weight as a number, this is just one way of measuring my goal of becoming healthier. I am actually much more concerned about changing and improving our diet as a family. Here are specific things I want to do to help accomplish these goals. Menu planning and careful shopping, increasing my knowledge of health and nutrition, calendaring in my exercises, looking for small ways to be more active , drinking more water. I think I want to start exercising during naptime, so I don't have quite as much help!

1. Pay off all debt
2. Create new budget and stick to it
3. Save $10,000
4. Plan long term financial goals
5. Create babysitting fund

These ones are a little fun. Ontario's new job will definitely help, and so will the wondeful blessing of our house, which my in-laws are letting us stay in for a very reasonable rent (It's not actually reasonable, it's an insane rate. They are not getting anything out of this deal, except the knowledge that they are helping their children). My specific goal is to have our emergency fund ($1000) and debt all taken care of by the end of March. Then I am going to start really putting money into savings. I think I am going to plan a special "financial date" when Ontario and I can sit down and map out some of our longterm financial goals. Right now our biggest goal is buying a house. I want to be in a position to buy a house within the next year or two. Writing out a specific budget will help all of those goals.

1. Get enough sleep
2. Schedule sewing time
For me, getting enough sleep means getting to bed by 10:00. The biggest help for me is having the goal of turning off all electronics at 8:30 (computer, iPad, iPhone, tv). That usually means I need to have all my computer stuff done by 7:30, since that is when I want to start the boys bedtime routine. If I turn everything off and put it away in the cupboard (so it's out of temptations way), then it is really easy to get my bedtime routine done, and even have some relaxing time before lights out.

Scheduling sewing time is one I am still working on. Sewing is something that I find very relaxing, but I haven't had very much time for it in a long time. I also don't know exactly what I want to sew...quilts? Clothing? Curtains? This is a goal I will be thinking about and working on later in the year probably. One thing is finding a good sewing area...that is another thing I am still figuring out.

1. Study both the Relief Society and the Sunday School lessons ahead of time.
2. Schedule in specific time for gospel study every day
3. Read the Book of Mormom
4. Write in my journal a minimum of 1 sentence daily
5. 100% visiting teaching
6. Schedule in monthly temple visits
7. Improve Family Home Evening

For my gospel study I went through and wrote a study plan on my calendar. I chose a different thing for each day: M-RS lesson, T-"Teaching No Greater Call", W-SS lesson, Th-"Preach My Gospel", F-Personal Progress, Sa-Ensign, Su-Topical. I gave myself 10 minutes for each study time, plus 5 minutes for reading the Book of Mormon. That might not sound like a lot, but in my world 15 min. of sitting and quietly doing anything is a luxury. I was going to do it in the morning, but I am thinking now that my evenings might be a better time.

The journal writing is a goal I have had before and one that helps me stay much more faithful. Obviously my earlier goal of turning off electronics at 8:30 will help with that.

For visiting teaching I went through and wrote on the calendar to schedule it the first Sunday of each month. I am also going to program in email reminders to make sure I am remembering it throughout the month. I am still trying to figure out how VT works here, since it's a very different dynamic, but I really do have a testimony of the importance of taking time to serve our sisters.

Ontario and I have already started calendaring in our temple visits. We are going to be switching off with Ontario's brother and his wife for babysitting once a month, and then hopefully we can find a couple in the ward to swap babysitting with in the offmonths. I am hoping that Asher getting old enough for solid foods will help this goal happen. We also figured out that with Ontarios new job we could each take turns going to the temple by ourselves once a month, while the other one stays home with the kids. So I will hopefully be going bi-monthly.

Our family home evening goal is one I am very excited about. We went through the calendar and broke up each month so that every Monday would have a different category. First monday is Preparedness, the second Missionary Work, the third Family History, the fourth Gratitude/Service, and if there is a fifth one, that is a bonus where we get to do something special. We even went through and brainstormed a list of topics for our preparedness lessons: Budgeting, Gardening, Fire Safety, Food storage, Stranger danger, etc. I think we came up with at least 14 things we could do for that general topic. Having a plan and knowing what area we need to focus our lessons on is really helping us be more prepared. I am sure we will think of other ways to improve as the year goes on, but so far I am happy at the steps we have already taken. We already did our gratitude lesson this month and wrote thank you notes for Tommy's birthday. It's great to see a plan actually working!

1. Take a photography or a cooking class
2. Read one educational book a month (this can just be any book that teaches me about something)
3. Do 1 cultural activity every month
4. Complete the Financial Peace University

I really want to take some kind of class where I am learning a new skil. Photography and cooking are both things I would love to study. I know that eventually I need to figure out going back to school, but at this point in my life I am happy with just doing one or two classes.

I love reading informative books. I have so many things that I want to learn more about, and I know that the NYPL system will be a great resource for that. I am so happy to be back in the land of Interlibrary loans! Some of the topics I currently am interested in are gardening, home school, Montessori education, home birth, potty training, cooking, personal finance, home decoration, DIY, nutrition, herbology and politics. I am sure there are lots more I can't think of right now, but that should be enough to get me started. Some of those are things I have already started studying and just want to continue learning about, and others are areas that I feel very shaky on and want to have a basic understanding of.

I live in NYC, so doing one cultural activity a month shouldn't be hard. I just want to make sure we are taking advantage of the amazing opportunity we have to live in such a diverse place.

Taking the financial peace university is a goal I have had for a long time but I really want to make it happen this year.

1. Follow my flylady routines
2. Make weekly menu plans
3. Redo my filing system
4. Completely unpack my house

Since being a mom is the career that I have chosen, all of these goals are to help me be better at that. Really, the overarching goal is to be more organized, have a smoothly running home, and not feel like I am running around like a crazy person all day or freaking out at my kids. I have other goals that fall into these categories (be on top of birthdays and anniversaries, send thank you notes promptly, stay in touch with friends and family, have all regular maintenance items scheduled and taken care of) but I will start with babysteps and move up from there.

Obviously all of my goals tie into and effect my other goals, so as I improve in one area it will positively affect the others. I am sure that I will have times that I fall down and feel like a failure, but knowing I have a plan and being able to reference it will help tremendously. Also, I have a lot of resources at my disposal. Here are some of my favorites:

Flylady! One of my all time favorite home organization websites. I love the flylady!
Cozi, a calendar and organization website, I am loving it so far. It has an online calendar, weekly routine schedule, to do list, shopping list, and more.
Dave Ramsey, a financial educator
Jonathan Roche, personal trainer and founder of the No Excuse Workout
LoseIt!, a website for tracking diet and exercise
Meals Matter, a healthy menu planning resource The new church website has tons of resources, including an online study journal that lets you save notes and reference back to talks and scriptures you have been studying.
ZionsBank EZ budget, an online budgeting tool
The New York Public Library

Most of these are free or have free resources available on them, so you should definitely check them out. I am so grateful for the internet and the wondeful resources it offers!

Well, to stick with my goals I am going to post this and then go put away my electronic devices for the night. I certainly seem to swing between never posting and then posting way too much! Good night all!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Update on the last four months

So, I haven't really updated since October, and a LOT has happened since then. I know I can't blog about it all, so I am going to just do a list of bullet points:

-Went to the pumpkin patch with friends (my last real post)
-Had Gabes birthday. It was so much fun with a train theme. I still want to post pictures, I just have to figure out where they are on the computer. :)
-Alice got baptized. Yay!
-We decided to move. It was pretty sudden. Even though we had been talking about it for a long time, the actual decision was pretty quick. Not only that, we decided to move to the Bronx!
-We visited MD and NY for a family wedding. We are really happy to have Bridget as part of the family now. It was a lot of fun, and we got to go and see our new house. So pretty!
-Ontario was working on his contract of building the iPad app for the BYU MOA Carl Bloch exhibition. It turned out amazingly and I am so proud of him!

-We started packing and decluttering.
-Thanksgiving dinner with friends at Krissie's house. It was the perfect last holiday with friends (well, not last, but the last for the foreseeable future).
-We both got released from our callings
-Finished packing and loaded our pods for the big move
-Said goodbye to all of our amazing friends and family in Utah. The hardest part of moving has definitely been all the people we are leaving behind. I have just been praying that I will be able to find the same kinds of friends here in NY.

-Started the trip from Utah to NY. Drove 583 miles on 5 hours of sleep. That was a long day.
-Visited friends and family in Colorado, Indianapolis, and Ohio on the way to our new home
-Arrived in NYC and started unpacking
-A week later we had visitors Alice and her sister JiHae come to spend some of Christmas break with us. We got to take them around to see a lot of the NYC sights, and had a little Christmas morning celebration with them before we left for our own family Christmas
-Went to MD to spend Christmas with Ontario's family. We stopped in PA on the way to meet up with Ben and Robin, and make the rest of the drive with them.
-Spent two weeks in MD visiting family. It was such a fun, relaxing Christmas. It was the first year that all of the kids were home, plus we had new spouses, kids, and other significant others to add to the mix, so the house was packed! It was so much fun being with everyone. We did miss having Nathan and Hunter with us though. :(
-Celebrated our fourth anniversary! It hardly seems like it has been that long. I am so grateful to be married to such a wonderful, fun, righteous, loving guy. He is my favorite! I can't wait for the next four years. :)
-We also did our third annual Iron Chef competition as a family. It was a lot of fun, and super yummy! Our team lost, but we ended up getting to eat lots of yummy food, so I think it was worth it. :)
-Celebrated New Years with games, food, and the ever popular chocolate fountain!
-Celebrated Mama Brittons birthday. So glad to have her as my mother in law!

-We returned to New York and got back to work settling in.
-Chrissy came and spent her winter break with us, so we got to do lots of fun things with her.
-We visited Little Italy, which was lots of fun. I got to bust out my italian, and we got some amazing bread. Yum!
-Spent the weekend with Ben and Robin to celebrate Tommy's birthday. For the party we had everyone decorate cupcakes, using the awesome books Tari gave me for our anniversary. We did the creepy crawly bug ones, and they turned out so cute! It was so much fun, I think I have a new hobby! Grandy, Papa, Chrissy and Annie also were able to make it, which was so great. Tommy loved all his presents.
-Tari started his new job teaching iPhone development classes for FMC. It is really the perfect job for us right now, and he is loving getting to teach and not having to fill up his time with contract work. So far he has taught in NY, Boston, and tonight he is leaving to teach a class in Washington D.C. I will miss him, but we are hoping we can drive down and visit him during his stay. I want to take the boys to the Natural History Musuem to see the dinosaurs.
-This weekend all the family is coming to visit for Ben and Johns gig. It will be fun hosting everyone here for the first time. I definitely need to do some more unpacking to make sure we can fit them all in though!
-Throughout this month we have also had 3 or 4 big snowstorms, and Asher has learned how to army crawl!

So....that is the rundown on what has been happening in our lives for the last few months. I have another post that has been brewing in my mind for awhile about my new years resolutions. I might get that done tonight, but we will have to see. :) Life is good. Ontario likes his job, we are enjoying our new ward, we are having fun with the adventure of living in New York City, and our kids just keep getting cuter. Hopefully I will be updating this more often during 2011!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Too much to post about, so you get this instead...

I came into the library to find Tommy waving half a skeleton (leftover Halloween decoration) up and down and saying, "Jesus! Temple! Jesus! Temple!". Still not sure what exactly that meant....