Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye old friend!

Last year on New Years Eve I made a post about how happy I was to see 2011 come to a close. 2011 was a crappy year for me and I was looking to a much happier 2012.

Now here we are a year later and I'm reflecting back on another year past. I am happy to say that 2012 was everything I hoped it would be and more. This year was a new beginning for me. It was a year of trying new things, of pushing my limits and of rediscovering myself. I learned that I love riding my bike. I learned that I could actually exercise daily and ENJOY it. 2012 was the year I RAN! I lost 21 pounds in 2012 (and gained a few of them back, but we'll discuss that after the first of the year, lol)! I planted a garden that actually grew! After 37 years of being a nail biter I managed to finally kick the habit and I have maintained my pretty nails for six months and now I'm teaching other people how to make their nails look pretty! In 2012 I worried less, I smiled more and I left a few things in the past that I needed to let go of.

2012 wasn't perfect in every way. We didn't accomplish all of our year of adventure plans. After several awesome months on my bike and the treadmill I'm currently not exercising daily, although I will address that after the first of the year. I have a foot issue that I'm dealing with. I fell off the diet wagon over the holidays and I probably gained the five pounds that I gain over the holidays every year but swore I wouldn't this year. I refuse to weigh myself at the moment, so I don't know where I'm at, but again, I will be dealing with that after the first of the year. I have the tools now to tackle it, I just need to get back on track. I'm looking forward to getting my foot issue addressed and getting back on the treadmill. I miss it. I accomplished some things and I failed at some things this year. That's OK, I learned from all of it and I will learn what I used to keep going next year.

So tonight as I say goodbye to 2012 it will not be with a good riddance like it was last year. I will look back on 2012 fondly, grateful for the new experiences I had and proud of what I accomplished.

I'm also eagerly anticipating 2013. I hope to continue on my weight loss journey, I hope to get back on the treadmill and get back to work on my running and I'm very quietly making a goal to run a 5K in 2013. I can't guarantee that it's going to happen this year, but I'm working towards it. We'll see. I have my eye on the Color Run, if not in 2013 then hopefully the next year. I'm also going to get back on my bike. I'm looking forward to my five mile rides in the summer again and I'm hoping to spend more time taking longer rides on the Greenbelt.

2013 is going to be the year of the books. We're going to learn and grow through the written word. We're also going to continue on with the things we learned from last year. We're a bike riding family now and I'm going to make sure to keep that as a priority next summer. We may try camping and a few other new adventures. I think we're still going to keep an adventure list, just a smaller one.

On a more trivial and material level, I'm hoping that 2013 is the year we recarpet our house. We have plans, but we'll see. If we do it's going to mean doing an emptying of our house like we're moving. Yikes. I'm not looking forward to that part, but new carpet would be super awesome. It's past due for a change.

So goodbye, 2012. It's been fun. Whatever happens in 2013, I will be here to blog it and I hope you'll come along for the ride.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Year Of The Books!

Yes, I know I'm totally behind on my blogging. December is always such a crazy busy month that I have a hard time keeping up.

Christmas was awesome and we're having super relaxing week around here. I love Christmas and I always go overboard with gifts. I love seeing my kids faces on Christmas morning. It's one of my favorite parts of parenthood.

Everyone is home until after New Years so we're relaxing, having some fun family time and the kids are busy playing with their new Christmas stuff. The boys got several Wii games that they have been glued to and they also got Lego Diagon Alley, which has over 2,000 Lego pieces, so they're going to be busy for weeks!

Ok, so now I'm excited to share the great idea I had today! So, if you've been reading my blog for a while you know how I like to theme my years. I don't know why I do that, I just do. This year was our year of adventure and even though we didn't accomplish everything on our list we had a really great time with the adventures we did accomplish and I still think the project was a success.

This afternoon I was thinking about what I wanted to accomplish next year and I decided that lately we don't read enough. When I was a kid I LOVED to read. I read every single thing I could get my hands on. As an adult I don't read nearly as much as I used to. I go through spurts and sometimes I do pretty good but for the most part I'm really not reading as much as I wish I was. My kids also aren't reading as much as I wish they were. Matthew loves to read and reads a lot at night but lately I'm having a hard time getting Josh to read for pleasure. He likes to read but he has a lot of other hobbies that take up a lot of his attention and he's pretty busy these days.

So my big idea is to make next year the Year Of The Books! We had a family meeting today and came up with a plan. For one hour every night next year we're going to have reading hour. The whole family is going to stop what we're doing from, lets say, 7:00-8:00 and read. Now, that's a pretty big plan because we're busy and I know that not everyone will be able to participate every single night, but we're going to try it and do our best. I may have to make adjustments to the plan as we go but we're going to start out with that as our goal. If we can't fit an hour into our night maybe we'll shoot for half an hour. We'll just start out and see how it works. I learned from our year of adventure to expect changes along the way. We'll adjust as we need to.

And as we go we're going to keep statistics of how much we read, not just during reading hour but everything we read during the year. We might have awards for the most pages read, the most books read, etc. We're going to set periodic family goals and then have a party when we hit like 1,000 pages or whatever. At some point during the year we also want to pick a book that has been made into a family friendly movie that we haven't seen (we haven't decided on that yet) and then we're all going to read the book as a family and then have a movie night party and watch the movie when we're done.

I have some other ideas to make it fun as well. Periodically I might make a special treat to eat while we read or do something else to make it extra fun. We'll take family trips to the library and try different types of books we've never read before and turn it into an exciting experience. I want to make sure that the kids view this as a fun adventure and not a boring chore.

So I'm super excited about this! I think it's going to help me rediscover my love of reading, it's going to encourage the kids to step away from the electronics and spend more time with their noses in a book and it will be a fun family bonding experience for all of us!

Yay for the Year Of The Books! More info to follow when the project gets underway!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Guest room project!

We've been working hard this weekend! I mentioned that we were working on turning our guest room into a little hotel getaway room and this weekend we got it mostly finished. We picked out a great paint color, which is a miracle because I hate picking out paint colors. Too many choices stress me out and if you've ever picked out paint you know that there are way too many choices! Every time I have to go pick out paint I go to Lowes and stand in front of the gigantic display of paint samples and practically have a panic attack. How do you go through all of those and find the exact perfect shade? Picking out paint makes me a little crazy, lol. On another note, we're probably recarpeting our house in a few months. Picking out carpet makes me even more anxious because you can't really change it if you hate it!

Anyway, we did find a great color. Instead of going through all the paint swatches I went over to the area where they had little cans of actual paint samples. There were only a handful of choices and I bought a few of those that had potential, went home and painted a little swatch of them all on my wall and the choice was clear. From now on I think I'm going to pick my paint that way!

The color we chose was Valspar Churchhill Hotel Wheat. It's a nice neutral beige-ish color. It's not super exciting but it's warm and it looks perfect in the room. It's amazing what a different paint makes in a room. The room was just white before. I can't live with white walls. It looks unfinished to me. Now the room feels so cozy and complete. It doesn't feel like the same room at all to me.

We also spent yesterday figuring out how to hide the cords on the TV that is on the wall in there. Anyone who has ever hung a TV on the wall knows what a pain that is. It took us quite a while to get it all hidden and hooked up. It looks awesome now though!

The room is still not done though. I still have one corner left to paint that I didn't finish yesterday, Shawn is building nightstands and I'm going to paint them when he finishes and I still need to decorate the walls. I still have no idea what I'm going to do there. Decorating the walls is kind of like picking out paint to me. Too many options. If I was rich I would hire a decorator and make someone else pick it all out for me. But I'm not, so I'm on my own. Darn. I'll figure it out eventually.

Anyway, I'll post photos when we get it all done. We actually are having real guests over Christmas break (my mom and stepdad are stopping by on their way to Oregon), so I want to get it done in the next few days. I'll post photos soon!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday

I really appreciated the people who mentioned that they had been waiting for a new post after my last post, so I'm making sure that I get back here and post again so you all didn't give up on me! :)

There's not a whole lot happening around here these days. We got the fireplace put together in the guest room and it is AWESOME! I'm going to take some photos and but I'm going to wait because right now it's a gigantic mess in there while we move out the old stuff to make room for the new stuff. We haven't painted or anything yet, so we still have a ways to go before the room is complete. I'll keep updating as we do more to it because it's a super fun project!

This week we're going to get the Christmas tree up and get the house looking all Christmasy! I love all the Christmas stuff but I only love it for a while and then I start to get tired of it and it starts to feel cluttery so I don't like to put it up too early in the season. I want to still be loving it when Christmas gets here! It's always fun to get the Christmas stuff out. We do a yearly Christmas tree ornament that signifies something that happened that year, so putting the tree up is really fun. We have ornaments that go back to when my husband and I were dating, so our Christmas tree is kind of like a scrapbook of our marriage. Each year is represented and we talk about each ornament as we put it on the tree.

That means that every Christmas I have to come up with an ornament that is significant to our family. I'm having a hard time this year because I'm not sure what one thing represents this year. I'm thinking that I might find some sort of bicycle ornament to represent how much fun we had on our bikes this summer. This is the first year that we did family bike rides and we loved it. That is something fun that we'll want to remember.

Summing up this year reminds me that I never explained what happened to our year of adventure! Remember how much fun we had with that for the first six months of the year?!

Here's what happened. We were doing super great and then the forest fires hit. For a good two months this summer our city was under a cloud of smoke. The fires in the area were terrible this year. All of the outdoor Year of Adventure activities that we had planned had to keep getting moved because we were waiting for the smoke to clear. At times it wasn't too bad, but it seemed like every time the smoke got better, something else came up and we had to postpone our activity. It was also over 100 degrees for a good portion of August. Between the smoke and the heat, we just couldn't get out there to do everything we had planned and eventually we just kind of dropped the plans.

And actually, we did do a couple of the activities that I never blogged about. The boys decided that building an RC vehicle wasn't going to happen this year, so they spent the morning with one of our neighbors, who has a collection of awesome RC vehicles. They got to try them out and learn about them and we decided to count that as the activity. The boys also went to the pumpkin patch without me and Clarissa because Clarissa wasn't feeling well that day. I have the photos and I've been meaning to blog them, I just haven't gotten around to it.

We also did build our backyard movie theater this year, the smoke was just too bad to actually go outside and watch movies. We planned it a few different times and had to cancel it for one reason or another every time.

So the Year of Adventure was not a complete success, but we did learn a lot and we haven't give up on it. I think our first mistake was putting too many things on the list. Twenty four things was two activities a month. That sounded awesome when we started but once we got behind it was hard to catch up. There were also a few things on there that were maybe a bit unrealistic. A few of them were out of town day trips and we did do a couple of those but when it came down to it we just didn't have time for all of them this year.

We want to do it again but next time we'll probably stick to 12 things. One activity a month is plenty when you're trying to get everything crossed off before the end of the year. We're going to have another family meeting about it and I think we'll probably do it again next year but we'll tweak the list a bit, or we might make a list of 24 things with a goal to complete 12 of them. That way if one thing falls through we have alternates to choose from.

But the activities we did cross off our list were awesome and unforgettable. We learned that we love bowling, we became a family of bike riders, the boys finally tried out camping , I successfully grew a garden and all in all we did have a lot of really fun experiences as a family that I'm really glad we accomplished. I don't think the Year of Adventure was a failure. What we did accomplish was really fun and it's something we want to continue to do with  a few revisions in the future. All in all I think this was a really successful year for our family and we all grew and learned and became closer as a family. Maybe it's a good thing not to cross everything off the list. Having more things left to do gives us more to look forward to in the year ahead! :)