Friday, January 30, 2015

2015 Resolution January Progress

I have a couple updates to share, but I'll do a quick update on how our year long goals have been progressing. I'll start with the not so positive so I can end things on a positive note :)

Jacob is still arguing, but has toned it down some. At least most of his arguments aren't with me anymore. The squabbles with his brothers are slowly decreasing. Jordan my sweet child, I swear he is going to be the death of me. He has his days when he's got things under control, and other days it's more of an hour by hour thing. These teenage years are much rougher than I had excepted. Joey was doing fantastic with his behavior. I think a major part of that is contributed to the brain balancing and brain gym exercises. This past week he has had some issues with mood swings, but that could be due to the medication. (I'll have a post soon to share about how things have been going for Joey.) I have made huge strides with curbing my sarcasm, I still slip but I have been making a effort to choose my words more wisely.

Everyone around here is slowly getting back into their groove of grabbing a book instead of a video game controller. The boys are excited that they are beating me both in number of books and pages read, I've only read book so far.

Now for my personal goals. Let's start with what I haven't started yet. I have not cut down on my coffee at all, this one will be one that takes most of the year for me to reach. I really do love my coffee. I've actually been doing worse in regards to cutting back on caffeine, I have slowly been bringing more Mt. Dew in the house. So I have to stop "doing the dew" again before I worry about my coffee consumption. I really don't like drinking Mt. Dew, but it lures me in with it's sugary goodness. Besides the amount of sugar, there are so many nasty things in it that my body really doesn't need. I know the yellow 5 gives me massive headaches, plus I hate the crash I get after the sugar high.

With all the caffeine coursing through my veins, I'm not getting bed early. Which means that I still am not getting up early enough for my workouts. I am how ever getting to bed earlier, with the exception to a day here or there. While a 1- 1:30 am is still too late to be heading to bed, it is much better than the 3 am I started at. Given that I've only been trying retrain my body for a few weeks I'm accepting that I am making progress with this one.

There isn't much cooking from scratch going on either. I feel that I need to clarify what "cooking from scratch" means to me. I'm not referring to the need to stop grabbing frozen tv dinners and nuking them. I honestly don't think my boys have every had a meal from the freezer. I'm talking about ditching my boxes of brownie mix and bags of shredded processed cheese products. I want to get the point that I'm making meals (and of course snacks) the way they did back in the day. I don't want to be feeding my boys (or myself) ingredients that I can not even pronounce. Now, I'm not even attempting to go all organic or organic at all for that matter. That may happen in the future but we're taking baby steps.

I have been setting aside a couple hours every Friday to do nothing other than scrapbooking. I've managed to complete 13 pages for our family album this month. I'm almost the 2012 album, than I'll move on the the boys' individual books to catch them up to 2012.

Other than tossing loose change into our vacation jar, there has been much done towards saving. The cable is still on, because my shows are starting their new seasons. :)

No couponing going on either, but I have a good reason for it. I forget to stop and grab the Sunday paper, because we found a church and have been there every Sunday. So the only thing this month I have made any real progress with is strengthening my relationship with God. I finally downloaded the youversion app and have been doing daily devotions. I also joined a growth group through the church and once a week my dad comes out to watch the boys so I can attend. I'm glad they call them growth groups instead of small groups, because we have have a decent amount of people in our group. The series we are working through was put together by Rick Warren, the author of A Purpose Driven Life; I really should dust off that book too. With the exception f my best friend I didn't really know anyone in the group. A few weeks into the series and I absolutely love the people in the group. They have made me feel very welcomed and comfortable. The best way I could describe our group is it has personality :) Lately I'm finding that I look forward to the beginning of each week, because it means church and group.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

This Single Didn't Get to Mingle Much

A two week break from school was just enough time for us to get use to sleeping in. We are very slowly readjusting to early wake ups. I'm not back to my routine of being productive in the mornings, today was to be laundry and shopping day. After sorting, washing, folding, and putting away 14 loads of laundry, I'm beat. I'm going to relax and write a blog instead of shopping, looks like pizza for dinner tonight.

Here is how I spent my New Year's Eve

I had mentioned not being with my boys on New Year's Eve to discuss their resolutions. Actually I brought in the new year with a couple friends and about 75 strangers. Oh yeah, we were in a church too. My friend mentioned a Single's New Year Eve event at a church about a half hour away. I don't remember how she talked me into going, but I said I'd go. I've never took part of any kind of singles event, so I was kind of excited to give it a try. On the other hand, I had always brought in the new year with my kiddos. My boys were all for me going out and meeting new people. Honestly, I think they had high expectations of this one night out. A few times I got the impression that they thought I would met the man of my dreams, fall head over heels, and "POOF!" they'd have a dad. Even after expressing that I highly doubted that I would find someone to add to our family, they were glad I was going out for the evening. Grandma had agreed to come out and watch my boys. Grandma also loaned me a dress and sweater for the evening and help me find a nice pair of boot. Also just before I walked out the door Grandma also lent me her purse.

So, it was New Year's Eve day, the boys were excited that Grandma was coming out to stay the night. She had some fun things planned to do with the boys. I was nervous all day long. I really wanted to back out and just relax in my jammies with my kiddos all night eating junk food.

I didn't back out. I got all dressed up, which felt nice because let's face it I don't get many opportunities to wear a dress while hanging with my kids. I guess I could just walk around the house dressed to the nines, but that might worry my kids some :) So there I am all dressed to go, my friend is looking stunning in her dress, after a couple pictures we get ready to leave. That's when my mom notices my purse. The same purse I use day in and day out. I don't think about things like 'does my purse match me outfit' most of the time I'm making sure I have all my kids as we walk out the door; if I have a purse and everyone is wearing a coat that's a bonus :) So Grandma to the rescue, she swapped purses with me, because her's in black (which goes with everything).

My friend and I get to the church that is hosting the event. We pulled up 5 minutes before the doors were to open. The parking lot was pretty bare for a place that was suppose to be having a New Year's Eve party. While we were debating rather we should look for another entrance or check this place, another friend pulls in. This must be the place.

The 3 of us check in and find a table. There were a few people here or there but not as many as you would expect to find (later I learned that the final head count was 80 people). After chatting amongst ourselves another member from a singles group I'm part of arrived and joined our table. Soon so did 3 gentlemen we had never met. They seemed nice enough, 2 were talkative, the other looked uncomfortable in his own skin. (None of them were my type) We had a wonderful dinner that was catered by someone I know to be absolutely brilliant in a kitchen. We had two choices for dessert (catered by someone else) and were to take only one, a cheesecake (which I heard was wonderful) and a chocolate (maybe chocolate-raspberry) cake. The cheesecake was gone before I realized the desserts were out, so I took chocolate cake. It looked delicious! However it was way to dry to eat (even some of the guys at our table didn't eat their's either).

We were given time to mingle amongst ourselves. Well, everyone else did. I didn't even get a chance to get out of my chair and a gentleman sat next to me to talk. He kind of creeped me out right away. He had asked if I had kids, after I said I had 3 boys he sat up a bit in his chair. I'm always on high alert when meeting guys and especially when they seem interested in the fact that I have young children. I talked to him for a bit to be nice figuring he'd soon move on to someone else. He also had 3 kids, his youngest is only 7 years younger that I am! He tried to get me to believe he was 50, he looked older than 50. My friend referenced that he looked like Father Mulchay from the show M*A*S*H (after I Googled who that was, I have to agree) I tried to be polite while keeping my answers short and hoping he's get the hint that I really wasn't interested. I even mentioned a couple times that I want to walk around a bit and visit, but I guess he didn't pick up on that. Thankfully they announced it was time for the group activity and he returned to his table.

I was looking forward to the group activity although I had no idea what it would be. I thought it would be a good way to get up and mingle with everyone. Nope. Every table was a team (I already knew or met everyone at my table), the activity was pretty much "name that tune". I'm grateful for the people on my team, because I couldn't tell one song from the next. We were sung 4 or 5 notes and had to figure out the song. My awesome team was great and we made it to the semifinal round.
After the game we were again given time to mingle. The guy from before wasted no time coming to find me. He hung around talking to me for at what seemed like a very long time. I tried to listen to what he was saying at the same time as kick the chair of my friend who was sitting near where I was standing. I wasn't interested in this guy and really wanted to visit with people, any people. Luck was finally on my side and someone came to take a group shot and I excused myself to get into the picture and told my friend to "SAVE ME". She hadn't felt me feeble attempts of nonchalantly kicking her chair.  She did rescue me and we took a walk. She hadn't been sure if I needed rescuing or not I did kind of look like I wanted out of the conversation though. After our walk, we were head back to our table and the same guy started towards or table again. My friend quickly got me out of there. It seemed like a good time to call and check in on my kids. As I was heading outside that same guys came rushing towards us worried that I was leaving already. I told him I was just going for a smoke in hopes that maybe he's be repulsed by the fact that I smoke. Once back at our table, our other friends informed us that after we had walked the door, that guy basically ran to the doors to follow us.

He did find me one more time, to tell me that  he was leaving and wanted to give me a candy bar and his phone number. I could not believe this guy. I had in no way indicated that I want to talk to him, let alone wanted his phone number. Finally he left, just before we started the worship portion of our evening. I wanted to refill my drink but waited to make sure he was really gone and I wasn't going to get ambushed again. After about 10 minutes I went to refill my pop. I was talking to a lady about how guys always put the caps on too tight on the pop and who should I hear offer their assistance, yep he was back. He knew there had been a reason for him to grab a coffee before he left. UGH!! I quickly returned to my seat and prayed that he would actually leave after getting his coffee. He did.

Worship was nice. I knew some of the songs, but this church played them much slower than I was use to. Slow worship songs after eleven at night can made you pretty sleepy. The people who attend the hosting church were all into their praise at a slower pace though. Then we had communion. They had these "self-serve" communion things. Our table had more trouble with them then we should have Maybe it was lack of sleep, but they seemed very complicated at the time. You peel back the thin purple layer for the host and then peel back the other layer for your grape juice. I took a picture of one of the "self-serve" communion cups, because I have never seen anything like them before.

After communion everyone grabbed their noise makers and adorned a party hat and counted down for the new year. After hugs with friends I went out into the hallway to call my boys. When I came back there was a string of people holding hands dancing around the room. That was the first time it felt like a party to me. There was pizza for a midnight snack. After some time visiting we headed home.

Even though I had no clue what to expect from the evening, it was not what I expected it to be. I had so much fun with the ladies I was there with, but I don't think I'll be attending again next year :)

Monday, January 5, 2015

2015 Resolutions

New year, new goals for us. I wasn't home on New Year's Eve so I missed the discussion with my boys about what goals they wanted to set. My boys haven't really set any goal for the year except to beat the number of books read last year. They were shocked that we fell so short of our goal, they had tried hard. So this year we are lower our goal a bit to 50 books per person or 12,500 pages. We decided to include pages because Jordan had a point that it wasn't really fair that his books were 3-4 hundred pages and Jacob's were one hundrend-something. Again all the books need to be chapter books and at their reading level.

I have set our family goal this year because most of the responsibility of reaching it falls on me. January first we had a family meeting, where I shared the New Year, New Attitudes rules with my boys. Gradually over the past year attitudes have became an issue, mine included. I don't know if this hold true with anyone else's family, but when my boys are about eight and a half years old they get very argumentative. It doesn't matter what was said or asked of them, they want to argue. Jacob has recently reach the arguing stage. I understand it's independence thing and eventually he'll get past it, but... I just want to to tone it down a bit. So he and I will will be honing his skills on what kind of things to take a stand for and debate and when to let things roll off his back. For Joey, it isn't so much his attitude as his behavior that we'll be working on. While the alphabet of diagnoses does play a big part as to why his behavior is all over the place (which we are working on with different types of therapies), he needs to take some responsibility for the behaviors that aren't due to his diagnoses. Jordan has taken his "teenage attitude" to a new level. It's not just the typical rebelling and need for more freedom, he's been down right rude and mean. I have noticed that we use a lot of sarcasm in our house. I know my kids learned it from me, so I'm working on it this year. Also I have notice that the older my kids get the more potty words "slip" from my lips, so I will be working on that too.

My personal goal are-
  • strengthening my relationship with God (first step-find a new church)
  • sticking with homeschooling during the summer break (see if I could handle it full time)
  • in my bed by 10:30-11 (which coincides with the next one)
  • morning workouts
  • cooking from scratch (this should be interesting)
  • get back into couponing (money saved from coupons goes towards vacation)
  • save money for vacation (we have talked about shutting off our cable for a year towards this)
  • scrapbook 2012 and 2013 pictures for all 4 books (if I'm lucky maybe even do part of 2014)
  • POSSIBLY quit my coffee or cut down some

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Year Long Goals 2014, How Did We Do?

Our final 2014 year long goals update. I haven't done too well with keeping everyone update with our progress month by month. One of my goals for 2015 is to be consistent with blogging :) Here's how everyone has done this year with reaching their goals.

Jordan had set a goal of better managing his time on electronics. He had his moments when he managed well, and other times not so much. Over all he has done better than years past with finding other things to occupy his time with that didn't involve staring at a screen for hours. However, this is a goal he will still be working towards. Most of the time I had intervened, so he's still working on self- monitoring his electronic usage.

Joey reached his goal of making new friends. He has made a number of friends, which is huge for him. This is an ongoing goal for him, as many of his new friends were only his friends for a short time. After getting all of the different evaluations done this year pertaining to his behavior and school performance, we have a better idea as to how to work towards better reaching this goal.

Jacob did not reach his goal of growing a mustache :)  He had chosen to work on sharing more, which he did reach fairly early this year.

The goals I had set for myself, many I did not reach. I gave quite a bit of thought to returning to school, but just never signed up. I'm still on the fence if I want to complete my teaching degree or to give being a sign language interpreter or a combination of the two (teach to deaf students). For the majority of the year I did get to bed earlier, which was still to late to be heading off to bed. I did absolutely nothing towards losing weight, but somehow managed to maintain the weight I started at. I mostly stuck to setting aside time for me to do the things I enjoy without it taking away from time spent with my boys or my having to stay up later. I completed many new crochet projects this year and read many books. My scrapbooking unfortunately was neglected the whole year.

Our family goals were reached to some extent, there was great effort put into them. After completing our Winter Bucket List we worked thought a much shorter Summer Bucket List, we however opted to take a break for any and all bucket lists as our days started filling with other activities and challenges. We completed the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge although we did not reach the whole 1000 hours with the one year time frame, we are still proud of the 782 hours we logged. (You can see how we spent some of those hours here) Our goal of getting organized was kind of generalized, we did get our house more organized and have kept the clutter under control. The boys are still learning which was work best for them to keep themselves organized. We (aka Mom) set a high goal of books to be read 2014, with the goal of 100 (chapter) books per person. After acknowledging the troubles Joey had with reading I altered it to a collective 400 (chapter) books read for the family. While everyone gave our goal a tremendous effort, we didn't quite reach 400. I think we had too many activities vying for our attention to fully reach our goal of 1000 Hours Outside and to read 400 books. We were either running around outside or inside curled up with a book.

Our grand total of books read are:

Jacob read 57 books (7,094 pages read within the year).  He was my competition when it came to books read. Jacob loves to read and fly through a stack of books when the mood strikes him. He also re-read a couple books and read bits and pieces of others without completing them.

Joey read 13 books (1,242 pages read). As my reluctant reader I'm very proud of him for completing 13 books cover to cover. He also likes to read bits and pieces of books, or will start one and get bored with it.

Jordan read 42 books (14,179 pages)  Jordan was my competition for most pages read. He loves to read, but also is trying to balance his love for reading with hanging out with friends, sports and homework. Considering that he is 14, I counting 42 books as a great feet. 

I read 58 books (16,233) pages Only one of the books was one I had read previously. I love to re-read many of my favorites. 58 books read while still running a household, taking care of 3 boys, and still finding time for crafting, isn't to shabby.

The were only reached 170 books (38,748 pages) read, which is really short of our goal.I know that by setting a goal help motivate my boys to read more. While most of us really enjoy reading, I don't think we would have read nearly as many books without setting the goal. I have to admit in hind sight that our goal was a bit high. I'll have to start it lower and work our way up to 100 books per person.

Keep your eye peeled for which goals we set to accomplish in 2015