Insane Goals – July/August 2013 Updates

Insane Goals

Insane GoalsOur family is working through a list of several insane goals for the year. We’re making a serious and conscience effort to work toward accomplishing these goals, as well as the goals on our 101 Things in 1,001 Days list. Overall, we’re doing a decent job of sticking to our goals, I think.

I’ve been taking one day out of every month to go over our successes and failures from the previous month. I do well with the pressure of being accountable to others, and this monthly post will hopefully inspire us to stay on task and check items off of the list. I got a bit behind over the summer, so this post is a combined update for both July and August. {January} {February} {March} {April} {May} {June}

Rebekah at SimplyRebekah.com has been posting her own monthly Insane Goals going too, and I encourage you to join in – it’s not too late to set goals and make changes for the year!

How We Did in July & August…

It’s been a long and busy summer for our family. Financially, things are still tight, mainly due to some mechanical problems with our car that had to (and still have to) be sorted out. Some of the issues were fairly inexpensive (overheating due to a faulty radiator cap), while others still loom over our heads and every extra penny is being budgeted for those repairs (master cylinder for the brakes, new starter and battery).

We had made the decision to stop trying to conceive, and I had actually just removed that goal from my list in June, but apparently life has other plans for us. We found out we are pregnant in mid-August and we couldn’t be more happy and excited (also scared, nervous, and worried). Our approximate due date is April 20, 2014!

I did a lot of cooking from scratch over the summer months – right up until my morning sickness and nausea poached every ounce of extra energy from my body. Meals became a lot more about convenience at that point, but David makes a delicious panini sandwich, so we’re still shunning our previous reliance on top ramen (thank goodness!). We swam as much as possible, running down for an hour between rain storms on some days. I had lost about 12 pounds, but pregnancy has brought those back rather quickly, which surprises me, since I don’t feel like I ate much beyond saltine crackers and ginger ale for several weeks.

We had a lovely and simple celebration with my family for Clara’s 1st birthday on July 1, and my wonderful friends from my June 2012 due date group created “Clara’s Day” and showered us with heartfelt expressions of their love and remembrance. It was beautiful and more than I had hoped for. David and I threw a Pokemon party for Lakin’s 12th birthday, and she loved the Pokeball fondant cake that we made for her.

David and I finished listening to “Amazonia” by James Rollins on audio book. We watched “Orange is the New Black” on Netflix (I read the book by Piper Kerman, but I actually enjoyed the show more than the book), and then started “Breaking Bad”, at the behest of my little brother Zeb. I think our next TV series will be “Game of Thrones” — we’ve heard so much about it, and luckily were able to borrow the first season DVDs from our friends.

I have been working on uploading and backing up all of my photos to Google Docs and Flickr… I used to have for collections and sets in Flickr, but it’s awesomely free now, so I’m definitely embracing that. I would love to create photo books of each year of my kids’ lives, as money will allow.

I dropped the ball on blogging this summer. I’m not entirely sure what happened with my fervor for writing — I think it was a combination of the kids being home all the time, so not having “me time” to sit and process things like I normally do, and the nausea and exhaustion of early pregnancy, but I have barely been pushing out 3-4 posts a month over the past couple of months. I definitely want to get back to my usual volume of writing, but it feels like I’m having to relearn those old habits. In other words, it’s proving difficult for me to get back up to speed. As a result, my blog income dropped off almost entirely over July and August, but I’ve got some new opportunities coming up that I’m pretty excited about!

Moving on to September… it’s hard to believe it’s almost time for holiday planning!

I have updated my original Insane Goals post below, with completed goals crossed out and new additions added in italics.

Insane Goals for 2013

Life Goals

  • Save $1000 in an emergency fund. (meh… )
  • Take a vacation.
  • Donate blankets and diapers to the hospital in July {in memory of Clara}.
  • Swim at least 4 times every week.
  • Participate in Greenville’s Zombie Walk.
  • Attend Renaissance Faire in Charlotte, NC.
  • Read 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 books!
House Goals
  • Organize/declutter: my work area & filing cabinet, our bedroom, sewing area, our closet, girls’ bedroom, small bathroom.
  • Container gardening – herbs/vegetables
  • Paint coffee table/foot locker to match the living room.
  • Backup all photos/documents to second source (just in case).
  • Create photo albums of each year of the girls’ lives.
Cooking Goals
  • Use bread machine more!
  • Freeze casseroles for nights when I don’t feel like cooking. {June} {July} {August}
Parenting Goals
  • Get pregnant!
  • Encourage the kids to be more self-reliant.
  • Get the kids and their chores sorted out!
Blogging Goals {Heather}
  • Increase my monthly traffic. {Jan} {Feb} {Mar} {Apr} {May} {June} July August
  • Post at least 15 times per month. {May} {June} 
  • Increase blogging income every month. {Apr} {May} {June} 
  • Minor redesign elements.
  • Write more guest posts.
Work Goals {David}
  • Go back to school!
  • Finish setting up RedBubble shop.
  • Sell at least one original drawing.
Kid Goals
  • Have a sleepover with a friend. {Lakin}
  • Go to Frankie’s Fun Park.
  • Save $50 and open a savings account. {Addah}
  • Save $50 and open a savings account. {Lakin}
  • Set up loom and make a small blanket. {Addah}
  • Work on my book every month. {Lakin}
  • Plan party for Lakin’s 12th birthday.
  • Plan memorial event for Clara’s 1st birthday.

Knitting, Crochet & Sewing Goals

  • Finish queen-size ripple blanket. {crochet}
  • Finish David’s stripey socks. {knit}
  • Finish 5, 10, 15, 20 blankets for hospital/loss donations. {knit}
  • Make 3 skirts for each girl. {sew} (Addah – 1 finished, Lakin – 1 finished)
  • Finish 50, 100, 150 diapers for hospital/loss donations. {sew}
  • Finish 5 pairs of socks for Mama. {knit} (2 completed, 1 in progress)
  • Start/finish rainbow baby afghan. {knit}

Insane Goals 2013

Insane Goals – June 2013 Update

Insane Goals

Insane GoalsOur family is working through a list of several goals for the year. We’re making a serious and conscience effort to work toward accomplishing each one of these goals, as well as the goals on our 101 Things in 1,001 Days list. Overall, we’re doing a decent job of sticking to our goals.

I am taking one day out of every month to go over our successes and failures from the previous month. I do well with the pressure of being accountable to others, and this monthly post will hopefully inspire us to stay on task and check items off of the list. {January} {February} {March} {April} {May} 

Rebekah at SimplyRebekah.com has her own monthly Insane Goals going too, and I encourage you to join in – it’s not too late to set goals and make changes for the year!

How We Did in June…

In June, we began to recover a little from the financial mess we made in May. Things were still tight – I wonder if that will always be the case – but there was more breathing room than before. It seems that the tweaks we made to our expenses and budget in May are working.

I’m cooking more healthy whole foods this month – good-bye and good riddance, top ramen! I’ve been cooking freezer casseroles for the nights when I don’t feel like making dinner. We’re eating a lot more fruits and veggies, and getting to the pool to swim on every sunny day. As a result, I’ve managed to lose 6 lbs in about 6 weeks! I don’t feel like I’ve earned a six pound loss, necessarily, but I’ll take it!

The girls are enjoying their summer vacation and spending hours playing outside with the neighborhood kids. We have a playground and a basketball court, plus the girls have roller blades and scooters, so they’re finding plenty to keep them busy. 

We planned Clara’s birthday in June, and began making plans for Lakin’s 12th birthday party (hint: it’s a Pokemon party). I tried my hardest to raise funds to donate to Molly Bears in Clara’s memory, but alas, we did not raise a single penny via David’s website. I need to upload more artwork and increase the selection of available artwork, but it’s disappointing to be completely unsuccessful in a 4 month campaign to raise funds for a good cause. Moving on…

We’ve planted basil, a pepper plant, and a spindly tomato that David rescued from certain death at work. We also have a large container of petunias outside of our living room window now. It’s so nice to be gardening again, even on a very small scale!

David and I are still listening to “Amazonia” by James Rollins. We’ve started playing Sudoku together every night before bed and it’s a nice way to reconnect and wind down before falling asleep.

In the blogging department, my blog traffic had fallen into a wonderful new groove and I hit 12,000 page views in one month — that feels huge to me! I’ve met quite a few new readers and commenters, and found a lot of new blogs to add to my own blogroll. I increased my blog income substantially in June, which was part of what kept us in the black budget-wise. I wrote 17 posts in June, exceeding my base goal! Since Google Reader has closed, I’d love it if you’d follow me on Bloglovin and/or on Google Plus.

Moving on to July… over halfway through the year already? That doesn’t seem possible!

I have updated my original Insane Goals post below, with completed goals crossed out and new additions added in italics.

Insane Goals for 2013

Life Goals

  • Save $1000 in an emergency fund. ($0.15 towards this goal as of 6/30/13 – hey, every little bit counts!)
  • Take a vacation.
  • Donate blankets and diapers to the hospital in July {in memory of Clara}.
  • Lose 5 lbs, 10 lbs, 30 lbs, 50 lbs, 70 lbs, 90 lbs, 110 lbs, 130 lbs, 150 lbs. {Yep, I’m a big girl.}
  • Swim at least 4 times every week. (except for the rainy weeks, we’re meeting this goal!)
  • Participate in Greenville’s Zombie Walk.
  • Attend Renaissance Faire in Charlotte, NC.
  • Read 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 books!
House Goals
  • Organize/declutter: my work area & filing cabinet, our bedroom, sewing area, our closet.
  • Container gardening – herbs/vegetables
  • Paint coffee table/foot locker to match the living room.
  • Backup all photos/documents to second back-up hard drive (just in case).
Cooking Goals
  • Use bread machine more!
  • Freeze casseroles for nights when I don’t feel like cooking. {June}
Parenting Goals
  • Get pregnant!
  • Encourage the kids to be more self-reliant.
  • Get the kids and their chores sorted out!
Blogging Goals {Heather}
  • Increase my monthly traffic. {Jan} {Feb} {Mar} {Apr} {May} {June} 
  • Post at least 15 times per month. {May} {June} 
  • Increase blogging income every month. {Apr} {May} {June} 
  • Minor redesign elements.
  • Write more guest posts.
Work Goals {David}
  • Go back to school!
  • Finish setting up RedBubble shop.
  • Sell at least one original drawing.
Kid Goals
  • Have a sleepover with a friend. {Lakin}
  • Go to Frankie’s Fun Park.
  • Save $50 and open a savings account. {Addah}
  • Save $50 and open a savings account. {Lakin}
  • Set up loom and make a small blanket. {Addah}
  • Work on my book every month. {Lakin}
  • Plan pool party for Lakin’s 12th birthday.
  • Plan memorial event for Clara’s 1st birthday.

Knitting, Crochet & Sewing Goals

  • Finish queen-size ripple blanket. {crochet}
  • Finish David’s stripey socks. {knit}
  • Finish 5, 10, 15, 20 blankets for hospital/loss donations. {knit}
  • Make 3 skirts for each girl. {sew}
  • Finish 50, 100, 150 diapers for hospital/loss donations. {sew}

Insane Goals 2013

Navigating Hope

It has been three weeks since we moved into our new apartment. It took almost two full weeks to move in our things from storage and get everything unpacked. We uncovered untold treasures: items we had been missing since we packed them away, as well as many things that we had forgotten we had.

We have an amazing amount of space here, comparatively speaking. In the last year, we have lived on the upper floor of a friend’s house, in the basement of my mom’s house, in a hotel room and in another friend’s house.

In all of these places, we have had to keep our belongings confined to a very small space, and in none of these did we have our own kitchen or cooking area. Before that, we lived in a 1-bedroom apartment, approximately 400 square feet of space.

Now, we have an expansive 850 square feet… it feels like a palace, and I mean no exaggeration in saying that. David and I have our own master bedroom with a walk-in closet. The girls have their own room with double closets. We have a galley-style kitchen with so much counter space. The living room has room for our books and there are shelves for my teapots… it’s wonderful!

For folks who have been living by the seats of our pants, and with 90% of our belongings in a storage unit for a year, it’s amazing, fantastic, exciting… and bittersweet. We have room now for the beautiful bassinet that my parents bought us for our baby shower. We have room for the organizer shelves that I bought for the huge stash of cloth diapers that my older girls shared.

We try not to think about those things, for the most part. They are there, and they bring sadness, but they bring hope as well. We may one day be able to use that bassinet, car seat, baby tub and boxes of baby clothes. When that day comes, we will have room to properly welcome that new little one, a home of our own to bring him or her to… things we did not have when we were pregnant with Clara.

And in the meantime, we have dedicated a place in our home for things that remind us of her. Her urn, her ultrasound pictures, her lock of hair and the sock monkey that her big sister Addah picked out for her… all have their special place in our new home.

We have decorated our home with lots of bright colors and light streaming in the windows… happy colors to keep our spirits lifted. It is our sanctuary, our special place that we have worked so hard to have, for so long. We surround ourselves with rainbows… and spend our days re-learning how to navigate this new world of independence, grief and loss, and tentative happiness and hope.