Insane Goals – April 2013 Update

Insane Goals

Insane GoalsDavid and I are working through a list of several things that we want to accomplish this year. The difference between this list and the many that have come before, is that this time 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. We did very well for the first three months of the year, although I can feel the strain of sticking to our goals starting to set in.

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’s Goal Update} {February’s Goal Update} {March’s Goal Update}

I’ve linked up with Rebekah at SimplyRebekah.com, as part of her monthly Insane Goals movement! If you haven’t joined, I encourage you to post your own goals list, link up and join us in getting things done this year!

How We Did in April…

Our budget took a nose dive in April, I am sad to say. We had more expenses than we expected, and certainly more than we budgeted for. We’re slowly getting our feet back under us, and we’re still able to pay our important bills and put food on the table, but there is no money for extras for the time being. Our savings needs… work.

We’re eating as healthy as we can, considering our current financial situation. This could be improved… but it could definitely be worse. The girls brought home progress reports that show excellent grades, except for one subject each. Lakin is struggling with math, and Addah is having trouble with social studies. We’re working on these at home in the afternoons, trying to get those grades pulled up before the end of the school year. We have {mostly} resolved the not-doing-homework issues from last month, thank goodness.

The house is in okay shape. We’ve taken turns being sick, so the clutter tends to pile up when we’re not constantly keeping it at bay. David and I deep-cleaned the girls’ bedroom and got rid of a LOT of stuff – old toys and stuffed animals that never get played with, two bags full of clothes that lived on the closet floor because they no longer fit. I plan to aggressively get rid of our excess “stuff” in May. I’m tired of having clutter that I have to keep at bay.

We didn’t have a “date night” in April either – in fact, we haven’t had one yet this year. Child care is always an issue. We just don’t know anyone who can take both girls at the same time, even for a couple of hours.

I continued to knit baby loss blankets in April. I knit six new blankets in March, for a current total of sixteen blankets. These will all be donated to St. Francis Eastside hospital in Greenville, SC, during the first week of July 2013. I began sewing Teeny Tears diapers for tiny babies who are born too early, between 18 and 32 weeks gestation. David and I made the decision to donate 60% of all of his artwork sales from his RedBubble store to Molly Bears, in honor of my due date group and how they donated to give us a memorial bear.

I read a few books in April. David and I read 11/22/63: A Novel out loud to each other. I finished “They Were Stillborn”, a collection of stories about stillbirth and loss, and read “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” by The Bloggess. I started “A Love That Multiplies”, about the Duggar family, out of curiosity, but I didn’t get very far before I gave up.

As for my blogging goals, my blog traffic increased from the previous month, and I increase my blog income (particularly my Adsense income) by a bit. I wrote 14 posts in April, the same number as in March (again, just one shy of my goal). I’m working on increasing my number of followers on Bloglovin (please, follow me there!) and I’m spending more time on Google Plus.

Overall, April was okay. There were good points, and there were bad points. We made some major decisions this month, some of which I will be addressing in several upcoming posts.

Moving on to May…

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 towards this goal as of 4/30/13)
  • Take a vacation.
  • Monthly date nights for David and I.
  • Yearly maintenance on our car.
  • 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.}
  • Participate in Greenville’s Zombie Walk.
  • Attend Renaissance Faire in Charlotte, NC.
  • Finish reading “11/22/63: A Novel” by Stephen King out loud with David.
  • Read 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 books!
House Goals
  • Organize/declutter: my sewing area, my work area & filing cabinet, kitchen cabinets, our bedroom, girls’ room, our closet.
  • Container gardening – I love growing herbs and vegetables, and I really missed having a place to exercise my green thumb last year. I can’t plant in the ground at our apartment, but I can do some container gardening, and I intend to!
  • Paint coffee table/foot locker to match the living room.
Cooking Goals
  • Use bread machine more!
  • Can & freeze – jellies, salsa, pickles.
  • Freeze casseroles for nights when I don’t feel like cooking.
Parenting Goals
  • Get pregnant!
  • Encourage the kids to be more self-reliant (bathing without an argument, for instance).
  • Get the kids and their chores sorted out!
Blogging Goals {Heather}
  • Increase my monthly traffic.
  • Post at least 15 times per month.
  • Increase blogging income every month.
Work Goals {David}
  • Get a promotion and raise.
  • Complete HVAC certification.
  • 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}

Knitting & Crochet Goals

  • Finish queen-size ripple blanket. {crochet}
  • Finish David’s stripey socks. {knit}
  • Finish 5, 10, 15, 20 blankets for hospital/loss donations. {knit}

Insane Goals 2013

Vote for BlogHer Voices of the Year! #VOTY

It’s time for the 6th annual BlogHer Voices of the Year!

BlogHer, the biggest blogging conference in the US, will be in Chicago this year. One of the centerpieces of each conference is the “Voices of the Year”, featuring bloggers who have written posts that touched us most deeply over the past year.

I have submitted two of my most read posts – both very difficult to write and both very important to me. I would love it if you could read them, and if you feel moved by them, please vote for them. If you have a favorite post of mine that you feel should be nominated, please do so, or drop me a line and tell me, and I’ll submit it!

The Vantage Point of Hindsight

Playing The Blame Game

If you are a blogger, you should submit your own favorite posts from this year too, through the BlogHer Voices of the Year open submissions form.

BlogHer Voices of the Year

Insane Goals – March 2013 Update

Insane Goals

Insane GoalsDavid and I have made a list of several things that we want to accomplish this year. This isn’t the first time we’ve made goals lists, but this time 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. SO far, three months into the year, we have done very well and completed a few of 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’s Goal Update} {February’s Goal Update}

I’ve linked up with Rebekah at SimplyRebekah.com, as part of her monthly Insane Goals movement! If you haven’t joined, I encourage you to post your own goals list, link up and join us in getting things done this year!

How We Did in March…

We stuck to our new budget last month, though it wasn’t easy. Our car needed some work done, so we had to spend our emergency fund on that – no way around that, so all we can do now is build it back up. The girls are doing better about helping around the house and keeping their room clean without a fight, which is a huge improvement. We had some issues with missing and incomplete homework, so we’re focusing on schoolwork and grades in the coming month.

Our entire family is eating much healthier overall, eating more fruits and vegetables and drinking more water. It was still mostly chilly in March, but we took full advantage of every warm day we had to play outside and walk around the neighborhood. I’m feeling less concerned about my weight in numbers, and more concerned with feeling healthier and stronger, the idea being that the numbers will naturally go down as long as I’m eating enough, not eating/drinking junk and staying active.

The house is in good shape – kitchen cabinets, dining room, our bedroom and closet are all decluttered. The girls’ room stayed clean for most of the month, though it needs a little work at the moment. Their closet floor is a mess but we’ve gotten the shelves cleared off, in preparation for packing away winter clothes and organizing their craft supplies and stuffed animals.

We didn’t have a “date night” in March – not exactly, but we did take a short road trip together, sans kids. Addah stayed with her friend, and Lakin stayed with David’s mom while we visited my brother and his wife to meet their new baby. It was an emotional trip for us, but we enjoyed the time alone to talk. We have decided to walk in the March for Babies on April 27, to raise money for the March of Dimes. I’m not very adept at fundraising, but I hope to raise at least a little for the cause.

I have been knitting baby loss blankets like a mad woman! I knit four new blankets in March, for a current total of ten blankets. These will all be donated to St. Francis Eastside hospital in Greenville, SC, during the first week of July 2013.

I read a lot in March, mostly book on my Nook, while sitting in afternoon car line to pick up the girls from school. I finished Gone Girl, The Ice Master: The Doomed 1913 Voyage of the Karluk, 11/22/63: A Novel (so good that I’m now reading it out loud to David), Bossypants, Making Meant To Be: A Memoir of Secondary Infertility, Sickened, Dark Places, and Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity. What can I say, I spend a lot of time sitting in car lines! (If you’re a Nook user and would like to connect so we can share books, let me know!)

As for my blogging goals, I’m still working on updating the SEO (search engine optimization) on back posts – this is taking an insane amount of time. My blog traffic did increase from the previous month, and I did increase my blog income by a little. I wrote 14 posts in March, just one shy of my goal, darn it! I set up a profile with Bloglovin, due to Google Reader closing down in July, and I’d love it if you’d follow me there!

Overall, March was a good month, though there were quite a few frustrations. Financially, I felt like we had just gotten a few rungs ahead on the savings ladder, and now we’ve slipped to the bottom again. I know we will climb again, but it’s disappointing. Emotionally, I struggled as several family members welcomed beautiful little babies into their lives. It is hard when you feel truly happy for someone, but also very sad/angry/bitter/jealous because of your own loss.

Now, on to better things in April!

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 towards this goal as of 3/31/13 – thanks to auto maintenance!)
  • Take a vacation.
  • Monthly date nights for David and I.
  • Yearly maintenance on our car.
  • Donate blankets 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.}
  • Participate in Greenville’s Zombie Walk.
  • Attend Renaissance Faire in Charlotte, NC.
  • Walk in the March for Babies on April 27, 2013.
  • Finish reading “11/22/63: A Novel” by Stephen King out loud with David.
  • Read 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 books!
House Goals
  • Organize/declutter: my sewing area, my work area & filing cabinet, kitchen cabinets, our bedroom, girls’ room, our closet.
  • Container gardening – I love growing herbs and vegetables, and I really missed having a place to exercise my green thumb last year. I can’t plant in the ground at our apartment, but I can do some container gardening, and I intend to!
  • Paint coffee table/foot locker to match the living room.
Cooking Goals
  • Use bread machine more!
  • Can & freeze – jellies, salsa, pickles.
  • Freeze casseroles for nights when I don’t feel like cooking.
Parenting Goals
  • Get pregnant!
  • Encourage the kids to be more self-reliant (bathing without an argument, for instance).
  • Get the kids and their chores sorted out!
Blogging Goals {Heather}
  • Increase my monthly traffic.
  • Post at least 15 times per month.
  • Increase blogging income every month.
Work Goals {David}
  • Get a promotion and raise.
  • Complete HVAC certification.
  • 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}

Knitting & Crochet Goals

  • Finish queen-size ripple blanket. {crochet}
  • Finish David’s stripey socks. {knit}
  • Finish 5, 10, 15, 20 blankets for hospital/loss donations. {knit}

Insane Goals 2013

Insane Goals – February 2013 Update

Insane Goals

Insane GoalsIn January, I came up with a list of several things that David and I want to accomplish this year. We’ve made a serious and conscience effort to work toward accomplishing each of these goals, as well as the goals on our 101 Things in 1,001 Days list. We have done very well and even completed some of our goals, though some are definitely longer term goals and will take lots of baby steps to complete.

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’s Goal Update}

I’ve linked up with Rebekah at SimplyRebekah.com, as part of her monthly Insane Goals movement! If you haven’t joined, I encourage you to post your own goals list, link up and join us in getting things done this year!

How Did February Stack Up…

This month we received our tax refund from the federal government. We implemented the budget/debt decisions that we’d made in January and paid off our two credit cards, put $700 in savings (not to be touched except in a true emergency), paid the 6-month premium on our car insurance (which saves us about $40/month on the difference between the monthly cost and the 6-month cost broken into 6 payments). We implemented our new (and hopefully very realistic) budget for the month, and so far we’re sticking to it.

The pretty little chore chart on the refrigerator only worked for the first week, and then the kids lost interest in it and had to be made to do their chores once more. It was more management than I’d like. We have started a new system, based on the kids’ earning system describes in the book, “America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right On The Money”. The kids are super excited about this, because it allows them to earn money for the first time ever, really. I’ve never before paid them to do basic chores, but I’m bending on this one because, well, I’d like to them to DO their basic chores, and they are old enough now that I think they need to learn some money management. This topic deserves an entire post, which I will write for you very soon, once I see how this new system is going to work for us over the next few weeks.

Health-wise, my 2013 goal is to eat healthier, drink more water, and exercise more, with the short-term goal of losing 30 lbs. and the long-term goal of needing to lose more than 100 lbs. In February, I managed to lost 1 more pound, which brings me to a total of 9 lbs. lost between December 31, 2012 and February 28, 2013.

The kitchen cabinets that we decluttered in January are still looking nice, but the girls’ room (and closet) and our bedroom, which were so neatly organized, have reverted back to a state of mess, largely due to some furniture shuffling that we did. My work area is shaping up nicely, though I still spend a fair amount of time working with the laptop on my lap, instead of at the desk like I should be. I am far more productive when I sit at my desk. Our bedroom closet still needs some attention, but it’s better than it was! My sewing area has been temporarily decommissioned… realistically, I’m just not sewing enough to give it a special area in this tiny apartment.

We didn’t have a date night this month. We had planned one… it just didn’t work out because Lakin’s Invention Convention ended up being that night, but we did have several “family dates” and we did have a lot of fun with those. Next month though, I’d love to have a night (even just a few hours) out alone with David.

As for my blogging goals, I moved from Blogger to WordPress in February, and with that move has come a lot of work to be done. I’ve been updating the SEO (search engine optimization) on back posts as time allows, but I’ve been blogging for 10 years, y’all. That’s a LOT of posts to update. The consequence of moving was an immediate drop in traffic, which has rebounded nicely now… but I did not manage to double my traffic from January. I did increase my blog income by just a tad. I did not post 20 times this month, because I dealt with a lot (lot, lot) of depression and grief this month, and I just couldn’t get words to come from my fingertips for part of that time. It is what it is.

Overall, February was a good month for us, financially. We were able to pay off enough that we significantly reduced our necessary monthly output, allowing us to not only work on paying off past debts, but also to save some each month and pay the girls an allowance (when they earn it). We finally feel like we’re getting a handle on this financial pit we had dug for ourselves, and it is a good feeling.

Now, on to March!

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. ($700 towards this goal as of 2/28/13)
  • Take a vacation.
  • Monthly date nights for David and I.
  • Yearly maintenance on our car.
  • Donate blankets 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.}
  • Participate in Greenville’s Zombie Walk.
  • Attend Renaissance Faire in Charlotte, NC.
House Goals
  • Organize/declutter: my sewing area, my work area & filing cabinet, kitchen cabinets, our bedroom, girls’ room, our closet.
  • Container gardening – I love growing herbs and vegetables, and I really missed having a place to exercise my green thumb last year. I can’t plant in the ground at our apartment, but I can do some container gardening, and I intend to!
  • Paint coffee table/foot locker to match the living room.
Cooking Goals
  • Use bread machine more!
  • Can & freeze – jellies, salsa, pickles.
  • Freeze casseroles for nights when I don’t feel like cooking.
Parenting Goals
  • Get pregnant!
  • Encourage the kids to be more self-reliant (bathing without an argument, for instance).
  • Get the kids and their chores sorted out!
Blogging Goals {Heather}
  • Double my monthly traffic.
  • Post at least 15 times per month.
  • Increase blogging income every month.
Work Goals {David}
  • Get a promotion and raise.
  • Complete HVAC certification.
  • 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}

Knitting & Crochet Goals

  • Finish queen-size ripple blanket. {crochet}
  • Finish David’s stripey socks. {knit}
  • Finish 6 more blankets for hospital/loss donations. {knit}

Insane Goals 2013 - February 2013