Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What Worked for Me in 2014 (and What Didn't)

The switching out of a new year for the old, is always a prime time to reflect on what is working and what needs shoring up. 

-Hiring a sitter one day a week and having a day out to work. I got into a great rhythm, and am able to keep up with all my She Plans Dinner stuff by spending only 8 hours each week on it. Not bad. Plus, it was just a nice break.

-Posting 3 times a week. I feel like this has given me the breathing room to balance She Plans Dinner. It has also given me the freedom and opportunity to write better.

-Triathlon training (in the summer). I so miss it. I loved all the time running, swimming and biking. In the early  morning sunshine. It was great for thinking. It was great for my body. There was very little about it that I didn't love. But, because of the time commitment, I scale back during the school year-aiming for either running or swimming 6 days a week.

-Doing (having the kids do) science and Spanish every day. We adjusted our school schedule this year and it is working out well. The science curriculum we are using has a great balance of reading, book work and experiments.

-She Plans Dinner. So I think it's working. It is growing. But, more than the growth is the fact that I own and run a business. It's a creative outlet that has nothing to do with my four kids (that I love to the moon and back but sometimes need a break from). I am realizing my dream. And that is pretty cool.

-Meeting with a financial advisor (again), taking a debate class, and getting marriage counseling. All were good things for our marriage.

-Our marriage worked. By the grace of God. And we worked at this marriage thing.

-Forgiving. I'm a work in progress, but this is something I am really trying to do quickly.

-Christmas shopping online. Seriously? I don't know how people do it who don't shop online. And I don't know how I survived so many years of my life without shopping online. Online shopping really speaks to my efficient, time saving, decisive nature.

-May. A month without chocolate, candy and potato chips was good. Hard, but good. It reset my cravings to a healthy level. I am considering repeating this in January. And maybe adding wine to that list. But, let's not be too hasty...

-Traveling. I do enjoy traveling, and we went a lot of places this year. We spent a weekend on the lake here in MI in February. We went to Chicago for a weekend. We went up north for our anniversary. We went to Charleston. We went to Texas for Thanksgiving.

-Food photography. I have really gotten better with my food photos and even some styling. I know I have a long ways to go, but having a big girl camera made a huge difference. Also, taking a class gave me some good pointers. Plus, Mr. Hippie gave me a new macro lens for Christmas. It is getting me some great definition. I am looking forward to playing with it (and my food) even more in 2015.

-Reading through the Bible. This year I did the Coley plan again, and I am thinking that is the plan I am going to follow in 2015.

-Reading. I read a lot of books in 2014. Lots of novels, some bios, quite a bit of business and women's issues. It was good. I mostly read for a few minutes before bed each night.

-Quick dinners. I was the queen of mostly 30 minute dinners this year. It was fun to find delicious, easy, healthy recipes that work when time is scarce.

-Family photography. Looking over my 2014 photos, I noticed that I have pictures of two things-Meres and food. Not nearly so much the other kids. No entire family picture. And only one picture of Mr. Hippie and I together. This needs to change.

-Swimming. I don't know if it's because I'm getting older, but 4:45 seems way earlier than it used to. Or maybe it's that I have a swim partner, who also shares my bed, and who is very willing to be persuaded, or to persuade me, to stay in bed sleeping. Or maybe it was my shoulder injury that made me have to give up swimming for an entire month. Regardless, I've swam less this year than any year in the past 16. That is going to be rectified in 2015.

-Spanish. We're going to Spain, and I am supposed to be learning Spanish, and it is not happening. There are so many other things going on, and Spanish got bumped and bumped and bumped some more. The kids are learning Spanish. I am relying on them to be our translators. I'll let you know how that works out.

-Official dates. It has been a huge challenge to get out on dates, as husband and wife, this year. The kids are just too young to leave very long by themselves, and there is a distinct lack of babysitters around our neck of the woods. Because we don't want to impose on friends and family too many times, we have not had many dates. Sigh...Definitely trying to maximize the fringe hours that we do have together. I must say that when we did manage to get up to swim on Monday mornings, we did go for a bagel date.

-Cleaning. My pre-She Plans Dinner cleaning schedule has not been working the greatest. Often I am barely getting the necessary cleaning done, and the dusting is either getting a lick and a promise most weeks or its getting a little boy "fly-by". My house is not a disaster area, per se, just don't look too close at the top of the fridge. (to say nothing of under or in the fridge)

So, some of these things I feel compelled to do better at. For some things I need grace to let go.

What worked, and didn't work, for you in 2015?