Friday, December 31, 2010

The Official 2010 Wrap-Up Post

Another year is coming to a close - it seems like 2010 was just beginning, and now there are only hours left until 2011. How does this keep happening? My dad always told me that time just goes by faster as you get older, but I thought I'd have to be a good bit older before it started happening to me. Instead, time started ticking by faster and faster back in February 2004, right about the time that Rachael was born. Wow, that was nearly seven years ago now...and it feels like just a few days ago.

So, where does the end of this year leave our little family?

- Gene is getting ready to start a new semester - he still has a while to go, maybe two years, depending on the scheduling of the classes he needs. It's a lot harder to do everything at night, but he's managing it, and with a 4.0 GPA to boot. (Honestly, I think his being in school is harder on the rest of us than it is on him - he gets two nights out per week, followed by tacos with a friend after class, while I have two looooong days with the girls with barely a sight of him in between work and school. But, I can't complain - there are so many men that wouldn't submit to such an undertaking in order to better provide for their families.)

Nothing has changed with his job - he still hates it, his boss is still a treasure to work for (might want to wipe off that sarcasm dripping down your screen), and he still doesn't know from day to day when he'll be working and when the next layoff might occur. The frustration has prompted him to take a full load at school this semester, so he'll have his hands full...but we're rooting for him.

In unrelated news, he has now realized the importance of cutting wood even during the summer, so that he's not outside busting wood for the furnace in the freezing cold. He'll be celebrating another birthday in just a couple of weeks, at which time he'll be six years older than me (for half of the year), and I kind of love that. Makes me feel younger.

- Rachael will be seven in just over a month and, now that Christmas is over, is making plans for her birthday party. Looks like an iCarly theme this time, but that's okay - lots of ideas I can work with on that one. She looooves all things iCarly, and the whole family enjoys the show, so this current fascination is far less annoying than it could be.

She's still my little bookworm, and is already trying to steal my Kindle, but she can just forget about that one. It's getting hard to find books that written at her reading level but still appropriate for her age...which is a nice problem to have, just frustrating at times.

School is mostly going well...her aptitude is amazing, but her attitude has been a little less amazing of late. She's got a bit of a lazy streak, I think, and it's reflected in her sloppy handwriting and carelessness with her math - which she is good at, but still professes to despise. I really need to plan out our January "classes" - including dusting off the astronomy book and making good use of the awesome new telescope that her Aunt Annette and Uncle Eric gave her for Christmas. She is very much like me in that she prefers English, history and languages to math and science...I'll have to work extra hard to make those fun for her.

She's been taking piano lessons for several months now and is doing quite well - she's finished her first book and moved on to the second, and can play several simple tunes that require the use of both hands. She'll be catching up to me before long, and that's quite alright with me - I hope she's playing circles around me in a couple of years!

Girl Scouts has been a BIG thing for us this fall, given that I'm her troop leader and she's the only girl in our troop (out of thirteen) who has ever been a Girl Scout before. She's a great help to me, teaching the other girls how to do the friendship circle at the end, singing songs so I don't have to, etc. She offers a ton of great suggestions too, and is a wonderful little cheerleader after every meeting, telling me how much fun it was. We're looking forward to filling up her Brownie vest with patches, and have lots of fun things planned with the troop in 2011...starting with the cookie sale, which kicks off on January 1st. (Would YOU like some cookies?! LOL)

- Milly is still my little spitfire. You just never know what kind of mood she's going to be in from one moment to the next, which can be difficult to deal with on a daily basis. Whereas Rachael was always gentle, sweet and eager to please, Milly doesn't give a toss about what anyone else wants. Pick up her toys? "I don't want to." Be nice to your sister? "No way!" Share? "But it's MINE!" I assure you, I try and try to teach her common niceties, but she just plain doesn't care. It's a little scary - is she going to be a bully? That weird homeschooled kid that somebody talks about years now? A serial killer? (Hey, it seems likely sometimes.)

She's been doing a little bit of "pre-pre-school" this year, but is mostly uninterested. She loves her (short) Bible devotion, recognizes most of the letters, and knows the sounds that most of them make. Once in a while she'll request a coloring page, but for the most part, she's content to just do her own thing while Rachael and I do schoolwork.

She has recently decided that she's in love with all things Strawberry Shortcake, and has also decided to commandeer Rachael's Leapster. We were also surprised to discover earlier this week that the child is a pro with a computer - she's much more adept with the mouse than we'd have ever suspected, given that neither of us have sat down to try and teach her to use it yet. Thanks to her big sister, though, she can go to and play the games all by herself!

Needless to say, she considers herself "all grown up", and I suppose it has been a big year for her. All in the space of one year, she learned to use the potty, stopped nursing and had her carseat turned forward-facing - yes, in that order. It was October before we turned her seat around, and I hated to do it even then - don't forget, moms of little ones, the AAP actually recommends rear-facing until age two now, and it's so much safer to leave them rear-facing until they reach the weight limit for their seat!

- And what about me? Well...I suppose I've had a pretty dull year, nothing much has changed. Every day is much like the next, just trying to get the children taught, the house clean enough, the errands done, the troop meetings planned. Yes, I get a little mired up in the drudgery sometimes, but I know full well that I am blessed to be able to stay at home with my children, to be the one who teaches them, to miss very little where they're concerned. I can't imagine being away from them every day, and wouldn't want to try.

I've spent the entirety of 2010 bouncing between churches, still caught at an impasse between going where I feel best "fed" (as a precious new friend would say) and guiltily slinking back to our "home church", so as not to feel like an utter traitor to the congregation in which I grew up. That, more than anything else, has been a source of tension in our home this year, and especially for me - one that needs to be rectified as quickly as possible.

On top of homeschooling and troop leading and homemaking and errand running, I considered adding one more activity to my agenda in 2011: college. I went, after high school, but didn't finish and have long regretted it. So I applied and was accepted to Liberty University's psychology program - psychology being something I've long been interested in, and Liberty offers a degree with a focus on Christian counseling. I was excited about getting started in January, but unfortunately, the financial aid just wasn't enough to make it the college idea is temporarily on hold once again. If motivation holds out, I may take some classes at the local community college, just to finish up my general education degree, although I truly loathe the idea. One of the greatest attractions of Liberty - aside from being a Christian school - was that I could do everything entirely online. With the community college, however, I may have to take the odd class on campus (I'd really rather not) and would, at best, have to go to the campus for testing. I simply don't have the time or inclination to add one more place to GO to my schedule. Additionally, they don't offer any "real" degrees that interest me in the least - not that I would be using said degree immediately upon completion, anyway. I fully intend to homeschool for as long as it's beneficial to my children, which could mean fifteen more years if Milly is homeschooled through graduation. So...we'll see what happens with that one. In the meantime, getting Gene through school is ultimately more important.

I guess that really leads into plans for the new year, doesn't it?

Well, I'll begin by saying that I will not be making a single resolution this year. I always have in the past - just couldn't resist, since that's the thing to do on New Year's Eve - and I have always, without exception, broken said resolutions no later than January 3rd. So this year, no resolutions.

However. I will be setting some goals for myself for the new year. I can't resist that much - there's the feeling of a clean slate, so we might as well make the most of it. What's the difference between a goal and a resolution, you ask? Well, it may be purely psychological on my end...but the way that I see it, a resolution, once broken, is simply broken and unable to be repaired. A goal, however, can't be broken - it's something you work toward, little by little. If you happen to do something that doesn't help you toward your goal - well, it was a mistake, and people make mistakes. It's easy enough to brush it aside and try again, because nothing was broken as a result.

So here are a few of my goals for 2011, in no particular order.

  • Blog more! I started blogging in the first place as a means of recording our family's history as it's made, so I wouldn't forget the firsts, the cute things that the girls say, details of special occasions. I'd like to think that I would never forget such things, but the truth is that my memory is terrible and only seems to be getting worse. If I don't write it down, it's going to fade away...but once blogged (and safely archived, of course), it's secured. I may not blog every single day, but I'll certainly try to write something most days - after all, not a day passes that my girls don't do something noteworthy.
  • Scrapbook more! Oh, I'm liking these goals already - two things that I enjoy doing so far, this should be easy enough! I've slacked off on my scrapbooking lately, even though I do it all digitally, which means less mess and faster pages. My primary goal is to finish up a first-year scrapbook for my sweet little nephew in time for his birthday in February...beyond that, to knock out at least four pages a month. One page a week certainly doesn't sound unreasonable, especially when a page typically takes me an hour or less to create.
  • Facebook less. Ohhh, here we go with the harder goals. My name is Kristin and I am a Facebook junkie. Admitting that you have a problem is the first step toward recovery, right? It's just so easy to check whenever I walk by the computer, to see what everyone is up to...or when I'm just sitting at the table while Rachael does her schoolwork...or while they're having lunch...or after they're in bed. And darn you, Zynga, and your evil, addicting games! Frontierville and Cityville are currently the banes of my existence...well, those and the pile of laundry that's always in need of folding. Must...step away...
  • Resolve the church issue. I've already explained that one. I very much want to be actively involved in the church of my preference, but don't want to do it without the blessing of my husband. Currently, I go and participate with his acceptance (resignation?) but honestly, I would love nothing more than for my entire family to be able to worship together happily in one place where all of our needs are met. I don't know how the issue will ultimately be resolved, but I do know that I can't endure another year like this one. A compromise simply must be reached.
  • FlyLady. Okay, maybe not FlyLady exactly, but I certainly need a better system of housekeeping than my current MO of "just ignore it until someone is coming over, then clean like a woman possessed until just before they arrive."
  • For that matter, I need to manage my time better too. Of course, stepping away from Facebook will help immensely with that.
  • And finally, the typical (and dreaded) New Year's resolution - only it's not a resolution - is to make healthier choices in 2011. Not to diet. Not to lose weight (although that would be lovely.) But to get off of the couch and onto the treadmill, to get outside and do something, to dust off the Wii Fit and to play tag with the children. To cut out the post-kid-bedtime snacks, to not buy the junk food, to eat at least as many fruits and veggies as my children do (they're such good little role models!) This one will be my hardest goal, but the one most urgently in need of attention.
So, there you have it. Where we are and where we're going...and right now, I'm going to wash dishes and get ready for our annual New Year's Eve Phase Ten playoff with my dad and stepmom, in which I must attempt to remain neutral, since the competition this year is really between Gene and my dad. (I'll admit, I tend to favor my dad's side...but as Gene put new tires on my van this morning, I can't completely turn on him. Although I suspect that the tires were partially intended to butter me up for tonight.)

Happy New Year to my friends and blog visitors!

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