Friday, January 24, 2014

My New Year's Resolutions

So I've been mulling over my New Year's Resolutions for this year.  I'm fairly late at this, most everyone else has already given up their resolutions right?  But I figured it's still January, so why not.

  • My biggest resolution for this year is to pay down debt.  This year we paid off $25,865 - unfortunately that includes alot of relocation expenses we had to eat, repairs on the house, and all the appliances for this house.  Some of it went to student loans, and the rest to paying off debt we racked up during the Dark Days of Unemployment.  Still it's amazing since we only had work 8 months of the year.  It's painful to think how much debt we have, but I'm focusing on the positive, that Gary has a wonderful job, and we are finally making real progress.  My goal is to pay off all of our remaining debt except for the student loans, and two personal loans from a family member and Church member.  All in all if all goes well, and we can stick to the budget we will pay off around $12,367.  We had hoped to pay more, and still might, but heating oil is costing WAY more than we guessed when I drew up our initial budget for the year.  Plus we are planning a few trips back home.  Gary and I like alot of the Dave Ramsey stuff, but we think some things are worth the trade off of paying down debt more slowly - for example, as many trips home to see family as possible, and making all the Church meetings we can. 

  • My next biggest goal is a personal goal.  It's to do more parenting with less yelling.  I'm ashamed to admit how much of the day I spend yelling at the kids, up the stairs, down the stairs, I'm repeating myself for the seven-hundredth time today, get this, do that.  I've been feeling really convicted about it lately, and giving alot of thought to how to get compliance alot faster.  I've also been thinking about how to keep my temper in check when I don't get compliance.  This is an area that I really need to work on, because I would like to have a semi-peaceful house. (I mean as peaceful as you can expect with a boy sword fighting down the stairs, Ruth impersonating a banshee, Rebecca who will soon be in the midst of it and the dog racing around like she's training for the Iditarod.)  Not to mention, I really don't want to be modeling this behavior to the kids.  I'm not completely sure how to accomplish this, though I think some of it boils down to getting up, and not yelling - I admit I can be a bit lazy.  And, I doubt this will be completely knocked out by the end of the year, but I hope to really work on this area. 

  • One of my resolutions last year was to network with some homeschoolers, to make a conference, and to see if it might be the right fit for us.  I was able to go to some local events, found a co-op that we are trying out this semester, and attend a curriculum fair.  However, we missed out on a big homeschool convention.  The one here in PA was the weekend we moved, and the one back in IN was later in the summer.  We have it down on our calender to go to the one in Harrisburg this year.  I'm excited to learn more, check out some more stuff.  And we plan to continue to give this a go.  I got some GREAT advice from Sister Andy back home, she said take it one year at a time.  If at any point it's no longer working, try something new, and if at some point we decide it not the right fit any more, we can always look at other options.  And I really like the idea of not locking myself into anything, and just seeing how it goes.  My dad is fond of saying that what works with one kid might not work with the next one, and what works one day for one kid might not work the next.  I think I can take the same approach to homeschooling.

  • Last year I wanted to read the entire Bible through chronologically, I fell off the ball in November, and didn't quite finish up, but I really enjoyed it.  It really made the Old Testament make more sense to me.  This year though, I'm reading through it on the same schedule that everyone else at Old Carroll is on, after all there is strength in numbers - in that we can encourage one another and bounce questions around.  I'm going to finish it this year.  So far, I'm on track.  It has helped so far, to incorporate it as part of the kids school.  I read it aloud to them while they draw or play with playdo, and then we talk about it.  I've found it's WAY easier than finding time alone to study.  Because either it happens first thing in the morning and I'm falling asleep while reading, I try to sneak off during nap time and a movie, OR I wait till bedtime and Gary is fussing at me to turn off the light already.

  • Finally, I want to get back to working on some craft projects.  Last year the thing I really wanted to do for me, was a dog class with Kita.  Which we did and we both enjoyed.  I'm not sure what I will work on this year yet.  But I have two baby blankets started.  Jonathan is 3.5 by now, and Evelyn is almost one.  The last entry I have in our scrapbook is that we are expecting a girl (and that would be Ruth) so they are nearly 4 years behind.  I haven't painted or done any sewing in who knows when.  And I would like to do a better job about keeping up the blogspot, aside from the kids' blog entries and letters.  I'm sure that I have come up with more than enough to keep me busy, but perhaps putting it all in print will make me more accountable.

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