Looking back on the past year and looking forward to the coming year are always two of my favorite things to do. This year, I’ve had a little less time to sit down and reflect, because most of my spare minutes are spent feeding or holding this boy:
I’m not complaining about that one bit! However, for a routine person like me, who craves alone time, the fact that I don’t have time right now to fill out planners and my new prayer journal, and sit down to write out my goals has been a little disheartening.
Yesterday, I was finally able to read through blog posts of a dear friend that had been stacking up in my inbox over the past six weeks. I love Julie’s writing, and keeping up with her family’s life over the years has been a joy. She wrote a post recently about what worked and what didn’t work in their family in 2015. It was helpful for me to think back on our year in this way, so I decided to use that format for reflection. I relate to Julie in many ways, and it’s not surprising that some of the items on our lists are the same.
What worked in 2015
1. Putting the girls in school.
I wrote about our decision to put the girls in school back in the fall, and we are still so thankful we took this path. The girls are doing great! Isabella’s reading has taken off and we often find her nose in a book, oblivious to the rest of the world. Mallory took awhile to warm up to the kids in her class, but now she has friends, she loves going to school, and she’s been telling us more and more each day when she gets home.
And me? While I love the idea of classically educating my kids at home, I know it’s not realistic right now, and maybe it never will be. So, it’s freeing for me to know that I can focus on the younger three during the day without the added pressures of lesson planning and teaching.
2. My early-morning routine.
I’ve always been a morning person, and while having kids sometimes makes that a challenge, getting up before the rest of the household is a life-saver for me. I learned in high school that If I don’t read my Bible and journal in the morning, it just won’t happen. And the older I get, the more I realize that my time in the Word and talking with the Lord is essential. I make my coffee, write in my journal–prayers, thoughts, etc.–then read a few verses from whatever book of the Bible I’m currently studying. Then, I write down key thoughts or ideas from the passage, sometimes even diagramming the passage like I did in my Hermeneutics class in Bible college.
If I get up early enough I still have time to write a little, then get ready for my day. My aim is to be showered, dressed, and ready to go by the time the kids eat breakfast at 7:30. We’ve been sticking to a 7:30 breakfast since school started and it helps to know that we’ve got a good buffer of time should anyone spill their cereal on the floor, lose their socks, or have an emotional breakdown (this includes me!).
3. Keeping Mason in therapy instead of enrolling in preschool.
I’ll write more on this soon, but we opted not to put him into preschool this year, as we had planned. They were requiring that he attend a five day a week preschool, and their only openings were in the afternoon. Mason still naps, and with therapy four days a week on top of the preschool schedule, we felt it was a bit too much. Therapy is making such a difference in Mason’s development,; he’s thriving and it’s exciting to watch.
4. Online grocery shopping
This has completely changed my life. For just $2/week, I can shop from the convenience of my phone, pull up to the call button at the store, have someone bring my groceries to the car AND LOAD THEM IN THE TRUNK, swipe my credit card, and go home. No whining, no searching for a triple cart, no begging children. It’s amazing. And I think we’re actually saving money because I’m not wandering the aisles putting things that I don’t need into my cart. My yearly subscription ends in April, but I’m definitely going to renew it. Moms, if they have this available in your area, I would seriously recommend fitting it into your budget.
5. Bobby pins and wet hair.
Strange, I know. But I’ve always been one to get completely ready in the morning, including drying and fixing my hair. Some mornings, though, I have to let something go. Insert the bobby pin for the bangs and a wet hair bun. It’s not glamorous, but it’s doable and enables me to still feel halfway put together. Letting something small like this go is carrying over into other areas of life, though, so I think it’s actually a bigger deal than it might seem.
6. Slowly decorating our home .
We’ve lived in our home in Virginia now for almost a year and I’m still so thankful that we bought this house! As an older home it certainly has its quirks, and I am dreading another electric bill this winter, but I love our home. While I would love to have every square inch completely decorated, the budget and my time don’t allow for that. But it’s coming along and I’m thankful that we’re taking our time. I have some projects I’d like to complete in the coming months, but I don’t dwell on them and it doesn’t bother me anymore that things aren’t ‘finished’.
What didn’t work in 2015
1. Four mornings of therapy a week.
Yes, the decision to remain in therapy was a good one and Mason is growing by leaps and bounds, especially in his speech. But, we’ve realized that this pace cannot be maintained with two toddlers and now a baby. I backed away from our Friday morning therapy session, and now I’m considering dropping the Thursday one as well. At least until Cooper settles into a better routine. Today was our first Friday morning at home and it was wonderful.
2. Eating ice cream.
I come from a line of ice cream fanatics, so it’s not surprising that I love ice cream. Particularly coffee ice cream with chocolate chips. This last year my ice cream consumption was out of control. I’d like to blame it on the fact that the grocery store kept having a “Buy 2 get 3 free” deal. Who in their right mind would pass that one up? When I started eating ice cream in the afternoon in lieu of a cup of coffee I realized I had a serious problem. 2016 is the year of no ice cream. 15 days in and it’s going great so far.
3. The laundry system.
Laundry was getting done, but then it was sitting in the dryer, or in the laundry basket, or in piles on the floor and never getting put away. I’m attempting to do one load a day, from start to finish. Wash, dry, fold, put away. So far, it’s working out pretty well, but it still isn’t perfect.
We moved from Florida to Virginia in the winter and it was the coldest winter EVER. So I didn’t run. Except once in April and then I found out I was pregnant. The end.
I had gotten into such a good rhythm of running in Florida and now that I’m almost six weeks postpartum, I’m excited about running again. Bradley has a great 3-mile course in our neighborhood mapped out, so I’ll be hitting the pavement soon. My goals is to run a half marathon this year. (Anyone want to sign up for one with me??)
Our bedtime routine was basically hurry and get everyone ready, let the kids brush their own teeth, even the 2 year old, and quick into bed. Because, hello exhausted parents. But this wasn’t healthy for anyone. And Jennavieve was getting out of bed every night multiple times, which required discipline and it was horrible. Most nights we would spend about an hour just dealing with her until she finally stayed in bed. We received some great advice from my family over Christmas and we now have a real bedtime routine again, and everyone is doing much better. Including Bradley and me.
6, Our stuff.
Even though we move every 3 years (or less) and purge each time, somehow we still have WAY too much stuff. The kids have more clothes than they need, the toys are invading the house, I have picture frames that have been in boxes for years, and books that we’ll never read again. I’m working on purging everything and we’re going to have an epic yard sale this spring. You’re all invited.
What worked and didn’t work for you in 2015?