A Fresh Start

I'm not one for making resolutions in a new year. I used to, but I realized that I never stuck to my resolutions, and always just ended up supremely disappointed in myself later in the year. So for years, I took the easy road and didn't resolve to make any changes or do anything special when the calendar flipped to a new year. Now I think that's pretty lazy. I think we need to set goals/resolutions for ourselves so we keep growing and don't get stuck.

I don't think its necessary to make resolutions in January, though. In October, I made some fall resolutions. I've done pretty well at keeping them: I made good on making memories with my daughter (we've done a lot of fun things with her recently, including an impromptu trip to the coast this past weekend, which I'll blog about later); I've done better about not being a lurker in the blog world (I have made an effort to post comments when I have a reaction to someone's blog post); I have spent more time with God (though not nearly as much as I need to - still working on that one); and I continued my efforts to organize the house. (That "resolution" actually came about earlier in 2012, so I've been at it for a while.) In fact, I did a little organization project just yesterday, which I'll blog about later (I say that a lot, huh? hehe).

The only fall resolution I haven't kept is to ride my horses more. I realized pretty quickly that it is still dark outside until pretty late in the morning. DH has to leave for work around 7:15, so if I'm gonna ride I have to do it and be back in the house by then. Well, it doesn't get light until about 6:45. That is not nearly enough time to ride and get the horses fed. I'm too chicken to ride before daylight around here. There are a lot of coyotes in our area and they really freak me out. They are not as scared of us humans as they should be, either. They come all in our yard after dark. I doubt one would actually attack me, but I don't like to take any chances. Last night when I was feeding the horses (after dark), a coyote was howling right beside the barn! I completely freaked out, ran to the house and made DH go out there with me with the gun. (Of course, the coyote had moved on by then.)

So, I'll get back to riding my horses more this spring. For now I'm just savoring what little time I do get to ride, and making the most of it. A few weekends ago, I hopped on Sunshine bareback and went down the road, to somewhere we've never been before. She was terrible that day, but it was still fun.

Moving on.

I'm considering 2013 to be my clean slate. I need a fresh start in several areas of my life. I'm not going to sit here and type up a huge list of things I want to accomplish or change about myself. I know that's too daunting for me. I've said many times I'm all about baby steps. ( :

Here's a few things I do want to accomplish/work towards/change this year:

~Potty train C. We're well on our way! She's been doing pretty well lately. In fact, she's in her big girl panties right now (watching Super Why on PBS while Mama gets some blogging done). Yesterday, she had 3 accidents, but I think that's pretty good. This weekend, she even pooped in the potty once! So I have no idea how long this process will take (we're certainly not doing the potty train in 3 days thing - way too stressful), but I know it will conclude this year!! And hopefully by the spring. Wouldn't that be wonderful??

~Continue to organize the house. My next project will be to tackle C's toys. She's 2 now, and we've still got her newborn and infant toys in the house, as well as a ton of toys she just doesn't care for. I'm not getting rid of anything (hopefully one day we'll have another child), but my plan is to buy storage bins so they can go out in the shop.

I also really want to work on the office. Every few months, I work in there (mainly on my desk) and get everything looking neat and organized, but it doesn't take long to get junky again. DH is actually really good about keeping his desk organized. But the office tends to be our place to stash random things that don't really have a home elsewhere in the house. Right now, its overflowing with extra boxes and wrapping paper from Christmas. And I mean overflowing. I'll have to take a "before" picture when I tackle that room. Its terrible. My plan is to ditch my desk. I haven't used it (other than to store junk on) since I completed my graduate degree. And that was in the summer of 2011. I do need a spot to store my laptop, though, so I'll probably get a small bookcase or something like that. Or maybe a small table. We'll see. DH and I have talked about that room becoming a nursery if we do have another baby, but that leaves the problem of where will we have an office. DH needs an office space since that's where he does all the bill paying and manages his business (he works a full-time job and has a side business as well). And there's no where else in this house for an office space. Hopefully one day we can build a house....!

There are other projects that fall under the "house organization" label that I want to tackle. But those two are the biggies, the ones that I know will make the most difference around here. Wish me luck!!

~I also want to get back to meal planning. I did that for a few months in 2012, and it was great. I didn't have a specific method, I just sat down whenever I had a moment and thought about what I could cook for supper the next few days. Sometimes I'd do a week or 2 at a time, sometimes I'd do a whole month. It really made nights much less stressful for me. I hate coming home from work, looking into the fridge, freezer, and pantry and thinking What in the world am I gonna cook tonight?! So I want to get back into meal planning. And do it better. Meaning, I want to grocery shop with meal planning in mind. I haven't decided which method I want to use yet, but I'll blog about it when I figure it out.

~I want to make a budget - and stick to it. I've been meaning to do this one for a while. But its time. I'm conscious about where I spend money, but it seems like it always runs out faster than I think it should. I don't mean I'm gonna cut out all my "extra" purchases - I regularly buy books for my Kindle on Amazon, and random things for C (though I usually shop the thrift store for her). I just want to know exactly how much I can spend each week/month on the extra things. And this will help me be able to finally start putting some money into my savings account.

~Along those lines, I want to start paying more towards my student loans. If I keep going like I am, I will have them paid off in 2020 I believe. That's a really long time, considering I got my bachelor's in 2006 and my master's in 2011. But I'm only making minimum payments. I hope to tackle them one at a time, starting with the smallest loan. I keep reading about the "snowball effect" and how great it is. So once I get my budget worked out, I'll start making more payments on that smallest loan.


My list is short, but I know that if I do these few things, my life will drastically change. Of course, I want to continue to do things like make memories with my daughter and husband, keep learning more about cooking, etc. Actually, I should probably go back up there and bullet point another goal: go on more dates with my husband this year!!

For now, its time to go clean up the Cheerios C just spilled all over the floor, then spend the rest of the day having fun with her. Its chilly and rainy here, so we're probably stuck inside all day, and I don't have anything planned. I got all my cleaning done over the weekend so I could spend today just enjoying her. Here we go!

Happy 2013 everyone! May this be our best yet!!! ( :

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