Sunday, December 27, 2009

Resolutions for the New Year: 2010 Edition

Now, I'm sure you're all thinking, "Hey, there wasn't a 2009 Edition!". I know, I know. That's because I’m not usually a big “New Year Resolutions” kind of person, but this year I thought I’d put some on paper, if nothing else than to remind myself of where I want to be when I lose focus. Which is often. I made this the 2010 Edition, in hopes that I refer back to this list often throughout the year and make some resolutions next year.

From looking over my list, I can see two main themes coming through: planning, organizing, balance, and consistency.

Home
1. Get back to menu planning. I foolishly thought that I had menu planning in the bag, so I stopped creating weekly menus “in hard copy” and just planned in my head. This has NOT been working for me. So although I often feel like it’s wasted time to sit and write out my menu plan, it works for me, and I need to get back to doing it. Even when I don’t stick to the menu, I feel like my week is much more in control when I have one in place.

2. Start cooking more casseroles and crock pot meals. This means branching out a little. I don’t have many “go to” recipes for casseroles and crock pot meals, but when I make them, I think, “Wow, that was easy! Why don’t I do this more often?” And then I don’t do it more often. And I should.

3. Get on a cleaning schedule. I am a terrible homemaker. Well, maybe not terrible, but my cleaning skills leave much to be desired. For real. I need to get into a routine with cleaning. I know it’ll take a couple months to really make it habitual, but I also know that I’ll feel much more productive (and less stressed) doing a little bit at a time more consistently.

4. Organize Jillian’s stuff. I’ve got her clothes pretty organized, but books and toys are another story. With some Christmas money, I’m making an Ikea trip this week to pick up another cubby-hole-organizer-shelf-thingie like the one in our kitchen for our living room and bins for it. I can’t WAIT to have her things more organized. And I’m hoping that a little organization will help her learn to put away with more ease.


Parenting
1. Learn more about home schooling methods and resources. I’ve been thinking about home schooling for a very long time now, but other than reading some blogs (which are good resources and have some great ideas), I haven’t done any additional research. I think this year needs to be the year that I buckle down and start learning a bit more. I need to take this slow. Knowing me, I’ll go all gung-ho, check out like ten books from the library next week and burn out on the whole thing by February!

2. Plan Jillian’s activities out by the month. I find ourselves with weeks that have nothing planned and some weeks where we’re overcommitted. I need to plan out Jilly’s activities more in advance so that I can better balance her activities.

3. Get back to a more organized Tot School format. We’ve been doing Tot School for a few months at home, but over the last couple weeks, I’ve really slacked at planning. I don’t always get to all the activities that I plan for our Tot School, but having a plan makes it easier to stick to and I find that Jillian gets more out of our activities that way too.

4. Potty train Jillian. This one’s not a “top priority” item, but I would like to report next year this time that we have a toilet trained toddler in the house.


Personal
1. Doing something outdoors at least one time each week. Really, unless it’s downpouring or snowing for a week straight, there’s no reason we can’t get our butts outside and do something active.

2. Get out of debt. Yep, that’s a biggie. Over the past year, we’ve struggled financially while getting our business Enercient off the ground. We’re hoping and praying that 2009 was the worst year we’ll face financially and looking to 2010 to be a recovery year. Honestly, I can’t wait to pay off our debt and tell our creditors that we don’t need them anymore!

3. Be more consistent with prayer and Bible reading time. I’m often sporadic about reading my Bible and about setting aside time for prayer. I’d like to work both of these into my schedule and make them part of my daily life again.

4. Get back to my old blog habits. Over the past month, I’ve really slacked off of the blog carnivals that I participated in and reading my favorite blogs. Since I’ve been blogging, I really enjoy participating in these communities and the outlet that I find in consistent blogging.

5. Learn more about my Droid apps and use it/them to help me plan and organize. I got a Motorola Droid this fall and have had “smart phones” before. But this time I’m really trying to use it to its full potential. With all this planning and organizing I want to do, I’ve already found a couple applications that I’m using to help store and sort my tidbits of information. I want to continue to use it as more than just a phone and let it help me stay on top of things!

So there you have it; my resolutions for this upcoming year. Happy New Year to you all!!!

UPDATED:
This post is linked to Amber's "Friend Makin' Mondays". Visit her blog to read some more great resolutions for the upcoming year!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

More Christmas 2009: Updated!

This being my 500th post (woo-hoo!), I felt like I should do something more exciting than a "regular" post, but it's still Christmas weekend, so that's what it's going to be.

This morning we headed up to my mom's house (NiNi & Poppop's place) to exchange gifts before heading up the road from there to my Aunt Betsy's house for a Christmas dinner with my cousins.

Jillian fell asleep in the car on the way up and would have loved to stay asleep. She really was ready to go right back to sleep in Poppop's arms.

After we got into the present-opening, she woke up a bit more and had TONS of fun playing with the reindeer on NiNi's Christmas village.



By the time we got to Aunt Betsy's, I was pretty much over the whole picture taking fun. So no pictures of Jillian enjoying her time there. But I will say that she became very attached to her cousin's Zhu-zhu pet.... Good thing she has a birthday coming up!!

Update: I got some pictures from my cousin Shane and wanted to share this one of most of the kids from yesterday's Christmas - it turned out pretty good I thought!

From Left to Right: my stepson Josh, Jillian, my second cousins Calyn and Trinity, my cousin Julie.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009 Part 2

No Christmas is complete (at least for Jillian) without getting a new baby doll! Thank you Granny!!!

Christmas 2009 Part 1

This morning Jillian awoke to find that she had, in fact, been on Santa's "nice" list.

Unwrapping the presents wasn't terribly interesting to Jillian, but playing with her new toys was!



Then she helped put ornaments back on the Christmas tree.


It was a good morning! This evening we're off to Granny's for Christmas with her and to pick up Josh. Tomorrow Christmas with NiNi and Poppop and on New Years Day Christmas with Bubbie and Paw-Paw! And to think she has a birthday in a mere three weeks.

Merry Christmas...

...from our family to yours!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Storyville

After all this snow, it was time to get out of the house! Yesterday, Jillian and I met up with our friend Amanda and her son Joshua at Storyville. It only took us about a half hour to get up there and wasn't crowded at all (despite my fears that it might be since schools were out AGAIN). Did I mention that it's FREE?!?

Here are some shots from up high of the layout. It is a really cool place for kids up to age five to play and learn!




Jillian really liked playing with the cash register in the grocery area.

The "Three Little Pigs" storyboard was fun too!

Jillian also really liked playing with the wooden dollhouse.

I love this picture!

Friends!!


The magnetic gears captured her interest for a while (note the balls she's holding onto in her right arm...).

What a fun day!!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Fun

Since my mom had minor heart surgery about two weeks ago, Jillian and I headed up to visit her last week. My parents do some serious Christmas (and Halloween) decorating in their yard. Jillian got to do a little exploring, but quite deliberately avoided all decorations sporting a Santa Claus.



Then, as you may have heard (or experienced!), those of us on the East Coast got hammered by a major snow over the weekend. Jillian loved the snow she experience last year, but this big snow (we ended up with around 19") was almost a bit TOO big for her. She definitely was not thrilled about how being bundled up and the depth of the snow impeded her ability to run around the way she usually does. I did manage to capture a couple pictures of her enjoying the snow on Sunday, after the white stuff stopped falling.





And the obligatory then and now photos:

THEN (March 2009)

NOW (December 2009)

Guess it'll soon be time to get her a new snow suit, since the "12 Month" one is starting to get a little snug!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cookie Swap

Brenna had our moms group over yesterday morning for breakfast and a cookie swap. I skipped out on the cookie swapping since we had plans just about every night this past week, and I didn't get around to making cookies. Breakfast was great and it was good to see everyone for a couple hours before we had to rush off to the store before "the big snow".

Brenna was also cool enough to take some great pictures of the kiddos!

Jillian was doing something bad here so I was making her sit and cool down with me. You can see her displeasure!

I love this progression of snack pictures...

#1: Yay goldfish!!

#2: Get away from my goldfish!

#3: Hoarding the goldfish.

#4: Thinking about sharing the goldfish.

#5: Sharing the goldfish!
The best was when Jillian put a goldfish in Amedeo's mouth but only once. After multiple attempts to recreate it for the camera, we settled on the two of them sharing.

Thanks again Brenna for having us over - we had a wonderful time!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Getting Into the Spirit

I've been somewhat less than in the Christmas spirit so far. I've finally got the shopping done (hooray!) and today I broke down and re-thought our Christmas tree plan. Originally, I had set up our fake tree in the pack-n-play like last year. But after seeing Jillian do so well with the Christmas tree where we babysit, and watching her have so much fun playing with the ornaments, I broke down and took a trip to Walmart. I picked up a few packs of shatter-proof ornaments and a roll of silver cord to loop through them so I didn't have to use those metal hooks. During naptime, I tied many a loop onto the new ornaments and a selection of our "classic" ornaments that are not breakable. I broke down the pack-n-play for the first time since setting it up before Jillian was born. I set the tree out on the floor and got to decorating.

When Jillian got up, she had tons of fun discovering it and our Nativity (also not breakable). Then I played some Christmas music and she sang along.






I was even lucky enough to snag a video of her singing; she's signing along with a CD, so turn it up!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tot School!

After coming down with a flu early this week, we had low-key tot school. We focused again on numbers and counting, since Jillian is still showing interest in counting.



Arts & Crafts
I'm not great at having Jillian do much crafty stuff yet besides coloring, but after being sick for half the week, I thought it was time to open the finger paints.

Home Ec
We ate all the sugar cookies I had baked, so I got adventurous and made another batch, with white chocolate chips and almonds (couldn't find macadamia nuts). Jillian helped me whisk together the dry ingredients.

Skillz
Jillian practiced eating with a spoon this week, too, which she's not mastered yet, but I figured oatmeal would have enough consistency to not be a complete mess.

Science
This week, a shipment from Omaha Steaks arrived from my mom. We LOVE getting those gifts!!! Even more fun was the dry ice that was in the cooler. Daddy made smoke in a cup for Jillian to play with (supervised, of course!).


Phys Ed
We had playgroup on Friday at Columbia Gymnastics with some of our other mommy friends! Jillian enjoyed being at a "real" gymnastics gym. Here's my favorite picture from the day. You can read more about those adventures here.

Other Stuff
In addition to wanting to count, Jillian has started lining up her cars when she plays with them. She's also getting better at smiling for me when I take a picture!


And lastly, we checked out some lacing toys from the library and Jillian did better with them than I expected she would!


Hope you had a great week!! Head over to 1+1+1=1 to check out some other Tot School ideas!!