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One Little Word & Goals For 2018

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It’s taken me awhile to choose a word for 2018. I discarded about 12 different words before I decided on Purposeful. 2017 was a super stressful, very chaotic, and borderline gloomy year in our household. There were highs like our trip to Niagara Falls and our kids all in the same charter school. But there were also some very low lows like Tyler’s concussion and some other things that I didn’t blog about. I’m not sad to see the end of 2017. I’m setting the bar a bit lower for 2018. 

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I am striving to live a purposeful life this year and I have 4 areas that I will be focusing on. I definitely found myself getting bogged down with the stress of the last few months and depression/anxiety started creeping back in. I’ve worked too hard and come too far to slip back into that old pattern. So 2018 is starting with a fresh slate. 

Self:

-Watch less TV. Seriously. I notice that the more I struggle with my mental health, the more television I watch. Mindless, stupid shows that serve no purpose or even offer any real entertainment. I already swept through the DVR like a wrecking ball and deleted a bunch of shows that I really don’t care about. Matt and I are in the process of deciding which shows we actually care about and would truly miss watching. Everything else- gone!

-Read more books. I miss reading. I have so many books on my Kindle app that I want to read. I actually joined #theunreadshelfproject2018 on Instagram to try and read some of these books I’ve been meaning to get to. I created a whole collection on my iPad Kindle app for it! I also want to try and read more of a variety of books. I love romance books but they get stale after awhile. I want to add some non-fiction, paranormal, mystery, contemporary fiction…I need a variety. 

-Go to bed earlier. I’ll be honest, I hate this one. I am a natural night owl. I would be perfectly happy to go to bed around 1am and wake up around 9am. That’s my natural body clock. Unfortunately these kids have to leave the house at 6:15am for school. I’ve been getting around 4-4.5 hours of sleep a night and it’s not enough. That is also more than likely contributing to my issues with depression and anxiety in the last few months. I need to retrain my body and mind and shoot for at least 6-7 hours of sleep a night. 

-Focus on mental health. This is a big one for me in 2018. I refuse to slip back into that awful space that I lived in for years. No. I will focus on reducing stress, letting go of things I cannot change, practicing self care. I will take a hot bubble bath if I need a break. I will get out of the house every day if I need a change of scenery. I will blog more. I will not allow intrusive thoughts and negative behaviors to rule my life. I will be healthy, whole, and available for my family and I will model good habits for my kids. 

Family:

-Focus on our family. One of the most challenging parts of the kids switch to charter school has been the comparison game. We love our school, don’t get me wrong, but it’s been an adjustment going from public schools to a charter school with a large population of affluent families. Our kids are adjusting, we are adjusting. We need to keep our mind centered on our family and what is best for us. We will never be the family taking 2 week long vacations during Christmas break or giving our kids $200 allowance per week. We need to keep our family goals foremost in our minds. 

-Simplify our life. Life has been very chaotic and complicated recently. We just need a reset. We need to let go of commitments that are adding chaos to our lives. This year I will eliminate some things that have been stressing me out and be content with a more simple lifestyle. 

-Be home more. I’m an introvert and a homebody. I’m perfectly happy being at home all weekend and not going anywhere. That’s how I recharge. Matt and Mason are the same. Maliah and Zoey are introverts to an extent and Tyler is never home anymore anyway. I want to be at home more and be content saying no to invitations and extra commitments. A big part of that is creating a home that we want to be in all the time. 

-Embrace open door policy. Part of being home more and simplifying our life involves letting our kids have friends come and go as they please. We already have a fairly lenient open door policy for their friends. In fact, we actually have one of Tyler’s friends living with us right now. It doesn’t get much more open door than that. I don’t mind being the hangout house. I don’t mind having 15-18 kids in my house at one time. It just doesn’t bother us. Several times over this Christmas break we woke up to kids sleeping everywhere in our house- couches, floor, chairs….and it was great. We scrambled up 3 dozen eggs, added some fried rice and sausage and called it brunch. I like having my kids at home with all their friends. 

House:

-Declutter every space. This is so important to me and my mental health. We have a lot of people living in our house and every space needs to be functional. Right now it’s jam packed with stuff and it’s raising my blood pressure. I intend to declutter every closet, every cabinet, every area in the house. I will be ruthless getting rid of the stuff we don’t need. If it doesn’t serve a purpose, then it’s getting donated or sold. 

-Rework the areas that currently don’t work. We have several areas in our house that are not working right now and I will fix them this year. Both the pantries need to be completely reworked. The laundry closet needs work. The upstairs linen/laundry closet is a hot mess. The front closet is overflowing. The kids bedrooms are too full of stuff. I’m making a list and I will get all these areas fixed. 

-Do one room a month challenge. In an effort to make this big declutter/rework plan happen I’m going to focus on one room per month. I will declutter, deep clean, fix, and rework every single room. Giving myself a month to complete each room/space makes it a doable goal. 

-Organize all the things. I cannot wait to organize all the things. Seriously. Organization is my love language. The biggest part of this is the declutter process. I function so much better in a clutter free, organized space. So that’s what I will focus on creating this year. 

Financial:

-Practice minimalism. Every purchase needs to serve a purpose. I will not mindlessly buy things- clothes, decor, stuff. I will not make any impulse purchases. Not only do we not have the funds to be able to do that, it just doesn’t make sense. I have 3 huge boxes of stuff to take to Goodwill already and it doesn’t make sense to replace those things with new things. 

-Cut unnecessary extras. I cut out all magazine subscriptions, my Kindle Unlimited subscription, our HBO subscription….and there’s more that we can cut. We need to save money this year and cutting out little things is a good start. I’ve already cut out Starbucks, eating out, fast food, and expensive liquor. I’m sure as the year goes on we’ll find more cuts to make to our budget. 

-Eat at home every night. With the exception of 2 pizza nights when Papa John’s had 50% off their whole menu during Christmas break, we have not eaten out in a long time. That’s not to say that I’ve cooked every single night but we have eaten at home. Some nights it might have been grilled cheese sandwiches and ramen noodles but we didn’t get fast food. I plan to continue this all year long. 

-Work on meal planning and grocery budget. Part of making the eat at home every night plan work is having a wide variety of meals to choose from. I have a great app on my phone that I’ve been adding our family favorite recipes to over the last couple of months and I’m going to continue adding new recipes to try. My goals is to have our grocery/household budget at or near $600 per month every month. It’ll be a challenge but I think I can do it. 

Here’s to a fabulous 2018!

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Reflecting On My 2017 Goals

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My word for 2017 was Flourish. I don’t feel like I really met that goal for the entire year. I think the first 8 or 9 months of the year were great and I really was happy and well….flourishing. But life got complicated and the last few months have been really difficult ones in our house. Instead of flourishing I was just trying to tread water and not drown. But that’s okay. That’s life. I did great on some of my goals for 2017 and I didn’t do so great on others. Again…that’s life. All in all, I’m happy to see the end of 2017 and move on to better things in 2018. 

1. Be involved. I wanted to be involved with the kids’ school and with the athletic boosters and with football. I wanted to be involved with friends and with neighbors. I definitely met this goal. I became the team mom for varsity football, I am co-class coordinator for Zoey’s classroom. I volunteered for all kinds of events and things to support the school. I went out with friends and enjoyed myself. 

2. Spend wisely. I feel good about this one too. I cut the grocery budget significantly. I was careful about what I bought all year long. I only bought the needs instead of all the wants. There’s always room for improvement but I’m happy with my progress.

3. Read more. I definitely read more in 2017 than in 2016. I’ve read 133 books in 2017 compared to 114 in 2016. I was also more particular about the books I chose to read. Less fluffy smut and more insightful, emotional stories. I found some great new authors and best of all, I read so many books for free from the library and from Overdrive online. 

4. Update the bedrooms. Maliah’s room got a complete overhaul back in the Spring. The master bedroom got a minor redo. Everyone got updated beds. There are some big changes possibly looming in the near future so both Mason and Zoey will be getting new paint and refreshed decor soon. 

5. Keep the house clean. I had the best of intentions. I really did. Unfortunately all these people and dogs in one house means that it’s not always going to be clean. I kept the dust bunnies to a minimum and did the best I could. That’s all I could do. 

6. Be more productive with my time. I did great with this earlier in the year. Then the new school year started with a 5:30am wake up time and I was just trying to survive. I’ve come to the realization that I will just never be a morning person. Ever. I’m a night owl. Period. 

7. Pay down debt. This one was a big fat FAIL. We actually paid off a lot of debt in the Spring and then ended up with a ton of medical debt after Tyler’s concussion. So now we start over again. 

8. Pay more attention to my outward appearance. Yeah…..fail. I’m a jeans and tee kind of girl and that’s never going to change. I’m done trying to be something I’m not. I wear minimal make up and my hair is in a messy bun more often than not. I am who I am. 

All things being said, I’m pretty ok with how I did on my goals in 2017. As I mentioned, there are some big changes on the horizon for our family in 2018 so I’m going to have to be more go with the flow and less stabby when things don’t go smoothly. I’m a work in progress. 

 
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Life Lately {November 2017}

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I’m just a tad bit late on my November life lately post. It’s been a busy few weeks but there’s only 8 school days left until Christmas break. And I am counting them down! November came in with a bang and went out with a bang. 

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Varsity football season 2017 came to a merciful end the first Friday of November. It was an ugly, dismal season. We had 7 concussions on top of various other injuries to starting players and it just made for a tough season. Tyler was finally given clearance to at least attend the very last game of the season to be on the sidelines with the rest of the injured starters. There were 6 of them that stood on the sidelines cheering on the younger players, checking on injured players, handing out water bottles, and supporting their teammates when they would have given anything to be on that field. I’m proud of them. 

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Tyler turned 17 in the beginning of the month. These pictures make me laugh. His friends planned him a surprise party and he didn’t get home until 11pm. Then his friends threw him another party at one of their lake houses right afterwards. He didn’t come home until Sunday. And he came home tired. 

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Zoey brought home her Tom the Turkey project. It made me nostalgic to know that this is our very last Tom the Turkey. We’ve done 4 of them and she’s the 5th and last turkey. We’ve done Superman, a Princess, an Alien, and a Christmas tree in the past. Zoey chose a snowman! Then Mason and Zoey got to use their free pizza coupons that they earned for meeting their reading goals for October. 

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Maliah has made such a great group of friends in 7th grade. She was invited to a sleepover birthday party and they had such a great time. It makes me so happy to see her finding her place even when I know she’s still having issues with anxiety and depression and fitting in. These girls are so sweet together and it makes me smile to know that the girls she’s in class with now will be the group she graduates with in 5 years!

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Just before Thanksgiving break the little kids had the Thanksgiving Feast in their classes. We had Mason on the first day. We picked up Chick-Fil-A biscuits and hashbrowns and had so much fun. His class did a skit and we nommed on some yummy desserts afterwards. 

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And the next day we had Zoey’s Thanksgiving Feast. We basically repeated the same thing over again with Chick-Fil-A biscuits and hashbrowns. Her class did a song and we had more yummy desserts. I love all the cool fun things their school does with parents. 

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I haven’t talked a whole lot on here about Tyler’s concussion. He suffered a complex severe concussion on September 8th in a football game. He took a direct helmet to helmet hit to his temple and then a secondary hit to the same temple that whiplashed his head really hard. When his physical symptoms did not go away within a few weeks we started to get concerned. Then in mid-October he started complaining that he was having trouble concentrating and focusing in class and it was causing headaches. We immediately took him back to his sports medicine doctor who put him on a medication to help and referred him for post concussion physical therapy. He ended up with a diagnosis of Post Concussion Syndrome and twice a week physical therapy. At his first PT appointment we discovered just how serious his issues were. He had severe impairments with vestibular movements and spatial disorientation- he could not balance at all- and near complete destabilization of his vision. He couldn’t track his therapist’s finger without rapid blinking, eye fatigue, and his pupils bouncing and jerking (saccadic eye movements). It was a very scary and very serious diagnosis. He did physical therapy twice a week for 6 weeks, saw his sports medicine doctor once a week, and had to be seen by an independent neurologist. 

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In the middle of the month Maliah turned 13! She chose to have 2 of her besties come spend the night. We took them out to Cici’s Pizza and then to see Daddy’s Home 2. Tyler and 3 of his good friends tagged along for the free pizza haha! I can’t believe I have 3 teenagers now. That’s insane!

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Just before Thanksgiving Tyler’s sports medicine doctor finally discharged him from twice a week PT and gave him clearance to work with his school trainer again. He was finally allowed to run, lift weights, and shoot the basketball again. He had no more headaches, his focus and concentration were getting better, his balance and coordination were near baseline, and his saccadic eye movements while still there weren’t causing headaches anymore. So he’s done with formal PT and working with his trainer again. He was also given permission to play football again, which I’m not all that happy about but we’re waiting to see the neurologist again before making a final decision. 

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We partied hard at Thanksgiving. Lots of people, lots of food, lots of laughter, lots of fun. And lots of pie. Lots and lots of pie. The pie is always the best part. We had a full house of family spend the night and it was loud and crazy. I enjoy hosting family but man, it’s a lot of work. Luckily we had Saturday and Sunday to recover. 

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The last week of November Tyler found out he had been recommended for the Blue-Grey Varsity Football Combine. He has no idea which coach recommended him, it had to be more than one coach. He wants to go so badly. We’re debating. I don’t know if he’ll play in college or if he even wants. So we have 10 days to make some serious life decisions. First, is he even going to play football next season? Second, is he interested in playing in college? We’re just sitting on it for now and waiting for the neurology appointment. I keep telling myself it will all work out the way it’s meant to. But man, this in between is hard. 

So that was November in a nutshell. 

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2017 Monthly Goals: December

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How is it already December? How? The first half of this school year has literally zoomed right past me. I’m totally unprepared for December. I was equally unprepared for November but it came along anyway. Rude. 

November Goals:

1. Shave $100 off of the monthly grocery budget. NOPE. I failed to take Thanksgiving into consideration. Sigh. I managed to not go over budget but I definitely did not come in under budget. 

2. Plan and decorate for the holidays. HALF DONE. I planned our holiday lists and planned my decor but I didn’t get any actual decorating done until this past weekend. I had to recover from Thanksgiving first. 

3. Write and schedule blog posts for the month ahead of time. NOPE. Fail. Big fail. 

4. Purge all closets. DONE. I pulled out all the outgrown clothes and made a list of things the kids actually need. Both Mason and Zoey needed all new pants and all of them needed new socks. Thankfully everyone is set on uniforms until next year. 

5. Meet with the head of schools about Tyler. DONE. I still cannot say much but I had a great meeting with the head of schools about one of the football coaches. He basically accused Tyler of faking his concussion and made his life a living hell for months while Tyler was trying desperately to recover. That crap has been handled. 

December Goals:

1. Slow down and enjoy the holiday season. Our lives have been so dang busy for the last few months that I feel like I haven’t been able to take a breath. I need to sloooooooow down. We have a jam packed full schedule for the next 2 weeks and then we have 2 glorious weeks off for Christmas break. I intend to enjoy every second.

2. Write and schedule blog posts for the rest of December. I will get this done. I will. I already have my posts planned out so now I need to actually write them. 

3. Decide where to go with this blog in 2018. I’ve been kind of in a rut for awhile. I need to figure out what my plan will be for 2018. Gone are the days when I can commit to 5 posts a week. It’s just not going to happen at this stage of life. But I want to do better than I have been lately. I’ll sort it out this month. 

4. Do at least 3 family nights/activities. I would love to take the kids to see Jumanji during Christmas break. We want to drive around and look at Christmas lights one night. And we are going to do our annual Redbox movie-a-thon after Christmas too. We don’t have that many Christmases left with Tyler at home. He’s already barely home. 

5. Just say no. I will not overcommit this season. I will not say yes to every single invitation that comes our way. I will focus on soaking in the season and my kids. Our friends and family will understand. We’ve already declined invitations to visit out of town family during the holidays and we’ve decided to not have any house guests ourselves. 

 
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2017 Monthly Goals: November

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This is going to sound awful but I barely even registered that it was already November. I mean, seriously?! What is wrong with me? Oh yeah, kids. Kids are what is wrong with me. It’s been a long hard couple of months in our household. I’m counting down the days until our week long Thanksgiving break. It cannot come fast enough. 

October Goals:

1. Plan and enjoy Varsity Football Homecoming. DONE. It didn’t go quite as planned, but what does around here? Tyler was not cleared to attend Homecoming at all, he could not even be on the sidelines. So our family from out of town did not attend. We went because I’m team mom and had responsibilities to attend to. The kids all had their friends there and it was a good time. 

2. Choose new recipes to try. DONE. I tried 4 new recipes last month and all 4 were a huge hit. I’ve added them to our regular monthly rotation. You’ll be seeing them on the blog soon. 

3. Shop around for cheaper TV service. DONE. Kind of. I shopped around but didn’t find anything cheaper that’s reliable. Matt is adamant that we need all the sports channels and I agree. So for now we will keep our existing service and just pay the $20 difference. 

4. Organize recipes on app. DONE. It’s so much easier to find recipes now and I was able to weed through and delete recipes that we didn’t like or that I won’t make again. 

5. Plan Thanksgiving menu. DONE. It’s planned and I’ve already started buying some of the non-perishables. Boom. 

November Goals:

1. Shave $100 off of the monthly grocery budget. We are drowning right now. Between Maia’s $40 a week therapy appointments, Tyler’s $150 a week post concussion PT therapy appointments, and planning for the holidays, something has to give. And the only place we have to cut right now is the grocery budget. If I can shave $100 off it will help considerably. 

2. Plan and decorate for the holidays. I love the holidays. It’s truly my most favorite time of the year. I decorate for Thanksgiving and then we decorate for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving. 

3. Write and schedule blog posts for the month ahead of time. I’m sure you’ve noticed, blog posts have been….irregular around here lately. Having 3 therapy appointments every week plus Tyler sees his sports medicine doctor every week, on top of school stuff and football stuff…it’s been really hard to blog. I want to take some time and schedule an entire month of posts. 

4. Purge all closets. Mason has grown so tall and I know his clothes from last winter won’t fit. I need to go through and pull out outgrown clothes and make a list of what the kids need for this year. They’re good on school uniforms so it’s just evening and weekend clothes. 

5. Meet with the head of schools about Tyler. I hesitate to share too much right now but we’ve had an ongoing issue with one of the football coaches about Tyler’s concussion. The coach has made the last 9 weeks absolutely awful for all of us and now that the season is over I need to address these issues. 

 
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