weekly gems

   A walk with Madison in the park.

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weekly gems

Happy 26th Birthday, Dan!

 

weekly gems (a few days late)

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101 Things in 1,001 Days

With it being New Year’s Day, I, like a lot of society, am excited for a new year and fresh start. I’ve written New Year’s resolutions pretty much every year for as long as I can remember. Recently, in the years 2011, 2012, and 2013, I created and followed what I called the New Year’s All Year Challenge. It went okay for me in 2011, and pretty well for me in 2012, but I did not keep up with in 2013. A lot of changes occurred in my life this past year (like moving out of my parents’ house, getting married, a new job, etc.), and trying to stay focused on multiple goals every month on top of those changes started to feel very overwhelming for me. I eventually let go of them because I tend to be a perfectionist and my lack of progress on them (due to focusing on all the other big events and adjustments going on) was unnecessarily stressing me out. While my 2014 isn’t currently shaping up to have the type of life-changing events 2013, I have decided to forgo doing a 2014 New Year’s All Year Challenge for the similar reasons. I want to achieve my goals in life, but I want to make sure I am doing so in a balanced way that doesn’t put unneeded pressure on myself.  I want to enjoy the journey and make sure I am having fun and spending time with those I love.

I am a longtime fan of Mackenzie Horan of Design Darling, and I recently realized her 101 Things in 1,001 Days project is perfect way for me to approach the next year. Well, really, the next 2.75 years. As she described it, it’s a “happy medium between writing a to do list and keeping a bucket list. It’s a way to dream big and make regular progress toward meeting those longer term goals.” So, I have crafted my own list and will begin my journey today! I look forward to sharing my progress and experiences with everyone. Happy New Year!!! : )

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Start: January 1, 2014

Wellness

  1. Compete in a masters swim meet.
  2. Complete a triathlon.
  3. Meet my goal weight.
  4. Do yoga every day for a month.
  5. Stop biting my nails.
  6. Complete a Bible study.
  7. Try every fitness class offered at my gym.
  8. Take a self-defense class.
  9. Give up swearing for Lent (and see if it lasts after that!).
  10. Complete a plank challenge.
  11. Floss every other day for a month (and see if I can finally maintain the habit).
  12. Go to the eye doctor.
  13. Eat as a vegetarian for a month.
  14. Complete a squat challenge.
  15. Try 20 different workouts from what I have saved from magazines over the years.
  16. Practice meditation/mindfulness every day for a month.

Outings/Travel

  1. Attend a musical I’ve never seen before.
  2. Revisit the major museums in Cleveland (4).
  3. Go to a Blue Jackets game.
  4. Go apple or berry picking.
  5. Attend a live comedy show.
  6. Ride the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
  7. Eat at five new-to-me restaurants in the Cleveland or Columbus area.
  8. Go on a tour of a brewery.
  9. Attend a professional orchestra concert.
  10. Visit the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.
  11. Go camping.
  12. Visit the Underground Railroad museum in Cincinnati.
  13. Obtain a passport and use it, even if only to travel to Canada (the only other country I have ever been in besides the U.S.).
  14. Visit the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton.
  15. Take Madison to the dog beach.
  16. Visit Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  17. Attend Dinner on the Diamond again.
  18. See a major league baseball game in a stadium I have never been to before.
  19. Go to a BGSU home football game.

Family/Friends

  1. Send Christmas cards to all of our family and friends before the holiday.
  2. Host a book club meeting.
  3. Prepare a meal for my family using an outdoor grill.
  4. Do something extra special for each member of my family.
  5. Host a fancy brunch for my friends.
  6. Mail my closest friends and family cards for each birthday during these 1,001 days.
  7. Throw a party for my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary.

Service/Philanthropy

  1. Donate to PAWS in Madison’s name.
  2. Donate toys to kids in need.
  3. Donate to BGSU.
  4. Complete 25 random acts of kindness.
  5. Donate blankets or coats to those in need.
  6. “Pay it forward” at a coffee shop or at a tollbooth.
  7. Donate books to an organization that distributes them to those who need them or volunteer with a literacy organization.
  8. Complete 40 service hours.
  9. Sponsor an athlete at PSH or donate to scholarships offered through PCSD.

Hobbies

  1. Read 75 books I have never read before.
  2. Bake a pie from scratch.
  3. Make a pizza (dough and sauce) from scratch.
  4. Complete compiling and order a full wedding album.
  5. See a classic movie in a movie theater.
  6. Knit a scarf.
  7. Make 15 recipes out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
  8. Be inspired by Pinterest 10 times to either create/bake/cook something or utilize a cleaning/organization tip.
  9. Back up all my photos.
  10. Make a T-shirt quilt.
  11. Watch 10 Best Picture winning films I haven’t see before.
  12. Back up all my music.
  13. Create Snapfish or Shutterfly albums for each year since high school.
  14. Bake 12 different recipes of cookies and cut each recipe into an unique shape using our Year Of Cookies cookie cutters we were gifted for our wedding.
  15. Spend at least two months blogging consistently (five days a week).
  16. Watch Gone With the Wind again.
  17. Organize all my workout and recipe clippings from magazines into navigable binders/digital files.

Career

  1. Start a history podcast and publish at least three episodes.
  2. Organize all my previously written swim practices and planning into navigable binders/digital files.
  3. Obtain a full-time classroom position and/or begin earning my masters degree.
  4. Learn all of the world’s capital cities and the names and locations of major rivers, mountains, etc.
  5. Develop my Honors Project (from college) into a full book.
  6. Organize all my lesson plans and resources into navigable binders/digital files.
  7. Find a way to combine my loves of social media and the field of education into something that serves a resource and/or community for either teachers or students.
  8. Truly study (not just skim/index through) all the swimming books I own and organize my notes on them into navigable binders/digital files.

Things That Scare Me

  1. Sing karaoke
  2. Buy a bikini and wear it in public.
  3. Get another tattoo.

Finances

  1. Pay off the Honda Civic Dan and I purchased in March 2013 ahead of schedule.
  2. Save at least $5,000.
  3. Create a solid budget and begin cultivating spending/saving tracking habits by following it successfully for at least two months.
  4. Finish changing name on all accounts/relevant records.
  5. Write a will and a living will.

Home

  1. Buy big plastic bins and use them to organize the storage space/seasonal decorations.
  2. Set up a home office.
  3. Create and implement a rotating cleaning schedule and follow it for at least two months straight.
  4. Do an intake of my belongings, donate or toss what I don’t need, and organize what I am keeping.
  5. Find a more effective system for receiving mail, disposing of it/filing it, and responding to it.
  6. Style our bedroom.
  7. Style our living room.
  8. Buy an actual address book and use it.
  9. Clean my car and keep it tidy for at least two months.

Fashion/Beauty

  1. Find a skincare regimen that works for me and follow it for at least 30 days.
  2. Buy a grown up watch, and wear it regularly.
  3. Learn 5 new ways to style my hair.
  4. Get a pedicure.
  5. Find the perfect little black dress.
  6. Get grown-up luggage and use it (instead of using my backpack from high school!).
  7. Find my “signature scent.”
  8. Purchase a monogrammed bracelet or necklace.

 End date: September 27, 2016    

 

Image source

I’m Not Sorry

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I’m not sorry.

I’m not sorry I love learning so much that I listen to history podcasts and share facts from them at weddings. I’m not sorry I think education is a misunderstood career and I know what I’m talking about when I discuss it. I’m not sorry I am obsessed with the Cleveland Indians and get passionate when I talk about them. I’m not sorry I choose to look on the bright side and approach challenges in life from a positive perspective. I’m not sorry I’d rather be proven wrong than be proven right. I’m not sorry I like beer and that drink my coffee black. I’m not sorry that my dog is my best friend or that I take and share lots of photos of her. I’m not sorry about my values and beliefs. I’m not sorry I enjoy cheesy books, Top 40 music, or Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I’m not sorry I forgive too easily. I’m not sorry I love my hometown and college. I’m not sorry that most the time I’d rather spend a night in rather than out. I’m not sorry I act honestly when I have the option to do otherwise. I’m not sorry I prioritize safety, spending time with my husband, or doing right by my students. I’m not sorry I’ve never done drugs and I’m not sorry my wedding was untraditional. I’m not sorry for my tattoos, my student loans, or my anxiety. I’m not sorry about my early bedtime, my sense of humor, or my singing voice.

I’m not sorry about being me.

new year’s all year challenge: february reflections and march goals

In January, I introduced the 2013 challenge, in which I made broad “endpoint” goals for the year and explained that each month I would make specific small goals that are stepping stones to my endpoint aims. Each month I will also reflect on the previous month’s goals and efforts.

 

February goals:

  • Health: work out at least 150 min per week, stay hydrated, & do better with meal planning
  • Finances: budget and stick to it; research housing options; do taxes before the end of February!
  • Relationships: check in with everyone regularly
  • Wedding:  Knock as many things off my to-do list as possible!
  • Career: Give 110% every day and be a flexible and positive presence in the buildings in which I work; wrap up swim season well and begin planning off-season
  • Self-enrichment: try at least one new recipe; observe Random Acts of Kindness Week

Source: lifehack.org via Kelly on Pinterest

 

Reflections:

  • Health: I increased my exercise time logged even more than what I did in January, and was a lot more conscious of staying hydrated.
  • Finances: Again, like in January, I did a good job of actively monitoring my in and out flow of money, though I still did not write out a formal budget. Dan and I researched housing options, found some very strong choices, and moved forward on them. I did not get my taxes done by the end of February, but I did complete LearnVest’s Ace Your Taxes Bootcamp!
  • Relationships: I think I did okay with keeping up with friends and family, but honestly think I could have done better.
  • Wedding:  I reorganized the rest of the things that we need to complete into a series of several mini to do lists with deadlines. Feels SO MUCH BETTER.
  • Career: Teaching went really well – I did a great job subbing for a math teacher for a week and a half, even though math is not my favorite; coaching wrapped up pretty well with my swimmers doing great at the end of the season and reflecting and planning for the off-season
  • Self-enrichment: I kinda sucked at self-enrichment this month. I did cook and bake more than I have been recently, but no new recipes. And I unfortunately did not practice Random Acts of Kindness week. I have no good excuse, I basically was so busy with the very end of swim season I forgot that the week was even occurring. So I plan on granting myself a personal re-do week in March.

 

March Goals:

  • Health: log food daily; schedule nutritionist appointment; improve my aerobic/cardio endurance and work on strength training
  • Finances: Complete my taxes; make and stick to my budget; read 2 personal finance articles a week (I have much more time in March than in January – I can for sure do this!)
  • Relationships: give everyone a “proof of love” (something I’ve been reading about in the fantastic book The Happiness Project)
  • Wedding:  Complete tasks that are on the to-do list for March on time; have an open mind and enjoy the retreat for pre cana counseling
  • Career: prepare well and timely for awards night; map out a plan for swimming intra-murals; be a positive and flexible presences in the buildings in which I substitute
  • Self-enrichment: complete some readings on anxiety; fully “log off” for one hour a week; redo Random Acts of Kindness Week

 

new year’s all year: january reflections and february goals

Hello, all! I hope everyone is doing well. I was very busy with social and work obligations these past couple months, so while I didn’t get a chance to sit and blog like I hoped I would, I did make and work on my goals for the New Year’s All Year Challenge.

In January, I introduced the 2013 challenge, in which I made broad “endpoint” goals for the year and explained that each month I would make specific small goals that are stepping stones to my endpoint aims. Each month I will also reflect on the previous month’s goals and efforts.

 

My goals for January were:

  • Health: work out at least 150 minutes per week; stay hydrated
  • Finances: BUDGET and read 2 personal finance articles a week
  • Relationships: stay up-to-date/in contact with everyone
  • Wedding: So much to do! Basically carry over from December…Figure out florist/flower options and take care of it, map out honeymoon options, book a place for our picnic reception, send out save the dates for wedding day and picnic, and look for bridesmaid and flower girl dresses.
  • Career: be the most positive and helpful presence possible in the buildings I am in; stay prepared and ahead for swim planning
  • Self-enrichment: set aside at least two hours a week to myself to log off everything & relax, NO guilt!

Reflections:

  • Health: I did a great job of staying hydrated, but did not do an awesome job of exercising on a routine basis. I did up my exercising time, though.
  • Finances: I did do a good job of monitoring the in and out flow of my money, but I did not do very well at reading personal finance articles (no time for blogging, not much time for browsing the Internet for articles, either)
  • Relationships: I was very busy with teaching and coaching this month, but I did my best to stay in contact with everyone and see them whenever I could
  • Wedding: I got a lot more wedding things done than I realized! Almost everything listed, except the flowers. Don’t ask. I don’t understand why I can’t make decisions on them.
  • Career: I think I did well being flexible teaching and I worked extremely hard to be on top or ahead of swimming tasks. Sometimes things got crazy, but with the support of the coaching staff and athletic department and parents, things always got done.
  • Self-enrichment: I think I did a good job of allowing myself to have “me time” when I needed it, and I didn’t always feel guiltless about it, but I did feel less guilt than I had in the past.

 

February goals:

  • Health: work out at least 150 min per week, stay hydrated, & do better with meal planning
  • Finances: budget and stick to it; research housing options; do taxes before the end of February!
  • Relationships: check in with everyone regularly
  • Wedding:  Knock as many things off my to-do list as possible!
  • Career: Give 110% every day and be a flexible and positive presence in the buildings in which I work; wrap up swim season well and begin planning off-season
  • Self-enrichment: try at least one new recipe; observe Random Acts of Kindness Week

 

new year’s all year: 2013 endpoints and january goals

Last January, I introduced the 2012 New Year’s All Year Challenge, in which I made broad “endpoint” goals for the year and explained that each month I would make specific small goals that are stepping stones to my endpoint aims. Each month I also reflected on the previous month’s goals and efforts. I recently reflected on the 2012 challenge, and I believe it went well. I didn’t meet all of my endpoint goals 100%, but I made progress on each and every one of them, which to me means the challenge was a success and worth the time I devoted to it. And, of course, inspired me to do it again this year!

 

Source: 7428.net via Kelly on Pinterest

 

So, since I am doing the challenge again, there are two steps I must take. First, I have to identify the major aspects of my life right now that I want to focus on, and second, I have to make endpoint goals for them. For 2013, I will focus on the same areas as last year: health, finances, relationships, wedding planning (through July, after which Dan and I WILL BE MARRIED!!!), career, and self-enrichment. My 2013 endpoint goals are:

  • Health: meet goal weight benchmarks I have set; practice healthy habits
  • Finances: meet savings goals; spend meaningfully, not impulsively
  • Relationships: strive for balance, honesty, and kindness at all times
  • Wedding: finish planning and then carry out a wedding full of meaning, without excess, and without shortsightedness toward others
  • Career: do my best at my current position, continue pursuing full-time classroom positions, and build the swim program further
  • Self-enrichment: learn about anxiety more and implement further understanding on coping with it; specifically devote time to hobbies and activities that bring me joy

I’m very excited for these endpoint aims. I feel that they are challenging, but not overly ambitious. I learned a lot from last year’s challenge and I’m ready to knock this year out of the park!

 

That being said, my goals for January are:

  • Health: work out at least 150 minutes per week; stay hydrated
  • Finances: BUDGET and read 2 personal finance articles a week
  • Relationships: stay up-to-date/in contact with everyone
  • Wedding: So much to do! Basically carry over from December…Figure out florist/flower options and take care of it, map out honeymoon options, book a place for our picnic reception, send out save the dates for wedding day and picnic, and look for bridesmaid and flower girl dresses.
  • Career: be the most positive and helpful presence possible in the buildings I am in; stay prepared and ahead for swim planning
  • Self-enrichment: set aside at least two hours a week to myself to log off everything & relax, NO guilt!

 

Have you set any goals for 2013, or just set any goals in general? What are your plans to reach them?

new year’s, all year: 2012 reflections

All year long, you have read posts from the New Year’s, All Year series. Every month, I created new goals in categories that I (at the beginning of 2012) had recognized as the current major areas of my life: health, finances, relationships, career, wedding planning, and self-enrichment. These goals were made to be stepping stones for the “endpoint” goals I had set for each of these areas – basically, how I wanted to end the year in regards to each area. I set “stepping stone” goals in order to to take into account any new obstacles and then set realistic, measurable objectives. That way, I didn’t make a ton of super specific goals in a year-long format and then have to scale them back throughout the year due to unexpected challenges.

I like this revised, 2012 format of the New Year’s, All Year Challenge much more than the original one from 2011. It made me really assess my desires and actions every month and be more mindful and reflective in my habits.

Source: pinreach.com via Kelly on Pinterest

 

So, what were my endpoint goals for 2012? Here they are:

  • Health: live an overall healthier lifestyle
  • Finances: be more organized, balanced, and responsible
  • Relationships: maintain mutually supportive relationships that are in balance with one another
  • Wedding: have location and date set and all major vendors booked
  • Career: aggressively pursue full-time teaching position; develop my coaching skills and knowledge while also developing the school’s swimming program further
  • Self-enrichment: allow “me” time without overindulging; actively participate in passions, hobbies, interests, etc. further

And what type of progress did I make? 

  • Health: I did improve my lifestyle, though I still have a long way to go. I lost some weight, which I needed to do, I learned more about how to eat best for my needs and lifestyle by seeing a nutritionist, I joined a gym, I tried new classes and two 5Ks, and I returned to counseling to manage new challenges in stemming from my issues with anxiety. I have more progress to make, but, overall, I think I’m leaving 2012 healthier than I entered it, and I consider that a success.
  • Finances: I am definitely more responsible and organized, though I do think I can still be more balanced and more attentive/pro-active.
  • Relationships: While I am only one person in each of my relationships, so I can’t speak definitively, I would say my relationships with my family, fiance, and friends are pretty solid and mutually supportive. I hope to do whatever I can to help them get stronger and be even better of a daughter, sister, fiancee/wife, friend, etc.
  • Wedding: locations are set, date is set, caterers and baker are set, music is set, photography is set…but there is still so much to do!!!
  • Career: I did aggressively pursue a full-time teaching position, and struggled with that challenge quite a bit. While I did not obtain one this school year, I did have an opportunity that was amazing for me and has opened up more doors and support. Also, the swim program has grown in strength and size.
  • Self-enrichment: I think I still need to find a balance between work and play and how much time to devote to each without being self-depriving or over-indulgent, but I think  I did a good job this year of letting myself enjoy life and not worry as much as I used to.

 

I am grateful for this year. It was hard, at times, for various reasons: self-confidence, career success, finances, family’s health, concern for others, changing negative habits, balance of relationships, wedding planning, loss, etc. But it was also a good year, for many, many reasons: learning how to better stay positive and grateful, career opportunities, grace and kindness of others, health problems having manageable solutions, progress in goals and plans, cherishing memories, and the power of love, laughter, and the little things in life that brighten a day. Some of my favorite moments of the year: celebrating Dan and I’s three year anniversary, the success of my first swim season as head coach, setting a wedding date, Bowling Green visits, seeing The Beach Boys, Indians games, another summer as a lifeguard, having my own classroom, seeing my sister in plays, being hired as a district substituteand countless “little things”: Netflix nights and dinners with my family or Dan, trivia nights with friends, going to the Starbucks drive thru with Madison and Sasha in the back seat, babysitting and housesitting, listening to podcasts on drives to and from Columbus, visits with my grandma or godchildren, lunch with my colleagues at school, naps on my parents’ porch, coffee every morning, and so, so much more.

I am greatly looking forward to what 2013 holds. Even if it brings some hard times, it will be okay. Life is hard, but I’m going to enjoy it anyway.

 

new year’s all year: november reflections, december goals, and december reflections

In January I introduced the 2012 New Year’s All Year Challenge, in which I made broad “endpoint” goals for the year and explained that each month I will make specific small goals that are stepping stones to my endpoint aims. Each month I will also reflect on the previous month’s goals and efforts.

 

Source: imgfave.com via Kelly on Pinterest

 

Though I did not create a post about it at the beginning of the month, I did reflect on my November goals and decided on what December goals to work on.

November goals:

  • Health: make attending the group exercise classes I enjoy a priority and don’t feel guilty about using that time for exercise instead of work! Also consume less caffeine.
  • Finances: budget and stick to it; meet monthly savings goal
  • Relationships: make sure I thank those in my life for the ways they enrich it
  • Wedding: Ask for help with planning and start figure out best florist/flower option
  • Career: reflect on how my first quarter of teaching went and make/implement plans on how to improve the second; start swim season off on a great note with the students, continue working on fundraisers, and get all home meet preparations done well ahead of time
  • Self-enrichment: schedule regular pockets of time to myself to unwind (read a book for fun, bake, cook, watch a movie without also grading, BLOG, etc.) and don’t feel guilty about doing so!

November reflections:

Health: I did attend a couple yoga/pilates classes, but I didn’t do as great a job as I wanted to, mainly because swim season began full force along and I was working to balance it alongside my full-time long term sub position, which I was still in at the time. Due to that juggle, I did not do great at consuming less caffeine, as you can probably imagine. Finances: Didn’t do so great at budgeting, but did meet savings goal. Relationships: I think I did well at showing others I am grateful for them, but one can always do better. Wedding: I did ask for help. Career: I did reflect on how my first quarter of teaching went and implemented plans on how to improve the second, but in November I found out my long-term position was coming to a close, so I focused on providing the teacher taking over and the students with the best transition possible. I do believe swim season goals were met well. Self-enrichment: I did do a good job of finding time to myself, though not of not feeling guilty about it.

Source: bellamumma.com via Kelly on Pinterest

 

December goals:

  • Health: Work out regularly (min 150 minutes a week) and cook for myself more (to save calories and money).
  • Finances: Spend wisely when I do spend (as it is almost unavoidable during the holiday season). Save as much as I can.
  • Relationships: Spend as much time with family and friends as possible and give thoughtful holiday gifts.
  • Wedding: Figure out florist/flower options and take care of it, map out honeymoon options, book a place for our picnic reception, send out save the dates for wedding day and picnic, and look for bridesmaid and flower girl dresses.
  • Career: Give 110% every day and be a flexible and positive presence in the buildings in which I work. Stay on top of planning ahead for swimming and continue learning more about coaching and the sport.
  • Self-enrichment: Allow myself to relax when I feel anxious. Finish Team of Rivals!

December reflections:

Health: I did better at attending yoga/pilates class in December than I did in November and searched for apps to use for working out at home. Didn’t do so great with cooking for myself. Finances: I did spend wisely on gifts and wedding expenses, though some unexpected expenses came up with the vet and my family pets. Relationships: Did well with these goals! Wedding: Basically failed at all wedding goals. January is going to be busy with wedding things!! Career: Did well with career goals, though I could procrasinate less on getting things taken care of, as in all aspects of my life. Self-enrichment: Tried harder to relax when necessary. And finally finished Team of Rivals, which was excellent!

Overall I think November and December went better than expected, though not perfect, of course. I will post soon about my reflections on 2012 as a whole and my goals for 2013! : )