Category Archives: family

2015 in the Books

2015 in the booksEvery New Year I list my top ten memories or accomplishments from the out going year and set 10 goals for the incoming year. Before I do that I like to look at the lists from the previous year. Of my 10 goals I set for 2015, I completed 7 of them. I even exceeded a few.

  1. Completed my Associate in Claims in February.
  2. Went to the ANWA Writer’s Conference.
  3. Added 7001 words to my book, even though my goal was only 5000. I was working on another book at the beginning of the year, but I got bogged down in the story. I had another story tickling my brain but I kept pushing it off because I had to finish what I started. I’m not a quitter you know! At writer’s conference I realized how much I have learned about writing since I started writing that first book. And I gave myself permission to take it to a good stopping point and come back to it later. The excitement of starting a new project (and a 4 day writing retreat) propelled me past my goal by the end of June.
  4. 2015 in the booksPosted to my blog monthly. Not only did I post every month, I published 22 blog post. That’s almost double my goal!
  5. My goal was to read 18 books, but I finished my 19th book on New Year’s Eve.
  6. I did awesome at tracking my food intake on My Fitness Pal! My goal was 5 days a week, but I tracked it almost every day last year.
  7. In August I started a new position as a total loss claim associate.

Unfortunately that leaves three goals unmet.

  1. One was hard to keep track of and harder to obtain, to exercise or play a game with the kids. Some weeks their are only with me a couple of school nights and life was too busy to have time to play. There were also a few times they spent the entire week with their dad. My intention was to set time to have fun together. It doesn’t seem like it should be that hard, but then there’s life.
  2. I decided to start scrapbooking digitally and print the books on Snapfish. My goal was to catch up on the last four years, I actually finished zero.
  3. My final failed goal was to lose 10 pounds, but I gained weight last year instead.

There’s no use in beating myself up for the missed goals. I can learn from them just as much as I can from the goals I met. I continue to learn to fine tune them and focus in on what’s most important to me. I still working on not trying to do more than I can, but continue to push myself to improve.

So as you look back to 2015, what were your accomplishments and lessons learned? As we share, we can all get a broader perspective and support each other.

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December 2015 in the Books

December 2015 is history. As usual, I’m always a little sad to see December end after all the anticipation and build up of the season. I’m trying to get excited about Valentine’s Day so I have something new to look forward to and help motivate me to pack away the Christmas decorations. Before I get ahead of myself, let’s wrap up December.

Pounds gained, overtime and extra holiday busyness aren’t good for my workout routine.

2 – Blog posts.December 2015 cards

3 – Books read, my favorite was The Paperbag Christmas by Kevin Alan Milne.

4 – Social events including a Christmas Eve brunch.

6 – Projects completed, including a bar stool overhaul.

35 – Christmas cards mailed.

36 – Photos posted on Instagram.

48 – Rolls made to take to Christmas dinner. Since there was only 7 of us eating, I have a couple dozen in my freezer.

401 – Page views on Just Wanna Be Me.

114185 – Pinterest views.

Top Blog Posts

  1. Book Theme Party
  2. Celebrating Thanksgiving Just for Me
  3. Pizza Nachos
  4. Prophets & Brownies FHE
  5. I’ll Be Home for Christmas

Please share what made your Christmas magical in the comments section. I hope your New Year will be a healthy and happy one.

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Celebrating Christmas Just for Me Takeaways

With the struggles I had celebrating Thanksgiving, I was discouraged with how far I have to go to figure out how to celebrating Christmas in a way that brings me joy, instead of focusing on making them special for my children. Celebrating Christmas lights

I still watched Christmas movies, to the point that where I questioned my decision to get rid of cable. Truth be told, I broke down and subscribed to a couple of channels on Roku to get my Christmas movie fix. I listened to Christmas music on Pandora sometimes when I was home, but I just mixed it in with the other songs on my iPod. It didn’t encompass me like it has in other years. I love looking at Christmas lights, but walking around the neighborhood by myself isn’t nearly as fun.

Celebrating Christmas CardsWorking made it harder to find the time to make my own Christmas cards, so I bought some really nice ones at the thrift store this year. The only crafting I did was with my grandsons; their cute little hand prints are still sitting on my counter waiting to be painted. Buying the perfect gift for anyone was elusive. I struggled to enjoy the season and not miss the Christmases like when the kids were little.

I’m so grateful when it all came together on Christmas Eve eve when my son was excitedly making a thoughtful gift, and my girls were wrapping caramels, while I made Christmas breakfast. As we laughed and talked, a feeling of Christmas wrapped around me and I felt at peace. The feeling continued the next morning when the kiddos were happy with their gifts (even the ones I started second guessing myself) and graciously received the “practical” gifts with gratitude and appreciation.

Those moments help clarify what I want. Now to learn how to achieve those moments more consistently, even when I’m on my own. What are your secrets to feeling the spirit of Christmas?

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Celebrating Thanksgiving Just for Me

Celebrating Thanksgiving with older kids splitting their time between me and their dad was tricky. Unlike Halloween, the focus of Thanksgiving is on family. It was more challenging to find substitutes for tradition.

My childhood Thanksgivings were spent with extended family or at a buffet in a casino in Lake Tahoe. The food at the buffet was amazing, but I preferred the family gatherings even when I was the only kid.

One of the benefits of marrying into a large family was the awesome Thanksgivings. Despite our large numbers, my in-laws were always welcoming those who weren’t able to share Thanksgiving with their own families. My own parents even joined their family several times, which was convenient for me to have everyone in the same place.

After moving to Arizona, I  hosted smaller Thanksgivings with local family and we adopted family members along the way. Wednesday was pie day, as in the day we prepared for Thanksgiving by baking the stuffing Thanksgiving pieingredients – and of coarse pie. Thursday morning we watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade while I started cooking, and the kids would complain about the boring parts (now they say the whole thing is the boring part). After eating too much with family and friends, we’d play street hockey or take a walk to make room for the pies we made the day before. Finally, we’d wind down by watching Elf. It was the official transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas. The remainder of the weekend Fall decorations would be replaced with Christmas, and the TV and radio played non-stop Christmas movies and music.

This year my goal was to have dinner when the teenagers will be home, invite the rest of my loved ones and be grateful for whoever could make it. I planned activities for my grandsons and the older folks too. But like I said before, Thanksgiving is about family. So I adjusted my plan to have a smaller dinner with my parents and boyfriend and join the rest of my family, and my ex-husband, for dessert at my daughter’s house.

I spent some time with my family, but I let my anxiety about the situation keep me from enjoying it and watched my hopes for the day slip away. After a few days I was able to look for ways I can improve future holidays, and I’m choosing to focus on the expressions of love from this Thanksgiving:Thanksgiving

  • A long phone call from my daughter in New York, I was even able to talk to her new boyfriend who appreciated the fun things I do with my family.
  • My mom put a leaf on our gratitude tree that said “spending the day with my daughter”.
  • Overhearing my boyfriend share with my step dad how proud he is of how well I’m doing with my education goals.

There’s plenty of room for improvement as I continue trying to learn to celebrate in a way that brings joy to my heart. Fortunately, the Christmas season is upon us and I’m already practicing what I learned!

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