January 31, 2016

January 2016 Update

In case you missed it, don't forget to check out my 2015 Year In Review where I catalog my most treasured memories from the previous year.

Welcome 2016!

This year is off to a pretty good start. We are back into the groove of homeschool after our holiday break. We did take off 2 days for the big Snowpocalypse last week. Otherwise, when it's super cold, we homeschool snuggled in bed. 
I can't remember Nashville ever getting this much snow (6-8 inches). It stuck around for a while too. Skylar enjoyed making a snowman, sledding, and playing in the neighborhood with her friends. I took my job of making hot chocolate very seriously along with keeping the dryer running constantly so that tLG would have warm, dry clothes to play in each time she went out.
Baron was also a fan of the snow. It was funny to see him running and jumping in it. He would lay down in it or bury his head in it. He also loved chasing Skylar down the hill on the sled. As you can see, me and this dog are polar opposites so I'm still not high on his fan list. I would tell you that he seemed to turn a corner about a week ago (12 weeks old) and gained a tiny amount of an attention span. But, every time I even remotely develop a fondness for this dog, he finds a new way for me to hate him (like the time he ate my brand new charger and then ate another brand new charger the very next day). So, it's probably best that I don't brag on him. 

Last year, Mike bought a Jeep and I have never been so thankful for that vehicle until this deep snow. I was scheduled to work an overnight postpartum shift and the good ole 4WD got me there and back with zero problems. I was driving on straight ice and not afraid at all. It was great! Also, have I mentioned lately how much I love being a doula? I'm working with one family that has twins and staying with them is a definitely a bright spot in my week. 

We also celebrated Skylar's 9th birthday this month. Be sure to check out her Age 8 video. I can't believe how fast it's going by. Never have been a fan of this growing up business. 
After reading For The Love last year, I decided that birthday parties are #OffTheBeam. They just exhaust me. Researching them - planning them - going to them - the whole 9 yards. So this year, we just did a birthday 'outing'. I didn't send formal invitations. We didn't invite everybody and their brother. I didn't rent the party room. I didn't decorate the house. I didn't order a special cake. I didn't do goody bags for the kids. I didn't even look at Pinterest. We simply texted a few of Skylar's friends, took them to Jump Street, came home and had GiGi's cupcakes. The end. It was lovely and my kiddo was just as tickled. This, I can do. 
Upward basketball season has also started. We have Coach Annette again, who we love! Mike is also helping coach her team, which has been fun. Skylar made it her New Year's Resolution to "win one basketball game this year." We just finished our 3rd game and they haven't won yet but her team has improved a TON in just a few weeks. I'm so proud of them and I'm praying she meets her goal. I made 3 resolutions this year

This past weekend was near 70 degrees and sunny and I can't even explain how good this was for my soul. I was downright giddy. We visited the dog park for the first time and it was a win-win. I just loved being outside with my people and I hope to do it again and again.
That about wraps up January. See you next month! More Jan pictures here

January 2016 in Pictures

Be sure to check out our January 2016 monthly update for details. 

New Year's Day Tradition at Cracker Barrel 
Don't be deceived by his cuteness. 
He now weighs over 30 pounds and he's only 3-1/2 months old. 
Should have named him Hoss. 
 Those brown eyes OWN me.  
 Party People
Crazy Party People
Ready to Ride
 She loves her new Zip-It Bedding and quilt from Zulily
Took my handgun class this month and scored a 100 on both the written test and the shooting assessment. 
 Winter. #stupidcold
Icy conditions were no match for the Jeep and 4WD. 
One week later it was 70 degrees and we were at the dog park. 

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January 4, 2016

My 2016 Resolutions

I say this every year but I absolutely adore the start of a new year. It's like a fresh slate. It's an opportunity to dream and set goals and reinvent yourself if you want to. I'm all about simplifying these days so I don't want a long list of resolutions to overwhelm me. I think three is a good number and that's what I'm going with for 2016.

1. Read through the Bible. The ENTIRE Bible. I've tried to do this a couple of times before but I've never made it through the whole thing. This year I'm trying a new technique that I think might finally be the ticket. I purchased The Books of the Bible for Kindle (currently on sale for $1.99). It's the Bible only the chapter headings and verse numbers are removed so that it reads more like a book. I've heard wonderful things from people who have read the Bible this way. They rave about it! There is also a hardcover edition if you prefer a physical book.

2. Take more photos with my friends. I allow very few people into my inner circle and I cherish them like jewels. Three out of 4 happen to live in different states so that makes my in-person time with them all the more special. When I am with them, one would think I could manage to snap a photo to commemorate the event but I seem to fail miserably at this. It occurred to me that I have surprisingly few photos of me and my favorite people. I guess we are too busy catching up or snapping photos of our children.  Or maybe we don't want to look cheesy taking selfies but who cares. Hey peeps, you've been warned. We are gonna selfie it up in 2016!

3. ABC Bible Verses. This idea just came to me yesterday at the end of the TDF sermon. We had such a good experience last year with our scripture memory program and I want to keep building upon that progress. We heard a story about a man who was deeply impacted by a teacher who taught him a memory verse to correspond with each letter of the alphabet and he can still recall them. We are going to work on the full verse and not just a partial verse. With 26 letters this gives us 2 weeks for each verse. I think that's probably doable. I'm excited about this. We started back to school today and I incorporated it into our morning.

I have several other goals that I'm working towards but I wouldn't exactly call them resolutions. They are hopes and dreams kind of goals. That's a different type of list and I'm not quite sure I want to share them just yet.

Regardless if you have resolutions or goals, public or private, I would encourage you to write them down and put them in a place where you can regularly check in with them. I'm notorious for going strong the first 90 days and then tapering off. If you need some good motivation, I would encourage you to listen to this sermon (start at 25:05). If nothing else, read the notes. There are some great tips for changing your habits and making 2016 your best year yet. I was very encouraged to keep going even when I get off track!

What are your 2016 resolutions?

January 2, 2016

a look back at my 2015 resolutions

Last January, I made 3 resolutions for 2015. Here's a quick recap of how I did.
  1. Memorize Scripture. 
  2. New Life Motto.
  3. 52 Week Money Challenge.
>> I'm pleased to say that we finally found our groove around here when it comes to scripture memory. It's a technique I learned at the Teach Them Diligently conference back in March and it's been working great! tLG breezed through mastering her Awana verses this fall and we are now up to 55 verses in our box (goal was 50). 

>> 2014-2015 has been a time of growth for me and it has given me plenty of opportunities to practice my new life motto...

make decisions out of love, not fear

This isn't always easy but it does make me feel more confident in my choices. I also read For The Love by Jen Hatmaker this year, which was a real game changer for me and further encouragement for the way I'm choosing to go about relationships and living my life.

>> I did so-so with the 52-week money challenge. I started off great and had a lot of boxes checked off. In fact, I saved enough to purchase the majority of our 3rd grade curriculum, which was a big victory. However, in July things got a little interesting. The decision to leave my job was probably the best thing I've ever done (see resolution #2) but it did shake things up a bit financially. It's taken a couple of months but things are finally starting to stabilize and I'm hopeful that we will have fully recovered by July of 2016. 

Stay tuned to see my resolutions for 2016. 

How did you do on your resolutions this year?