2016: Looking Ahead

Happy New Year! Hopefully you enjoyed your evening. We celebrated by cleaning - ha! - but then we did take a break to have some good food, raise a grape juice toast with the older kids, and watch the ball drop.

2016 Goals

- Have a new baby sometime in March. My due date is March 13th and I honestly have no idea when to expect baby. My babies are "usually" late but the last one arrived precisely on his due date so I'm not going to wait to prepare. I will be 39 weeks exactly on Ellie's birthday. (I foresee a very relaxed birthday celebration for her and for Zac, whose birthday is about a week before that.)
- Be gentler. I don't want to be a yelling mom. I saw this Ephesians 4:29 challenge on FB I'm thinking about trying.
- Encourage kids more. This kind of goes along with the last one - I feel like there's been more fighting this past year and I don't want that. I want to encourage the kids to take care of their things, be a kind sibling, and to follow God's direction. I think to do that I need to get them reading their Bibles more and work on being more consistent in their schedules. I also think doing some service projects with them this year where they have to serve others would be good.
- Potty train. As much as I am NOT looking forward to it, Zac is going to be 3 next month & has shown some interest in potty training. However, we will also have another new baby soon so this is something that will probably have to be taken slowly.
- Survive summer trip to Nebraska. This year there is a family reunion in Nebraska during the summer. I have always enjoyed our trips to Nebraska but am feeling mildly panicky at the thought of three children under three for that many hours in the van.

- Improved communication and quality time. Since husband has switched to a new schedule, I feel like we do have more time together. I think that this year we need to make it a priority to connect, not necessarily on date nights, but just in the midst of the every day. Dates are not always a possibility when you have multiple smaller children, although we have went ahead and scheduled a few in advance. Instead, I'm going to focus on communicating with him better and trying to spend the time we have together at home in more fun ways.

- Have another successfully completed school year. When we have a new baby, the school schedule always gets thrown a bit. By the end of this year, I'd like to see Zeke's handwriting improve more and for him to master multiplication. For Ellie, I'd like to see her master her math facts she's been working on and to finish her Sam books.
- Make a decision about homeschool group in the spring and fall. There is a larger homeschool co-op group we've been talking about joining. There are pros and cons to it. I think it would be very good for the kids but I don't know if it's something we could do this spring semester. The fall semester I think we could for sure. Either way, we need to decide.
- Lego Club. I am going to be teaching a homeschool LEGO Club in January with a small(er) group of local homeschool families. We are also going to meet sometime next week to talk about different classes and things we are planning for the next six months or so.
- IAHE convention. In April, the Indiana Association of Home Educators will be having it's yearly convention in Indianapolis. I am planning on going and will need to finalize all my plans for that within the next few months.

- Use a cleaning schedule and stick to it as much as possible. This is something I struggle with big time. I have GOT to find something that works. As we add more kids, we add more stuff, and there are more chores or the chores get bigger. I've just recently been using the Confident Mom's planner and I like the way things are arranged in it. However, I just bought myself a paper planner so I'm thinking maybe I can copy the chores over onto it or something.
- Get rid of one garbage bag/storage box worth of "stuff" each month.

Financial & Fitness
- More savings, better budgeting. Husband and I have been discussing several things we're hoping to do this year in regards to saving and paying bills, and I'm feeling pretty good about them.
- Use Weight Watchers goals/guidelines and iTrackBites to work on fitness/nutrition. I will have more on this particular goal in my upcoming blog post on Wednesday, but I'm going to be doing these two things this year to help keep myself on track.

- Improved daily bible reading/devotional.
- Attend monthly MOPS meetings. These meetings are so good for my soul. They are a time for me to relax while all my children are occupied, so I can focus on a lesson from God and spend time in fellowship with friends.

- Take "Big Babies" class. I have all the stuff for this class from Evidenced-Based Birth that I won in a contest during my doula training but I haven't actually been able to sit down and take it. I'd like to do that sometime this year.
- IAHE monthly posts. Each month up until the IAHE convention, I'll be participating in a blog hop with the other IAHE Social Media bloggers.
- Minimum twice a month blogging. That goal seemed to work out pretty well last year for the most part.

Everything Else
- Take time for myself. I am terrible about this. Someone reminded me recently that it's hard to take care of others if you never take care of yourself. I know that's easier said than done when you have littles but I do need to make some things a priority - making sure I get a shower or five/ten minutes to myself each day to do something I want to do. But I also want to make sure that time for myself is spent wisely, not playing on Facebook or zoning out with a TV show rerun I've already seen before.
- Connect more with friends. MOPS will help with this. I would like to be more intentional on doing a Girls Nights with my friends. Ideally, I'd like to say once a month but I know that is hard to do with different schedules and babies. I'd like to check in more, and drop an occasional note or card.
- Take Zeke to a con, and with a great costume. Zeke really enjoyed VV Con and the other local con we went to last year and I'd like to try and take him to some again this year. I'd also like for us to do some work ahead of time on our costumes.

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