2019 Goals-Reading and Other

I love to make new goals, at the beginning of a year, at the beginning of a month, at the beginning of a week. I love to try and stretch myself just beyond what I think I can manage. Sometimes I fail and I feel bad for a while before I make new goals to try for. But sometimes I succeed and I see just how much I can actually accomplish when I push myself.

I have made New Year’s Goals for as long as I can remember and there is always a mix of things to strive for when I pick up my pen and begin to write them down. I also, nearly always, end up with 12 goals. It happens unconsciously. I write until I feel done and then I count and, more often than not, I have twelve items.

This year is no exception. I have 12 items on my 2019 Goals list, that I keep in the back of my planner.

Six of these goals are reading or writing related.

  1. Read 75 books. I’m upping my Goodreads reading goal from 1 book a week to 1.5 books a week. I will have read about 130 books this year by the time the year ends so this should be doable.
  2. Read my NaNoWriMo 2010 rough draft.
  3. Read my NaNoWriMo 2012 rough draft.
  4. Keep up on my blog posts. I post Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and have since the end of June 2018.
  5. Complete 2 of the 3 NaNoWriMo events in 2019.
  6. Finish my One Year Adventure Novel lessons.

The other six goals are varied:

  1. Having a monthly date night with my husband.
  2. Getting the spare room cleared out to have a functional playroom for my three year old.
  3. Improving my typing speed.
  4. Losing 25 pounds.
  5. Growing our savings again.
  6. And taking my daughter to at least one new museum. She loves them!

Here’s to a successful 2019! What are some of your goals?


The Feeling Festive Tag

Today I’m answering the questions in the Feeling Festive Tag created by Liv J Hooper on Youtube. There are 14 questions.


Festive Favorites

1. Favorite Christmas movie?

We’re not big movie people. I watch a lot of Youtube and so do my husband and daughter. We don’t really have any movies we watch every year or anything, but the movie that comes to mind first as my potential favorite holiday movie is Elf with Will Ferrell. My husband unfortunately, doesn’t think that movie is very funny, but he’s wrong Even so I can’t recall watching it in recent memory.

2. Favorite Christmas song?

I’ve actually been thinking about this for the first time ever this year. My daughter is very musical and she is almost four. So she’s learning all the Christmas songs and she constantly reminds us that her favorite song is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Typically she doesn’t tell someone her favorite thing without also asking their favorite as well so I needed an answer prepared. I think my answer is Winter Wonderland. I can’t say what it is about that song exactly, but I find myself humming it all year long and I just enjoy singing it. I’m also a fan of All I want for Christmas is You and Baby it’s Cold Outside.

3. Favorite Christmas television?

My daughter is obsessed with the claymation of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. That my little brother’s favorite when we were growing up too. I can’t recall one of those specials that I liked more than the others. My favorite Christmas television would probably be the I Love Lucy Christmas special. I love when everyone comes in dressed as Santa and then they figure out that the real Santa was there with them. We may have to watch that this year. My daughter is a big Lucille Ball fan somehow. She has the curly red hair just like Lucy. We also went to a Lucy museum this year and the National Comedy Center had a display about her too. And we have Lucy ornaments on our tree.

4. Favorite Christmas book?

I don’t think I have a favorite Christmas book. I can’t say that I’ve ever read an adult one besides A Christmas Carol. I might just have to choose ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

5. Favorite Christmas season snack?

The only thing coming to mind is Boom Chicka Pop. There are some great holiday flavors like dark chocolate and sea salt and hot cocoa marshmallow and this year I saw frosted sugar cookie. We’re not really popcorn eaters, but that stuff is so good. I’m not sure it will be in the budget this year though. Maybe Santa will put a bag in my stocking.

6. Favorite Christmas Day food?

We usually do a Christmas dinner type meal on Christmas Eve, but this year we won’t be. We’re planning to have lasagna. On Christmas day we eat cinnamon rolls for breakfast and I make a big pot of chili for lunch and dinner and any guests that may stop in to join us. I like the simplicity of the day.

7. Favorite Christmas decoration? Show us!

We really only decorate the tree. We’re not big decor people in general. We’ve lived in our apartment for eight years and have 10 things total hung on our walls, most of them were gifts that needed to be hung quickly so they didn’t get ruined in storage or in a closet somewhere. So for Christmas decor we have the tree and a small section of wall in the hallway that is strung with twine for the current seasons art projects from the kiddo. My favorite ornament would probably be the large plastic bulb that is filled with my daughter’s crochet (or knit) hat that she was given at the hospital and her and my husbands bracelets from the hospital.


Haha you can see from the picture that we are not a fancy people. We didn’t have enough money to buy ornament hooks our first year together so we used plastic coated paperclips. They worked great and we always have them on hand so we still use those.

8. What is your favorite part of Christmas?

My favorite part of Christmas is watching people open gifts I chose for them. I love to see the surprise and happiness. This year I’m especially excited to see my daughter’s face on Christmas morning. She is so excited and very in to the Santa thing this year.

Traditionally Speaking

9. Tell us about your favorite Christmas tradition that you & your family have – either on Christmas Day, or as part of the season.

It’s not really a tradition yet because I haven’t done it with my daughter before, but we’re going to drive around and look at Christmas lights now that she’s big enough to see out the window in the car. I think she’s going to love it!

My favorite tradition that we have implemented so far is letting my daughter choose gifts for each family member. She gets to go to Dollar Tree with her shopping list and choose a gift for each person she will see at Christmas time. So far this year she has purchased either a character puzzle, like Paw Patrol or PJ Masks or My Little Pony, or a box of band aids for each person. This year she is learning how to wrap them herself. She loves choosing things for others and she really loves watching the other people open the packages she picked for them.

10. Any new traditions you would like to start? If you’ve already tried starting one, how is it going?

One thing I loved this year was my daughter shopping for the Toys for Tots box. She started seeing the boxes all over and asked what they were for. She asked if we could have a budget for a gift for a little girl to put in the box. We figured out a small budget addition of $10 for her and she shopped for a long time at Walmart. She finally settled on a Connect Four game. I was so proud of my kiddo. She didn’t ask for anything for herself and she came in under budget. I can absolutely see this being a a new tradition.

Giving & Receiving

11. What’s the most memorable gift you’ve ever been given – good, bad, or for any other reason?

The only thing coming to mind is for Christmas 2012. My husband surprised me with a NaNoWriMo winner’s shirt. I had won that year for the second time and this was my first winner’s shirt. I was so excited because I had been so disappointed that we had never been able to afford the 2010 winner’s shirt and that had been my first win. I’m still disappointed about not having that one actually. But that year, he was sneaky, which he never ever is, and thoughtful, which he has trouble with. He gave his dad cash and ordered it with his dad’s credit card so I wouldn’t see a charge come out of the bank. He had it shipped to his dad’s house so I didn’t know a package had arrived. It was very sweet. I still have that shirt and wear it when I need some writing inspiration.

12. Have you ever regifted something at Christmas that you’ve been given during the year?


13. Do you prefer lots of little presents or one big one?

I have always loved lots of little gifts. Growing up, my little brother always wanted one big gift, a video game system or something else electronic. I ways wanted a hundred different gifts even if they only cost a quarter a yard sale. My parents were big yard sale shoppers over the summer so I would get a big box with fifty or more books every Christmas that they had collected over the summer. These day’s I still prefer a bunch of small things. For two reasons really. First, I don’t have anything big I really want. My wishes are pretty much books and stickers for my planner. Maybe organization baskets to try and contain the disaster that is our home. And second, I just love opening gifts. It’s magic to pull apart the paper and see what someone thought you would like.

I’ve done all of the shopping and wrapping since the baby was born so I don’t really have surprises these days, but there are still a few gifts from my parents for holidays that give me that spark of magic.

This Christmas

14.What are you most excited about for Christmas this year?

My daughter’s face on Christmas morning when she wakes up seeing what Santa left for her under the tree. I can’t wait!

What is one of your favorite holiday traditions?


Gratitude Lists

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. My daughter is so excited. She’s going to have her Grandma and Grandpa, her Mom and Dad, and her Piano Grandpa (her other grandfather is a pianist and organist and this is how she differentiated her two grandfathers) all together to play and have dinner. She is excited and grateful for so many things every single day. I’m constantly hearing “Mommy I’m so excited!” or “This is my favorite favorite favorite!”

Meanwhile I have been having struggling through a heavy bout of depression and anxiety. Life has been kicking us pretty hard for the past seven months and it’s been really hard to be excited about anything, though there are still obvious highs to most of my days.

Back when I was using a bullet journal I kept a gratitude list as part of every monthly set up. Sometimes just a list of numbers that I could fill something I was grateful in for each day. Sometimes a blank sheet of paper so I could write or draw something every day or whenever I thought of something.

I wanted to get back to feeling grateful for things intentionally and having a place to remember them so I took the monthly spread in my Recollections Planner for a gratitude log. I don’t use my monthly pages for anything at all. They are always entirely blank. So I decided to try and fill all of the squares with one thing I was grateful for that day.

I haven’t exactly succeeded, but many of them are filled. I began this in September and filled 14 out of 30 days. In October I filled 17 out of 31 days. And so far in November I have filled only 7 out of 21 days. It’s a struggle for me. Some days I just forget, but other days I beat my head against it on and off all day and come up with only bad things. Those days I think of starting a separate list of things that are pissing me off or that are going terribly.

On hard days though I like to go back and look at my boxes filled with things that I love or that make me happy. Some of the boxes are just text, some have been decorated fully with stickers and washi tape, and many are blank.

Today I wanted to share a list of a lot of the things that have been on my gratitude lists the past couple of months.

  • Squeezing my kiddo
  • Yummy coffee
  • A math lesson with no fighting
  • Being able to read, even just a little (this was after my iritis was finally starting to clear up and I could see the pages again)
  • The library
  • Hot showers
  • Reading a physical book with no extra light needed
  • A quote from my daughter when I was crying “We are squishing you my dear. What’s the matter? And then a kiss. We take care of each other” (seriously though, how sweet is that little girl?)
  • Kindness
  • My eye Doctor
  • An easy morning with the kiddo
  • Cuddles with my kiddo while she reads me book after book
  • Early morning sticker time with my kiddo
  • Another quote from my daughter, this time when she was giggling herself awake in the morning “Mommy I saw a doggy. He hid two times and I found him” followed by lots of giggling
  • Planner time with my sweet girl
  • Wiggle Time (my daughter had been sick for a couple days and this was the first time she had willingly moved from the chair or bed
  • The excitement of a trip to the library
  • Not being pregnant (my cycle is highly irregular and I was just happy that it was late due to normal issues)
  • Cuddles with my sweet girl
  • Another quote from my daughter, this time while reading and not being able to quite sound out a new big word “Mommy a word is going wrong, help”
  • Watching my husband and Daughter playing restaurant in her toy kitchen
  • Books!
  • Hyland’s tablets when my baby is sick. She takes them happily and they work great for her
  • Reading
  • Yoga with my little girl
  • The best holiday I’ve ever had (Halloween of this year)
  • Pretty washi tape
  • Cinnamon rolls and coffee with the hubby
  • Another quote from my daughter who is still not potty trained “I was walking along and suddenly my butt was wet. Can I have a dry tushie?”
  • My daughter calls the garland on the Christmas Tree, Garlic
  • My daughter saying “A sticker for my friend Mommy” and giving me a sticker of Earth for my planner
  • A warm, safe, home

The quotes from my daughter especially make me smile. I’m working hard to focus on the things I’m grateful for. I hope you can find something you’re grateful for too. Share it in the comments if you’re so inclined.

Happy Thanksgiving!

A 20 Questions Tag

Today I’m doing a 20 questions tag. I didn’t have any luck finding the creator though. If I find them I’ll link them here. On to the questions.

1. Thing you cannot leave the house without? My kiddo
2.Favorite brand of makeup? Whatever is cheap? I don’t wear makeup very often.
3.Favorite Flowers? Daisy
4.Favorite clothing stores? Thrift stores
5.Favorite perfume? I don’t wear perfume.
6.Heels or flats? Flats
7.Do you make good grades? I did when I was in school. All A’s and B’s
8.Favorite colors? Blue
9.Do you drink energy drinks? Not if I can help it.
10.Do you drink juice? We always have apple juice in the house and I drink it several times a week.
11.Do you like swimming? Not at all.
12.Do you eat fries with a fork? I eat them with my fingers.
13.Whats your Favorite moisturizer? No preference.
14.Do you want to get married later on in life? I am married already. Have been married for almost 7 years.
15.Do you get mad easily? Yes. My biggest weakness.
16.Are you into ghost hunting? No
17.Any phobias? I’m pretty anxious about a lot of things, but I don’t think anything qualifies as a phobia.
18.Do you bite your nails? Not these days.
19.Have you ever had a near death experience?  I don’t think so.
20.Do you drink coffee? Multiple times a day.

Short and simple. Which question is your favorite?

Me Time

I look at me time as an amount of time I can spend doing whatever I want. A time period in which I am not expected to clean anything or anybody, I don’t have to fetch the snacks or juice, I don’t have to discipline, or work, or listen to someone tell me the same story for a full hour while I try not to roll my eyes to the back of head when I hear the same sentence for the 19th time.

Me time that fits that description does not actually exist in my current life. I work every moment I’m awake to try and get back on track after my husband’s job loss. I’m a work from home parent so the kid and the house literally always need me for something. That’s just the stage of life I’m in right now and for the most part I can accept that. Though it is draining.

A solid hour or even half hour to do nothing is really hard to come by, but I do need some off time. So I’ve become more skilled at using my tiny pockets of time to de-stress. Five minutes while my toddler plays quietly a few times a day. 10 minutes while she is in the kitchen bothering daddy. The glorious half hour when my husband gives her a bath and I don’t have to be a part of it. And the holy grail of me time, Friday mornings when she goes to storytime and lunch with Grandma (the hubby usually claims that time though, as it’s the only time we have alone each week.)

The hardest part of having me time is giving myself permission to take it. Telling myself it is okay to stop working for the five minutes or that the cleaning can wait or the laundry doesn’t really have to be folded tonight (or this week). Just take the downtime while you can get it girl!

Once I give myself the permission to relax for a minute or two I go for one of three things. Reading a book, watching Youtube, or writing blog posts. If I have a longer amount of time I might choose a bubble bath to go along with my book. I also love a fresh cup of coffee and a snack I don’t have to share to go along with any of my free time choices.

I choose my activity based on how likely it is that I will be interrupted very soon and how loud the rest of the house is.

  • Toddler watching Youtube on the TV and Hubby watching Youtube on his computer? I’m probably going to watch Youtube myself. It’s easily paused when my toddler no doubt needs me in a few seconds or minutes for a snack or help choosing a new video. Also, one more screen making noise isn’t going to make much difference in the chaos level.
  • Toddler playing a board game with Hubby or helping him in the kitchen? Probably a blog post. I have more time to devote, but the house isn’t very quiet. Any mistakes due to interruptions can be caught during edits.
  • Everyone else is asleep and the house is quiet? Book time with a snack and coffee for sure. I do read other times as well. A page or a paragraph here or there between interruptions, but I get the bulk of my reading done when I get up in the morning at 4am and the others don’t wake up until 7 or 8. I am working during those hours, but it is also quiet so I can get a bit of reading done between tasks.

I may not have my ideal amount of me time at this point in my life and I may not always use it in the most efficient way, but at least I can usually find a few minutes to do something just for me most days. That might just have to be enough for right now.

How do you get some time for yourself and what do you like to do with it?

Can you find your passion by answering 3 questions?

With my husband losing his job and trying to find a new one there has been a lot of talk about what he wants to be when he grows up. He’s 42. I’m 31. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up either. I was looking up ways to find what you’re good at or career tests or how to find your passion. I came across an article on The Telegraph website called Eight Ways to Find the True Passion in Life that has Eluded You written by Rebecca Burn-Callander. You can find this article here.

The article talks about 8 different ways to find your true passion in life. The first one asks three questions.

Finding your passion could be easier than you think. By answering these questions honestly, you could work out what to do with the rest of your life.

“What subject could I read 500 books about without getting bored?”

“What could I do for five years straight without getting paid?”

“What would I spend my time doing if I had complete financial abundance to do anything?”

I answered the questions like this. I could read 500 books about writing. I would read for five years straight. And if I could spend my time doing anything I would read, drink coffee, teach my daughter at home, play, and travel.

Answering these questions I discovered that I should read a lot, write a lot, home school and play with my daughter, and drink a lot of coffee. Travel will have to come after our finances have been sorted out again.

I’m not sure yet how to make money writing, reading, and drinking coffee, but I do try to make as much time for all of those things as possible. In fact, looking at my journal where I wrote down the answers to these questions, it was the day I filled in my answers that I decided to take the jump back in to my blog after having abandoned it when my husband lost his job. I haven’t had this much fun with writing in a long time.

Have I found a career? Not quite. But I’ve been hearing and reading a lot more lately about how your passion does not necessarily have to equate to a career or job. If you love it you should do it even if you never make a cent. Following your passion because you are passionate about it is enough.

So I’ll do the things I know I love and try to find new ways to bring in more income. As Elizabeth Gilbert says in Big Magic “If someday I got lucky enough to be paid for my work, that would be great, but in the meantime, money could always come from other places.”

Gilbert also says in Big Magic “Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart. The rest of it will take care of itself.”

I’ll be here doing the things that make me money, but also doing the things that make me happy like reading and writing and drinking coffee. Both kinds of activities are equally important.

Do your passions make you money?

A Trip to the Zoo

Everyone wanted to take my daughter to the zoo. It’s been mentioned by every grandparent on multiple occasions and by other relatives as well. I’ve never been a fan of zoos, but I couldn’t remember why I stopped going after the 2nd grade field trip.

My father-in-law took my daughter, my husband, and I to the zoo recently and I can tell you why I dislike zoos. They are so boring. At least the zoo we went to. I don’t know that I’ve ever been to any others.

It was short notice. We got a text message asking us to go to the zoo an hour and half before he wanted to leave. It’s an hour drive each way. The second longest car trip my daughter has ever been on. We were not prepared to leave the house. It had also been a long week of plumbing issues that had finally been resolved that morning so we were all looking forward to showers and I had planned to spend the rest of the day catching up on laundry.

My daughter on the other hand was so excited as soon as she heard the word zoo. We spelled it when we said it, but she’s a reader now so that doesn’t actually work any more. She was literally vibrating with excitement and telling me she was a zoo animal man and could we leave now for the zoo, please mommy.

We lost the battle of postponing the trip. We got everyone showered and ready to go within an hour a half and I stressed myself out about everything the whole time.

We finally got to the zoo after getting lost and making wrong turns twice, bought tickets for the zoo and the train, and went in to a building labeled zoo. It was dark and stinky and my daughter wanted nothing to do with it. I should mention none of us had ever been here before aside from my one trip in elementary school that I don’t actually remember.

My daughter cried and wanted to run or be picked up after each animal she saw. I had her on her harness which only she and I seem to be able to happily use together. No one else is quite as in tune with her and she tries to go one way while the other adult goes another way and they both end up grumpy. I just always know by her body language and watching where she’s looking which way she’s about to dart and I keep up with her pretty well.

I finally found an exit and got her out of the dark building and then just let her lead us where ever she wanted to go. She would walk until she found an animal display/cage/environment (I don’t actually know what the animal houses are called) and then call out it’s name before moving on approximately one second later. She was on the move going in circles for over an hour before she found a ‘park’. It was a wooden structure made to play on. It was a set of stairs, 4 bridges, and then stairs on the other side. This was officially what she wanted to do for the rest of the day.

We’re overprotective parents so one of us walked behind her the whole time she played. We all got our workouts in. We literally could have taken her to a park a block from our house and she would have had just as much fun.

We finally got her off the play area to go on the train ride. She enjoyed that a lot and so did I. It was probably the highlight of my zoo day. We were still, there was a slight breeze. If there had been an alcoholic beverage it would have been pretty close to perfect.

After the train ride we finally found a map so we could find the two things my daughter desperately wanted to see. The llamas and the zebra. The zebra was on the exact opposite side of the park. It was important to her though so we all set out to find him. And he was inside where we couldn’t see him. We waited and she was finally able to see his head poke out. It made her day, or at least her minute, before she ready to move on to anything else. The llamas she gave even less time to. She did have to buy a stuffed llama to take home though.

The only thing she was actually frightened of was the giraffe and she cried each time we happened to go past it.

Overall at the end of the visit I was exhausted and sweaty and my daughter was exhausted and cranky and we still had a couple more stops before the long drive home.

My overall impression of the zoo was that I could watch random animals sleep or otherwise ignore us on television and be just as satisfied. And I could do it without walking all over the place.

However, even though she didn’t stop moving the full two hours we were there and never looked at any one animal or object for more than two seconds at one time, she must have enjoyed it because she is still talking about getting to see a zebra and she is asking to go back to the zoo again.

Her enjoyment is what matters in the long run, but zoos are definitely not by cup of tea.

What do you think of zoos? Boring? or Amazing?