Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014: A Look Back

I am not usually one to make New Year's resolutions. Instead, with my birthday being at the exact midpoint of the year, I make a list on that day of what I want to accomplish before I turn another year older. And, much like those goals made by many on January 1, I pull my list out after a year and shake my head at the plans I let go unfulfilled. So, I decided to try something different. I am going to envision what I want my life to look like at the end of 2014 and pretend it is so. Manifest my own destiny in a way. It's like "The Secret" phenomenon peddled by Oprah several years ago -- visualize what you want and it will come true.

With the house quiet as both kids fell short in their valiant efforts to make it to midnight (eastern or central time), now seems like a good opportunity to reflect on the year that has yet to happen.

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What an amazing year it has been! With all the wonderful moments that took place in 2014 it is going to be hard to let this year go. But, we need to make room for even greater moments in 2015 (like me turning 40 . . . yikes!).

Ian started kindergarten (!) this year, which means the Moore Trio has officially transitioned into a new stage of our family's life together. And no more day care payments for me! While I was not one to get teary when Catherine started school a few years ago (it probably didn't hurt that she walked right to her seat, started talking to the new kids around her, and didn't even notice when I left), seeing Ian sitting at that desk and meeting his new teacher was a bit emotional. He's my baby. A chapter is closed. He's doing so well, though, and is proud to step onto that bus with his big sister every morning and show off how well he is reading when he comes home at night. He played both spring and fall t-ball this year and his game has really taken off. I think I see a varsity shortstop position in his future! He has come a long way this year in growing out of those little boy tantrums and replaced them with more language and thoughtful expression. His confidence and maturity make me proud.

Catherine, of course, is in complete control of this third-grade business. I am in awe of her on those rare occasions that I am able to visit her at school. She is friends with everyone and is so outgoing. The complete opposite of how I was at her age! She knows she is one of the "smart kids," but encourages others to learn and never flaunts how easily school comes for her. Like her brother, Catherine also has grown up quite a bit in 2014. She is still navigating a world in which she wants to be a preteen but she isn't quite there yet, and is getting better at finding her place and being comfortable with it. I was just at her most recent piano recital a few weeks ago, and I'm so excited that she is playing Mozart! She has become more patient with herself when it comes to practicing piano, as she has a tendency to get frustrated when she doesn't understand something right away, and that has made a world of difference. She started playing softball this year and she likes life in the outfield. It's been a lot of fun watching both kids play.

We enjoyed our trip to Disney World in October. I told the kids we would go there one time, and this was it! We certainly made the most of the adventure. Catherine loved getting on all of the scariest rides that her height would allow and Ian got over his fear of humans dressed in plush costumes for some great pictures with Mickey Mouse. He also would tell you that the water rides were his favorites. I think this was the perfect age to take them. They were old enough to be somewhat independent and helpful, which I need when it's two on one, but still young enough to be completely enthralled by the magic of it all.

Whether traveling to the Magic Kingdom or sitting and watching a movie together on a Friday night, my time with the kids has gotten even better with the resolution I made and kept to put away my phone during family time. I knew that I didn't want my kids' childhood memories to be scattered with images of me staring at a small screen or sending text messages when we should have been enjoying conversations and laughter without interruption. This change has been one of my favorites of 2014 and a lot easier to do than I thought.

But what about me? Did I accomplish the personal goals I had set out for myself? Yes and no. By March I had gotten rid of those ten pounds that had crept on over the past couple of years. Eating only a limited amount of meat that always comes straight from that CSA through which we also now get much of our produce, drinking at least 100 ounces of water every day and getting to the gym at least three times a week even if it meant taking the kids there after a full day of school once in a while helped. The kids actually both told me multiple times this year that they were glad I was exercising and taking better care of myself because they were worried about me. With a stronger body, I was able to get back into running as I had resolved to do and finished several 5k and 10k races as well as the "Middle Half" in October (with a personal best time, thank you!).

I'm still hit or miss with my pledge to sleep (or at least be in bed and resting if sleep won't come) seven hours a night. There are many nights when I put myself in bed with lights off by 10:30pm and I feel amazing when the alarm goes off at 5:30am the next morning. It's been nice to take a half hour after that solid night of rest to read, pray and quietly prepare myself for the day before the kids get up at 6:00am. There are still times, though, that I slip back into old habits of sitting on the couch watching TV or surfing the internet until 1:00am because I want to avoid the quiet of bedtime and the racing thoughts that inevitably come. I know my problem with sleep is a lifelong issue, so I am pleased that this resolution has been at least partially met.

As I look around my house, I guess I have to admit that my resolution to keep every room organized and guest ready at all times may have been a bit too lofty to achieve. Blame it on the aforementioned decision to sleep more. But the kids and I did work together to develop a family chore chart and I can tell that they feel more invested in the notion I often share with them of the three of us being a team. Each member of the Moore Trio is essential and unique in his or her contributions to making our family as happy and awesome as possible. They like having their rooms in order and knowing that there is a place for everything and I've stayed ahead of the piles, both of laundry and papers that seem to accumulate over an average week. So, I'll declare this resolution to be a work in progress with our efforts headed in a positive direction.

I still am not reading as much as I would like. Part of the problem is that I bring a book to bed with me most nights but I'm nodding off after five pages. I have made a conscious effort to open a book in some instances that my first instinct was to crash in front of the television. But, I still am overwhelmed by the number of books I want to consume and don't see how it will ever happen. When I was in middle school, one of my best friends had a t-shirt that read, "So many books, so little time." Now, twenty-five years later, I get it. I will continue to make more time for reading a priority in 2015.

Along similar lines, I can look back on the number of blog entries for 2014 and see that I have written more than I did last year. That is really important to me. I'm glad that I have made this creative outlet a priority for myself, as I first promised to do when I set up this blog a year and a half ago. And, I'm even more excited that I finally have a solid outline and a substantial amount of writing done for my first book! Maybe I will have my work in print and bound when I'm forty like I have dreamed. Since I plan on self-publishing, at least for this first effort, I know my development of a comprehensive marketing plan for getting the finished product out to an audience will pay off. I can't wait to see what I'm able to write about regarding this major life goal when 2015 comes to a close!

So, yes, 2014 has been pretty amazing. I spent time with fantastic friends, got healthier and stronger, made some great memories with my children, concluded another year at a job I love (did I mention I got a raise??!!), got back to Maryland for the first time in several years, cried a little but laughed A LOT more and watched the Terps shock the world by winning March Madness and earning a spot in the national championship game in football (seriously, who saw that coming . . . guess moving to the Big Ten was a good thing after all). I finally have a functioning garage door and gas fireplace for the first time since moving in here three years ago and I got around to hanging curtains in my bedroom!

And, what about those midterm elections? No one predicted that would happen! Shocking.

Here's hoping for another great year in 2015! Cheers!

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