Sunday, January 22, 2012

2011 Wrap-Up + My Goals for 2012

Okay, this is the post I've been trying to get up for a whole month.  And it's so late that it almost doesn't mean as much.  But I started it and I need to finish it.  And post it.  So here goes (warning: this is long).

What We Did in 2011 (Sorry, I'm too lazy to link back to old posts.  Check out the archives section if you want to see anything from 2011.):

January - We brought in the New Year in Orlando where M went to Disney World and Sea World. We were there with my in-laws for the Capital One Bowl.  I started working on my EdS degree and fell in love with school all over again.  We also celebrated a couple of family birthdays in January (one on my side, and one on DK's).

February - We got snow! I  also got a chance to catch up with friends at a friend's bridal shower.

March - Spring Break in Miami!

April - Bittersweet month.  Had some fun at a concert and went to NYC for a day.  Also had a great Easter with family.  Unfortunately, Alabama was hit with some pretty bad storms.  Lots of families lost homes and loved ones.

May - Finished my first semester back in school.  Morgan traveled for the first time without us to Raleigh, NC.  I did Relay for Life with my mom and the AutismWalk with my friend. Hung out with friends and family in Atlanta.  My dad, stepmom, and sisters came to visit us, too.  Wrapped up an amazing school year with some amazing kids.

June - Busy month!  I taught summer school, so I worked part-time.  We did a theme park, a local festival, children's museum, and some library shows.  And met Curious George.

July - I finished teaching summer school.  M and DK went to the beach with my in-laws early in the month while I stayed behind and worked, and then we all went back at the end of the month (along with my mom).  My family had an awesome Fourth of July get-together.  DK and I celebrated our five-year anniversary. I hung out with some dear friends/cousins from back home.  M and I attended another local festival.  We went to a couple of birthday parties.  I wrapped up the summer semester of grad school. M completed her third year of summer reading.  She read over 1,300 pages this year.

August - The school year started back, and it was great. I also started another semester of grad school.  I attempted the 30-Day Shred with some blog buds and didn't quite finish. :)

September -   I turned 29 (on the same day an aunt and cousin celebrated birthdays). Had a family birthday celebration. Football season got underway.  Saw family and friends in Atlanta.

October - DK had a birthday.  We attended a few Halloween events.  Did Race for a Cure with family.  Let go of Facebook and Twitter because I was too busy.

November - Celebrated another family birthday. Disney on Ice.  St. Jude Walk. Iron Bowl.

December - M turned three and had her first birthday party.  Wrapped up the first part of the school year at work.  Wrapped up a challenging semester of grad school.  Went to NYC for a work field trip.  Had an awesome get-together with family.  M had a her first "Christmas program"-like thing at school.  Had an amazing Christmas.

We had a pretty busy year, so I'm sure I've missed several things.  But it was a GREAT year.  We are so blessed.


And though I'm not one to have big New Year's resolutions, it's only natural to think of the things I want to see in the New Year.  And most of these I started doing before the actual "New Year," but they are certainly things I want to continue to see.  My #1 goal for the New Year is to take better care of myself.  And many things fall under this category:

Strengthen my relationship with God. More specifically, continue to trust in Him and lean not on my own understanding.  Sometimes I'm not as good with that as I'd like to be.  But I've been spending more time with my Bible, so that's helped a whole lot.  Doesn't it always?

Get more sleep. Much needed.  Lack of sleep was almost the death of my sanity a couple of months ago.  Never again if I can help it.  Until we have Baby #2, and by then I'll be so happy to be a mother again that I won't even mind. (By the way, no definite plans for a baby this year -- I don't even have the fever -- so that may be a while.)

Slow down.  Is it weird that I used to worry that one day I wouldn't have anything to do?  Like I thrive on having a To Do list full of things.  Things I should have done YESTERDAY, things I need to be doing NOW, deadlines, things that I need to do SOON...and so on.  It was like a level of comfort for me.  It was like I always needed to have an obligation waiting on me.  Well, I'm over that.  I have been working on some some self-pacing that includes patience and relying more on my calendar.  I will get to things when I get to them.  A daily To Do list with 20+ items on it wasn't healthy for me.

Do better on my natural hair journey.  This one I haven't talked about on my blog yet, but something happened to me a couple of months ago to make me feel like I probably should share it.  A girl asked me if I was wearing the newest wig/weave.  I was confused at first because I haven't gotten that question since I cut off my long hair.  But then I realized my hair probably DOES look like a weave.  For the past six months, I've skipped the relaxers and simply have had my hairstylist blowdry and flat iron my roots.  Well, I'm a busy girl.  Getting to the hair salon is not always easy.  So there are days (okay, LOTS of days) where my roots look a little different from the rest of my hair and it looks like my hair was literally placed on my head.  Like a wig/weave. (Don't believe me?  Check out our Christmas card.)  Well, I've got to do better. If I'm going to grow out my natural hair, I've got to take time to do it right.  And pay my stylist more visits. :-)  I'm not brave enough to do the big chop, and working with two different textures brings challenges. But I'm going to keep working at it.

Take some time off.  Not work.  I wouldn't even want to do that because I happen to love what I do.  But I AM taking some time off from grad school.  A decision that wasn't very easy for me.

I took two classes last semester.  I aced one of them, but one of 'em caused me much stress.  I've mentioned it here a few times.  Well, in simple words, I gave up.  Long before I even realized it.  There were probably several reasons that class and I didn't work out.  It probably started with the fact that I didn't have a solid topic from the start.  It was a research class.  Not your typical research, either.  Not the kind everyone has done to get any degree they've ever gotten.  I've written probably a hundred research papers in my life -- those actually come easy to me.  But this, my friend, is that real, hardcore research.  Somewhat scientific (science was never my thing).  The kind of research that gets published.  The kind you see by people with PhD at the end of their names. Remember a while back when I told you that I'd never get my PhD?  I remember joking about not wanting to be in school forever, but the truth of the matter is that kind of research is not something I would be good at.   There is a reason everybody doesn't have a PhD (or every person in education doesn't have even an EdS).  I know and recognize my weaknesses.  And I met my match back in the fall.

I spent the entire semester worrying.  I felt like a failure.  I couldn't produce.  If I hadn't been a working mom with a husband who worked a lot during that time of year, then maybe it would have been different.  Maybe I would have worked harder at it.  Or maybe that's just my excuse.  But I started realizing early on that I would not finish that class.  I wasn't ready for that class.  Wasn't ready.

Then I started telling myself that it was okay. I wasn't some 20-year-old with no real skills or experience thinking about taking time off from college.  I was already a professional.  I had two degrees and a few industry certifications under my belt.  I had a job -- and one that I loved. I didn't need a third degree be successful at what I do.  Not to mention I had a family.  A family that needed me.  A daughter who needed a mom who wasn't insanely stressed.  A husband who needed a wife who wasn't stressed to the point where she was basically a wreck all the time.  And I was right.

But I also know me, and that I wanted that degree for ME. And I still do.  I'm okay with not finishing it right now.  I'm 100% okay with my decision to take time off.  But I'm pretty sure I'll go back.  Probably sooner than later to finish what I started. I'm only three classes away from being done.  Totally doable.

I could have continued with it semester, but I know it's not in my heart right now.  I just need to step back and get myself together.  Prepare for the extra challenge.  And that's what I'll be doing in the meantime.  Along with focusing more on things that I believe are more important at the moment.

But I'll be back.  Trust me.  I'll be back.

And last, but not least, and certainly not just for the new year, I'd like to...

Be a better wife, mother, daughter, friend, teacher, etc.  This is something I work on daily, but seeing it in print is always good for the soul. :)


So, all in all, we had a great year.  It was challenging at times, sure (and challenges will always be there), but I ended the year feeling more blessed than ever. I'd say that's great, wouldn't you? :)

This year I also want to blog more.  I said the same thing last year, and I did blog more. I even guest posted on The Young Mommy Life a few times. But this year I want to say more HERE. I thought that starting another blog would do the job, but my other blog felt so disconnected. is where my heart is.  My history. And expanding my topics won't hurt a thing.  Think recipes and crafts I've tried, books I've read, movies I've seen, personal experience (that expand beyond my role as Mommy) -- you know, lifestyle.

(((And I just have to say that it has nothing to do with my relationship with BlogHer.  People see those ads and automatically assume that your goal is to gain a large audience and make a ton of money by reviewing products and publishing "vanilla" posts.  That's never been my goal for this blog.  After learning that BlogHer was accepting new blogs (which doesn't happen often -- they always have a waiting list), I submitted an application expecting nothing to come from it.  I thought there was a very small chance they'd accept my blog when they had those like The Pioneer Woman and Kelly's Korner.  Well, I was wrong.  I've been showing BlogHer ads for months now. They support the little people, too. :)  But don't think that has anything to do with any coming changes to my blog.  In fact, the changes may be so small you don't notice.  So there.)))

So, anyway, this is the super-long post that I've been working on here and there for the past month.  Sorry it's choppy and all over the place.  That's what happens when you procrastinate and then feel the need to get rid of any drafts you've got lurking in the background.  But it feels good to finally have it posted.  It's Sunday afternoon and my kitchen is calling my name. Gotta finish dinner and get ready for the week.  Hope you guys have a good one!  I'll be back soon.


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Stuff I Talk About

2011 30 day shred age update AKA animals anniversary appreciation aquarium around the house art museum Atlanta baby/toddler sleep issues baking bama football beach birthday birthday party blog awards blog buddies blogher books camping causes celebrations celebrities cheer days childhood children's museum children's theater Christmas christmas card class reunion college days concert conference cousins crafts dance date night dating days deals decluttering dentist Disney dk easter engagement facebook faith fall fun family family fun fashion father's day favorite blogs field trip field trips football friday flashback friends fun event funny pic Gaylord Opryland genealogy girl scouts goals god grad school grateful graves' disease Halloween health holidays Hollywood honeymoon instagram Iron Bowl key west kindermusik learning letter to my daughter library Los Angeles m me miami mlk day morgan is three museum Nashville national championship game natural hair nature new look new orleans New Years nyc out on the town parks parties phone fun pinterest play days at home playdate playground action pregnancy professional development Race for the Cure raleigh ramblings reading Recipes relay for life school program shows singing skating snow soccer social networking sorority spring break spring fun stress summer summer fun summer reading summer to do list teacher life technical difficulties terrible twos Thanksgiving the girls the park theme park thomas and friends three thyroid tragedy trains traveling tricycle trips twitter valentine's day video walk for autism water play we love being outside wedding wordless wednesday work wrapup Yo Gabba Gabba zoo
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