Thursday, January 12, 2012


We got the tree and all the Christmas decorations down on Sunday afternoon, and I immediately felt better about the State of my House. It's not that it was truly messy or cluttered with the decorations up, but we had reached the point where all I thought about when I looked at them was the fact that the task of taking them down still loomed ahead of me, and dread is not the feeling one should experience when gazing upon the Holiday Cheer.

Plus the tree goes right in front of one of the windows in our great room, where I spend almost all of my time, and between the light it blocks from outside and the fact that David likes to unscrew the recessed light above the tree, it was feeling a little dark and closed-in. (Which is difficult in our house. We have a LOT of windows. A LOT.)

Now it feels to me like January Proper, which means it's time to think about all the things I'd like to improve or accomplish this year. The thing I'd like most out of 2012--to have another baby--is pretty much completely out of my control, so let's focus on things I can actually manage, shall we?

Eat dinner at home more often. And I don't mean takeout at the kitchen table. We spend an absurd amount of money on restaurant food, and it's just unnecessary. Although I don't hate cooking, I do hate thinking about what to eat, making grocery lists, and procuring food. (What a freaking first-world problem, right?) To combat my inherent tendency to freeze up like a deer in the headlights when confronted with the question of what to cook in any given week, I've eliminated the weekly planning part completely. Instead, I've made myself a Google doc with two charts, each with four weeks' worth of meals, five meals per week. One of the charts is filled with fall/winter meals, and the other with dinners more appropriate for spring/summer. Between leftovers and still allowing ourselves one restaurant night per week, I imagine I'll really need to pick only four out of the five every week. But the planning? It's done--for the year. A four-week rotation seems more than sufficient to avoid boredom, and I already arranged it so that there aren't, say, three soups or three Mexican-type dishes in the same week. 

I am far too excited about my meal chart, and it has already made the grocery list-making so much easier.

Read the entire Bible. I've been meaning to do this for years, and for some reason just never got around to it. I even bought one of those one-year Bibles (organized into daily readings, so it's all out of order), but it didn't work for me. This year, I purchased a Bible for my Kindle and found a Catholic Bible-reading plan (it has to be Catholic, because a Protestant plan wouldn't include all the books we use). I just printed out the plan and folded it up to keep in my Kindle cover. (The plan is available here partway down the page, if you're interested.) It's been really easy so far to just read the chapters for the day when I happen to pick up my Kindle, and I get some geeky satisfaction from being able to check off the day's readings on my list when I'm done.

Those are my only two real "resolutions," I think. I don't want to set myself up to fail. But there are, of course, other things I hope to do in 2012:


More exercise. We joined a local gym last year and hardly ever went. For me, there was the brief pregnancy and then the miscarriage and then being bummed about the miscarriage and then just not being in the habit of going and then being on fertility meds . . . and it just never happened. It was CRAZY, CRAZY cheap to renew for this year, though (seriously, I think it was something like $215 for BOTH of us for the whole year, at a gym with tons of equipment and TVs on the cardio machines and a pool and classes and whatnot), so we did it. I've already been five or six times this year, which is saying something. I've been doing Couch to 5K on the treadmill and not worrying about making myself try to take advantage of all the intimidating strength training machines; it's better to just go and do SOMETHING, even if it's just walking/running on the treadmill. So there's that.

More books, less television. I already do a pretty good job of not watching television mindlessly. We record every show we want to watch, or I watch on Hulu or Netflix, so we don't really do any channel-surfing just to have something on. I still feel like we watch a lot of TV, though, and I'd prefer to rein it in. The Kindle that my parents got me for Christmas works with our local library's e-book lending system, which should help; I've already read Born to Run and am most of the way through The Night Circus--for free! If I could read a book a week, I'd be hugely thrilled with myself. (I can't even imagine how Elizabeth read 180 books last year while raising two kids. Amazing.)

House projects. There are a bunch of things we'd like to get done around the house, from finally getting some furniture in our front room (right now it houses a random collection of Nate's larger toys) to replacing a leaky faucet to getting someone in to diagnose and fix the water stain on our kitchen ceiling to planting vegetables in the backyard. Furniture in the front room is the big one.

Care less what other people think. This is an ongoing struggle for me. I mean, obviously I want to be kind and considerate of other people, and hopefully they will, therefore, find me to be kind and considerate. But I don't want to fret over others' opinions of me, or make decisions for myself or my family that aren't right for us because I'm afraid of what someone might think. This is a toughie, honestly, and I've failed massively at it so far this year. I need a thicker skin, I think.

Blog more. Sometimes it's just a matter of getting something written and hitting "publish." Like now.


Sarah in Ottawa said...

Thanks again for sharing that link re. the Catholic bible. It is exactly the resource I was looking for.

As you know, one of my goals is to read 75 books this year. It's well below Elizabeth's 180 (amazing, no?) but I did read 60 last year so it's within reach. I cannot tell you how much our library - with its vast print-and-e-book collection - has helped in this quest. LOVE the library. It's probably saved me more than I pay in property tax, and that's saying something!

What did you think of "Born to Run"? Full disclosure: I loved it. After devouring the library copy, I bought it for my BFF for Christmas AND bought a copy for us (Dave is reading it now). I'd love to hear your take.

PrinceOfTheWest said...

How about "bake more bread"? :D

Elsha said...

These sound like great resolutions. I have started reading the bible I don't even know how many times and I've never made it all the way through.

A'Dell said...

I didn't even read this whole post before I emailed you for a copy of your meal chart because HELLO GENIUS. That's, by far, the most irritating, time-consuming headache of my week: the planning of the meals. UGH. And then if I don't plan and make a grand decision to "wing it!" then we eat out or eat weird things and nobody is really happy with that.

You're so smart.

Tracy said...

Okay, I never ever thought about trying to do couch to 5K on the treadmill. I've always tried to do it outside which has been intimidating because how do I know if I'm going far enough, and what if the weather is not right, and... oh, duh. The treadmill is a brilliant thing. Now I have to try it, which means that I have to make it to the gym often enough... (and this entire train of thought would be why it's taken me TWO YEARS to lose 21 lbs.). (That and the fact that I occasionally eat too much when I'm stressed.) (and I am often stressed.) (not that I have any problem with using too many parentheses.) (oh, one more: meal plan = brilliance.)

Hillary said...

Do you like The Night Circus? It was one of my favorites last year.

Also, this is off topic, but I just read the comments on the It Gets Worse post and I just want to slug those anonymous commenters for you.

Ashley said...

I like your meal plan rotation. We don't eat out often, but I could see something like that helping us from eating the same thing over and over again (which we do because it's easy).

It's great that you're going to the gym, but don't be afraid of the weights! If you're interested in lifting weights I'd recommend the book Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess. I've tried it and noticed results in the past (although I didn't do the diet portion).

claire said...

I totally relate to the feeling of dread about the prospect of taking down the Christmas decorations. The last week that I have them up is always spoiled because of that dread. It's such an un-fun job. I do miss them, but it is a relief to have that job behind me. (I loved Arwen's post on F&F about winter decorating after Christmas.)

I'm really glad that more frequent blogging is one of your new year's resolutions! Your blog is one of my favorites.