Monday, July 15, 2013

The Halfway Point

Until last year, I followed a two-step New Year's Resolution process. Step 1: on January 1st, write my New Year's Resolutions. Step 2: on December 31st, read through my resolutions and berate myself for failing miserably to keep said resolutions.

Last year, however, I added an additional step to the process. Step 1: on January 1st, write my New Year's Resolutions. Step 2: on June 30th, review my resolutions and evaluate my progress. Step 3: on December 31st, read through my resolutions and congratulate myself on following through on more than two-thirds of the commitments I made to myself.

For some reason, adding the mid-year check-in made all the difference in my success, and therefore all the difference in how I felt about myself as the calendar year wound down. So here is it - the mid-year New Year's Resolutions check-in.

Professional Resolutions
  • Update (and/or enlist the help Ferris Creative Media, my cousin-in-law's graphic and website design company to update) the Midwestern Girl blog homepage. 100% done. Thanks to Melissa at MNugent Art & Design, Midwestern Girl became Chasing Roots and along the way received an updated theme and a much-needed face-lift. I hope you're enjoying Chasing Roots as much as I am!
  • Develop a comprehensive plan - spanning from January 2013 through January 2014 - to help me better divide my time between the Midwestern Girl blog, our family blog, my professional writing commitments, and my volunteer writing commitments. 0% done. And since we're already halfway through the time period for which I'd hoped to develop a comprehensive professional plan, I think it best if I just bail on a plan for 2013 and start working on a plan for 2014. Seems reasonable, yes?
  • Further develop my newest professional relationship with the Bryan-College Station Parent Network. 10% done. After somewhat promising meetings earlier in the year, forward movement stalled as springtime approached. (My relationship with the BCS Parent Network remains solid and I still believe in the mission of the organization; they're wading through quite a few transitions, however, and these transitions need to be worked out before I can or am willing to go much further.) I'm crossing my fingers that fall brings new opportunities here.

Physical Health and Wellness Resolutions
  • Eat fewer carbohydrates.  Drink more water.  Drink exactly the same amount of beer. 33.3% done. Until today I'd forgotten about my commitment to eating fewer carbohydrates and drinking more water. I remembered, however, my commitment to drink exactly the same about of beer.
  • Make at least one new vegetarian meal each month and share my family's favorite recipes here on the blog. 50% done. We've tried six new vegetarian meals, the tastier of which I shared here a couple of months ago. When I return home at the end of July I'll once again begin scouring Pinterest,, and the Babble food blogs for six more recipes to test out on my somewhat-willing family. 

Relationship Development Resolutions
  • Go on at least one date (lunch and double dates count) with Tom each month. 50% done. We've been on seven dates - three regular dates, three double dates, and one barely-date to Tom's department's end-of-the-year banquet - since January, and though I know a busy fall awaits us, I think our goal of 12 dates is within reach. 
  • Spend at least one morning/afternoon/evening every three months with each child on his/her own.  Do not waste one of these nights out on the Mom and Son Speedway (less than) Spectacular. 25% done. A few months back Tom and I took the kids out for simultaneous girls' and boys' nights, and about a month ago Tom and I took Hallie on a date while Will slept over at a friend's house, but we haven't set up as many of these "special" nights as I would have liked. Any ideas from parents on unique mother/son and father/daughter dates?
  • Follow through on all those "we should get together!" exclamations. Call/email/text friends and make plans to actually chat over a cup of coffee, unwind with a cold beer, enjoy dinner out, or laugh through a movie together. 50% done. I certainly wouldn't give myself an "A" on this one, but I think I deserve at least a "C+". I hope August - when we return home from our summer travels - will provide us with enough time to catch up with the friends we don't see as often during the school year. 

Fun (?) Resolutions
  • To repeat a 2012 resolution, knit two scarves for friends with cold necks. 0% done. Completely forgot about this one.
  • Read, read, and read some more.  Read in the name of entertainment, but also to learn more about and to widen the lens through which I view the world around me.  Read a chapter book series (suggestions?) to my kids.  Teach Hallie to read. 50% done. Neither Will nor I have been able to teach Hallie to read yet, but I've been reading like crazy. My reading list (both the books I've finished and the books I hope to crack open in the near future) has grown substantially since January. Here's what I've devoured so far (I'd strongly recommend those that I've "starred"):
    • *Twilight, Stephenie Meyer (yes, I reread all the Twilight books at the beginning of the year and yes, I'd recommend them)
    • *New Moon, Stephenie Meyer
    • *Eclipse, Stephenie Meyer
    • *Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer
    • *Divergent, Veronica Roth
    • Bossypants, Tina Fey
    • *Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
    • The Lost Years, Mary Higgins Clark
    • *The Host, Stephenie Meyer
    • Where We Belong, Emily Giffin
    • Freakonomics, Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
    • *The Pilot's Wife, Anita Shreve
    • *Insurgent, Veronica Roth
    • Traps, Mackenzie Bezos
    • *Defending Jacob, William Landau
  • Go to the movies. (In the six years since Will was born I've seen an average of one movie a YEAR in the theater. In the last two months, however, I've seen six movies in the theater - Wreck-It Ralph, Rise of the Guardians, Argo, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2...three times - and I've been reminded about how much I absolutely love the movie theater experience. When I watch movies at home I do so while simultaneously folding laundry, cleaning the house, writing blog posts, updating my online calendar, repeatedly sending children back to bed. When I watch movies in the theater I am truly able to relax and enjoy the film, and I leave feeling refreshed.)  With Tom, with my kids, and with friends.  When movies in the theater aren't an option, curl up on the couch - without any laundry or my computer - and enjoy Blockbuster rentals. 50% done. Of the movies I've seen (listed below), I especially enjoyed Silver Linings Playbook and Now You See Me and would recommend both, along with old favorites Miracle and Failure to Launch (both of which I try to watch at least once a year). Next on my list are The Host, The Heat, The Internship, and Despicable Me 2 - what else should I see?
    • The Hobbit
    • Silver Linings Playbook
    • Escape from Planet Earth
    • The Croods
    • Epic
    • Now You See Me
    • Monsters University
    • World War Z
    • Miracle
    • Snow White and the Huntsman
    • Looper
    • Water for Elephants
    • Welcome to the Rileys
    • The Runaways
    • Zero Dark Thirty
    • Butter
    • Failure to Launch
    • A Mighty Wind
    • Pitch Perfect
    There are six months left in the year, and from the looks of it, I have about six months-worth of resolutions left to tackle. Here's to cruising past the halfway point on the way to the finish line!

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