I took a look at last year's "To Do" list and was pleased to note that I've stuck pretty close to reaching the goals I set for myself, particularly the ones most important to me. There are a few areas that I need to improve on. Here are the grades I gave myself:
1. Dramatically decrease Internet time. B-
Some weeks I've been really good with this, others I've sunk countless minutes into meaningless surfing. But I'm a lot better at recognizing when Internet time is interfering with life, and when that happens I shut my computer off for a few days. Facebook has a big pull on me, and I've seriously considered canceling my account on more than one occasion. But for now, keeping it is a good exercise in self-control.
I've read so many good books this year. The great ones that stand out on my mind are The Chronicles of Narnia, Radical, The Mission of Motherhood, The Hiding Place, and Gospel-Powered Parenting. My favorite time to read is right after I put the boys down for their nap. I get a blanket and curl up on the couch for at least thirty minutes with a good book, and during the warmer months I would sit outside in a quiet corner of the yard. I've found that reading begets reading; when I'm interested in and excited about a book, I'll find all sorts of pockets of time throughout the day to pick it up and read a bit more - especially when my computer is off!
3. Research homeschooling methods. B
I spent the year talking with homeschooling moms and reading books about methods and curricula. I developed my own philosophy about why I want to home school, what I'd like our home school experience to look like, and what benefits I want the boys to gain from learning at home versus going to a school building. The book, "100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum" has a few surveys that were very helpful in narrowing down all the available methods to a few that match with my philosophy - which turned out to be Unit Studies and/or Charlotte Mason method.
4. Meal plan. A+
I hit upon a method for meal planning that works well for me, and I planned out almost every week of this past year. I plan five meals for the week: two involved recipes, two simple ones, and one "convenience" meal (something that is prepackaged, like Trader Joe's Orange Chicken). I don't plan a particular meal for each day of the week, but I am flexible to choose which meal works best for that day.
5. Make my own bread. C-
I put genuine effort into this one, but failed for a few reasons: 1) It's really hard to make homemade sandwich bread. 2) I was never able to find a whole wheat bread recipe that we could all agree on. 3) It's so much easier to just buy a loaf of bread at the store that it's not worth the effort of making it at home. I still do make bread to accompany meals, because there's nothing better than fresh bread with homemade soup.
6. Exercise more. C-
I'll be honest. I hate exercising. I hate waking up at 5:30AM and running for thirty minutes. So I haven't done much of it this year. I've tried, but after a few weeks I would gradually succumb to my warm sheets and put it off for another day. And then another day. And another. Until I stopped altogether. And then I'd repeat the cycle.
7. Read to the boys 30 minutes a day. B-
I did read to the boys every day, but not for thirty minutes every day. I'd say that we hit the thirty-minute mark maybe one-quarter of the days.
8. Read the whole Bible. B
I kept my chronological reading plan pretty closely, though I skipped about 30 days of readings over the year. Right now I am halfway through Paul's letters, and at some point in the last two years I've read everything after that point, so I consider that I've read the whole Bible.
9. Memorize scripture. C
I got off to a good start but stopped somewhere in the middle of the year. I need to do better with this during this coming year!
New To Do list for 2010
1. Lose weight. I have about 20 extra and unwanted pounds hanging around that I'd really love to get rid of before springtime. Part of the problem is that my metabolism is slowing down and so weight sticks around more easily than when I was in my early 20s. It's taken me the better part of this past year to figure this out. But let's face it, most of the problem is that I eat more than I need to and don't exercise enough. To accomplish this goal I will: 1) Eat less. 2) Eat healthy food. 3) Complete 9 weeks of the C25K plan - a running program that takes 30 minutes, three times a week - and then maintain the workout schedule afterward.
2. Decrease Internet time. I plan to go back to my earlier method of having my computer off during the day and only turning it on for a few minutes during nap time or after the boys' bedtime.
3. Read the whole Bible again. My goal is to read through the Bible once a year. I gained so many spiritual benefits from reading it through once and I'm really looking forward to starting over and doing it again. I'm still trying to decide if I should try a different reading plan, read a different version of the Bible, or just do the exact same plan/version I did this past year.
4. Take part in Project 365. This is a challenge to take a photo every day, for a year. Hopefully it will get me to become a better photographer by looking at everyday life in a new way.
5. Read more good books. Judging by the huge stack of books in the "To-Be-Read" pile, this shouldn't be difficult.