Today, Andy heads back to school and so does Nathan. Nathan (the preschool student) is definitely more excited than his teacher Dad, but off they both go. It has been an absolutely marvelous Christmas break for all of us! As a former teacher myself who is married to a teacher, these family breaks together are one of the best perks of the job. Since we are in the midst of a busy basketball season and gearing up for tournament time, we have a lot of long days ahead when we won’t get to see Andy much. It’s just part of the teaching job and he does love coaching! It is one of the reasons we cherish this break together all the more.
We didn’t travel over the break this year but stayed home and celebrated with Andy’s family. Andy’s 3 siblings (and their spouses) were all home at his parents new house for Christmas. We got to see them for several days of celebrations and thoroughly enjoyed our time together. The girls and I did have to miss one of the extended family Christmases as Emma suddenly spiked a fever. It turns out Emma had a double ear infection (just like Nathan had when Lily came home from the hospital). We were thankful she wasn’t contagious so we didn’t have to miss any more family time!
We enjoyed Christmas Eve evening worship at St. Paul’s for the children’s service. Even though we stayed up late on Christmas Eve, the children were all still up early for presents! Lily decided to start our morning at 4 am so she was ready for a nap before we even opened any presents. They were all so excited that I didn’t get a good picture of the three children together, but I managed to catch these candid shots of them.
We had a nice, quiet Christmas morning in pajamas as our family of 5. The kids loved all their presents and playing with them that morning. It’s so nice to be able to open presents slowly so they can play with one as soon as they open it. That’s what happened a lot. Afterwards, we dressed for Christmas morning church and headed to Andy’s parents house where we spent the rest of Christmas Day. The children were blessed with many gifts from their generous aunts, uncles and grandparents. Emma’s favorites were all her new Frozen things, Nathan loved his new Lego sets. and Lily enjoyed all the toys that play music and talk to her.
Andy’s siblings had to head back to Nebraska on the 26th, so we enjoyed a quiet family together. Growing up, St. Stephen’s Day (or the 2nd day of Christmas) on the 26th was always our family day. After our Pastor’s family spent so much time at church over Christmas, it was nice to have this time together. We have continued that tradition in our family. We ventured out for a family dinner at Red Robin and to look at some light displays. It was obvious the children were exhausted by the excitement of the previous couple days as they fell asleep on the way to dinner!
The rest of our break was spent mostly at home. Nathan and Andy did a lot of building Legos together. The kids all loved having Andy home to play with during the day! I enjoyed it too, since it meant I could have some blogging time during the day while Andy kept the kids occupied. We used a free Redbox code to watch the Incredibles 2 and enjoyed it more than the first one. We ventured out for some disappointing Christmas clearance shopping together. The deals weren’t nearly what I hoped but it kept me from shopping much! We did go see Mary Poppins Returns and loved that! It was Emma’s first time at a movie theater and what a great first movie to see there! The kids and I have been singing “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” since then.
It really was a low key break and it was absolutely delightful for all of us. It’s good to have quality family time like these breaks. I also really appreciated the time it gave me to think, plan and prepare for a new year – particularly in choosing my goals for this new year – 2019.
I am pleased to say that I met most of my goals for 2018. The biggest one was adjusting to life as a family of 5 and I think we are hitting our stride there! As I mentioned in my setting mom goals post, I have learned to simplify my goals so I can really focus on the most important ones. This year, I have set some especially big goals for myself. Here are my big goals this year.
Personal Goals for 2019
1. Spend intentional time with my children each day. I love staying home with my children but it is too easy for me to focus on everything there is to do around me without really focusing on the kids. Yes, we play together and cook together and read together but I want to focus on making the most of our time together. Nathan will be starting Kindergarten in the fall which means I only have a couple more months with him before he is in school full-time. The days really are long but the years are short. I’m not setting a specific time limit on my goal other than to remind myself to be intentional each day – with every child. It may be 5 minutes of playing a game with Emma or reading a chapter book with just Nathan or really talking with Lily. Whatever it is, I am going to look for these moments and embrace them.
2. Read 50 books. While I easily read 100 books a year before kids, that number has dropped dramatically since having children. That was to be expected, of course. The last couple years my book number has hovered around 50 so I am setting that as my goal. I have joined the Modern Mrs. Darcy challenge and am in a monthly book club, both of which help me read new books. I have also set a challenge to myself to read many of the unread ebooks that are sitting on my Kindle. I am embracing audio books when I do the dishes or fold laundry to help me reach this goal too.
3. Go on an overnight 10th anniversary trip with Andy – without kids. This July will be our 10th anniversary. Andy and I love to travel and travel quite a bit with our kids. In fact, Andy and I have not taken a trip together – without our kids, that is – since Nathan was born. It’s time. We have big dreams of taking an Alaskan cruise someday but we don’t have enough saved for that yet. So, we are going to use a free hotel night or two and go away without the kids. Date and location to be determined yet but we will make this trip a reality. I am looking forward to it!
Financial Goals for 2019
4. Save cash to pay for a new (to us) used Tahoe. We were very excited to be able to pay cash for a used mini van this Fall. I’ve alluded to it a couple times but will share a full post with all the details of how and why this came about soon. Now that we have done that, it is time to focus on saving for a new Tahoe to replace Andy’s current one. It has over 220,000 miles on it already and is doing fine but we know the day is coming. This is a huge goal because we are only 25% of the way towards our goal right now. We would like to have the cash saved by the end of the year which means a lot of hard work and saving is ahead for us. It is an absolutely amazing feeling to pay cash for a vehicle and we are determined to do it again! Since it is a big goal, this is where we are focusing our finances this year.
Professional Goals for 2019
5. Increase my blog income by 1.5 times. This is something that I have achieved both in 2017 and in 2018. Each year, the 1.5 increase gets a bit bigger and means more work for me. Yet, I am amazed – and so thankful – that I can work from home, doing something that I absolutely love, to support our family. Could I double my blog income? Probably, but my family comes first so I am content with slow and steady growth. It still means a lot of work ahead for me and I have started waking up early to work first thing in the mornings. It’s nice to have a quiet time to work at this goal.
6. Maximize my time as a blogger for highest rate of return, while still being wife and mom first. My last goal for the year is the most important one to me. I love blogging but I love being a wife and mom more. I want to find the highest rate of return for my work time. I want to stay focused on the things that matter, and know when to close the computer so I can focus on my family. I blog so I can spend more time with my family – not less.
I’m excited and yes, a little nervous, about some of these goals. I am dreaming big and putting them in writing to give myself the extra motivation to work hard this year. What are some of your goals for 2019? I’d love to know so we can encourage each other!