New Year, New Goals

What’s this I hear about a ball dropping? Oh, a ball drops at midnight? I must have missed that.

Oh, that’s right…I was asleep.

Celebrating the New Year isn’t all that important to me anymore. In fact, there are only two New Year’s celebrations I remember at all: once in high school, I was at a friend’s house and we went outside his front door and obnoxiously banged on pans (and for which my much older self would now like to offer her sincerest apologies to everyone she rudely woke up that night — I completely get it now), and another gathering at another friend’s house a few years ago, during which my dog proceeded to mark all over her house and all of us wound up driving back to my house just so Frankie would stop urinating everywhere.

Double oops.

You get the idea, though. New Year’s Eve holds very little significance to me. What does matter, though, is New Year’s Day. January 1, on one hand, just feels like another day; I went to bed last night and I woke up this morning. Yesterday was Tuesday, today is Wednesday. But I’m not writing “2013” on anything anymore — now I have to remember to write a 4 in place of the 3. That’s what makes it different. It feels like nothing has changed, but the change has been subtle. I’m ready to set some goals to go along with this new year — some are blog-related, and others have literally nothing to do with Read-at-Home Mama. However, I’ll probably chronicle all of them on here, so you’ll have an opportunity to come along for the ride!

1. Blog more often, if not daily (except weekends). I’d really like to make blogging a bigger focus in my life, and a dear friend of mine has come forward with some huge help on that front. As I’ve mentioned here before, my son Joshua really doesn’t nap anymore, and sitting down to write a post every day has become very difficult because, by the time he goes to bed at night, I’m ready to pass out myself. Fortunately, my friend Angela has a daughter who has been looking to become someone’s “mother’s helper”. Angela mentioned it in passing and I immediately jumped on the opportunity to take her daughter on as my helper! So, her daughter and my son will be hanging out for a few hours each weekend so I can sit down at a computer and focus completely on my posts. Not only will the posts be of a higher quality and a higher frequency (because I won’t be writing while simultaneously wrangling a two-year-old), but it will make me feel much happier…and that happiness will show in my writing.

2. Earn enough money through my Tastefully Simple business, babysitting (I watch my friend’s daughter part time), and blogging to help The Hubby pay for a short vacation with Joshua this year. As some of you may know, The Hubby and I got engaged on a covered bridge in the middle of Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia, in May 2004. Even before the engagement, Williamsburg was a favorite vacation spot of mine (I’m a total colonial history buff); after I said yes, it became one of very few places I was ever interested in traveling to. In fact, it was the last place we visited before Joshua was conceived! Of course, we knew that over the last few years, Joshua was simply too young to make a trip that far from home or to enjoy the park itself. Now that he’s two and has loved riding the rides at our local Six Flags park, we believe he’s ready for the drive to Virginia. The fact that Busch Gardens features a real, working steam locomotive is an added bonus — Joshua is crazy about Thomas the Train right now!

3. Read a book a week. I actually got a little push on this goal this morning from a friend of mine. She mentioned something about a “52 in 52” group on Twitter, so I visited Twitter to check it out and asked a complete stranger to explain exactly what was required. He linked me to his own blog, which stated that it was just as it sounded: you had to make it a goal to read 52 books in 52 weeks. He had described it as an Empty Shelf Challenge that came from an author and blogger named Jon Acuff; you clear a shelf somewhere in your house and photograph it, and then photograph it again each week as you add a finished book to it. As a blogger and book lover, I immediately knew I wanted to do it. Therefore, it’s how I will handle all of my book reviews for 2014. Below, as promised, is the photo of the shelf I’ll be using for this challenge. I will continue posting reviews every Monday as I’ve been doing, but instead of being titled “Book Review!” I will use “52 in 52” along with the title of the book. I’ll share a new photo at the end of each review with the newly completed book sitting on this shelf, so all of us can see how the shelf fills as the year goes on, as well as pinning the book covers to my Empty Shelf Challenge board on Pinterest and sharing the next title on my list in the Goodreads widget on my home page so you can see what I’m reading next. This is going to be an adventure for sure, and I’m very excited about it!

4. Stop yelling at my son. I’ve been working on that, as I wrote about last year (it’s surreal to be saying that!). It’s definitely a work in progress, but there are few things more worthy of my time and effort. I hope to be yell-free by the end of the year, and I consider myself lucky to have The Orange Rhino to help me with that.

5. Get 500 likes on my blog’s Facebook page by December 31. As of this moment, my Facebook page is sitting at 147 “likes”. It’s a higher number that I thought I would have at this early point in my blogging life, but it leaves me wanting to strive for more. 353 “likes” in nearly as many days feels like a lot, but I think it can be done. I hope each of you can help me by liking the page, if you haven’t already, and then sharing it with your friends and families so they might take a peek as well. In turn, I will continue to work diligently to earn each and every “like” the page gets. I thank you in advance for your help!

6. Be pregnant by the end of the year. This one is kind of self-explanatory. Joshua is two now, and it is now virtually guaranteed that he will be three before any siblings are born. He’s had three years of Mama and Daddy all to himself, and The Hubby and I are ready to (hopefully) complete our family. Hubs wants another boy, but I’m cheering for a girl. No matter what we end up with, though, we will be thrilled with our newest family member as long as they are happy and healthy like their big brother…and hopefully said brother will be as “gentle and nice” to the baby as he has become with Frankie. The Hubby and I have a plan: if our next child is a girl, or if we discover that we are carrying multiples, our childbearing will end after that child or children are born. If, however, we find out that #2 is a single boy, we’ll try one last time for a baby girl. As much as I enjoyed carrying Joshua (and hopefully, therefore, will enjoy carrying his sibling/s), the constant, 30-week-long “morning sickness” was horrible and I would like to be done with having children and focused on regaining my body. That being said, I have to admit that this memory is among my very favorites:

7. Take control of my health. This ties in with being pregnant in that my body has never functioned completely normally when not on birth control. The Hubby and I consider ourselves lucky to have conceived Joshua at all — while we hoped to get pregnant with him, we never expected it to actually happen. So, when it did, we were shocked and terrified and overjoyed all at once (as I imagine most parents-to-be are). Now that we’ve been trying for awhile for #2 and we haven’t seen the + sign on a stick test yet, I feel like it’s time to take charge and find out what’s going on inside me. My plan is to ask my doctor for a referral to a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) who will (hopefully) help me to find the root of my problem and then (hopefully) help me to get pregnant again.

It is my greatest hope that 2014 turns out to be a big year for me in as many ways as possible. I will work as hard as I can on as many things as possible to bring myself closer to success and fulfillment, and I thank each and every one of you for your support as we all take this journey together.

Happy New Year!