Hey, look what's going on outside -- yup, you guessed it, ANOTHER ice storm. Mixed with a bit of snow to make it look pretty (and keep the footing a bit less treacherous). Hooray, winter.
To take my mind off of the weather, I thought I would pick up on an idea my friend Kyra (of This Mom fame) mentioned to me. She said that rather than making resolutions for 2008, she's instead taking inventory of all of her progress and success in 2007. I really like that positive spin on the usual year-end traditions, so I'm going to do the same.
(Here's a photo from early in the year, with our then-puppy Yule, who just turned a year old last week!, "helping" the kids play with their dinosaur set. Funny coincidence, Zoo Boy just asked me to pull that set out for them an hour ago and the kids have dinosaurs strewn all over the living room.)
I looked back on my old blog to see if I made any resolutions for 2007, and here's what I found. I thought an easy way to chart my personal progress this year would be to address each of those 5 goals and see what became of them:
1. Simplify. I think I did pretty well with this one. I introduced rest time to our days -- a little mid-day break to rejuvenate mind and body -- to all of our benefits. Because we needed to be home to rest, it meant less running around from place to place, which added to the simplification. I also cut out a lot of activities that I thought just weren't supportive of our overall goals. This is something that got a bit away from me as the year wound down, but something that I think, in general, I made good progress on, and expect I'll continue to progress with as we go along.
2. Live greener. This is an area I really did well with. We kicked our lazy recycling habits into higher gear, and now I'm happy to say that each time we go to the transfer station, we have more items for recycling than we do for the trash bin. I also managed to cut our electricity generation by nearly 35% (wow!!!) this year by switching to fluorescent bulbs and by limiting the running of our air conditioner to just when absolutely necessary (basically from 3pm to 5pm), a pretty huge deal for me, because I hate being hot. I don't think we ran it at night at all this past summer. We're also conserving fuel oil this winter by keeping the house at 65, and turning it back to 62 at night and when we're not home. We've found that allowing the house to get below 62 does not give our furnace/heating system a chance to catch up again, so winds up using more energy by running constantly. We also planted a bunch of CO2 eating plants this fall.
3. Mindfulness. I wanted to feel more present in my daily life with my family. I made a lot of progress in this area. I cut out a lot of MY activities that were detracting from my ability to be there for my family. I have a ways to go with this still (still struggling with my computer addiction), but I do feel fairly accomplished for how far I've come in the past 12 months.
4. Being Nicer. You know, this is going to sound funny, but my biggest progress with this is not worrying so much how nice I am. If my goal had been stated as "self acceptance" rather than "being nicer", I would say that I've been outrageously successful this year. A big part of this was thanks to the Enki Education Workshop called Rousing Intuition that I attended in June. By accepting myself for who I am, and realizing that I truly AM doing my best to be the best human I can possibly be, I feel like I can cut myself a little slack for not being as thoughtful as my sister, or as sweet as my mother. I am who I am, I will continue to try to be the best me I can be, and people will either love me for that or not. And I'm MUCH more OK with that now than I was a year ago.
5. Get Fit. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Given that I'm exactly the same weight I was last year at this time, I guess there's no need to say much more on this one! The good news is that I didn't gain any weight. And my doctor says she's never seen such picture-perfect bloodwork on a woman my age. So I guess whatever I'm doing isn't too detrimental to my health. But I also have to admit that any effort I made towards this goal was half-hearted at best (and even that is a huge exaggeration).
Now, on to a few of the more tangible successes:
We introduced the SOS feeding program to my kids' lives. The progress we made was small and slow, and we haven't done much with SOS lately, nor has it resulted in adding any new food groups to my kids' severely self-limited diets. However, the small successes we did have were significant. They now will try foods that we assure them they very well might like. They are sitting happily at a table full of foods that used to send them screaming for the other room. And they've both discovered that they really like to cook (which perhaps will allow me to cultivate a love -- or at least a non-hatred -- of cooking). We also started working with Oral Motor Therapy (on our own) with Zoo Boy, and have seen a lot of progress with his speech clarity.
But more significant than what we added was what we eliminated. Half way through the year, we "graduated" ourselves from J's RDI program. We dropped formal Sensory Integration Therapy (although we still attend to Sensory Integration needs every day via our Enki Education curriculum). And we stopped prepping teachers and other adults on Autism. By selecting the content and age range of classes and activities we sign J up for, we no longer have to provide strategies and accommodations for him. As far as they know, he's just another kid in their classes, and it's been rare to have to explain any further than that. Not that we keep his Autism a secret by any means -- I'm still as willing as ever to talk with other parents about our experience with Autism and Remediation. It's just not necessary to mention it anymore in order for him to get by in activities with other kids.
On the home front, the most significant construction project of the year was our new playset for the kids. (Shown here on their "first day not back to school" in September.) We also did a lot of fencing in the front part of the property, prompting many neighbors to comment on all the work we did this year. (Same amount of work as always, by the way, just more obvious to those looking in from the outside.)
But the biggest accomplishment of all was hooking up with other like-minded homeschoolers, and really getting rolling with our organized homeschooling. I feel like I've managed to set up a learning-conducive environment and rhythm for my kids, and that they are flourishing in it. And I feel nourished myself, with several friends I see somewhat regularly who truly get where I'm at, and rejoice in our successes and support us in our challenges. Finding and embracing people walking the same path has always been my greatest challenge and biggest frustration. This year I was able to finally feel holistically connected to the community we're trying to build for our kids, by broadening my horizons and looking beyond what's in my own backyard.
It truly was a successful year. And 2008 promises to be even more wonderful!
5-7 year mission preview, realized
5 years ago