Friday, December 31, 2010

looking back on 2010

Enjoy some photos of our farm post-blizzard (it's hard to hate winter when it looks like this here!), while I entertain my yearly tradition of reviewing the 5 goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year and see how well I've succeeded (or failed miserably!) with them. You can go here to read the original post about these goals.

Goal #1 was "Don't over schedule myself" -- You know, I actually think I did pretty well with this, all things considered. Being forced to sit in dance studios for large chunks of time several days a week certainly helped with that -- there's no way to say "yes" to requests when you're just not physically available. I've ended this year feeling pretty relaxed about my schedule and the commitments I've made, and I had a really fun time (believe it or not) doing all that sewing for the Nutcracker this fall -- it was actually fairly therapeutic and I got in a lot of good socializing while I did it, made some new friends, and really had a lot of good, relaxed fun. So I feel really good about having accomplished this goal. Which hopefully will carry me through writing about these next few goals, which I pretty much fell on my face with.

Goal #2 was "Another major organization/decluttering project" -- Oh, gosh! My intentions were good, really they were, but honestly, I couldn't have failed more miserably in this goal if I purposely tried to bungle it. My house is currently in an unprecedented state of disorganization and chaos. (Although actually, the unprecedented state occurred about a week ago -- I've been using the past week of school-and-dance-lessness to clean, clean, clean, so things aren't nearly as dire as they were just a short time ago. But trust me, we're nowhere near "organized and decluttered" status -- it's more like "don't quite need to burn the place to the ground yet" status.) However, one teeny tiny step I took in the right direction was to sell an enormous amount of crap, er, um, I mean unneeded items at a tag sale in August, generating about $400. That was cool. But I need to do way, way, way better than that. So this goal is probably going to wind up on next year's list of goals as well.

The third goal was "Encourage growth of friendships for the kids" -- Actually, you know, I didn't do all bad with this, but let's face it, it was an easy goal, given all the social and group-learning opportunities I provide my kids with. Zoo Boy actually found his self-proclaimed "best friend" this year, and that was due to the very purposeful involvement of my family in the musical "Oliver". As a bonus, it wasn't just Zoo Boy who made a good friend, it was our entire family. So I feel really good about that one. However, poor J is still lacking in anyone I consider an actual friend. I mean, other than his brother. He of course thinks everyone is his friend (and from the perspective of being well-liked by everyone he meets, he's right), but he doesn't have any special buddies he can talk to on the phone or asking to get together for some hang-out time.

But my friend Kyra and I have been scheming to fix that -- Kyra and I are long-time pals from our RDI days. (RDI is the Autism remediation program we used for J and her son -- I have an entire blog about it, over there on the left-hand side of this page.) In her search for helping her son with his challenges, she discovered a Social Thinking curriculum designed by Michelle Garcia Winner that she thinks might be a good fit for her son, and has been searching for a provider (and recently has found one). I told her I want in, so we're meeting with the therapist next week to discuss a "group" session for her son and J. I'll be posting more about this in next year's goal list, but the reason I mention it here is that this will be a facilitated social chance for J to make a real friend. He already considers Kyra's son his friend (he's the first person he always mentions when we talk about inviting kids over), and vice versa, so I feel like we just need help busting through the social barriers that prevent them from taking it to the next step. Fingers crossed on this one!

He also has a lot (a LOT) of connections at the dance studios, but of course the vast (VAST!) majority of them are mostly girls, and they like him sort of for a different reason, if you know what I mean. I'm really not worried about him having as many dates as he wants when he gets to that age. But he needs some boy buddies, too, and he needs them now. So to further that end, we're hoping that he can join an all-boy hip-hop class which should be possible with his anticipated new ballet schedule. Again, fingers crossed! As much as he'll enjoy dancing hip-hop, it's the buddy-building factor I'm looking for with that one.

So while I was totally successful for Zoo Boy, and mildly unsuccessful for J, I've been working on it and this is the year it should all come together for J. Again (a running theme), fingers crossed.

Anyway! Goal #4 was "Further movement towards self-sufficiency for our little homestead" -- Um, yeah. Well, we tried!! The turkeys were sort of a bust -- they wound up costing us more to raise than we made back on them. It was a fun little project, but a failure in terms of self-sufficiency. And I've still yet to taste one of those suckers!!! (Tho I've got a hen in the freezer just waiting for me to find the motivation to cook.) We didn't manage to find any rabbits to get started (or rather, re-started)with. (Then again, I'm pretty picky, it's not that hard to find and buy rabbits!) And despite attempting to sell both of our horses (because let's face it, they are the biggest drain on the finances around here), they are both still here. Funny, nobody wants an old horse and a metabolically challenged pony. What's the matter with people? It means I get to keep my fuzzy big pets, so I'm not exactly weeping about it. But it's a total disaster for a self-subsistence plan.

I also completely failed to get in a garden, but we can blame that on the dance schedule. Gardening is actually going to be a big part of the spring homeschooling plan, so I'm not sweating that one, we'll get it done this year, tho not in enough quantity to do more than put a little food on our table. Which is all I really care about.

It wasn't a complete bust of a year, though -- we did well with the sheep despite not having many to sell, we put 3 in the freezer for our uses (mostly for the dogs), and sold 3 butcher lambs. We're down to 5 sheep (3 ewes, a ewe lamb and a ram lamb), and honestly, it's not enough. But money is so tight, I didn't feel like I had a choice, so hopefully next year we can keep a couple more. (Even one more would feel better out there.)

We also stopped the loss of poultry to foxes by adding our trusty Livestock Guardian Dog, April. Though the cost of feeding her is mind-boggling, so I'm not sure it wouldn't have been more financially beneficial to just give up on the ducks altogether and keep the chickens locked in. But it sure is nice to see her out there doing her job!

My 5th goal was "Finish my book" -- And I would have, too -- sitting in dance studios is the PERFECT place to work on stuff like that! But my computer died, trapping my book inside. It's still retrievable (I HOPE!), but I'll have to pay the geeks $100 to get it out of there, and I currently have no place to put it (certainly not going to trust this old dinosaur I'm typing on now to take care of it!) As soon as I get a more current machine, I'll put the final touches on the book, print it off, and let a select few folks read it for feedback to see if I'm going to pursue trying to get it published. My guess is I won't and it'll just wind up sitting on a shelf in my closet. But that sure hasn't stopped me from starting another book in the meantime!

So it wasn't the most successful goal-achieving year that I've ever had. But given that the whole dance thing sort of turned my entire life on it's ear this year, I don't think I did all that badly. We'll see what happens in the coming year with my new goals, which I'll post after we ring in 2011.

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