Thursday, January 2, 2014

Resolving : A Year In Review

I typically don't make New Year's Resolutions.  I used to, in my 20s. Ya know, the typical 'Stop doing this ... start doing that.'  Nothing ever changed, of course, because they were empty promises. They were goals without roadmaps on how to get there. Initially, I thought the failure was in New Year's Resolutions themselves. Who keeps these dumb things anyway? What's the point?  Then I thought the failure was with me

Really, the failure was that I hadn't mapped out a route for success. 

After writing an article for Suburban Family Magazine's 2014 Health & Wellness Guide, I have a new perspective on resolutions and therefore I decided I would break my "anti-resolution tradition." The main things I've learned from my interviews and research  are:
 1. you can't just toss a resolution out there and just expect it to work because you said so
2. you can't expect not to backslide sometimes. 

Self-improvement is a journey, not a light switch. Sure, there are people who resolve to do an IronMan and set out on their training and do it.  Sure, there are people who quit smoking cold turkey. But, it seems that there are many more people who simply chip away at changes, large and small, and journey down a road to better health, increased patience, cleaner homes, happier marriages.  There are so many things I still need to work on, but when I stop and look at how far I've come?  I'm pretty proud of myself. 

Our newest New Years Eve tradition - a neighborhood family new years party! Thanks to J and B for hosting the first annual extravaganza - I'm still stuffed from all that food and drink!

When I decided to make a resolution (or 2) a great flurry of them came to my mind. Yet, I know I have to narrow them down and then break them into small behavioral changes. There are domestic ones (learn to cook a few more dishes, keep the house cleaner and more organized) there are relational ones (nurture the friendships I have and spend more time with the people I love with a specific focus on my 2 remaining grandparents), there are the philanthropic (do more volunteer work), and "career" (complete my book proposal and shop to agents).  There are health (eat cleaner and the ever ominous 'drink more water!'), and general self-improvement (be more joyful, find more patience, speak with kindness).

I don't really know where to start or what to select.  I'm re-reading Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project for some motivation and instruction. I will work it all out. There is a whole year. There is a whole lifetime. I think the idea is to keep striving while being gentle to ourselves while we learn.

The three little ones make it 'til midnight for the FIRST TIME ever! Rella slept until almost 11 am the next morning.  

One of my favorite things to do when I hang up the new calendar is to appreciate those milestones and acheivements we had the year prior.  So, here is our little family's rather tame 2013 Year In Review


Last Year, On the Eve of 2013 - Let a New Year Begin!

Mommy and daughters starting off 2013 in one of the few photos where everyone is (sort of) looking at the camera.

Dr. Fabulous takes up running and we run our first race together - a 5-miler through the vineyards.
I don't know why both of our heads look really weird in this picture.

Pink Ran Her Second 5K

After being MIA and thought gone forever after 5 months, we found OLD BUBBY! 
Now Rella has "New Bubby" and "Old Bubby." Life is restored to equilibrium. 

CB turned 18 and we built her a sensory room for her birthday. It was more expensive than a car, but cheaper than college. 

Rella turned 6 

Tink turned 7 

Pink turned 9

She Made Her First Reconciliation

 and First Holy Communion 

Tink made her First Reconciliation and prepares for her Holy Communion in the Spring

The Girls Went To New York City For The First Time and Had a Splurge (Thanks to Grandad) At The American Girl Doll Store!

 Pink and Tink bridged to Cadets and Brownies, respectively. 

Pink started the fourth grade in a new school. She earned Star Student of the Month right out of the gate, took up the flute, joined band and choir, and continues with tennis. She also spearheads her first charity project that she presents to her class with great success.

Tink started the 2nd grade, lost her first tooth, earned a huge school honor of The Hawk Award, and started an intense swim program with the goal of being on the "8 and Under" swim team at our swim club this summer. 

Rella tested out of Special Education and started regular Kindergarten with only a Speech IEP. Her teacher refers to her as a "ninja" because she is so humble and "under the radar" that you don't realize how stinkin' smart she is. 

CB changed classroom environments and her behavioral issues have decreased. She amazes me with how at 18 she is still showing a learning curve with some of her receptive language and -- *cue the trumpets*-- toileting! Yes, folks, we've had a little success there after 14 years of toilet training!!

 Dr. Fabulous had a number of wonderful accomplishments to include some awards, but this one was certainly one to be proud of - The Halo Award for charity work from the South Jersey Young Professionals Association.  The fact that he still met the criteria of "YOUNG Professional" was probably the biggest thrill!

We enjoyed a little getaway in Florida,  just the 2 of us

and spent a long and very fun weekend back to the place we met... Baltimore, Maryland.

The girls joined a young philanthropy group called Kids on a Quest and we all stepped up our game in terms of giving to others and becoming more caring, active members of the community. 

The girls got their first and last pets.  Carnival goldfish who lasted less than 48 hours.  

When it comes to CB, this is where I most appreciate how far I've personally travelled. 
She has waited patiently for me as I slowly come to peace with how things are.  There were many, MANY years of adjustment... anger, shame, guilt, even hopelessness and resentment at the hand life played us.  Ugly, useless feelings. Over the past several years, I feel the angst subside, the frustration dissipate and while fears for her health will always remain I am happier and more at ease with the parts of life that I cannot change.  
She will teach me more, no doubt. And one day I hope to repay her the favor.  I'm definitely on the winning side of this relationship. 

Finally, I made lots of progress with my writing. Namely, after years of pro-bono work I finally get paid to write!  Plus, I made lots of progress on my 2 book proposals and finally committed to move forward with one.  

Lastly, I worked with a fabulous bunch of women on a community awareness campaign to reduce stigma and discrimination against mental illness and in the process spent a weekend with the incredible Glenn Close!

She's my bestie now.  She just doesn't know it.

I also somehow made it into Bring Change 2 Mind's promotional/awareness video. When Glenn was down visiting our tri club, she asked us to send some footage for this video and a few of us made the cut! It  was shown at a huge fundraiser in front of people like George Lucas and Robert DeNiro... ya know, like that happens all the time in my world... 

So, I'm in this video which I ask you to watch for the MESSAGE and inspiration, not for my goofy talking head with the world flattest hair.  I actually didn't think I'd make it in the video and I was really nervous and un-showered and ill-prepared. My friend Kate (who is amazing!) is also in there (talking about her father's depression and suicide) and the 2 high school girls that appear a few times are from our town as well! 

So, that's our crew and our year in review! It was a happy, healthy 2013. We weren't jumping out of any airplanes or running any marathons or saving the world.  But I'd say we had a pretty wonderful year of more ups than downs.  I can only hope for the same in 2014!  

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