Featured in the "mason jar" picture, we have tickets from our annual trip to Disneyland and California Adventure, as well as a trip to Sea World. These big trips are fun, but I think my favorite memories from the kids this year were the little moments. I love seeing their imaginations and seeing them play together. They use the experiences we are able to give them, and they recreate it on their own, like going camping together on a blanket in the living room, and giving each other "marshmallows" which are actually just toys on sticks. They make each other food, go to the beach, drive to El Pollo Loco in their toy cars. They fight bad guys, or pretend to have characters go to school. I love the moments when they beg me to read to them (I sometimes wish they didn't too, but usually give in), and show me that they already know the power of a great book.
Speaking of books, I started tracking my books read back in 2010 on a website called Goodreads. My highest year since starting to track was 2011, when I got through 63, but this year was my second highest with 55 books! This is especially good considering that 2014 was exceptionally bad with just 17. No, that wasn't a mistake, or a lack of tracking, it was a year that I had subscribed to The Economist, and though I found it very interesting, I could not keep up with those weekly magazines, and didn't have much time to read anything but magazines. I did not renew that subscription.
What I did do this year was start my new reading goal, which is admittedly a long way from being complete, of reading through the Rory Gilmore booklist.
I have made good progress though, and have read 34 more books on her list (in addition to the ones I had already read) since I started this goal back in April. I am still working my way through Don Quixote (which I also started in April... and am just going really slowly though, while also reading other books for fun and the list concurrently). It has completely pushed me out of my comfort zone with books, and some of the books I loved, and went on to read/ intend to read other books from that author, while others I hated and had to force myself to finish them. For example Ann Patchett's book Bel Canto was amazing, and I then went on to read multiple books from her that weren't on the list. I read the books that I had only seen the movies of, or had just heard about, like Lord of the Rings. I read poetry, I read journals, biographies, etc. and really expanded my horizons of books, and was able to make connections between books, or between what I read and my life. It has been a really positive change in my reading habits, and I am excited to start another year with it.
I also made progress towards another goal of being a paid writer. I have gotten a few articles published online, and one little blurb in a print magazine coming out in a few months. I have written a few children's books, but haven't made progress towards getting them printed yet.
So, for the new year, I plan on doing less races, but continuing to run to stay healthy, and try to get to the gym on a more regular basis.
I plan on continuing to read through the Rory Gilmore list, and see where it takes me. I will continue to try to get articles published on the website I have been, mostly for supplementary income, and I will also dust myself off, and make another good attempt to get a children's book published.
In 2016, in September, when Remington starts preschool, I also plan on starting to substitute at his preschool (which I can do, since I got my child development permit this year, yay!)
As far as the kids are concerned, I intend to be more purposeful in engaging with them on a daily basis. I realized that the advent bags really forced me to plan time in that was fun for all three of us, and usually were sweet connecting moments, whether it was reading, or art, or a game, whatever the day's bag brought, I felt it brought a good point to the day. It made me realize that too often, I allow the chores of the day- get to school, go to the store, lunch, naptime, make dinner, etc.- become the only thing I do with the kids until bedtime, with no moments of me stopping and carving out that quality time. I really want to get better at that.
Looking back over the year, it was a good one, but I cannot believe how much my kids have grown, and continue to grow. People said the time would fly by, and it truly does. I want to cherish these little ones as long as I can, because I really feel like I will blink, and I will have two teenagers.
Here's to a great 2015, and a warm welcome to 2016 and all the memories it will bring! Happy New Year!