Reflections Of Another Year Gone By

 

This chocolate bottle is part of the chocolate village in the Lodge at Keystone.

This chocolate bottle is part of the chocolate village in the Lodge at Keystone.

This past week while I’ve been frolicking in the Rocky Mountains I’ve been reflecting on this past year. It’s been an eventful year with milestones reached by my own children, the end of a challenging classroom, and health issues not only with myself but to others in and out of the family.

When I reviewed my blog post from January 2013 on some views for the new year, I realized I haven’t done too badly. Allow me, if you would, to recap.

1. Continue to build existing relationships. My very special teammates from my old days at another school are my BFFs. We get together once a month and hang out. They are my favorites nights of the entire month and we laugh so hard we cry.

2. Experience life. I’ve been doing so much better at letting things go and enjoying the moment. I’ve watched and actually enjoyed many soccer games, choir concerts and family events for what they are. We have gone to movies together. Played games together. Taken Buddy to the dog park if not as a family, then as a couple, and enjoyed our time together. Ahhhh.

3. Celebrate special events. Hmmm, other than birthday celebrations we didn’t do anything too special this year. In fact, we didn’t even manage our end-of-the-school-year ice cream social due to my parents being out of town and me breaking my foot.

4. Keep myself healthy with exercise. Well, that all came to a screeching halt as of April 28th when I slipped on a step and broke my foot. I was 1 week out from running my 2nd 1/2 marathon, too! Talk about frustrating!  After gaining weight from surgery and immobility for the summer, I am happy to announce that I am not only back running again, but have signed up for not only the 1/2 marathon in May but the FULL (gulp!) marathon in October.  Nothing like a Back-to-Back Challenge to keep you motivated. Yippee!!

5. Keep myself and the family healthy with proper eating. I have tried many new recipes this year to expand our palates and make our diets healthier. Although some are far from successful, there are others that are absolutely delicious and make their way to our regular dinner menus.

6. Financial obligations. In May my 403(b) was fully paid off, the Honda Odyssey fully paid off in October (10 months early!) and I only owe approximately $300 on my student loans. I’d still like more of a cushion in our savings account and that is what I want to focus on for 2014.

7. House projects. These have been quite plentiful this year! I’ve enjoyed working on the basement, wrote about our upstairs bathroom here, and will be posting shortly on my daughter’s room. Next up, finishing the upstairs bath and working on the downstairs bath. Maybe the kitchen for 2014? We’ll see!

8. Vacations.  Keystone was our vacation place of choice this year, not only in summer once I got my cast off but also in November for a quick weekend and this month, too. The hubby and I are going to discuss our plans for 2014 soon as he’d like to go to Dallas.

9. Volunteering. My treasurer duties with Cub Scouts ended when my youngest son finished Webelos II. I am still a Girl Scout and am currently helping my daughter’s troop with their Silver Award Project. Now that my foot is back to normal, the Humane Society will be back on our calendar, too. Hopefully I can resist the urge to come home with another furry friend!

So now what?

Not to cop-out on what I’ve already done, I really think I’ve got some more work to do on my current goals. They’re manageable, specific (not here but definitely in my calendar/agenda) and timely. I always tell my children to put away their techie gadgets and love the ones they’re withI want to continue to experience life FULLY, not take anything for granted, and love and appreciate the ones I’m with. Enough said, don’t you think?

*******************Happy New Year!****************************

Ice sculptures in Lakeside Village.

Ice sculptures in Lakeside Village.

Crossing on Over

My youngest son, Wesley, joined Cub Scouts when he was in 2nd grade. He hadn’t seemed interested during his first grade year but was VERY excited about joining the following year. His group was relatively small and although there have been some boys that have dropped out, others have joined so his final group of Webelos II was 5 boys, 4 that received awards and officially crossed over to Boy Scouts on Monday evening.

Wesley has participated in day camp for 2 different summers and attended lots of different events to help him earn his many advancements from belt loops to pins. Crossover night he was awarded the Arrow of Light award, the highest achievement a Cub Scout can earn.

Wesley and I listening right before Wesley was presented with his arrow.

Wesley and I listening right before Wesley was presented with his arrow.

Wesley receiving his arrow from an Eagle Boy Scout.

Wesley receiving his arrow from an Eagle Boy Scout.

 

One proud Wesley!

One proud Wesley!

In the past we have watched the Boy Scouts performing a ceremony taking on roles and performing a skit involving Akela and props and then including the boys and their parents, the bridge, and the neckerchief exchange. The night Wesley crossed over they had the Boy Scouts talk about the fun things that they do in scouting and then after the boys had gone over the bridge, switched out their neckerchiefs. I must admit, I was a bit let down. It was nowhere near as neat as the other ceremonies. That’s okay, though, as the purpose is still the same!

The Webelos II -- Waiting for the crossover.

The Webelos II — Waiting for the crossover.

Wesley nearly sprinted across the bridge!

Wesley nearly sprinted across the bridge!

The Boy Scouts finished putting on Wesley's new neckerchief.

The Boy Scouts finished putting on Wesley’s new neckerchief.

The old Webelos II/new Boy Scouts with their Arrow of Light awards. Congrats boys!

The old Webelos II/new Boy Scouts with their Arrow of Light awards. Congrats boys!

Wesley wasn’t sure if he was actually going to continue with Boy Scouts once he completed Cub Scouts. At the moment he’s decided he may go to a couple of meetings to see if it is something that continues to pique his interest. He’s so much into sports that it gets tricky to balance everything! Either way, I’m proud of his accomplishment and finishing out his Cub Scout path. He has lots of good memories, learned wonderful things and made new friends along the way.

Bring it on, 2013!

Image

This picture was a part of the Chocolate Village in the Keystone Lodge.

I usually dread the beginning of a new year. I’m not sure exactly why. Maybe because it’s the end of a year. Maybe it’s because I didn’t feel I had accomplished enough. Regardless, 2012 had it’s share of challenges but I haven’t regretted anything which is definitely a good thing!

2012 Recap:  

  • Girl Scout leader to co-leader and merged with a new troop. Great move for the girls – and me! Letting go of some of my responsibilities was a big deal for me. I also let go of the being a coordinator for Box Tops and labels at the school
  • I’m still the Cub Scout treasurer. Last year, though, as Wesley will be advancing from Webelos II to Boy Scouts in March/April.
  • Moved schools and grade levels from 3rd back to 4th, my 1st building move since having started teaching. Scary, indeed, but love our new administration!
  • Ken took me on an Alaskan cruise to celebrate my 40th birthday and our 20th wedding anniversary in June. Great memories! Several trips to CO, too, not only for the snow but also to escape the KS heat.
  • Celebrated fun birthdays! My daughter officially became a teenager and my youngest son turned 10 – double digits. Where did those years go?!
  • Built some very special friendships that have continued even though we’re now spread all over. I wrote about it here.
  • Taxi driver between soccer practices/games, football practices/games, and cross country meets. Love watching my children participate in activities.
  • Went back to running with few issues with my knee – thank goodness! Ran my first 10-mile Turkey Trot and have continued to run.
  • Lost track of all of the books, magazines, etc. that I’ve read. I LOVE to read! Bonus? Book club!
  • Completed many projects around the house, inside and out.

2013 Plans:

  • Continue to build existing relationships. This isn’t just with my girlfriends but also family and other friends. 
  • Experience life. Even though it bothers me that the house isn’t perfect, laundry isn’t always finished and dust bunnies are in the corners, I need to let it go. Take Buddy to the dog park or for a walk. Enjoy the children’s activities. Plan family activities such as a game night or a movie night at home. Schedule a date night with my husband. Or even better yet, be more spontaneous!
  • Celebrate special events – or not. My oldest son will turn be 16 this year. Say what?! He’ll also be taking a trip abroad with his high school to Spain in May. How cool is that? That’s worth a celebration! Ten years ago we started a new tradition of an ice cream social on the last day of school. Why not start a new tradition or just celebrate being together?
  • Keep myself healthy with exercise. I’m back into running and am planning on running my 2nd 1/2 marathon in May. If all goes well with that race, I’ll run the full marathon (yes – the full 26.2 miles!) in October. I’d like to cross train as well with cycling and weights at the Y. I’ll have to schedule my training in order to accomplish this!
  • Keep myself (and the family!) healthy with proper eating. I don’t do too badly in this area as I haven’t had pop in nearly 3 years. Chocolate and sweets are my downfall as my willpower plummets and my body retaliates. I want to try new recipes but cook healthier on a budget. A challenge I’m sure since I don’t particularly like to cook and I don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen!
  • I always have plans for cutting back on financial obligations (401b plan will be paid off in late May, nearly paid off my Odyssey, looking into loan forgiveness for my student loan which when that goes through my loan will be nearly paid off, and putting more into savings. After all, my oldest son is a sophomore in high school which means he’ll most likely be going to college in a couple of years!
  • Many house projects, starting with kitchen counters, finishing up the basement, deck staining, remodeling the downstairs bathroom and others!  Accomplishing things like this really makes me feel good since I’m a major list-maker and checking things off is exhilarating!
  • A vacation or two? I love Keystone so I’m sure I’ll end up there sometime this year! Nothing else is planned yet, although I’d like to go back to England with the family. Won’t be happening this year as that’ll be REALLY expensive!
  • Volunteer appropriately. I got in over my head in years past as I couldn’t say no. It got better last year when I went to special events only at the Humane Society, co-leader for Girl Scouts, kept up with Cub Scouts, dropped the school Box Top/labels coordinator, and limited blood donations. My children keep me busy enough with their activities without having to pile up all of this as well! Now I don’t feel guilty (or as guilty, I should say!) as I did before.

So, there you have it! I doubt it’s everything but it gives an insight on my thoughts from the past year and the upcoming year. It’s not unlike me to add to  what I’ve already been working on.

Big plans for 2013? Projects, concerns, goals? I’m sure I’m not the only one with a list like this!

to tackle or not to tackle?

I’m sure like any other mother, when I hear of a child being injured in a sport, regardless of their age, my heart pounds with fear. I’ve actually been quite fortunate thus far with my oldest son playing soccer at the Y for a couple of seasons and keeping most of his interest in sports closer to home, like skateboarding in the driveway or in skate parks. This past year he’s been interested in lacrosse and has settled on trying out for the soccer team at his local high school. Continue reading

a night under the lights and stars

Set up on our mattress waiting for the movie to start.

Play ball! Saturday evening we went with our Scout pack and to see the Wichita Wingnuts play baseball.  It was a great game with lots of balls flying out of the park, people watching, great snacks, and even some players getting kicked out by the refs!

Once the game was over, Ken, Taylor and Jocelyn headed home and Wesley and I spent the night on the field. We were surrounded by cots, tents, and blankets spread out all over the outfield. We set up our blow up mattress, Continue reading