Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Goals for 2009

I don't really do the whole New Year's resolution thing. Never have really. I've always thought it kind of silly to set aside an arbitrary time once a year to evaluate your life. To me, that should be an ongoing process, and it irks me to see a huge focus on evaluating/goal-setting around January 1 and little to no focus on those things for the rest of the year.

That said, I've had a lot of time to think lately (being so sick that you're bedridden for several days will do that to you - bleh!), so one of my regular evaluating/goal-setting times has coincided with the start of the new year. Here goes (with random pictures throughout because, well, I like pictures!) ...

1. Cherish my friends.
Not just in my mind or with words, but in action. Little things like remembering to send birthday cards and being intentional about hanging out. I'm so blessed with sweet friends, and I don't want to ignore those blessings. This year, with all my health struggles, I've become more acutely aware of how much I love and need my friends

Us with our dear friends Hannah and Will at their wedding in March 2007

2. Take back the house from Lee (as much as possible).
My darling husband has taken over a lot of domestic duties since I got sick with my thyroid stuff, and I've realized lately that I typically have the time and energy to take some of that back. I just don't often because now it's become habit for Lee to do things that I used to do (and, to be honest, that I'd prefer to do, since I'm particular about weird things like the clothes hanging in the closet being organized by my completely reasonable system that Jenelle thinks is totally nutty!). Plus Lee has ignored tasks that matter to him, like finishing the entertainment cabinet that he started more than a year ago, to do laundry and dishes and whatnot, and I'd love to show my gratitude for all he's done by letting him do some of his stuff again.

My beloved girl and my beloved robot (Klepto the Roomba) in January 2007

3. Give birth to our little boy and adjust from having one kiddo to two!
An obvious one!

Me with Jocelyn shortly after I gave birth (note: yes, I am one of those women whose face swells up bigtime at the end of pregnancy, and yes, I do look tired since this was taken after about 19 hours of labor)

4. Be active.
It's easy to use health circumstances as an excuse for being a bum, but it's actually better for rheumatoid arthritis to be active and move the affected joints than it is to rest them. That's why, even when I'm in major pain, you'll very rarely see me wearing a wrap or brace on any of my joints, because immobilizing them might make them feel good for a little bit but only at the cost of more severe pain later.

Doing a little hiking in Sedona while Lee and I were dating

5. Do the stuff I like to do.
I'm bad about ignoring hobbies and activities I enjoy because they're not productive or they don't help me cross off an item on my to-do list. For Christmas, I got Photoshop Elements (to do some serious digital scrapbooking) and a new sewing machine and a new serger (because my old ones are struggling and are WAY too hard for me to thread easily, even on a good day). I have books on my shelf, including some news ones from Christmas, that I haven't read. I've been inconsistent at best at my efforts to pick up playing piano again, and my guitar ... um ... well, let's just say that I don't think it has left the closet this year. I have tons of crafty materials (for stamping, painting, old-school scrapbooking, etc.) that have sat mostly untouched since I became a mom. I'm not going to set lofty goals to churn out __ scrapbook pages, master __ chords on the guitar, learn __ new songs on the piano, create __ new sewing/stamping/craft projects, or read __ new books ... just simply to do things that I love to do and not get caught up in whether or not those activities are productive enough.

Jocelyn and I playing piano

6. Get Jocelyn potty-trained.
We started potty training last week since Jocelyn was showing some readiness signs, and then the plague of 2008 hit me hard, so we took a break. I'll probably make an entire post, complete with pics I haven't yet downloaded, about it soon, but I think - even though we had a promising start - that we may have jumped the gun, and I think we'll be waiting until sometime after Robbie arrives to start again. (While we're at it, I'd like to get the cats better trained in this area too! Since Wheeler had a UTI last month, the cats have been competing in marking a couple of areas. I'm strategizing right now to solve this, and the cats won't know what hit them in a few weeks!)

My homegirl in a Texas hat and her daddy's shoes

7. Be real.
I know this could be interpreted a lot of ways, so I'll do my best to explain what I mean. I believe that God has a purpose for my health struggles, and I don't want to hide them. I struggled with whether or not to include anything about my health in our annual Christmas letter (which went out today, so we're prolonging the celebration!), because most letters are a lot of smiles and cheers and warm fuzzies. Then, once I determined that the letter just couldn't truly capture what God's done in our lives this year without the health stuff, I struggled with how to explain it all. God is good, and He provided the words, but it was tough. It's often awkward to share the hope we have in Christ with others because I don't know how to bring it up; since I was diagnosed, people start asking questions out of curiosity, and it provides an easy way for me to say, "Actually, this has been a blessing because we've grown closer to God through it."

Not really related, but a cute sleeping pic of Jocelyn from our TX trip

8. Read through the entire Bible this year.
I've broken my new Chronological Bible into daily segments to get me through 2009, and I've already started, so I'm ahead of the game.

Once again, not related ... just an unhappy (but cute!) Jocelyn!

9. Be more intentional about my prayer life.
Particularly about praying for Lee, Jocelyn, Robbie, and future children.

Our family photo from the annual Sunday school class Christmas party

10. Start renovating the third floor.
Our attic will be two bedrooms and a bathroom (with a little storage space left) by the time we're done. We've been talking about this project since we saw our house, and we're starting this year!

Looking forward to having pictures like this while working on the third floor and holding Robbie

So what are you resolving for 2009?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Repurposing old junk ...

When my roomie Niki and I were moving into our house in Texas, we pooled our money to buy the essential larger pieces of furniture. However, after we bought the couch (at the ever sketchy but always fun Willie's Warehouse), the dining room set (on the side of road between our town and another town), and the coffee table and side tables (at Ikea before we left our training in Houston), we had almost no money and about a month before we'd receive our first paycheck. So we bought some cheap Kmart furniture that could be assembled a variety of different ways and consisted of black particle board and silver plastic poles that screwed together in the holes in the black pieces. Surprisingly, these cheap pieces have lasted well through the years as TV stands (in several different configurations), bedside tables, side tables, bookcases, and storage shelves. However, due to some rearranging to make way for new furniture that my grandmother gave us and to turn the office into office/nursery, I had these black boards and silver poles with, for the first time since Niki and I bought them, no purpose...

And then I remembered that I had been trying to figure out what I wanted to do/buy/make (okay, have Lee make, since he's the carpenter in this house!) to organize Jocelyn's toys, especially since the changing table - which has a couple shelves for toys - would be moving out of her room to the office/nursery ... and now the story turns from words to pictures and captions ...

The closest thing to a before shot that I have - sorry! On the right side of the screen, you can see the TV stand. (And, no, we did not have two identical couches. Which leads to the next obvious question, to which I answer, "yes, that is a doorway that previous owners of my first Texas house closed off on one side and then thought, 'hmm, what should we do with the other side? oh, I've got it! let's leave it framed like a doorway and just put a mirror where the door would be so that you always feel like you're looking into an alternate reality that just through the doorway ...'" I miss that house and its oddities!)

The two pictures from Jocelyn's big girl bedding that inspired the new design ...

Since the walls of Jocelyn's room are already purple like the wings on the first fairy and even though I would have preferred to go with the teal rather than pink for the shelves since the bedding is already very pink, I went with Jocelyn's favorite color - yep, pink! - with yellow gingham accents. I decided to try my hand at spray painting for the first time ever, and I must say that I'm satisfied with the results ...

First, a progress shot (yes, we need to rake) ...

From December 2008

And, drumroll please, the results ...

Her room isn't completely revamped from nursery to big girl room yet, but it's closer! (And, yes, since our big girl likes to climb, the shelves are securely fastened to the walls so they'll be safe if - okay, when - she attempts to summit them.) I'll be posting more pics once I:

  • put the second window valance up.
  • finish and hang the small paintings of shapes that I'm working on for above each headboard (which have the same pink background and will be hung with the same yellow ribbon to tie it all together).
  • hang the mirror that matches her beds.
  • move the two large pictures/paintings from their old homes when the room was a nursery to their new spots now (including the flower picture that you can see in one of the pictures above).
  • touch-up the paint on the walls, including painting over the verses (Genesis 6:22 in both English and Spanish) and small mural that I had on the wall around the wooden Noah's ark that Lee's dad made (which matches the nursery decor and thus has been moved to the office/nursery).
  • take down the blanket hanging on the wall that is part of the crib bedding set ... once again, to move into the office/nursery.
Oh, and this project (plus being in Texas until a week and a half ago) is why none of our Christmas trees are up yet and why our house is only partially decorated for the holidays! :) But, keeping with the Saunders family tradition, we always keep our decorations up until Epiphany (January 6th), so putting up the decorations this weekend still gives us three and a half weeks to enjoy them! (Probably longer than that since, also keeping in Saunders family tradition, following the rule that you can't take any decorations down until January 6th usually means that the decorations stay up long enough that you're considering just hanging hearts on the tree to celebrate Valentine's Day instead of taking it down since it's been up so long ...)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Jocelyn's disappointment....

Today we went to the OB's office for a regular check-up to see how Robbie is doing. (In short, all is well, though we're waiting on the blood test for Fifth Disease, which is a childhood bug that's not so bad for kids but not so great for pregnant ladies that I was exposed to recently, and my iron levels are getting lower - not anemic right now, but please pray that they don't drop any lower since they're borderline! Also, my arthritis is doing okay right now and mostly under control.) Jocelyn was perfectly behaved through all the lab stuff and the wait to go into the examination room. However, once we got to the exam room, she was bored and asked to leave after reading a couple of books. I told her, "No, sweetheart, we can't leave until we see the doctor." After I said this, she immediately perked up and started saying "woof, woof" over and over again. You see, she just paid attention to the first syllable, hearing (choosing to hear?) DOG-ter. She was looking forward to seeing a dog!

When the doctor came in about two minutes later, Jocelyn scowled as soon as she realized that there was no dog in sight. (I did explain the situation to the doctor so she wouldn't be offended by Jocelyn's glares!) Then she threw a huge tantrum as we were leaving, yelling, "woof, woof!" and frantically looking around, trying to find a dog anywhere in the office. As much as I tried to explain the difference between doctors and dogs, Jocelyn just wanted a dog!

Thankfully, even in the midst of the tantrum, I could see the humor in the situation, so it wasn't frustrating! Well, not very frustrating at least ...