Happy Winter Thoughts

It’s a cold day outside – granted, practically balmy compared to the -16°F (with ice! and snow!) we had here at my parents’ the last few days, but it is windy – and I am snuggled onto my grandmother’s couch while the family fun goes on next door and the girls rest upstairs in preparation for more fun this evening. I told them “only an hour” almost two hours ago, but they’re so quiet, and the house is so cozy with the furnace roaring, and the thought of crossing the driveway to get back to my parents’ house is so bleak, that I’ve not yet fetched them.

Today Mom watched the kids while Carl and I ran some errands in town. You know you’ve been parents for a while when running errands childless feels like a date. We closed our old bank account, visited Dad at the hardware store, and went to the Co-op and grocery store. When we got back to the house, Mom had helped Joy knit one row in a doll blanket, and helped Gracie make a bead necklace for Aunt Zizzy. We always did fun crafts with Grammie when we would visit her. It’s fantastic to see my kids doing the same with their grandmother.

I’ve been reading Project-Based Homeschooling and getting all sorts of great ideas from it. I need to hurry up and finish it so Carl can read it before I have to return it to the library. I think it was Melissa Wiley I saw recommend it on Twitter. I’m so glad I did!

The US Figure Skating Championships start tomorrow. So does Downton Abbey (though I won’t be watching it until Monday evening, after we’ve returned home). The Bobsled, Skeleton, and Luge races are heating up. We’re moving closer to the Olympics! And, of course, SHERLOCK RETURNS on January 19.

I’m making lists of books I want to read this year. Trying to put more non-fiction on there, since that (to my surprise) is what I loved most out of all my plethora of books I read in the last two years. I keep getting disappointed by most of my fiction reads. (But not Jinx, which Maureen recommended and I promptly bought, devoured, and loved. I’m already planning a re-read so I can really savor it – I was so eager to find out what would happen next that I know I missed a lot of the beauty of the writing itself).

Joy just came downstairs and told me Gracie is asleep, which means I need to go wake her up so she will sleep tonight. Poor little chickadee! All this traveling about to visit family has been wonderfully fun, but exhausting. I have a hunch we’ll all be happy to settle back into a routine when we return home.

May this first weekend of 2014 be full of peace and rest for you all, my friends.

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New Year, New Goals

I don’t really do New Year’s Resolutions. I do like to take each new year to look back, check out last year’s goals, and set some new ones. “Goals,” for me, work better than “resolutions.” Yes, semantics, but hey, whatever works.

One goal for the new year involves this blog. I’m changing things up a little here. It’s not going to be so exclusively writing-related. My favorite writer blogs these days are the ones where the writer talks about all the different things happening in his or her life, not just writing stuff. So, since that’s what I like to read, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m not turning this into a personal journal, but I will broaden my outlook. Homeschooling, thoughts on various shows I watch, book reviews, recipes I really love, ideas I passionately engage with, quotes that inspire me … it’ll be much more of a hodgepodge. But hopefully a fun one. And yes, I will still write about writing too.

Speaking of books … I have an odd book-related goal for 2014. My goal is to read fewer books. Bizarre, right? Except not, for me. I read approximately 200 books in 2013. Around 130-150 of those were books I’d never read before. Of that number, I remember about a dozen. Of that dozen, I loved maybe five.

So, my goal is to read less, but retain better and love more what I read. If I start to read a book and really don’t care for it after a bit, I’ll stop. I won’t force myself to finish just because it feels like quitting to, well, quit. I will try not to plow through so many books so quickly that they all blur together after a bit, but to actually savor them. And I’m going to try to read longer, more thoughtful books as well as the fun, light, easy reads I gravitate toward so naturally.

Writing goals? Well, that’s easy. Finish Wings of Song and start Magic in Disguise. Figure out a better marketing plan. Write for at least 30 minutes every day.

I want to sew more, to improve my skills as well as my speed, so that a supposedly one-hour project doesn’t take me one month, and will actually look tailored instead of homemade at the end.

And, in general, I want to eat better, exercise more (at all, really. Since moving and not taking ice dance lessons anymore, I’ve fallen into very slothful habits), engage with people more. In real life, not just through the internet. Be less boring. Have more fun! Stress less, always.

I know the goals will shift and change as the year progresses. They always do. But this is where I’m at right now, at the start of 2014.

What are your goals or resolutions for the new year?