Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Goals: A Look Back at My Accomplishments

Wow!  I cannot believe that another year has gone by so fast!  2011 was fantastic.  It's funny how different life can be from one year to the next.  This past year has been full of so many life changing events it's crazy.  So many things happened this year that I never would have even imagined could.  The year started out as expected, but about half way through, everything I thought it would be went straight out the window, and now life is totally different!  So, let's look at what my goals were at the beginning of the year:

#Loose 50 pounds
!Look on the bright side more often
#Read 12 books
!Go to an event where I can wear a fancy dress
#Crochet a blanket
!Earn 3.5 or better GPA
*Get my quote tattoo
#Go to First Friday at least 4 times
#Plan and host a wine party
*Send someone flowers for no reason
*Go to the theater
!Visit IKEA
#Visit New York
#Learn some sign language
#Throw a New Years party
!Create at least one feature post for my blog
!Be a coupon/bargain shopper
!Use my reusable bags
!Become a better homemaker
#Get birthday presents to their recipients on time!
#Learn to make pie crust

Hmmmm....if you consider my goals "as is"  I really did not accomplish mush, but let's take a look at them from a different direction; let's take into consideration the huge change that took place half-way through, and then make a better judgement!

Loose 50 Pounds:
I did not complete this goal.  Several times I lost substantial amounts of weight (20 lbs here 10 lbs there) but today I am exactly where I was at the beginning of the year.  To my credit, I have dealt with several health issues.  I have a really bad back problem that at one point put me on the couch for a month straight.  I also have a severe vitamin D deficiency, the root cause of which is still undiscovered.  Add that to the stress of moving across the country, starting a new job, and buying a new house, and I would like to pretend I have a reason.  This goal is going to carry over to next year.
Look on the Bright Side More Often: 
Success!  My moods have been uplifted.  My energy, although still horrible, is getting better, and my determination is heightened!  I've learned to live by my own words of everything happens for a reason.  I've managed to understand when things don't work out how I want them to, they always work out better than I hoped in the end.
Read 12 Books
I didn't make it to 12.  I read 6 books for pleasure.  Hey, that's half-way, and considering I can't really remember when I read a book for pleasure, that's doing pretty great!  To my credit, I had a lot to do with school during the first part of the year and during the second part of the year, I read a lot of blogs and design websites in order to spend a majority of my extra time decorating our new house.  I will be reading more in the next year.
Go to an Event Where I Can Wear a Fancy Dress
Success!!  We went to our company Christmas party this month where we dressed up all pretty.  I got to wear a beautiful 1920s style flapper dress and pretty glitter shoes.  I did my hair up all fancy with pin-curls and a pretty headpiece.  It was so lovely!  It certainly got a lot of compliments!

Crochet a Blanket
I did not manage to do this one.  I am currently working on a sweater and it is coming along nicely.  I really hope that I can finish it during our Christmas trip home or shortly after so that I can wear it this winter before the weather gets warm again.  To my credit, I did make a dress for my little sister.  I made the dress from scratch and it was gorgeous!  That took a lot of time and effort!
Earn a 3.5 GPA or Higher
Success!!  I got a 3.54 for the first semester of school.  I had to stop going to school this summer though so that I could move to Utah.  I will be going to school again this coming year.  I start in January with online classes.  I'm a little nervous because I already work full time, but I think it will all work out ok.  
Get My Quote Tattoo
To my credit, I couldn't get my tattoo for two reasons.  I don't want to get my tattoo untill I loose weight because it is going on my side and I want it to look pretty.  I also couldn't afford it because we were only scraping by for the first half of the year and then the second half of the year we were getting a new house, a new car, and new jobs.  We had to get our new house furnished and then start buying Christmas presents!  Next year?
Go to First Friday at Least 4 Times
We went one time before we left Tennessee.  It was alright, but it wasn't all that fun.  Because of my school schedule, I almost always had to work on Fridays.  I couldn't afford to take them off either.  Then we left TN and couldn't go to anymore because they didn't have them in Utah, or at least we don't know about them yet!  At least we went once, and at least we had the experience.  It was a nice date night.  
Plan and Host a Wine Party
No wine party, but we did have a few parties that I planned, and there was wine present!  Most of our friends are guys and have no real interest in going to a wine party.  We did have a few dinner parties where I prepared a lovely spread of food and had wine to drink with it.  I'm not sure that constitutes as an actual wine party though.  We also had our housewarming party in November and that was amazing!  We had way too much food, tons of alcohol, and yes, wine!  It was so much fun!  We also hosted a party for my birthday which turned out quite nicely as well.  Next year for sure!

Send Someone Flowers for no Reason
Nope!  I'm not even sure why I didn't accomplish this one.  I did give my mother and my grandmother flowers for Mother's Day, but that's a pretty good reason to give flowers.  I'll have to try this one again next year as well. 
Go to the Theater
Does the movie theater count?  I didn't even attempt this one.  I guess I could have at least tried to find a theater and see what kind of shows they had.  Maybe next year!
Visit IKEA
Success!!!  Times about a bunch!  I did this one time while still living in Tennessee.  There was an IKEA on our way home from Michigan that we stopped at.  It was Mr. Fantastic's first time in there and he was shocked.  It's funny to take someone in there for the first time because they have no idea what to expect.  Now that we live in Utah, there is an IKEA about 20 minutes from our house.  I visit there quite often.  I love IKEA!
Visit New York
Although I need not visit New York, I did visit a lot of other places.  During our move from TN to UT we drove through Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota , South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Colorado. We stopped in Illinois for our layover during the trip back to Michigan and back to TN.  I enjoyed that trip a lot because my little sister joined us for the majority of the trip.  What a blast it was!

Learn Some Sign Language
I did not learn any sign language because my school did not offer that as a foreign language.  They did however offer Italian.  I took a quick course in Italian and enjoyed the language, but it was a tough class because it was such a fast pace.  I guess learning a foreign language can count for something! 
Throw a New Years Party
New Years Eve for us is going to be spent in South Dakota.  We are going to go to Deadwood for the night!  I'm pretty excited.  Since we won't be around our friends that night, we aren't having a New Years party on New Years, but we are having a party on the night of New Years Day!  I kind of think that counts.  We fly back to Utah on New Year's Day and that night are having friends over to celebrate with.  I am looking forward to it!
Create at Least One Feature Post for My Blog
Success!!!  I actually created a couple feature posts for my blog.  I did the Working on Wednesday posts during my first semester in order to show my Graphic Design class projects.  It was fun to look back ans see my progress from week to week.  I also starting participating in the 52 Lists.  52 weeks. project in which we write a list each week determined by Kellie.  Although I have not always stayed up to date with the project, I have gotten all of my lists up to date at this point.  It's going to be fun to print them all and bind them together to look back on later!

Be a Coupon/Bargain Shopper
Success!!  This worked out really well.  I didn't realize how easy this would be.  During the first part of the year, we used a store card and got a lot of discounts with that.  We also used coupons in addition to the store card.  We saved hundreds of dollars!  During the second part of the year, we have not done much with coupons like we should have, but we have used a store card and shopped sales.  We have saved a few hundred dollars on groceries, quite a bit on gas, and hundreds of dollars at Lowes!  It's been really helpful.  next year I will need to get back into coupons. 
Use My Reusable Bags
Some Success!!  I always forget them at home dang it!  However, I have remembered them a few times and every little bit helps the environment.  I have also asked that things not be bagged.  I often times put things in my purse or just carry them without a bag.  I think this counts!
Become a Better Homemaker
Success!!  Back when we were still in TN, I got Mr. Fantastic a dishwasher and I often did the dishes.  I vacuumed more than I used to, and tried to clean at least once a month.  I also helped with laundry a lot more than I used to.  Now that we are in UT, I help with dishes, and laundry.  I clean up the house, and I do A TON of cooking!  I am getting better.  Don't assume that our home is nasty!  One reason that I call him Mr. Fantastic is because he cleans, does laundry, and does dishes. Last year he was the one that did almost all of that, but this year I have helped out way more and I would say he only does about 60% of the work now.  So, I've gotten 40% better.  I'll keep working on this!

Get Birthday Presents to Their Recipients on Time
Some Success!!  Although during the first part of the year I did really awesome with this, I slipped toward the end.  I still have my Uncles from September because it got lost in the move.  My grandma got hers late but only because I sent it with my grandpa's a couple weeks later.  My sister got hers late because the Etsy store took forever to send it to me.  My mother is getting hers late because she can't get it until after she gets the Christmas present that my little sister got her.  My step dad and my other little sister are getting theirs late because they are December babies and are getting theirs hand delivered at Christmas.  I's say that isn't too bad considering past years when everybody got theirs months late!!  Better luck next year!
Learn to Make Pie Crust
I didn't do this, but that's because I did not make any pie!  I made bread, cakes, cheesecakes, and tons of amazing new foods that I had never tried before.  I count this as success because at least I got in the kitchen and tried new things.  I got a brand new mixer for Christmass so I will be in the kithchen even more in the next year.  I can't wait!

Overall, here are my tallies:
Complete Success - 8/21
Successful considering...-10/21
Fail - 3/21
I think that because I only failed completely at 3/21, I will consider it a good year.  These 3 Fails will be carried over to next year because I really believe I can do it this time providing we don't have any more crazy life changing events like we did this past summer.  I'm also going to carry over some other ones because they deserve it!  What a year!
How did you do on your goals for the year?  What goals do you have for the upcoming year? Any suggestions for me?
Well, enjoy your New Year's Eve and have a safe new year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Photoshoot! Beautiful baby girl!!

This little lady was such a pleasure to work with.  She is very photogenic and always loves to smile.  I asked her mum if I could use her baby girl for practice with my new camera and she was quite excited to let me.  The shoot was about 2 hours long which I now know is probably excessive, and I took about 500 pictures.  Later, during editing, I brought that huge number down to 200 total.  That includes all the originals that were good, black and whites, and special edits as well. 

How sweet is she?!  Love to pieces! She is such a doll baby.

Fruit Ninja

We got a Kinect for our Xbox 360 and so far we are loving it!  It is so much fun.  Our favorite game is fruit ninja where you have to chop fruit that appears on the screen.  After a night of playing you can count on waking up the next few days hardly able to move your arms.  It is a total workout, but you don't even know you are working out!  It is great!  We have friends come over just so we can compete at it.  Of course, we look very silly playing it!
crazy arms
get that fruit

lots of concentration

time to get serious and take the shirt off!
guys only

alright, now girls only!

We were not actually trying to swim!
So, now that I hope you have had a good laugh at our silliness, I also hope you have a good last week of the year.  Wow!  I can't believe it is already the last week.  This year flew by!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's Christmas Eve!!!!

 I absolutely love Christmas!  It's one of my favorite holidays ever.  Growing up it used to be huge for us.  That's back when Christmas started the day after Thanksgiving not in August!  Christmas music played throughout our house all the time, and it was fantastic.  We had a special day devoted to Christmas cookie decorating and sledding.  On Christmas Eve we went to church as a whole family and then went to Grandmas for presents and food.  The night went on for hours.  The next morning we waited patiently in our rooms till our parents woke up and then we got to open more presents.  After presents we would call our cousins and talk about our cool new toys before getting all dressed up again and having our hair done to go to my step-mom's parents for even more Christmas.  After that we got to go see our mom for more presents again!  Life was great.  Christmas is still huge for me.  I love it more now than I ever did though now that I have realized that it is more about family than it is about presents.  It's hard though because Mr. Fantastic never knew Christmas like I did.  It's almost just another day for him.  Sometimes it makes me sad.  He doesn't get as excited as I do.  Decorating the tree and putting up the lights on the house isn't as special for him.  It's more of a pain for him.  I wish he knew Christmas as I do.  Each year I try to encourage it, and it's gotten better.  Maybe when we have kids he will finally understand.  So here are pictures of the beautiful tree I decorated by myself and pictures of the puppy in front of it because he thinks its strange to take them of us!

A little blury

So sweet

The fake presents because wee already have our presents
Have I mentioned that I love peacocks?

Like, a lot!

A new ornament I got this year for the tree
And an old one I have had

Love this pretty one
And because we need to remember the true meaning of Christmas

Jingle bells on the door to welcome our guests

And stockings too!
I hope that you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy happy New Year!  Bless each and everyone of you and your lovely families.  I hope your wishes come true!