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A new era

 Mike and me in 2000 Ten years ago…

Last night marked the end of an eventful decade in my life. Mike and I got engaged, got married, collected six college degrees and many more thousands of dollars of student loans, and lived in two states and three countries. We organized fundraisers for cancer research and watched helplessly as loved ones died, too young, of the same disease – frustrated by the amount of research still needed and in awe of their courage. We taught high school and college, presented research at conferences. And in 2006 our lives changed forever, when the much-awaited arrival of baby Emma led me to trade my growing resume for the one job I had hardly dared to hope for. Two more children later, we love our quiet life in Massachusetts and may stay here forever. But maybe we’ll try out life on a tiny tropical island for a couple of years. Not in 2010, but doesn’t that sound exciting?

For 2010, I’m identifying areas I want to work on for the year. I’ll set goals within some or all of these areas for each month. The different areas are:

  • Health: Helping my family eat well and get the exercise we all need to be happy.
  • Peace: Limiting conflicts, disagreements, and meltdowns – and managing them well when they do occur.
  • Education: Identifying my children’s interests and using these interests to teach them. Challenging myself to learn new things too, and to use the talents I already have.
  • Gratitude: Teaching my children (and myself) to appreciate what we have rather than focusing on what we want.
  • Charity: Loving, sharing, and giving to others.

Specific goals for January:

  • Have dinner for the kids at the same time every night. I’ve been trying to have dinner when Mike gets home with a snack for the kids earlier, but Johnny in particular eats better when dinner is at 5pm. We’ll still sit at the table with Mike when he gets home, and the kids can eat a second dinner then if they want to. I’m hoping this will also help limit meltdowns from both Johnny and Emma. Target areas: health and peace.
  • Let Emma try to learn to read. She’s been asking for a while, she has been able to read a few words for a while, and her recent mischievous behavior indicates that she is ready for a new challenge. She LOVES the “learn to read” section of Starfall.com, and I’ve printed out a few pages from Progressive Phonics for her to try as well after reading about their use over at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns. Target areas: education and peace.
  • Put together at least three boxes of items to give away in January. Target areas: gratitude and charity.
  • Help Emma and Johnny develop their “play gently with the baby” skills. Any recommendations in this area are most welcome. They love their sister, but sometimes too much. And both kids (but especially Johnny) have occasional jealousy issues. Target areas: charity and peace.

MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

14 thoughts on “A new era”

  1. Hi MaryAnne — not sure how I missed this post. thanks for pointing me back to it!!

    and while I love having the three words (or five in your case) as my “big picture”, I do want to also follow your excellent lead of writing down specific, measurable, etc goals along the way.
    .-= Karin @ madebyk´s last blog ..three words for 2010 =-.

  2. Great goals. I need to map some out for myself. I love how you track yours on your blog; I could use some accountability like that. Let me know if you come across any ideas for “playing nicely with the baby.” We definitely need some work on that in our house. :) My kids love their baby sister SO MUCH, which results in a fair number of tears on her part.

  3. You do such a nice job of clearly outlining what you want to do and where you want to go! I can tell you’ve put a lot of contemplative thought into this. I personally love Starfall, and I will have to look into Progressive Phonics.
    .-= Katie´s last blog ..Snow Much Fun =-.

  4. Thanks for mentioning Progressive Phonics. I had not heard of them, but went to the site today. My daughter was so proud that she could read several of the words on book one! I’m going to print the activity pages for tomorrow.
    .-= Jenny´s last blog ..A New Year! =-.

  5. Jenn @ Beautiful Calling

    Oh, with the chilly weather lately, a tropical island doesn’t sound too bad for 2010.
    Your goals sound great and completely attainable! I think it is pretty neat to designate “target areas”
    Thanks for joining in!
    .-= Jenn @ Beautiful Calling´s last blog ..TUT: Being Intentional! 2010 Goals (Link Up!) =-.

  6. I’m with you on the tropical island ;)
    As for playing gently – we’re still working on that one. It’s only taken us 20 months… haha.
    Good luck with your goals.
    .-= Beth´s last blog ..fulfill =-.

  7. Love the picture in this post – it made me think what a great decade it has been for me as well. Your goals seem very achievable – I wish you best of luck in getting January goals on their way.
    .-= Natalie´s last blog ..The School Corner – January 1, 2010 =-.

  8. Elisa | blissfulE

    Oh oh! Pick a tropical island near us!! :)

    Your goals always sound so great. I really need to start doing this too. Maybe that should be my first goal… :P

    Wish I had some good ideas about playing gently. My kids are pretty good about it, but there are still instances where I look over to see both kids climbing on top of Vi. What??! We talk about it and I use the word ‘gentle’ with the sign language (at least I think it is – we use a stroking motion as you would stroke a cat). I also am strict about their being gentle with the doll we call “Baby” since we practically treat her as a person. We are always gentle with Baby, just as an attempt to eliminate confusion.
    .-= Elisa | blissfulE´s last blog ..Vi is like a box of chocolates =-.

  9. Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog

    I’m about to come up with my list of goals today as well. I love how you took the first set of goals and then turned them into things that are measurable for this month. Best of luck and Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family!!
    .-= Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog´s last blog ..Happy New Year!! — Jingle Bell Noisemaker Bracelet =-.

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