Happy…. New Year???

For myself and many parents out there the New Year is not about a ball dropping in Times Square nor is it about  celebrating the end of a calendar year. No, my new year is the start of the school year.  When the kids go back to school and we go back to routines, sports, playdates, and only sleeping in on the weekends.  We lose some of the

spontaneity that summertime brings along with long, hot sunny days.

However now that both of the boys are in school full time, I’ve recognized that for me the new  school year does have some similaries to the one we celebrate on Dec 31.  This is because for me it is about a fresh start.  It is a time for me to reflect on how the last school year went both academically and socially for the kids and also is a time for me to reflect on where I am in my life.  It’s a time to reassess work, social and life changes.  It’s a time to look forward to the new year and define what challenges I see ahead of me and come up with a plan of attack. With the school year starting in mere days I have already begun this process of looking forward and not because the kids are making me crazy (although that is true too) but because I find it cathartic.

So here is where I am on my challenges and resolutions for the academic 2011-2012 year …

1.  I will go to the gym at least 3x per week.  I did this for most of last year but slacked off when I started taking Spanish in the mornings 2x a week and overscheduling my social calendar.  This is important to my emotional and physical health and I need to commit to it.  I did start off this AM with a short run (just over a mile before my knee began to hurt after 2 months of non usage).  In conjunction with this, I’m also going to try to each healthier (just watched Food Inc and Super Size me and it wasn’t pretty…) though I did just put in a batch of cookies in the oven.  I’ll start that part tomorrow 🙂

2.  I will practice my Spanish.  I will take another class but likely not til after the new year.  So until then I will go back to my trusty Rosetta Stone (which does really work when you commit to it) at least 3 times a week for 45 mins to an hour (without falling asleep!).  We still have over 22 months left – just over half – and I still have a long way to go!

3.  Work more.  Last year was the first time in over 6 years that I had the full week to myself and did not have to work around the kids’ schedules during the day and no one was home with my part time.  A freedom that I most definitely abused by over filling my social calendar and working when I could find the time.  This year I need to reverse that and socialize (yes it is important to do that too) around my work calendar.  I’d like to actually grow this business but it takes time and commitment and I need to give it that.

4.  Work less with the kids around.  Yes a bit contradicting to the one above but the kids get home at 5 and go to bed at 7:30.  In the past I’ve had problems staying away from my laptop during those 2 1/2 hrs when no one is dying at work in that timeframe and can probably do just fine if I get back to them at 8 which is still 2PM their time.  One of the reasons we have chosen for me to work from home is so I could also be here for the kids so while I’ve always had a tough time with this one, I really need to make an effort to put them first during those few hrs of the day when they are here.

5.  Since I’m hoping to do more work there may not be as much time for socializing but I still want to maintain my friendships here and see everyone so I’m hoping to reinstate my girls night once a week deal.  I started off with it when I first arrived and as time passed it has slowly fallen to the wayside.  But no more!!

6.  I will not let my Spanish prevent me from doing this.  Yes, I’ve said this one before but I’m more confident now.  It took me a year to sign Aidan up for tennis (which we will do again this year, and Liam as well).  I will not let my lack of fluency prevent me from doing things I want to do.  What those things are yet I’m not sure but my Spanish won’t stop me!!

7.  I will schedule more time with the kids’ friends for playdates.  Yes, this seems simple but when you live in the city, have no car and most of your kids’ friends live outside the city, oh and they don’t get home from school til 5, this can often be a challenge.  I can count on one hand how many playdates each of the kids had last year.  Yes, this meant more family time on the weekends, but it also made for kids who ached for friends to play with on a more regular basis.  I will put more concerted effort into doing this!

8.  I will argue less with the kids.  When I overschedule I stress.  I don’t overschedule as much here but I still find myself yelling for pretty much no reason.  I will do better about this and make a big effort to mellow out.  Yes, a big challenge for this right brain, anal, person, but I will try.

9.  I will start to plan for more travel.  Since we are almost halfway to our time being up here, I need to make a list and start making some plans for our remaining time.  I know that this year we already have at least 2 trips to the States, one to Minnesota for my brother’s wedding and we’ll go home likely in August.  Josh and I are also hoping to go to Oktoberfest next Sept (but that’s technically the NEXT school year so I guess that doesn’t count).  Also on my potential list for this year is Switzerland, Austria, northern France, Gibralter, Belgium, England and perhaps Germany (though may just wait til we go to Oktoberfest for that one) as well as more in country travel.  In almost 2 years we have only been to Costa Brava, Valencia and to Port Aventura (near Tarragona) so suffice it to say we need to do more in Spain!

Finally… #10.  I will stay in touch with friends from home more. I opened my Skype for the first time in months today and that’s only to prepare for a potential call. I have not skyped with any friends or family in months and while I do email and facebook with them, it’s not the same as having a face to face conversation when you are so far away. In addition, I will make sure the kids do the same though since they are only free on weekends (because of the time change) we will have to schedule accordingly and I will try to do it more often.

So we’ll see how far I get on these but I’m starting with an open mind and am going to commit to making this work for a productive, happy and healthy new year 🙂

Julie

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