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Yearly Goals: Looking Back and Forward

03/07/2012

A couple of years ago Jason and I took a tip from some successful friends and started writing down goals and a game plan for the coming year. These aren’t the dreaded “New Years Resolutions” and I’m purposely waiting until the second week of January to write this blog post. It’s not about what day we start; it’s about making a plan for the year. In fact, we haven’t written our goals for 2012 yet—though we both have a bunch floating around in our heads. We’ve used this tiny notebook to record our goals for the past 3 years:

Some of our goals are on a personal level, some are career related, some are for our family and home, some financial, and some are big picture goals.

We didn’t hit all of our goals for 2011 and that’s OK. We set a lofty income target and we didn’t quite make it, but we did see a significant leap. We’ll try for that goal again in 2012. We had goals to finish some home projects like put a shade roof on the pergola and build a privacy fence around the patio and garden, which were completed. Others, like replace the plumbing mainline to the street, we decided to forego.

We had written a goal to start saving for our next vehicle. We ended up buying the Silver Bullet in cash. Yay!

We had planned to save up money for an adoption or for medical expenses if we had a baby. We ended up draining all of that money preparing our home to become foster parents. That works, too!

We had intended to save, save, save for our future (kids, vehicle, retirement) in 2011 but we ended up just saving a little (see above two points).

My favorite goal of 2011 was “Take more risks.” At the time, that was a big picture goal. We didn’t have anything specific in mind when the calendar page flipped over to 2011. Turns out we became foster parents, which was a pretty huge risk. We also bought a piece of land and put our beloved MCM ranch on the market with plans to build our dream house in 2012 with rooms for more kids.

It’s fun to look back at how much life has changed in one year. 2011 was a challenging, stretching, overall good year.

Here are a few of our (not too personal and/or financial) 2012 goals:

• finish new home build

• move in and get settled

• finalize Precious’ adoption

• specific goals for our retirement savings

• save up cash for a new vehicle to replace our 10-year old Ford Focus

• reopen our home as foster parents

• release Jason’s first solo album, Acoustic Lullabies

 

• specific marketing and distribution goals for Acoustic Lullabies

• get debt-free (but the house)

 

• specific home related financial goal

• specific income target

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Christmas 2011

01/05/2012

It was by far the best Christmas ever, thanks to a sweet little someone. Precious was equally interested in the gift wrappings and the goodies inside. (My kind of girl!) She curiously watched as we opened presents and even helped a little. My family has a tradition of having homemade Swedish meatballs for dinner on Christmas eve. The were delicious, as always. After that, we decided to just go for it and open all the presents from and for my parents, and from my siblings. My parents have a tradition of giving us an ornament every year. This year Precious got a customized baby’s first Christmas ornament.

We all got adequately spoiled. Jason and I are particularly enjoying our new Keurig. (This one, if you’re in the market for one.)

Precious got a bunch of new clothes—much needed since she’s quickly growing out of 6 month size already—and some new toys and books. She got this pretty shirt from Uncle Aaron and Aunt Laura.

And this really cool crinkly, textured book from Uncle Jeff and Aunt Jess and cousin Iris.

Christmas morning at our house was very laid back. I was the first one awake at 9:30. Even Lucy slept in! I tried to wake Precious first, without success, then Jason who told me to go back to sleep—it wasn’t time yet. At 10:00 Precious started stirring so I got her up and dressed and together we woke Daddy. She waited patiently by the tree while we got the Keurig fired up with some fresh coffee.

In her stocking, Precious had a new headband and three pairs of socks.

I decided to adopt a tradition from Design Mom to just give our kids three gifts for Christmas: something to wear, something to read and something to play with. This year for Precious that meant leg warmers, a book with textures and a crinkle-rattle-mirror-teether toy. She’s been enjoying all three.

Jason and I kept it simple for each other too, with a budget of $35 for each other. (Not including stocking stuffers.) I took some pictures but decided not to post the sleepy-eyed, pre-shower Christmas morning pics. I gave Jason a pair of hand weights and a new shirt. He gave me a new hat, a strawberry corer and  a Joie Piggy Wiggy bacon tray. I’m pretty ecstatic about the bacon cooker, which was on my wish list. I like to make bacon for breakfast on occasion and I hate the greasy mess it makes. This thing is amazing! The grease drips and splatters off the bacon is is contained inside the Piggy Wiggy, where it can be drained. I highly recommend this thing if you ever cook bacon. Moving on…

We went over to my parents for lunch where we were joined by Jason’s parents, my bro- and sis-in-law Dan and Ginger, my niece Eliza, Ginger’s dad Jim and our friend Jeremy. It was a nice group. We ate a TON of wonderful foods, did a silly white elephant gift exchange for the adults, real gift exchange for the kids and relaxed the rest of the day. Jason’s parents also had a boat load of gifts for Precious including new books and toys. I’m really glad we started the tradition of just 3 gifts for our kids because the grandparents and aunts and uncles are all very generous too!

Precious with cousin Eliza

Dad and Jason (sporting his new shirt from me)

Moms

And finally, one last snap of the pretty Shiny Brite ornaments before they get packed away…


2011 Annual Goals

01/05/2011

On December 30th, Jason and I were driving to Branson for a weekend getaway. (Actually, J was working: playing for Guy Penrod; but to me, it was a mini vacation!) Eight hours in the car gave us plenty of time to reflect on 2010, our goals met and unmet; and to dream and plan for 2011. Instead of starting out with a list of home projects like last year, we decided to start with a list of financial goals. In 2010 we filtered most of our nonessential income toward home projects and saved what we could. In 2011, we plan to filter a lot of our nonessential income into savings and investments, and keep a lower, specific amount set aside each month for home projects and repairs.

Our financial goals include a target annual income, retirement savings milestones, general savings targets, getting both of our old cars in good working condition and saving a certain amount toward new replacements and saving for a vacation.

We did, of course, make a list of projects for our home for 2011:

– fence around garden – carried over from 2010’s list

– pergola roof – carried over from 2010’s list

– replace the galvanized steel plumbing pipe from the house to the street (to improve our water pressure)

– get gas run into our house (if the gas company will do it), get a gas range and fireplace

– get 3-5 more fruit trees for our back yard (we’re leaning toward pear, date, cherry … any suggestions?)

– build 1 or 2 more 4′ x 8′ garden beds for vegetables and strawberries

And then, I decided we needed to make another list for big picture goals. Things like:

– read more books

– take more risks

– give more money away

– smile more and make it authentic

What about you? Do you make goals for the year? Resolutions? Do you write them down or just make 1 or 2 decisions that are easy to remember? I’m curious to hear what others do. If you have any great ideas or special goals/resolutions, please share!

Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!