Today I'd like to share some things I accomplished over the last year. Just to be fair, I never accomplish all that I set out to. But if I do finish or keep up with half of my goals, then that is still more than I would have accomplished with no goals at all.
1. My first full year of parenting. I don't set goals for our daughter, but I do set goals for myself as a parent. There were wins and fails over the last year. I not-so-faithfully tried to do baby sign language. Princess is almost 16 months old, and she uses one of the three signs we worked on. At this point she's almost talking (and as funny as it sounds, I can differentiate between which grunts are "help me, I'm stuck" and which ones are "where's my sippy cup"), so the sign language is pretty pointless. Cloth diapers were a success. Elimination communication was not a success. I got tired of rushing her to the potty for "dry runs", and didn't even save money because we were already using cloth diapers. At this point we're less than a year away from potty training, so again, I feel like EC is a bit pointless for my lifestyle. In other news, I reached a personal goal of breastfeeding her past one year, and we also read through nine volumes of Arthur Maxwell's The Bible Story over the course of nine months. I taught her to drink water from a cup (shot glass) at nine months, but otherwise Montessori weaning didn't really work for us. Like baby sign language and EC, I don't see the point of a parent spending so much time to "teach" a skill that the child will easily learn a little later on. I want to spend my time on activities that will benefit my kid (or let's be honest—myself) in a long term way, not just for a couple of months. Some of my parenting experiments have worked, some haven't, but it has been a very fun (and I would say, successful) ride so far.
Highlights of 2018
3. I kept honeybees for the first time. This one was kind of a failure (read all about it here), but I did learn a lot and get some hands-on experience.
4. I ran a profitable roadside strawberry stand. This took a relentless amount of work—far more than I had imagined—but with some improvements, I hope the workload in 2019 will be lighter.
5. I began bullet journaling. I started doing this in May, and I believe it has been a huge help to my household management. I don't believe I would have finished as many small projects or been able to stick with a good weekly schedule without my bullet journal.
6. I started playing duets with my beginner piano students. After a few years of doing lessons, I can see where I've made mistakes and what areas need improvement. Every month I take some money and try to invest it back into the "business". Usually this takes the form of prizes, but one month I bought a companion book to our beginner book (Teaching Little Fingers to Play). I think playing duets with the kids really helped their timing and also their motivation. I felt more in tune with what they were practicing as well. Sometimes we teachers can get in the habit of passively listening to a student's work, giving it a thumbs up or thumbs down, and then collecting the fee at the end of class. That's not good teaching. I feel like working on duets made me a far better teacher.
I feel like those are some of the bigger long-term accomplishments of last year. Of course, there are always little accomplishments that happen every week or month, that I like to record on the "Frugal Accomplishments This Week" post. For example, I made my very first gingerbread house from scratch this year. I read more books and listened to more audiobooks than I can remember. I grew several new plants in the garden, and one of my orchids rebloomed for the first time ever! These are small things, but to me they can be the highlight of a week or month. Those little things are still worth celebrating and recording, in my opinion.
I hope your 2019 is off to a good start!
Til next time,