Saturday, January 12, 2013

Happy New Year!
(An Accounting of 2012)

_DSC0030 family photo web
My family looking forward to the New Year.  Yes, I know you covet the green stove, but don't covet it from me because it isn't mine!  I covet it, too.  Thanks to Tim, our neighbor and friend, for taking our family picture and for having such a cool fireplace.

Obviously, the New Year is a time to reflect upon our goals and resolutions.  Every year I think about my weaknesses, and how I want to improve and set my goals accordingly.  The last few years I have chosen a word of the year, and I have liked how that has worked.

Lighten Up! was my "word" of 2012.  If you say it really fast, it really is one word:  Lightenup!  See?

Anyway.  I tend to be overly serious and critical of myself, so I wanted to first Lighten Up! and be more friendly to myself.  Maybe allow myself to have a little more fun without worrying about all the items on my to-do list and/or the dirty dishes. 

I wanted to lose weight (as I always do, every New Year of my entire life) so Lighten Up! also applied to the number on the scale.

I wanted to see the number on the debt part of our budget Lighten Up!

I wanted to Lighten Up! my mood.  The SAD that gets me in the winter is rough and I really hate it.

I hoped to cut the clutter in my life a bit.  To get organized and Lighten Up! all the stuff.

And most of all, I wanted to learn to say no and to Lighten Up! my dang schedule.

So how did I do?

Okay, I guess.  I am still far too critical of myself.  I still let myself look in the fat mirror far too often.  But, I have made many strides in learning to make peace with who I am, and, more importantly, where I am in my growth.

I did lose weight.  I learned that I needed to eat gluten-free to help my thyroid function better, and I did really well at going to the gym.  Having a friend go with me made a huge difference in getting myself there.  And that particular friend is such a light person, that she helped me overcome some of my seriousness regarding my weight.  And everything else.  Unfortunately, I fell apart during the middle of the year and had some serious issues with my foot and exercise became non-existent.  After a few months I was able to start it up again, but not to the extent I had hoped.  I became a green smoothie addict after receiving a Blend-Tec for my birthday. And, though I was able to maintain my gluten-free diet with no problem (you would be able to do it, too, if when you ate gluten you became as sick as I do!), I won't say that I ate as healthily in December as I had the rest of the year.  So maybe I gained a little weight back, but I'm still at a net loss, so I'm accepting that.

Oh the debt.  I hate it so! We paid more off than we ever have.  But we also began to pay for braces, went on an Epic Vacation, had  our washer and dryer die, and had to replace our water main.  So it didn't go as well as I had hoped.  But it could have been worse, and I am grateful we were able to pay for all of the aforementioned with cash.  And in September I began to use YNAB for budgeting, and I think we may have paid down more debt the last four months of the year than we did the rest of the year combined.  (It also helped that I took on a much larger work load, also beginning in September.)

Did I overcome SAD?  Well, no.  The way I've been feeling the past several weeks is definitely evidence of that.  But I'm always working on it.  I did get a dog this year, and silly as it sounds, Puccini has helped with my depression tendencies more than anything.  Even on the days where I have a really hard time getting out of bed, just having her cuddled up next to me (she doesn't get up until I do) makes me feel better.  I am working on some new natural remedies and am resolved to use my SAD light more often than I do.  I'll get through Black January if it kills me.

I hate clutter almost as much as I hate debt.  If it were up to me, we would not have all this stuff.  Stuff overtakes our lives.  Unfortunately, I live with four other people, and they have stuff and I have stuff and we all have stuff and clutter happens.  I made some great strides this year.  I donated lots of boxes to Goodwill, Consignment, and friends with girls who are younger than Sophia.  My office was very organized--for a while.  Though it is difficult to actually keep it that way, it is now much easier to pull it out of the mess than it used to be.  So that's something.  I have lots of big ideas to get my house more streamlined and clutter-free, but I lack the time to implement them all.  Which brings me to the next point...

I think I finally learned to say noRealizing that saying yes to everything meant saying no to my family, gave me the will to turn things down more easily.  Unfortunately, I have not yet learned how to back out of the things I have already said yes to, so perhaps I will now work on learning to do that graciously.  My schedule is still quite overstuffed, but at least it isn't quite bursting at the seams and I have the courage not to add more to it.

Two other goals I had for 2012 were to participate in Project 365 and read 52 books.  I rocked at Project 365, unless you count posting them.  I diligently took a picture every. single. day. of the year (I may have missed one or two, and I lost one when my iPhone died a terrible death, too.) The pictures I have posted (about half the year) are here.  Maybe it will be one of my 2013 goals to actually finish putting them all up.  I plan to put them in a book, too.  For now, I'm a little relieved that I don't have to take a photo every day.

As far as the books, I ended up reading only 37, but some of them were really long.  I just wish I had more reading time, though if I traded in all of my Facebook time, I probably would have more than enough.  My goal is only 40 this year...a bit more realistic.

Could I have done better in 2012?  Of course.  But I did okay, and I am at peace with that.

And yes!  I have goals (and a word!) for 2013, but I'm afraid this post is already way too long.  And though it may seem that one of my goals might be to blog less, I will try to at least write that post.  Heh.

Lara Neves
Lara Neves

Lara is mom to three daughters—two teens and a tween. She loves to share her parenting and homemaking triumphs and failures here at Overstuffed! She was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2015 and has been fighting it ever since. When she isn't working on her mother of the year award, you can find her reading, singing, or taking photos.


  1. What a year you have had! And look! You survived!

    Here's to a bright 2013 eh?

  2. You had quite the year! You fill your days with such worthwhile things, and I honestly am so impressed. I really look up to you so much!

    That picture of your family is stunning. I just can't believe how big your girls are!

    Happy New Year!

  3. It is true, My second thought from seeing that picture was about that gorgeous stove. First thought, of course, was how big your girls are getting, and how incredibly beautiful they are.
    Lightenup! :) You really are too hard on yourself. Life gets busy and you are amazing with what you do accomplish. You impress me. You are a phenomenal woman!

  4. I have to eat gluten free because of celiac disease, which I acquired, after my mission in Finland. I hope you're finding the help you need for it. If not, I can recommend some sites. I couldn't help but notice and covet the green stove to. It's just too dang cold for me right now and I'm in the Southeast! Pathetic :).

  5. Pretty impressive, I think. My main goal for 2013 is to strengthen my willpower muscle. I heard a talk in church at the end of last year related to this spiritually, but I saw how it could apply to so many aspects of my life.

  6. I absolutely love your "word" of the year from last year- so versatile and perfect. And even though you didn't meet all your goals it sounds like you made good strides in all areas!

  7. Trying to catch up on my blog reading.... I just love your blog. You are so real and inspiring.

    I always try to look at the progress I've made over the year and sometimes I fall short, but I'm still pushing forward.

    Good luck in the new year :)