Goal 1- Learn to use my digital SLR camera in manual mode This is one goal that I almost let slip through the cracks. In October, I looked back at my goals for the year, and realized that this one might not happen so I found an "Intermediate DSLR" class to take at the local photography shop in mid-November. While I still don't know how to immediately flip to the right settings to get the picture that I want, I at least have an idea of what to try to get a great picture without flash. Plus, in that class I learned more about what lenses to use and when, the best ways to get good head shots, and I learned about some more classes that I can take. I've also been doing lots of online research about poses and settings that make for great shots. I couldn't have taken this class at a better time because just a couple of weeks after my class, my brother had an outdoor evening wedding. Thanks to my new knowledge, I managed to take some really good pictures at the wedding during the ceremony and at the dimly lit indoor reception without using a harsh flash (some of them did use flash, but I learned how to soften the flash). These are a few of my favorites:
Goal 2- Kick butt in the Melbourne Art Festival 5K in April I picked the Melbourne Art Festival 5K as my measuring stick for two reasons: 1. I've done it before and had past times to compare it to and 2. It's one of the most challenging 5Ks that I've done so I knew that if I kicked butt in that one, then I was really in good running shape. I finished the race in 26:20, and my previous best on that course was about 7 years earlier with a time of 27:00. I was extremely happy with my results! (Read more about this race in the 2nd paragraph of this blog post.)
Goal 3- Kick butt in the Sprint-distance Melbourne triathlon in October Because it goes over the LONG causeway bridges both on bike and on foot, I think just finishing this race at all is considered "kicking butt", so I'm going to say this was definitely accomplished! Unlike with my first triathlon in the spring of 2009, I rode a racing bike for this race which was a challenge in itself. I'm still pretty unsteady on it, but during the race I took a nice spill off of my bike into the middle lane of US1. I still have a scar on my elbow, but otherwise, did really well. Of the 3 events, I definitely shined the most in the running part. My 5K run time for the tri was 29:50... this is including about 1.5 miles of uphill running AFTER having swam .25 miles and biking 16 miles! My run time was 212 out of 424 peeps (male & female)! Not too shabby!
Goal 4- Take a vacation with Keith (and JUST Keith) that doesn't involve work, children, or visiting anyone In December, Keith totally planned and took me on a 6th anniversary vacation to Costa Rica. Just us. No kids. No friends. No work. It was everything I had hoped that this trip would provide when I set this goal for 2009! I hope we're able to do something like this every year! In addition to the Costa Rica trip, Keith and I also had childless trips to Amsterdam (with my sister) in the spring and a long weekend in San Francisco (for pleasure, but with his work colleagues). I love to travel with my kids, but traveling without them definitely has it's perks too!
Goal 5- Get back over to Europe! As I mentioned above, in the spring I went to Amsterdam. Keith had a conference there, so my sister (Kelly) and I tagged along as a part of her 30th birthday gift from us, then Kelly and I took a train down to Paris to spend a few days there. (See the blog entries from that trip throughout the month of May.) Although I had already been to both Amsterdam and Paris, I definitely saw a lot more than I saw the first time. I feel like I really got to know both cities.
Goal 6- Become active in a volunteer organization that I enjoy and will allow me to meet new people Around July/August of this year, I learned about a wonderful organization called Nana's House through our church. Nana's House is a start-up local Christian children's home that is totally community funded. The home serves as guardians for children whose parents or legal guardians are unable to care for them (due to financial reasons, criminal reasons, health reasons, etc.). One of the goals for Nana's House is to be able to keep families together. As soon as I attended the orientation to learn more about the organization, I was hooked and knew it was the organization for this goal. I immediately got involved by volunteering to help with fund raisers, manning the information booth at church, attending weekly volunteer meetings, and doing a Christmas fundraiser pamphlet. Through this organization, I feel like I will be making a difference in children's lives (they are still a start up, so the house doesn't have children in it yet, but should within the first few weeks of 2010) and I have met many wonderful people through the volunteer opportunities, meetings, and end of the year socials. I am really looking forward to doing even more with Nana's House in 2010!
Goal 7- Find a church that is perfect for our family As I mentioned above, we do have a church now. In the early summer, we tried out a church that was recommended to us by people who worked on our house. The church is VERY large, which had made us overlook it in the past when we were looking for churches. But because the church was so highly recommended, we decided to give it a chance. The church, Calvary Chapel of Melbourne, is a non-denominational Christian church. They have upbeat music, wonderful ministers, a great children's program, active sports groups, they're involved with the community, and everyone seems so welcoming to people of all races and economic backgrounds. In the late summer, Keith and I attended an orientation for the church to learn more about their history and beliefs and we both really liked it. The kids love their "kids church" classes that they go to and even ask to go! Like any church, it's not perfect and we do have differing opinions on some beliefs, but for the most part we agree and feel like we've found our family's church "home".
Goal 8- Finish this freakin' house addition! DONE! With LOTS of hard work, countless phone calls, many trips to the county building department, writing lots of checks, and learning more than I ever thought I'd know about being a general contractor, architect, and designer, Our Donald Barn renovations are DONE! Architecturally, everything that is needed now is done and in place. Except for the media room, the furniture is all in place. Some of the walls are still bare (despite the boxes and drawers and shelves full of things for the walls), but it's basically all been done since late spring. And we LOVE the results! We loved our house before, but now every room and every feature is just absolutely perfect for our family!
Goal 9- Continue to be the best mom that I can be to Annabelle and Corgan! I hope beyond all hopes that this goal was the most successfully completed goal of any goal that I've ever had! I love doing activities with them, have enjoyed watching Annabelle grow in her gymnastics class, working with Corgan on puzzles, making fun treats for and with the kids to bring in for school, making their birthdays as special as possible, giving them spaces that allow them to express their creativity and learn how to also be organized, encouraging independence, playing outside, exploring modern technology, traveling to new places, meeting new people, and encouraging the development of existing relationships. I love my little kiddies and hope that I am really am the best mom that I can be for them every day!
Goal 10- Figure out a recycling setup that makes it second nature for the whole family to do it This is probably the only goal on my list that I will mark as accomplished, but I kinda feel like I might be cheating by marking it that way. Our "setup" is to pile up the recyclables on the counter top in a certain place. I've at least got Keith putting the recyclables up there a majority of the time, and most of it does actually make it into the recycling bin (sometimes it gets confused for trash and gets put into the trash anyway). I tried having bins set up in the pantry for paper and others, but every time they went down stairs, they ended up not coming back up so that wasn't working. I think with just a little more effort, I can really make this work. So, while we're definitely much better about recycling than we were at this time last year, we still have some work to do to make it "second nature". However, in general, as a family we're definitely more environmentally aware of what we do, so... we're definitely heading in the right direction!
In addition to my 2009 goals, I've managed to accomplish one of my "43 Things" life goals this year... I finished a 5K in less than 26 minutes when I did the Downtown Melbourne 5K just 2 weeks before the Melbourne Art Festival in April. I completed the race in just 25:45! This was a personal record and I one that I hope to beat in 2010!