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A Check in the Box

Yes.  It’s been a while since I last wrote, and for that I am truly sorry.  There are a zillion reasons as to why that is the case, but it’s enough to say that the writing thing just hasn’t happened.  Until today.  (Whoo-hoo?)

At the beginning of this year, I posted my non-resolutions for 2014.  My brain loves checklists…not so much the list part of it, but being able to put a check in a box and say, “Boom! All done!”  This weekend, I was able to put a big, fat check into a few boxes…and I feel that it totally merits an update post.  Which, if you were unclear at all, this is.

  1. Non-resolution 1: Get an A in my ARTS 351 class.  Check!  After much blood, sweat and tears, this was a check.  Seriously.  This was supposed to be my “fun” class.  It was probably one of the two least enjoyable classes I’ve ever taken in my life, missing the absolute bottom by the virtue of it not being a Java programming class.  I learned a lot, and really developed my portraiture technique a lot.  People are not my strong point, and I’m feeling much more confident in that department after this class.  There was some good work that came out of it, but between technical issues on Blackboard, and a whole lot of professor issues, it was just not much fun at all.  Oh, well.  It’s over.  Thank goodness.
    An expressive painting of Baby. Copyright 2014.  Images may not be used without written  permission from the artist.  All rights reserved.

    An expressive painting of Baby. Copyright 2014. Images may not be used without written permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

    My final undergraduate project...ever: an expressive painting of my sweet Toddler.

    My final undergraduate project…ever: an expressive painting of my sweet Toddler. Copyright 2014. Images may not be used without written permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

  2. Non-resolution 2: Graduate Magna Cum Laude on 10 May 2014.  Done and done.  Whoo-hoo!  Being an online student, I’ve never actually been to campus until this past weekend.  Although it was a stressful and crazy busy weekend, I am so happy that I actually got to participate in Commencement and got to walk across the stage to get handed my fake diploma.  My real one came in the mail on 05 April 2014…the same day I got my cap, gown and hood.   But, being finished really didn’t feel real until Friday, when I got to my school and received my reader card and my honors/veteran/senior project cords.  And the most real moment of all was when I walked into the stadium.
    Walking into the stadium for Commencement.

    Walking into the stadium for Commencement.

    All decked in my graduation regalia.

    All decked out in my graduation regalia.

    My cute little family and best friend in the stands.

    My cute little family and best friend in the stands.

    Holy potatoes.  That was, in the words of Anne of Green Gables, an epoch moment in my life.  And then I found my husband, kiddies and best friend in the stand, which made it even better.  (My parents, grandmother, best friend’s parents, three brothers, one sister, one brother-in-law, and my baby nephew were on the grass at the back of the stadium, but I didn’t know that till later.)  It totally validated the nearly fourteen years work it took to complete the degree and made me start itching to start my Master’s degree right away.  Which isn’t going to happen because…

  3. Surprise: We have a new baby coming late September/early October.  At this point, I have no idea who’s cooking away in there, but hopefully, we’ll find out tomorrow.   With three boys in the family already, what do you think the odds are of this one being a girl?  Make your pick!  Results of the poll and the ultrasound will be out tomorrow.  (Eek!!)



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Non-Resolutions for 2014

My mom used to repeatedly remind me that “Patience is a virtue,” to which I would repeatedly reply that “Impatience is a virtue, too.”  I didn’t mean to be disrespectful, although upon reflection, I can see that it might have sounded that way.  It just seemed (still seems) to me that if everyone was patient and waited for things to happen all the time, than nothing will ever happen.  For example, as a sailor, I could wait for the deck to strip and wax itself, but since the likelihood of that happening is slim to none and the lack of completion posed a very serious risk to my liberty (and the rest of my division’s liberty as well), it behooved me to take action and “git ‘r’ done,” so to speak.

In 2013, I decided to set goals rather than to make resolutions.  I know.  Semantics, right?  I think that the reason that goals resonate with me whereas resolutions do not is that action is at the heart of a goal.  Resolutions sound great, but more often than not, they are just words that sound great. Goals have quantifiable outcomes, which makes it much easier to determine whether they have been met (or not).  It worked, though.  I definitely had more success than failure this last year.  Bearing that in mind, here are my primary goals for 2014:

  1. Get an A in my ART 351 (Digital Imaging) class.  I am actually looking forward to this class for a number of reasons.  The first is that, obviously, it is a digital art class.  Totally awesome.  The second is that this class is my last undergraduate class.  Ever.  That I am able to say that makes me nearly weep with happiness.  It has been nearly 14 years since I started working on my bachelor’s degree.  As a goal-oriented person, the fact that it has taken so dang long to finish has been like pouring lemon juice in a paper cut.  However, I’m almost done!
  2. Graduate Magna Cum Laude on 10 May 2014.  If I get the A mentioned above, I will finish with a GPA of 3.84…exactly 1/100th of a point away from Summa Cum Laude, which I am trying to not let bother me too much.  (Curse that B in my sophomore theology class…)  Oh, well.  Magna’s not too shabby, right, especially considering that I got my degree spanning across an overseas tour, three sea tours (two mine, one his), two full-time jobs, two pregnancies?  Please say that you agree with me.  (Obviously, this little Magna/Summa thing is still bothering me.  I’m working on it.)
  3. Date my husband more often.  As I mentioned in my last post, last year we got to have 2 out-of-house dates, which was 2 more than we got to have in 2012.  However, I read something (maybe in my Babywise book?) that said that one of the most important things parents can do for their children is to show them how much they love each other and to make sure that the romantic side of marriage isn’t neglected.  Since I’m all about quantifiable goals, I’m shooting for 6 out-of-house dates.  That’s one every 2 months.
  4. Find a good (and relatively inexpensive) babysitter.  Otherwise, item 3 ain’t happening…at least, not out of the house.
  5. Read the Bible in a year.  I’ve done this in the past (most notably reading it through during one summer while I was in high school), but it’s been awhile since I’ve done it from cover to cover.  I’m going to use a plan like this one to keep me on track.
  6. I’m back to where I was before I had both babies, which is good.  However, both of these pregnancies have been super hard on my body.  We definitely want more babies, but I need to give myself some TLC to give myself the best fighting chance of having a normal pregnancy next time.  My body will never be the same again…and that’s okay.  I run around like a crazy woman all day, but my energy-burning isn’t, shall we say, targeted.  So, my goal is to put a minimum of 3 workout sessions a week back into my routine.  Oh.  And drink more water.
  7. Recondition my hands.  My dear piano teacher reminds me periodically that pianists are like athletes, and need to train and build dexterity.  My hands are a little out of shape, so my goal is to work a minimum of 30 minutes of piano a day back into my routine.  I’m hoping to have at 5 pieces remastered/mastered by the end of the year. (Bach, Chopin and Ravel are all on my list.)
  8. Earlier last year I discovered the Fly Lady.  She makes it pretty much the easiest thing in the world to build a routine that gets your life organized.  My chaos is pretty organized, but it could be much better.  I started the Baby Steps and was doing pretty well, but something threw off my groove.  So, I’m restarting on Monday.  Hello, Shiny Sink!
  9. Maintain academic excellence in our little home school and have fun doing it. *
  10. More of the good stuff. Painting/drawing, crafting, reading, family game nights, kitchen science, writing, homemade Christmas presents…you get the idea. *

This is where it gets a little dicey.  I applied to graduate school on a whim and got accepted, which is awesome.  I still haven’t completely decided if I want to do the program to which I was accepted (Masters of Education in History) and know I will use or the one I am absolutely drooling over (Masters of Public Policy in Campaigns and Elections) that I will not immediately use.  My G. I. Bill benefits will cover about half of my graduate degree, but I need to figure out where the rest of the money is going to come from before I go ahead and jump into anything.  With that in mind, I applied for an art scholarship that would cover the rest of the money I need ($10K), but I won’t find out about what’s happening with that until the middle of March.  I’m planning on applying for other scholarships as well, but I had kind of been thinking about taking a break from school for at least the next year, so I wasn’t going to really stress about it as of yet.  I mentioned the 14 years for my bachelor’s, right?  Plus, my husband wants to start working on his bachelor’s when I finish with mine.  (We do the tag-team thing.)  However, my academic advisor said (afterwards, since I was awesome and didn’t think to ask before I applied) that if I win the scholarship, I have to start taking classes, or they’ll send the money back.  I have very mixed feelings about what I hope will happen here.  In any case, it’s an opportunity to trust God, so that’s where I’m leaving it.  Without further ado, here are my secondary goals, which are contingent on whether I win the scholarship.

  1. Either…Take 3 graduate classes (1 in the summer term, 1 in each of the fall subterms) and earn A’s in each class.
  2. Or…Participate in and finish the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge of completing a 50, 000 word novel in the month of November.  I have tried every year for the last 4 years, and since I have been taking classes simultaneously, have not been able to finish.  I have a story in my head that I want to get out of my head and onto metaphorical paper, but it hasn’t happened because I need sleep.

And, there you have it, Sports Fans!  That’s my Plan of the Year…because if it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.

* You will see these goals every year, more likely than not.  Just sayin’.

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