Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Resolutions

:-) I actually like New Year Resolutions. I do. So far I have a pretty good track record with them. I write them down, I make concrete plans and goals, and then in a year, reevaluate.

Resolutions for 2011
1) Finish the scarf, learn a second stitch, Purl maybe, and use that in a second project.
Done! I finished that first scarf, it's a lovely camo-like variegated green. I learned the purl stitch and I'm 3/4s of the way through a project that has a purl/knit ribbing.  I went with a headband/ear cover instead of a hat. But, I'm using that black wool that I bought, and I'm still resisting the allure of oh-so-pretty yarn. Mostly. I did buy 2 skeins at the quilt show in Des Moines, for my next project.

1b) Do some darning, with the wool socks I love so much.
This one I tried, but apparently store bought wool socks are not as darnable as the home-made versions. I researched how to darn, and got my great-grandma to send me a darning egg, but after the research I decided it wasn't worth my time to try and darn the store bought socks.  This goal will have to wait until I make homemade socks, and wear them enough to get holes.

2) Sew more clothing, focusing on work clothing for me and play wear for Rowen.
This one went well. I did get one new shirt done, and some play pants for Rowen.  He loved his pants, and just outgrew them a month ago, I need to make him some more.  I stopped sewing for me, due to pregnancy, it's not worth my time when I'm only guessing at what my measurements will be from week to week.  I may end up having to sew a cloak or something to stay warm this spring, but we'll see.

3) $2000 in savings by Samhain.
This one we came pretty close, and it's a good thing I was focused on this, because we'll need every penny of it to pay for the birth of Baby Boy.   We didn't quite hit the 2000 mark, there were some car repairs that had to come out of savings, and that's what it's there for, so I still count this one as a win.

4) Finish the Blue Quilt, (Quilt #2) by mid January. Do some actual quilting on this one!

Well, I did finish Blue Quilt, but it only got done a couple of weeks ago.  I missed the Jan deadline, and then I lost all focus on it and sewed other things for the summer.  I brought it back out this fall and finished it.  It's hanging in the living room window, looking very pretty, if I do say so myself.  I did some actual hand quilting, nothing fancy, and I think I may take it down someday and do some more, but I'll count this one a win.It's doing a great job of blocking drafts, and it looks soo cool. I brought those fabric panels home with me from India, and I'm happy to finally have them displayed nicely.

5) Start Quilt #3. At least Queen sized, 85x85" or bigger, so that it can replace the 15 year old quilt from my grandmother that needs to be honorably retired.
Total fail. I was too focused on Blue quilt, and this one hasn't even been started yet. It's top of my quilting goals for 2012.

6) Make progress with getting a Community Garden started in my new town.  The first step here is to organize a seed swap I think.
This one went well.  I did the seed swap, and kept talking to people about the goal.  Fate conspired to put me in the right place, and a church group that was looking to start a garden had my name dropped in their ear, and I was able to help them start a Community Garden.  It's small, only 8 plots, but all were full all summer, and we got some great produce out of it.

7) Regain my pre-baby muscles. I miss my leg muscles and ab muscles. I never had much arm muscles, but maybe I could work on those while I'm at it.
I don't know how well I did on muscle, I know I got my leg muscles back, but maybe not so much on the arm and ab muscles.  I did get down to my high school weight, and that made me ecstatic. I was pregnant 2 weeks after that, and it's all gone down hill from there. :-D  I kid, in all truthfulness, I'm feeling healthier this pregnancy, I think in no small part because of the work I did to lose the last of that baby weight.

8) Finish seed saving attempt for turnips. Try again with potatoes maybe. Try parsnips too possibly.
Total fail. The turnips I tried to overwinter, died. I didn't save seed from the potatoes, and I dug up (and ate! Mmmm) all the parsnips.   Maybe next year? Maybe not too, we'll see if I can find space for it, with another mouth to feed and neighbors to keep happy, there may be a line I can't cross, and biennial seed production may be that line. :-D

9) Continue food storage, work on improving grain storage.
This one was a semi-win. We have a steady rotation of flour in storage, and a lot of rice.  We didn't get a grinder, we got a large mortar and pestle instead.  More useful on a day-to-day basis, and it can moonlight as a grain grinder if we ever get to that point of TEOTWAWKI.  We did look at buckets to hold wheat berries in, but it just never materialized.

I'll give myself a score of 7/10 for 2011.

New Resolutions for 2012

1) Make a new quilt for the main bed. 85"x85" at least.  We're currently using a 15 year old quilt that my grandmother made me, and it needs to be honorably retired.  I want to machine quilt this one, as it will be the biggest quilt yet, and put to the hardest use.  I'm signed up for a class in town to learn machine quilting, next month.  I have a lot of the fabric I need, although I'll need to run some numbers to see if I have enough to make the large size that's needed.

2) Transition Rowen to his own bed AND get him going on a bedtime routine.   He's 2 and a half, and we've been content until now to largely let him set his own sleeping patterns. With co-sleeping and a stay at home parent, there wasn't a huge need for him to have a set bedtime or sleeping place.  Now that baby #2 is on the way, we need the big bed space for that one and we need Rowen to start sleeping more regularly in his own bed.  My preference here is to spend Jan/Feb working on the bedtime routine and ending co-sleeping. Then in March when he turns 3 I'd like to transition him to a "Big Boy Bed"  (i.e. the old twin mattress with little-boy-friendly bedding) and turn the toddler bed back into it's crib formation well in advance of the new  baby's arrival.  March and April we can continue the Big Boy Bed routine, and that way (hopefully) he won't associate the new baby with the loss of his co-sleeping/toddler bed/etc.

3) Stick to our budget for the year.  We have a tough year coming up financially.  We're on an HSA plan for health insurance, which means we pay all medical costs until we hit $4000.  Baby Boy is going to be $3000 worth of hospital expenses and that's assuming a natural vaginal birth with no complications.  I'm not resting on my laurels as far as that's concerned. Baby and I are super healthy, weight, blood pressure, nutrition and activity levels are all as good as or better than they were with Rowen's fetal period.  Plus, we're with a midwife, who is totally committed to natural births.  We're paying all that we can in advance, and sending money hand over fist directly from my paycheck to the Health Savings Account.  By my calculations we'll have $3000 paid to the midwife by April.  In April I'll modify my weekly contributions to the Savings account, to a much lower amount in preparation for my maternity leave. Anything that's not paid by then, will wait until after I go back to work in August.
All the money we have budgeted for medical payments means we're $50 short for January and February bills, even with the "fun" and "savings" columns zeroed out on the budget sheet.  March will have 5 paychecks instead of the usual 4, so that will help, then in April I'll put less towards the HSA and I'll have more take home pay.   That brief respite will have to buffer us for the May/June/July maternity leave. I'll get 60% pay for 6 of those weeks, but that's it.  Hopefully Dave can find a temp job to fill in the gaps that will leave in the budget.  None of us can get sick or injured until August. :-D
Plans to help with  Resolution 3:
3a) Eat out of the pantry, maybe a challenge to eat 1 week a month completely out of the stored foods? I store for emergencies, and medical bills count as that, even if it's a "planned" emergency.
3b) Limit monetary input for the garden while simultaneously expanding it, I have started planning the garden, and I think I'll only need a few packets of seeds, mostly carrots, cucumbers and parsnips, maybe some spinach. Potato and sweet potato slips as well. I don't have any money budgeted for it right now, so it will have to come out of the food budget or X-mas money.

4) Put my maternity time to good use.  Of course, birthing a baby and feeding a baby are the most important things I'll be doing, but with almost 3 months off, I bet I can do something else productive.  Start that book I've been meaning to write, or brush up on my Spanish.

5) Hunt something new in 2012. Not that there's anything wrong with pheasant, but I'd like to expand my horizons to deer or turkey. Or Wild Hogs!!!! Ok, this might not be the year for wild hogs, but a gal can dream right?

6) Finish the ribbed headband and work on some knitted booties for baby.  Booties will push me into the 3rd dimension with my knitting, so far I've only done flat rectangular pieces. (The headband is knitted as a strip then the short ends sewn together.) They are small which is good, and common enough for free patterns and youtube videos.

7) Make a rocket stove. Something that can be moved with us and won't infringe on our rental agreement.  Most of the wood I have on hand is dead fall from our trees, and while we burn some of it in our fire pit, I'd really like a rocket stove for more efficient use during emergencies. 

I'm really excited for 2012, yes we'll have challenges, but there's a new life on the way, and new seeds to plant.  A presidential election will spice things up in November and then of course the world will end on Dec 21st.  hahahaha
Awww little baby shoes

Hope your New Year is cheery and warm.  Share your resolutions  in the comments if you like.


Jon Lorisen said...

Only 6 weeks for maternity leave? That's terrible, every woman should get no less than 6 months (a year would be better).

Good luck on your 2012 resolutions, I hope all works out well for you.

Jennie said...

Hey Jon!
I'll be off of work for 12 weeks, but I'll only get 60% disability pay for 6 of those weeks.
I agree, 6 months would be much closer to my comfort zone. It's going to be tough to get my milk supply up and stable enough to support pumping and nursing. But that's what I'll have to do, so I'll manage somehow.