Saturday, November 28, 2015

Reviewing Goals

Here were/are my goals for this year... can't say that I've honestly worked towards a ton of them as life threw us a major curveball and God had other ideas in mind.  Which was completely amazing and so worth it.  Some years your goals line up with what happens in life and other years the goals don't seem to be what was in store.  Had I known what was coming, I would have set other goals.  But I like it this way because life just happened and I can see that God had better things planned than what I had in mind.

Goals I should have had:

1) Interview and teach three classes for new job in May, receive call two days later with job offer, put house on market two weeks later and sell it above asking price within 15 hours and then close on new home within a month later.

2) Paint entire interior of new home within one week

3) Finish Level III Orff in San Antonio

4)  Travel to San Diego, CA for AOSA National Conference

5)  Teach middle schoolers... best job in the world!!!!!

6) Downsize to a home 1000 sq. ft. smaller and love it more than the larger home we used to have

7) Pay off all of our debts the day after closing on our new home

8) Begin saving again in the bank purposefully

9) Continue Grad school at SMU and learn that I love theory more than I ever knew while at the same time being incredibly challenged... and maintain a 4.0 GPA at the same time while undergoing tremendous job change and moving

10) Get rid of over half of my clothing and realize that I never needed that much in the first place.

11) Spend more time with my girls each day because they're growing up faster than I ever believed could happen

12) Move 12 minutes away from Jeremy's work and 5 minutes from mine... biggest blessing ever!!

13) Go to my Lee University Reunion for Ladies of Lee 50th in Cleveland, TN

14) Have family pictures taken

15) Eat at Whiskey Cake or Seasons 52 as much as possible.

Here's a highlight of the goals I did set and how incredibly different they are than what has actually happened this year:

1.  Date night at a different restaurant each month
January:  Whiskey Cake
February: Seasons 52
Two months... though we did go to Seasons 52 several more times :)

2.  Use our Vitamix to make breakfast smoothies at least two times a week - worked until we moved :)

3.  Take Mommy/Daughter dates out with each girl - 6 dates for Riley and 6 dates for Julia through the year - have taken each girl out one time each

4.  Exercise twice a week - LOL!!!  maybe twice this year??!

5.  Read books that I love and leave books unfinished that I don't love... and work at being ok with the fact that I didn't finish them. - YES

6.  Send in tape/recording of my choir and/or Orff ensemble to perform at TMEA - Recorded them and then switched schools

7.  Submit application to be a presenter at TMEA - Nope... next year going for it!

8.  Create illustrations for my music book - um haven't at all

9.  Write ten Orff arrangements for my students.  Students perform at least three of them. - students performed two at former school in the Spring.  Need to compose and arrange and teach more of them!

10.  Declutter and keep from filling it back up.  Particular areas of focus:
my closet and dressers, hallway closets and the closet under the stairs... YES!  Decluttered so much more than I even thought I'd do because we moved

11.  Try one thing each month that I have pinned on Pinterest - um no

12.  Save $160 a month - better yet we paid off ALL our debt and are saving more 

13.  Kindness Advent in December focusing on specific families... soon to come!!
(Clausen, Caldwell, Martin, Hill, Hosford, Townsend, Funkhouser, Ramos, Johnson, Neely...)

14.  Take one overnight trip as a family - local or far away... Gaylord anyone?  That was a disaster we have many hilarious and not-so-great stories about.  Here's to better vacations this year in 2016

15.  Personal resolution - something incredibly meaningful to me but that I'm not comfortable putting into cyberspace... I'll let you imagine the possibilities :)... I've completely confused myself.  This was obviously so meaningful that even I don't know what I was talking about here.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Family Photos

We recently had a photo shoot with my friend Shelly Gammieri from school.  She's a wonderful photographer and did such a great job capturing the real us.  Truly captured our family.

Thanksgiving 2015

There is much to be thankful for this year.  A random list in no particular order:

1) that God is in control of our lives
2) that God knows all that we will go through and has gone before us
3) that God is here with us despite the chaos, craziness and tragic wars around us
4) our family of four is strong, healthy and ... Riley just hit Julia on the arm so Julia bit Riley on the hand... so as I was saying... we're fighters apparently
5) our home is small, special, and just what we need
6) we have money in the bank, coins in jars, and credit cards paid off... couldn't always say this
7) we are debt free (not including cars and mortgage) for the first time in at least four years
8) Jeremy and I have jobs that are blessings and we both love what we are doing
9) GSES is the biggest blessing of an education, community and school for our daughters and our family
10) we continue to attend a new church that is likely our new church home: it's warm, welcoming and has godly biblical teaching as well as a wonderful children's ministry that our girls love
11) our parents are in great health
12) our parents are all still here on earth to celebrate every day with us even when we're not together
13) we have warm beds, clean sheets and a washer/dryer that work
14) we have A/C and heat
15) we have huge trees and a beautiful neighborhood to take walks in
16) we have a Christmas tree from my parents so we don't have to buy one this year
17) Jeremy's sister Kathryn is pregnant and we'll have a new niece or nephew next year sometime
18) I am blessed to go to SMU for grad school to learn and grow as a teacher/person
19) we have food that we like to eat and can make it ourselves
20) we have much so that we can give much


Because I haven't had enough laundry to do already, we found out this week that our dog has fleas.  Gross.

So I've basically quarantined what I can, cleaned like a mad person and washed him with flea/tick shampoo every day.  Not to mention washing anything that comes in contact with our couches, floors or the dog once the day is done.  Not taking any chances.

The lady at the pet store asked if we'd seen any fleas on ourselves yet.  That about sent me over the edge in terms of feeling gross and itchy all over despite not having them myself.

Thankfully we found it soon and what we're doing is working.  Val's not itching like he was.  And bonus - the house is SUPER clean.  So I guess that's something to get excited about.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


We all hit that point where just feel overwhelmed with life.  I hit it big time this past week.  After traveling, missing a very important grad class where we went over Schenkerian analysis while at a conference, juggling tons of laundry from all our various trips, trying to be there for both of the girls' events at school (failed to make Julia's feast but was able to catch Riley's performance of the First Thanksgiving).  Let's just say I grew very anxious and overwhelmed.

And then I prayed.

It's beginning... look like Christmas at the Grant house.  My parents gave us their Christmas tree to set up this year as we got rid of ours last year and being 9' tall, it wouldn't have fit in our new home anyway.  The girls, my mom and I set up the tree and decorated it.  Then we went to Joann Fabrics to get a few odds and ends.  (Ended up getting some really fun projects for them to do this week while we're home - today: wooden peg dolls and tomorrow: painting a box house, decorating with stencils and playing with our wooden people.)

It is SO much easier to decorate a smaller home and it looks so much more cozy and full of Christmas than our former home ever did.  I absolutely love it!  Our fireplace doesn't have a mantel so the girls' stockings are hung on their doors and are just so cute.  

Campouts, Reunion and AOSA Conference

The past few weeks have been full of traveling, new experiences and time together.  An outline probably best describes it:

Nov. 6-8: Had my first GSES Music Sharing for grades 5-7 in the morning and then taught 8th grade.  Flew to Atlanta, GA where my college roommate Rana and her husband Ryan picked me up to travel to Cleveland, TN for the Ladies of Lee 50th Anniversary.  It was wonderful to reconnect with college friends, sing with the alumni and current choir and to be back on campus for the first time since graduating in December 2000.

Nov. 10-14:  Flew to San Diego, CA for the National AOSA Conference.  Took a morning before the conference began to spend time walking the streets and ocean front of La Jolla.  Conference was incredible - tons of new ideas, reconnected with AOSA friends and mentors and learned so much.

Nov. 13-15:  Jeremy and Julia traveled to Oklahoma for the Indian Princess Kindergarten Campout.  Julia got to ride a horse up a mountain and back down, shot a 22 rifle (yup - five rounds and has the shells to prove it), sat by the campfire at night, had pillow fights with the girls and lots of fun with her Daddy.

Nov. 20-22:  Jeremy and Riley traveled to East Texas for the Warrior/Adventure Princess Third Grade Campout.  She jumped on a massive trampoline that's built into the ground, spent time around the campfire, shot a real bow and arrow and spend time with her Daddy.