Hello, 2015!

I am happy to say goodbye to 2014. It wasn’t a bad year. You can read about the highlights in my post- 2014, Oh, What a Year it Was! It was a very important year in the lives of all my children. It was filled with a wedding, graduations, big moves, college and a new baby. Since these were major life events for my children, of course they were also important for me.

As a parent, you tend to put your children’s needs first. Although all three of my kids are now legal adults, they all needed me last year. I have to say that in 24 years of parenting, I have never felt stretched so thin before. I love my kids more than anything else in the world and I wouldn’t change a single minute of the past year. I knew it was going to be a busy year and I thought it might be a little tough. I didn’t have a clue. This was the most physically exhausting and emotionally draining year of my life.

The only thing I really did for myself was start this blog. In the nine months since I published my first post, it has been something I have cherished. I didn’t know where I was headed, what I wanted it to be, or if I could even stick with it, but I did! There were times when I was writing posts on my iPad while we were on the road and in the month of November, most of my work came from a hospital room with my daughter-in-law. But I stuck with it and I’m proud of myself. It could have been so easy to set it aside and promise myself I would get back to writing when things quieted down.

It’s a new year and it’s time for change. After a year spent devoted to my children, it’s time for me to claim some of my life back for me. I brought up the topic of resolutions vs. goals in the last Kat Got Your Tongue challenge and many bloggers have posted one or the other or their decision to do neither.

I have chosen my word for 2015. Although I was overwhelmed by the possibilities earlier this week, I knew deep down inside what my word for the year needed to be. FOCUS. It’s time for me to gain some focus back in my life.

My goals will be centered around the following areas-

Me- Finding time for myself and taking care of minor health issues will be the driving forces behind these goals.

Writing- My blog will take up a big part of this section. I expect my blogging goals to be a bit flexible, depending on the area of focus. Working on appearance, posts, organization, social media and blogging community will keep me busy. The longer term goal in this area will be preparing for NaNoWriMo 2015.

Family and Friends- With so much of my time caught up with my kids this past year, it’s time for me to reconnect with my friends and family.

Home- I’m going to form an action plan to aid in de-cluttering and organizing my house. I would like to start work on making my home office a place where I can work and relax.

Some of these will be much simpler to accomplish than others. I see a lot of scheduling in my future but after a year where I had little control over my schedule due to everyone else’s commitments, I look forward to seeing a calendar filled with my own things. My next step is to have a more detailed list so I can prioritize and have goals in place by next week. I’m hoping that having weekly goals and checking on the progress of those goals will help to keep me on track. In turn, my goal is for all of this to help me stay focused and gain focus.

Donna Andrews writes the Meg Langslow mystery series and the main character, Meg, always refers to “my-notebook-that-tells-me-when-to-breathe”. I’ve always thought that I needed one of those and now seems to be the right time.

What are you doing to ensure you are successful in reaching your goals or keeping your resoluntions?


How I Found Myself on a Quest of My Own

It all began with a post. When I read that my blogging friend, Hugh, was visiting New York City, I was excited to hear about his trip. You can read his first post about the trip here → New York, New Hugh – What Really Happened – Day 1 As I enjoyed Hugh’s recounting of his adventures at the airport, on the plane and finally reaching the Big Apple, he also threw out a teaser. He was on a mission while in NYC, but in order to find out if he was successful, I needed to read all 5 parts.

And in the end, it came down to Christmas socks. But not just any Christmas socks. Men’s Christmas socks. Hugh also wrote about why they make the perfect present. Why Christmas Socks Make The Perfect Present

Hugh came to the conclusion that men’s Christmas socks just weren’t as big as a deal in the US as they are in the UK. The minute I read this, I thought that couldn’t be possible. Over the years I had purchased decorative socks with all sorts of festive patterns for husband, hadn’t I? Hmmmm This got me thinking and I realized that it had been a few years since I had filled Mr. K’s stocking with some funny socks. But they had to be out there. I was just sure of it.

And so, in the midst of my holiday shopping, I set out to find men’s Christmas socks. It became my own person quest and while I couldn’t solely devote  large chunks of time to my investigation, I worked it into my Christmas shopping.

Since I spend half my waking life at Target, it seemed like the obvious place

Target Christmas SocksThere you have it. The one and only pair. Yup. That’s a cactus wearing a Santa hat and wrapped up in Christmas lights. Why? I don’t know. It was just hanging there among the black socks like it had every right to be there. Why the cactus? Illinois is not known for its cactus population. That should have been my first clue.

Ross for Less- nothing

T. J. Maxx- zip

Things were not looking good. I spent too much time staring at rows and rows of boring men’s socks. Not a Christmas sock to be found. I was ready to give up. Other than one lonely pair of cactus socks, I had found nothing.

Then I found myself wandering through Old Navy and my spirits lifted. I saw some bright welcoming colors calling me from across the aisle and lo and behold, it was on the men’s side of the store.

Boxers. Lots and lots of cute Christmas boxers. Very cute boxers. But not a pair of Christmas socks to be found.

I was ready to admit defeat. Apparently Christmas socks were a thing of the past not only in NYC but also in Midwest suburbia. I made a mental note to check in with Hugh and let him know that he was correct. Apparently American men did not do Christmas socks anymore.

And then a few days later, as I was looking through my bags, preparing to wrap presents, I found a large Kohl’s bag from that long forgotten (but not so long ago Black Friday shopping excursion Shopping With CJ and Buzz).

I sifted through the Star Wars t-shirts- one for each brother, set aside the “Best Little Bro” hoodie and fire engine sweatshirt- both size 18 months for Beej next year, stacked the “Grandkids” frames that I purchased for myself and Jasmine’s mom to celebrate our grandsons, refolded the three firefighter themed shirts for CJ (I swear I told him to pick out his favorite- I don’t remember buying all three!) and reached into the very bottom of the bag. My hands closed around something knit. Three somethings to be exact. I pulled them out and stared down at the set, as if seeing them for the first time.

christmas socks

But this was not the first time I was seeing them. I had stood at an end cap in Kohl’s on Black Friday, trying to keep track of a rambunctious 5 year old and his Space Ranger companion while I picked out Christmas socks for my sons. Looking back, I recall there being more than three styles but not much more. I guess this speaks to my state of mind and the level of my distraction this holiday season, right?

The far left ones, which read Nice on one side and Naughty on the other were for Michael, the middle “Happy Elfin’ Holiday” were fitting Andrew’s sarcastic wit and the penguins shouted Kris from the minute I saw them.

And upon telling Kris of my quest to find the socks, he kept an eye out for them himself. Although he did not locate any men’s Christmas socks, he did find these for me (at Kohl’s)-

christmas socksI’m fond of my pink ugly sweater Christmas socks.

And I’ve come to the conclusion that Hugh, you must be right. Other than that smattering of socks at Kohl’s, those socks remain elusive…..