January 16, 2014

Cheers to 2014!

We send New Year's cards in our family so I thought I would share this year's design with y'all. We got them from tinyprints and ended up getting them at a really fantastic price, too! We've used tinyprints for other cards in the past and I love the quality of both the paper and the photos. I can always find tons of options that we love and if you sign up for their listserv you get coupon codes all throughout the year. We ended up scoring a $30 off any purchase code through their email list and it made these awesome cards super affordable (since we only order a few dozen).

Nick and I have really embraced the new year this go around (not that we haven't in the past) but we are making a concerted effort to really start out with a clean slate. We've concentrated on getting some much needed organization in place at home, have been clearing out lots of our excess belongings (which I tend to do anyway, but now it's husband-sanctioned :) ), and are trying hard to live a more intentional life. I am an especially focused "constant-improver"…so I have moved away from new year's resolutions as I've gotten older. Nick tells me that I'm always looking forward and never just enjoying the place I'm in, and he's partly right. I remember my parents saying when I was young, "Don't wish away your childhood," because it seemed I was always ready for the next thing. I worked hard after Alden was born to just relish the moment because I knew that in 10 years I would want to remember being present in those first new-mom months, not just waiting for the next phase to come.

So, in keeping with that idea, one of my goals for this year is to slow down a little. Remember that I'll get where I'm meant to go even if I don't get there at warp speed. Nick & I are both trying to remember to keep documenting our lives while maintaining a balance between enjoying the moments while still keeping track of memories. We're also really focusing on our finances this year. We're in a pretty good spot, in general, for people our age…we have owned our home for over 4 years, we both have relatively decent retirement accounts started (and growing), and we're both pretty smart money managers who like to keep our bills at a minimum. Buuuttt, years in grad school (for both of us) means years of majorly small incomes and, over time, we've felt our financial position slip a little. Our savings is much smaller than we'd like, the house needs some bigger projects completed, and we'd like to really lower our credit card debt. So for 2014, it is the year of saving our pennies so that we can set ourselves up for a much more stable and secure future. We have had lots of conversations about our long-term financial goals and have decided to go without some extras now in order to better set us up to accomplish the big things we envision (one day buying or building our dream home, having a great college account for Alden, traveling with our kids, living debt free, owning a business, etc.).

In smaller terms, instead of having 10 resolutions for the whole year, I've decided to have quarterly goals. I'm giving myself 3 things to focus on each quarter of the year and if I haven't accomplished them all when I get to the end of the quarter, I'll just give myself more time to focus on completing them. (Among my small goals: get more sleep, incorporate small bits of exercise when I can, and do more nightly tidying so I don't feel overwhelmed with cleaning on the weekends)

I love the idea behind resolutions because they inspire such hopeful re-evaluation of how we spend our time and money but, in practice, most of us forget about them by the time April rolls around and we then spend the month of December feeling like we didn't accomplish anything even though we most likely did (just maybe not on the resolutions that graced your planners pages in the early days of January). I'm hoping that my quarterly goal system will remind me to check in with myself often enough to keep me focused on the things I feel are important for me to work on right now without making me feel guilty if I don't accomplish every single thing.

No matter how you choose to celebrate and embrace the coming of a new year, cheers to enjoying the ride!

much love, L&N

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