I won’t constrict myself the to following, but I think I have a good launch pad for Ways to Make 2011 Better Than 2012. Being a reflective time of year, and given the fact that I’m reading Ortberg (again), these seem to have a bit more depth than practicality (“run” was pretty simplistic last year…), but I’m okay with it. I’m also trying to be a bit more specific so that I can make strides toward meeting the goal. So, here we go.

1. Care less about what others think. I know, posting that in a blog – well, the ironing is delicious. In many senses, I care very little if I have the approval of others. But in other ways, I care more than it is healthy. So when I recognize myself saying things which I perceive could impress others, I’ve got to return to the inner room and remind myself that perception management (thanks again, John) is a futile task.

2. Accept the chaos. And this time you think, “no fair, with 3 under 3 you’ll have no choice!” But that’s the very thing… with such madness on the horizon, I cannot wait for it to change me but for me to become welcoming of it. We’ve had a few chaotic days at home and I find myself getting frustrated by a) the kids getting restless and then b) by my getting frustrated by it. I become part of the problem and not part of the solution. So, small strides are needed for me to realize that I cannot control it all, all of the time. There will be meltdowns. There will be burned or late dinners. The laundry might not get done. And everyone will be just fine. Some of us might even be the better for it.

3. Better dental hygiene. I’m pretty good at hitting the brush-2x-a-day mark, but I feel as though some flossing and extended brushing would make my mouth happy. And a dentist trip is a must (I mean, it’s only been what? 5 years?). Maybe even wearing my retainer more than twice a year would make my head hurt less when I do wear it. And all of you woe-is-you’ers out there who have had dental insurance for over 6 months, I don’t want to hear your cries of righteousness.

4. Follow up. Last year was a year to improve on my follow through, but this year I’d like to take it a step further. I’m awful – AWFUL – at keeping up with relationships that aren’t in my current context. Previous roommates, former students, what have you – I don’t call, email, fb message or even write an old fashioned letter. And I should. I do value those relationships, but I don’t take steps to strengthen them. So I shall make a list – perhaps even just one person a month – and simply reach out to them and find out if they’re doing well. If it’s in person, that’s a triple word score.

5. Add some variety to the blog. I’ve enjoyed the current practice immensely, and my friend DW that Knows Everything has tried to ensure me that the “you never know what you’re going to get” aspect of the blog is what keeps him returning (well, that and – if you ask me – it’s that and to find out if he gets mentioned again. Same goes for Brent the Mechanic. So I keep mentioning them. Fan the flame!). But I’ve toyed with a few ideas that I believe might help me stretch my skills and imagination, so I think I’ll introduce one and make a practice of it once a week. However, it involves many of the people I’ve valued in my life and I’m still solidifying the fine details on dealing with disclosure. But I hope to have that wrapped together soon. Nothing an evening of fixing the world’s problems with KLR won’t fix.

6. Become a better wife. I have married the world’s best husband (though my cousin RAB often tries to disagree that he’s second best to hers), but I’m not living up to the same standard as what I ask of him. When I need sanity time with friends – book club, girls night, coffee with an old friend, youth planning sessions – he finds ways to make it happen. He keeps the kids after a long (long!) days’ work, makes dinner and never complains. But finding ways for him to make a morning trip to snowboard seems impossible on my part. So there needs to be much more give and less take in this house. Well, at least on my part. This can specifically be done by finding ways for husband to enjoy some recreation on a regular basis.

7. Run. I miss it. I hope to recover from this delivery super fast (my body knows what to do, right?) so that I can still get some of that late-summer road time with LBW at the lake. Here’s to wishful thinking. But mid-fall would make me happy and perhaps a Turkey Trot would be a stellar way to top it off. But until this baby makes an appearance, I do hope to spend some time with my Wii Mii doing some basic exercises, maybe even some yoga.

8. Take more pictures. Poor Miss M went from 3 months to 8 months in about one page’s time in the album. That is, when I get the pictures printed and put into an album.  I just don’t get out the camera enough to record the mundane. The other night she was treating her daddy’s legs like the parallel bars. That needs captured!

9. Unless working, stop using technology when the kids ask it of me. I’m very good at limiting their intake of shiny screens. But me? Not so much. Recently little H has been jealous of my computer time and he’ll come over and physically try to remove me.  It’s endearing and irritating. If I truly believe that technology is a tool to be used in moderation, than I need to begin to moderate myself.

10. Throw a good party. This is a failure from last year’s list. My husband is the world’s best host and I’m always Debbie Downer when it comes time to follow through on a gathering. Well, not this year.

11. Begin my morning with God. Matt Lauer can wait. When it’s just me and Miss M sipping on a bottle and some coffee, I can read and reflect before getting to the not-really-news that the Today show provides. I just need a bit of restraint from flipping on the tube. See #9.

I’m sure there are other things that would vastly improve my year, but this is a good starting ground. I need to save something for 2012, right?

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