My first and most important goal of the year is to birth a human and survive the experience.

Now grab a smoothie, pull up a chair and be prepared for a long list of other 2014 goals:

1. Take at least one family photo a month.
I was inspired by how many family photos my lovely friend Jessica had for 2013 and I'd love to be able to do the same for us.  One day I'd love to pay a photographer (like this onethis one, or this one) to photograph our family, but I still want to capture our moments as best we can on our own in the mean time.  I got a great tripod for Christmas as well as a wireless camera remote which will make this goal so much more realistic.

2. Read a good book 15 minutes every day.
When I was first pregnant, I read a wonderful book about motherhood that said "...no matter how busy you become as the mother of a newborn, make sure you read in a good book every day, even if it's just for a few minutes..." because if you want to raise your child to be a reader then "it turns out that the two crucial criteria for future readers are that they live in 'print-rich environments' (houses with lots of books) and that they see their caregivers read daily."  And I definitely want my baby girl to love reading. I like to read and I have gotten better at making it a priority but I think I need to commit to a time frame to make sure it happens.  Here are books that I want to read in 2014:

How Will You Measure Your Life? By Clayton Christensen
The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
The Autistic Brain by Temple Grandin
The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East by Sandy Toian
Aquariums of Pyongyang by Chol-hwan Kang and Pierre Rigoulot

Do you have any suggestions?  I like all genres.

3. Read scriptures everyday for 15 minutes.
I think the best time for me to do this is while I eat breakfast, nighttime is just not happening for me.  I am going to leave my Book of Mormon, Bible and Ensign (church magazine) on the kitchen table to help make this possible. I want to have the scripture-marking, note-taking kind of scripture reading.  Not the finger-scrolling-on-the-iphone kind of scripture reading.

4. Shower and get ready each day.
Ha!  This may sound silly but I've heard a lot of young moms say that getting ready each day, even if you don't have plans to get out of the house, really helps them.  I feel like I should put a time frame on this (like by 10 am at the latest) but I have no idea what my schedule will be like with a baby.

5.  Strengthen my marriage and make Aaron a priority.
While there are tons of ways that one could do this and many of them are hard to quantify, here are some of my ideas:

-Trade off time to exercise (meaning I'll watch the baby in the morning while Aaron exercises and he watches the baby in the evening while I exercise).
-Make sure I kiss and hug Aaron just as much as I kiss and hug the baby.  Here are some good thoughts on that: Who gets the best kisses? and Are You a Better Wife or a Better Mom?
-Have a weekly date night.  This doesn't necessarily have to be without the baby I think but I'd love for Aaron and I to go out at least once a week and do a planned activity (get dinner, get gelato, go on a walk, see a movie, go on a drive and find our dream home, knock off an item on our bucket list, etc.)
-Pray together every day.
-Put my phone (and other technology) away at night when we go to bed.
-Pick up the house before Aaron gets home from work (another suggestion from young moms I know)

6. Buy quality.
This is difficult for me because I am all about being cheap, but when I buy something this year I want it to be an investment in a quality item.  I mean this for all areas: tools, furniture, clothes, food, etc.  This means that we will have to save more and buy less but we can do it.

7.  Review our monthly budget together every first Sunday.  We are pretty good about doing this now and I want to keep it up.  This helps me be less stressed about money and actually encourages me to spend money on things I need/want.  My go-to "money strategy" is to just be super cheap and spend as little money as possible but when I see that we have money designated for a certain category I am able to spend it better.  This helps me feel guilt free for instance when I buy a laundry basket at the store because we need it (so silly that I have this complex!).

8. Call friends/family on their birthdays.
I want to say that I will send everyone a card (or even better a present) but I'm taking baby steps and starting with calling first.  And having real conversations, not just text messages.   Why is it so difficult for me to make a phone call sometimes?

9. Be healthy.  Which probably means I shouldn't take as many photos like this next year...
My exercise ideas are vague because I don't know how my body will be and how my time will be with a baby but here are my plans:

-Go on a walk several times a week (or every day?) with the baby and stroller.
-Get a gym membership in March when I am past my 6 weeks post-baby mark and attend a gym class twice a week when Aaron gets home from work.  I went to the gym a lot at the start of last year and up until my half marathon and it did wonders for my happiness.  (So moms of the world: Is this too ambitious or not ambitious enough?? I have no idea!)
-Cook deliberately healthy, well-rounded meals (as in actually have sides, etc.) and eat lunch (the hardest meal of the day for me).

10. Improve my photography skills.
I want to:

-Take another photo class at our local community college
-Purchase photo editing software (Lightroom, PhotoShop or PhotoShop Elements??? This is a great internal struggle for me) and learn how to use it fully!
-Practice taking photos in low light settings (the bane of my existence!).
-Print photos I take to frame and put in to Project Life albums.

11. Enjoy motherhood.
Again, hard to quantify this, but I want to be the kind of person who has a positive answer to the "How are things going?  How is it being a mom?" questions.  Granted, I also want to be real, but I think what you choose to dwell on and speak about largely determine your happiness.

And that's it.  Short, concise and easy to accomplish, right? Ha! I know my list should only be 3-5 things, but alas, I just have so much I want to improve on. Luckily, most of these goals are things I am already working on so it won't be a shock to my system trying to make a whole bunch of changes at once. Maybe I'll need to re-evaluate things in a couple weeks come baby time but this is what I've got so far.

Now I need to just print it out and stick it on the fridge :)

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