Monday, December 31, 2012

The Jen Maintenance Plan: Year 2

Last night, as I was looking back at my New Year's post from 2012, I got a little tear in my eye. I realized that for the first time in my life...I actually made progress on a New Year's resolution. Note the keyword there is PROGRESS because let's face improve anything about yourself, you have to work on it every day of every year. My "Jen Maintenance Plan" will never be complete because I will always strive to be a better mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, etc.

BUT...if every year I can look back and say, "Wow! I have made a lot of PROGRESS this year" I will consider that a WIN in my book because it means I tried. I made a conscious effort and put in the work to make a difference. And honestly...that's all we can really ask of ourselves.

So this year...I am keeping all the same resolutions as last year and continuing on my Jen Maintenance Plan. But this year, I also want to do a little reflecting on these things. My original goals and words from last year are in pink...and my thoughts and reflections will follow each one.

I want to be a better me.

Or maybe I should say a new me?? Either way...the goal here friends is self-improvement.

It's time for the Jen Maintenance Plan.

You see, I sort of have this problem with obsessing over things I can't control. I could worry my life away thinking about all the things that could happen to me or my family, or I could just appreciate the life I've been given, which is FULL of blessings, and enjoy every moment. So the first item on the Jen Maintenance Plan is to:

ENJOY this one was the hardest for me this year. A lot of heartbreakingly tragic things happened this year in our country (and around the world) and when you see things like this on the is impossible not to worry. It is impossible not to get online at 2:00am and Google HOME SCHOOLING because you are scared to death for your daughter who starts Kindergarten next year. But at the same time, these tragic events have been a reminder to all of us to spend more time loving our families, treasuring and ENJOYING every moment with them and not taking life for granted. The fact that I was able to even think this way in the middle of all the grief was a definite improvement for me.

I also have this liiiiiittle problem of not being able to relax. I feel like every moment of every day needs to be filled with a task and sometimes I need to remember that relaxing is a task too! I shouldn't have a stack of 20 unread magazines, or a Nook full of unread books, or 5 unused mani/pedi gift certificates. I should take advantage of quiet time when I can and be willing to leave the house for no other reason than to just get my nails done. I know deep down I need this quiet time, and yet I never take it. So the next item on this list is to:


One of the best things I did this year (besides using all my mani/pedi gift cards) was establish a regular Girls Night with my friends. Sure, we may have only managed 5 or 6 outings this year, but we all committed to them and made time for each other. Those nights kept me sane and I am really looking forward to that tradition again this year.

Learning to relax is going to be tough, especially with the insanely crazy lives we all lead these days. I think that's where my desire to get organized comes from...I want some control over the craziness and I feel if I could just cut down on clutter and chaos...I'd finally be able to relax. I think the key here my friends is really just to learn to:


This is definitely still a work in progress for me, but I can say that we de-cluttered a TON this year. We had a garage sale that moved a lot of stuff out of our basement and we plan to have another one this Spring. In addition to that, we have found some great charities for donation of toys, clothing, shoes, etc. and a lot will be going to those as well.

I don't need all the things I have. I don't need all the clothes in my closet, or the appliances in my kitchen (I mean who has a rice cooker anymore?), or the toys in the kids playroom, etc. But you know what...someone out there does need those things. Giving food to a needy family this Thanksgiving and giving toys to sick children this Christmas made me feel so good inside...I want to do more. And not just at the holidays. I want to do more for others who are not as fortunate as me. I want to do all I can to:


This is the resolution I am most proud of this year. During my 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge during Lent this year, I made a ton of donations to local charities and even collected shoes from friends and family to give to Share Your Soles. We also spent another year being a Children's Hero for Lurie's Children's Hospital and during the holidays, Addie and Blake put together their very first packages for  Operation Christmas Child. We try to donate to as much as we can, but what is most important to me is not how much we can give, but how much we want to give. Does that make sense? I just want my kids to understand how important it is to give back and I want Eric and I to make conscious efforts to make it a part of our lives too.

I've been given this life that is so full of blessings, it almost doesn't seem fair at times. I carry a lot of guilt because so many friends and family members close to me are struggling with something. I have friends with husbands who are thousands of miles away. I have friends and family members struggling with infertility. I have friends and family members dealing with the loss of a loved one. I have friends and family members who are unhappy with their job, or home, or spouse, or life in general and it breaks my heart. Eric and I have struggles too, but nothing we should ever complain about. Ever. We need to just remember, every single day, to:


And I am. So very, very thankful.

I need to be more appreciative of the life I've been given. I want to be a better mother. A better wife. A better daughter. A better sister. A better friend. A better teacher. And to achieve all this, I really need to work on one thing in particular. I need to:


Am I more appreciative? Absolutely. Have I been more patient??? My answer is the same as last year.

I have to learn patience this year. I am too quick to argue. Too quick to raise my voice. Too quick to judge. Too quick to jump to conclusions. I just need to be more patient with everyone in my life...including myself. This is a tough one, but I NEED to do it. I need to:


I swear this is the final item on the Jen Maintenance Plan. One of my favorite bloggers posted the other day that her New Years resolution was to be more disciplined and if you think about it, that applies to just about everything in your life. To eat better, you have to be disciplined. To run a half-marathon, you have to be disciplined. To de-clutter your house, you have to be disciplined. To be a better you, you have to be disciplined. You get the point. It's all about discipline...and motivation :-)

This was my biggest achievement this year. I was so much more disciplined when it came to exercising and eating healthy. There were months where I was more disciplined than others, but overall I tried much harder this year and I am so proud of that!! And of course...I DID run that half marathon...two actually...and that took more discipline than I knew I had in me. I could not be more proud of myself for dedicating to much time to ME!!!

But my work isn't done here. There are some things I really, REALLY want to be more disciplined with this year. One of which is my faith. I've used having kids as an excuse to stop going to church because it's "too hard" with them and Blake is "too clingy" to go in a nursery. I have tried to keep our faith strong at home and luckily, Addison is at a fabulous Christian preschool that teachers her more than I ever could. But it's time to stop making excuses and get involved with a church again. Finding the right one for our family may be tricky...but it's a goal and I am really looking forward to it.

Also, I want to continue to be disciplined in my home. Keeping it clean and organized is half the battle, but I also want to meal plan more efficiently and keep a MUCH tighter budget.

BUT MY BIGGEST RESOLUTION FOR 2013 is just to continue to make PROGRESS. Lots and lots of progress :-)


So there you have it friends!!! The Jen Maintenance Plan: Year 2 begins tomorrow!!! Wishing you all a very Happy Healthy New Year full of love and joy!!! Thanks for reading along and being a part of my life :-)


  1. Jen, I have been following you for a few months now, and I've always thought, "Wow....we could totally be friends". This list just completely solidified it. I could entirely copy and paste (but I won't ;)) your resolutions as my own this year. Good luck, and I can't wait to follow how it's all going. Happy New Year to you and your family!!!

    1. Kelly I would be honored if you copy and pasted my list. Haha! It's always nice to know that other Moms are feeling the same way and working to better themselves too. That way, we have each other to share our successes (and failures) with! Thanks so much for the sweet comment!! I hope you have a wonderful New Year!!!

  2. I loved reading this. I feel the same way about SO many of these and just love the concept of your maintenance plan. I know you will do just as great of a job this year as you did last year. Happy New Year!

  3. As tempted as I was to copy and paste, I didn't. But I totally gave your space here a shameless plug, and hopefully, sent some more readers your way! :) Thanks for the permission! ;)

  4. What a great post Jen! You will be amazing this year and it takes a lot of courage to look into ourselves and say, "ok, time for a change." I am so happy to have gotten to know you through "blogging land" this year. Many blessings!!!

  5. Twinnie, what a thoughtful, honest yet achievable list! Im sure it will come as no surprise to you that I completely agree with many of the things you said, and I'm so so proud of all of your progress :) I can't wait to continue to watch you grow as the beautiful person you are! Im excited that this time next year we will have met, I can't wait to hug one of the most caring, considerate, and inspiring friends in my life.

    Love ya doll! Here's to a blessed 2013!!!!

  6. Love this list! I know you're just going to keep improving!! Thanks for being such a inspiration this past year!! Wishing you all the best for 2013!!

  7. Jen! Can I just replace "Jen" with "Anna?" I feel the same way about all of these things. You are such an inspiration!

  8. Such a great list of things to 'maintain!' ;)


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