I have had this post tee’d up for awhile now and for some reason have not published it. Now that we are pretty much mid-January, I am revisiting and realizing I need to publish this for my own sake of documentation and so my mom can read something while she travels. <Hi Mom!> So here ya go!

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      So what’s next? Every year I like to reflect back on what happened in the past year and figure out what my goals are for the coming one. I find that by doing this I have a certain level of accountability. Some years I clearly articulate things, some I just put my intentions for a project out there. So here we go … 2018 was an incredibly busy year where I OD’d on all the projects. Looking back, here is what I accomplished:

      Built a flagstone patio that included moving:

      • 3 yards gravel
      • 1 yard sand
      • 3 tons flagstone
      • Digging down and then leveling every. step. of. the. way.

      Tremendous amount of yardwork including:

      • Replenishing the woodchips, helped Jeremy move 25 yards of fresh woodchips
      • Replenishing our dirt – I moved 45 yards of dirt … all by myself
      • Pressure washing all the living space in the back (patio, furniture, flagstones) and cleaning out the pond
      • Planted all the flowers, weeded and tended the gardens

      Remodeled part of our house:

      • Hardwoods installed in our living, dining, front staircase and upstairs landing (thankfully not by me)
      • Painting walls & wainscoting in the living room and dining room
      • Rented 12 foot scaffolding to paint our two story entryway, painting the front door
      • Painting the risers, trim, spindles and railing on our staircase
      • Painting the trim in our kitchen, entryway, upstairs landing
      • Painting the walls in our kitchen and upstairs landing
      • Thankfully hired a painter to take all our doors and closet doors to white
      • Bought new rugs and furniture for our living room (this is the very first room where I have thoughtfully purchased every item to create a room instead of ad-hoc’ing crap together over the years)

      So Jeremy and I were talking about what we want for 2019. We both agreed that we needed to take a break from big projects in the house and yard this summer. And honestly – outside of getting the bonus room/staircase/laundry room painted in January and February … I am good without additional projects too. And I know that I say that now, haha, we will see if it sticks.

      The one unfortunate bi-product of all these house and yard projects – I didn’t have time for anything else. My personal projects suffered, I ended up house bound because I was heads down accomplishing things and that was okay and very necessary – but I don’t want 2019 to be the same way.

      Which leads me to contemplating this … I asked my family if I should continue to do my 365 Project. I LOVE having a running record of our days, the things we do, the things that change. All of that is so important. But the original reason that I started the 365 was to improve my photography skills. To learn my camera inside and out. And the first couple of years I did a 365 project, I absolutely did that. But this year? MEH. After looking through my photos to make a calendar for 2019 I realized I took really crappy photos almost all year long. They were snapshots. Very few were thoughtfully composed and absolutely none of them stretched me to learn more. I was going through the motions and that is NOT what I want.

      That made me realize I am in such a peculiar state right now. I am technically proficient, however I am extremely lazy. More importantly I am not in love with photography anymore. There were years where I lived, ate and breathed with creativity and the drive to learn and do something new with my camera. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a TON to learn, but I have hit that point where I have tried enough things that my surface curiosity has been satisfied. To advance I need to put in the hard work, the boring repetitive work, to refine even more and those are the detail hours that end up helping to define you creatively. Those are the hours where you have the epic breakthroughs from accumulation of time, trial and never giving up. If I want to continue to grow, I need to make time for that commitment.

      So am I going to do a 365 project? Nope. But I need to do something that will hold me accountable to picking up my camera every week and push me to learn and try new things. I still want to have something to remember our weeks by (that is very important to me too), so I have decided to try a weekly recap instead of a photo a day. I can address what we did in the week, but maybe the photography only shows you a part of the week. Or maybe the photos are of something completely different and something new I am learning. My kids are getting older now and they are not so keen on being my models (hence why you have seen more photos of Gavin versus Carter … I always try to ask first), so now I need to start finding new subject matter in addition to my kiddos. This is a good way for me to be pushed into something new as well because kids are easy subjects.

      As for our other goals – we committed to no larger yard projects this year – just my normal planting that I do every summer (maybe even toned down a bit). We have several long weekend trips already planned for the beginning of the year and want to continue taking the time to explore with the kids. Since Jeremy traveled so much last year these weekend trips will not cost us very much so we want to take advantage of it. The only house project I am tackling is completing what we started by painting the bonus room, back staircase and laundry room. And that is because those are main living spaces where more than just our family go.

      So this will be the year of slowing down, of being present and being thoughtful with everything by taking time. We will learn about new places, hopefully meet some fun people along the way and enjoy all our friends and family and how they enrich and make our lives better and more complete. That is what I want for 2019.

      <Here is one of my favorite photos from our trip to Italy … a time when I was slowed down and present>

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      So, does that mean more time with friends and wine? Sign us up! 😀

      Always up for time with friends and wine!! :D

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