2011 Goals – Personal and Parenting

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on January 5, 2011

I *may* have mentioned that I’m not into resolutions. Resolutions don’t seem to hold as much “authority” as goals do. Maybe it’s the media making light of them, or our reluctance to stick to them…for whatever reason. I prefer goals. Goals that are SMART.  Things that, once accomplish, I can cross of my list!

(Type A much?!)

I thought I’d share a few of my personal and professional goals for this new year. In this post, I’ll share a couple of my personal and parenting goals for 2011.

Parenting Goals

Transition Tyler to a sippy cup. We have been having trouble with Tyler and getting him to gain weight. After a few difficult weeks back in November and number of different tests and procedures, we figured out the culprit (a faulty sphincter between his stomach and esophagus) of his feeding issues. There’s nothing that can be done for it, so we just keep pushing the calories.  We have him on a special, higher cal formula to help him put on the pounds, but he still drinks from a bottle. Which is fine with me…as it’s working and he’s getting the calories he needs.  But eventually he needs to switch over to a sippy cup, so I’m putting this goal so it’s in the forefront of my mind as we continue to work with him and help him gain weight.

Therapeutic Listening with Ryan. Ryan was born with a Chiari malformation and one of the symptoms is sensory integration dysfunction and auditory processing difficulty/disorder. Ryan has been in occupational therapy for over 3 years, and we recently moved towards a more targeted approach in his therapy.  We are now doing therapeutic listening…which requires 1 hour a day, split into 2 30 minute “sessions.” He has to listen to a special CD for 30 minutes at a time.  The goal (and challenge) is to make that happen on a daily basis.  The challenge comes for me in looking ahead at our day and figuring out when we can fit this into our schedule and routine each day.

Focused reading time with Ryan. He is learning to read and needs lots of time and practice with level 1 and level 2 readers.  My hope is that we can do his reading time just after his therapeutic listening time. My hope!

Articulation practice with Charlie. Work on articulation in his speech…supplement what they are doing at school, at home! Charlie also has a Chiari malformation and one of the other common troubles with a Chiari is speech and articulation issues.  The nerves that innervate the back of the throat don’t always work properly because of the Chiari pressing on the spinal cord…and in Charlie’s case, it is causing him to have trouble making the “k”, “hard c”, and “g” sounds.  And by having trouble, I mean…he can’t make them at all. He substitutes “t” and “d” for those sounds. (Which is perfectly normal for a 2 year old, but not an almost 4 year old.) So he says things like “tootie” for cookie, and “dam tater” for graham cracker.  So we have to break down these words into simple syllables and exaggerate the sounds, while pressing on his voice box in his neck, hoping that his nerves and brain can “rewire” the pathways and he can learn to make these sounds. It’s a slow process…we’ve made no progress in the last year of trying…but we’ll keep at it!

Brothers. The boys. Oh the boys.  They are busy, they are rowdy and they are aggressive. They are great brothers to each other, sweet in some moments, wrestling in others.  But I don’t understand them at all!  My goal this year is to better understand boys, their relationship with each other, how to raise them as individuals and as a “band of brothers,” and the best way s to teach them character, respect and responsibility…through reading a few books and talking with other moms of boys who have been there, done that.

Personal Goals

Better QUALITY time in Scripture. If I try to have my quiet time in the morning, I’m usually interrupted with “Mooooom, can I get up yet?”…and if I try to have my quiet time in the afternoon, I’m interrupted by the dryer buzzer going off or a baby nap cut short! My goal is to find that perfect time during the day for this quiet time that I desperately need every day…after breakfast, during “independent play” time, or during the kids’ bathtime (Steve usually does bath time, giving me a few moments of peace at the end of a loud and busy day!).  I’ll find it…I know I will!

Ask my husband out on dates. I have generally thought of the “asking out on dates” concept to be the man’s job. I like that my husband still “courts me” even though we are married. But who’s to say that I can’t do the same and ask him out! I think it’s important for me to do the same for him!

Set up (and stick to) the “playroom store.” Just before Christmas we did a playroom purge, if you will…preparing for the onslaught of Christmas gifts and toys. The grandparents in our family are extremely generous and love to shower the boys with gifts. Lots and lots of gifts. Knowing that was coming, I was diligent about making room for “the new.” As I took toys out of the playroom, I noticed something remarkable. There were fewer messes, the boys actually put the toys back where they belong without prompting and they played more creatively, both independently and with each other. As Steve and I reflected on this, we decided that the “less is more” phenomenon had taken over and was having such a positive effect on the boys. I told this with a girlfriend in my Bible study, and she shared with me the “playroom store” concept…which I promptly decided to set up after Christmas.  The basic idea is…your kids get a set number of toys to have “out” in the playroom.  With the rest of your toys, you set up a store on some shelves and trade out the toys every few days. I’m planning on leaving the “trading day” up to the boys…having them remind me that it’s trading day. We have 2 sets of shelves that we can use for the “store” and I think that the boys will enjoy having less clutter to deal with, and having the independence and responsibility of deciding when they want a “trading day.” I have visions of them asking for a “trading day” every day…and if that starts to happen, then we’ll set up a system on our fridge family calendar.  I’m really looking forward to this system!  My goal is to have it in place and “running” by the end of January. (Because I’m traveling so much at the start of January for the second cookbook, it will have to wait a few weeks!)

Tomorrow, I’ll share my professional/blogging goals, as well as our financial goals f0r 2011!  Stay tuned…

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary January 5, 2011 at 11:04 am

I’ve been working on my personal devotions, also. It is easy to have an excuse when you have 3 little ones, but I’m determined to make it a priority this year! It never fails that my days seem to go a little smoother when I spend a few moments with the Lord. I love the idea of asking your husband out on dates. I may have to try it! My husband would be thrilled. Now if I could just figure out what to do with the kids so we can go on a date!

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Jennifer January 5, 2011 at 11:53 am

I love the idea of breaking your goals into distinct areas. Maybe I’ll work on coming up with my own goals during nap time today :-)

PS. I would LOVE to see a post about how you fit it all in during the day! I only have 2 kids and don’t have any sort of job (other than parenting of course) but never seem to have enough time…

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Ashley Pichea January 5, 2011 at 12:31 pm

I’ve created a similar idea with my kids’ toys (as they are also blessed by extremely generous family members), keeping their toys sorted in bins in the closet of the playroom and allowing “x” number of bins out at a time. If they want a new toy to play with (every few days or so), they have to give a toy back. It has DEFINITELY made a huge difference during clean-up time!

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Sara K January 5, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I love the playroom idea. I have three boys, too, and I’m in the process of reading “The Way of Boys”. I’m finding it remarkable and highly recommend reading it as one of your resolutions. All the best in 2011!

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom January 5, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Thanks for the recommendation Sara! I’m adding it to my reading list!

And best to you in 2011 as well!

Erin

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Kristal January 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm

You should read the book Bringing up Boys… really good. Helped me understand them better.

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Saidah @ AProverbsWife.com January 5, 2011 at 4:07 pm

“Mooooom, can I get up yet?”…..This stopped at my house within the last 11 months. My youngest is 7 and my oldest 17 with (4) kids in all I’ve had my fair share of interruptions in the A.M. It feels really good to be able to have that quiet prayer and bible reading time in the morning. After that I am able to blog a bit, check emails and respond all before they get out of bed.

As they’ve gotten older, now it’s me having to force them to get up for breakfast & homeschool. It feels great having my mornings back. Ahhh!

Erin, you’ve put together some great goals. I’m rooting for you to get them done. :)

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Christy January 5, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Playroom store sounds an awful lot like rotating learning centers in my Pre-K classroom. When you rotate in new toys while rotating others out, they are much more engaged with them. Two thumbs up!

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Jill January 5, 2011 at 11:18 pm

ok, so I’m not really sure how I came across your blog, but have been in my google reader for a while. Anyways…as I was scanning your blog tonight I noticed you mentioned your son’s SID and starting therapeutic listening. Our son has sensory issues and started listening about 6 weeks ago. We have found that if we have him do it when he eats breakfast every morning that helps A LOT. So, I leave it out on the kitchen counter each day. We still aren’t real consistent with the afternoon time. I try to have him put it on when he gets home from school, but he is resistant about half the time.
It’s encouraging to find someone else who can relate. If you ever want to chat further, please e-mail me.

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Amanda January 6, 2011 at 7:44 am

Hey Erin one great idea I have learned along my parenting journey is timed lights. You set them up in the boys room(s) when the light goes on/off you may get up. They are great for children who are unable to tell time yet. As they get older an alarm works. Good luck! I know thats a tough one ; )

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Multi-Testing Mommy January 6, 2011 at 9:01 am

I’m new to your site and I just love it! You do a great job here.

I read your goals and I’m right there with you about not knowing much about how to raise a boy. I have a 2 year old son and I’m just stuck about how to raise him tough but sensitive and to not get stuck in so many of today’s stereotypes…..there is an amazing book out there that I am reading right now…you can check out the website here for the author and his work: http://www.williampollack.com/ I just love every chapter that I’ve read so far and it is really helping me see how to raise my son in today’s world! I hope that this helps if you decide to pick it up. Let me know :)

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Amber La Mons January 6, 2011 at 12:03 pm

I love the idea of the playroom store. I had a hard time giving gifts at Christmas because my children seem to be ungrateful for all of the toys and things that they do have. They seem to focus on what they do not have, which isn’t much these days. I think by not having access to everything will force the kids to appreciate what they have more. My kids are 5 and 7 so I do not know how well it will go over with my older daughter but we will see.

I have daughters so good luck with the boys. One of the books that I love no matter what sex children you have is “Parenting with Love and Logic”. It has been a real eye opener into what is and isn’t working with my parenting style.

Thank you so much for your books and your website. I always love reading your updates!

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Rachel January 6, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Would love to hear which books about boys you are reading. I have two and it seems a constant struggle between “letting them wrestle” and getting them to behave quietly when it’s the right time (i.e. NO wrestling in the grocery store, KEEP your hands to yourself in the bookstore, etc.) I had sisters and only one brother so the whole boy vs boy thing is new and tough on me as well. I would love to hear where to go for good advice from a Christian perspective.

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Brandis January 7, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I need to check out some of those books on boys as well. I only have one boy, and while I do have a basic understanding of the developmental differences between boys and girls (I even blogged about the differences a few weeks ago- I’d link to it, but I’m on my iPad right now… Browse my blog and you should find it easy enough) having a daughter who is just a tad older adds other complications- namely that you tend to, no matter how hard you try not to, compare them. And thats not fair. But since I know this I try to not let my comparrisons affect my parenting.

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Diane January 7, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Hi Erin!
Thanks for your site… I pop in once in a while to get some inspiration! : )
I just thought I’d mention, since you want to transition Tyler to a sippy cup, etc., that a straw cup is another option.
My daughter seemed to pick on the straw cup very early at occasional fast food stops. The bells went off in my head! I favor it because we live in pretty hot weather half the year. She seems to drink more liquids that way and when she is being a picky eater she has no objections to nutritious smoothies.
Godspeed

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Michelle O. January 18, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Now i dont have experience with kids with the type of issues you were talking about, but i have dealt (was a nanny & worked in a daycare) with kids who were having trouble learning how to speak . One thing i know several people have tried is using sign language. It lets them express themself freely with out the frustration of trying to say something they have trouble with or dont know how. IDK, just a thought.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom January 19, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Yes Michelle! You are right on…both older boys signed, and I’m already teaching the baby the basic early signs! It definitely helps with the frustration levels!

Erin

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