Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolutions... take II

 So, last year around this time I did a post about the 'resolutions' I wanted to work on for 2012. I thought this year I would take a look at those and reflect on how I did and in what ways I can improve for 2013. Ready? Here we go!

1) for 2012: {Get in shape. I know what you're thinking- "You just said that was typical!". Well making a big push to lose holiday weight is always a big deal, but that's not what I'm talking about. This past year I lived a very unhealthy lifestyle, and it has taken its toll. My skin, my weight, my moods, my energy- no good!! I'm resolving to cut out simple carbs (this is kind of necessary due to insulin resistance I have developed) and to begin exercising regularly to get in shape!! This is going to be a biggie- and probably the hardest for me.}

for 2013: This goal has been a roller coaster. I had periods of time where I was losing weight and at each visit to my doctor my weight was going down. I've also had periods where I've felt overwhelmed and put the weight back on. And then I would lose it again. This goal is a battle for a lifestyle. As I go into 2013 I've got my eyes on not what I want to lose, but what I want to gain: feeling better and ditching the aches and pains from the weight, having energy to spare, starting a family, being able to work out with my husband, getting rid of the couch potato lifestyle, and finally- looking at photos of myself and enjoying the memory rather than feeling shame about how I appear.

2) for 2012: {Commit to keeping my house clutter free. I'm a pack rat. I married a pack rat. I have seen way too many hoarders episodes to be comfortable keeping junk anymore. So in 2012 I will continue de-cluttering and keeping my house simple and neat. I'm very excited about this one! Less clutter leads to more projects! And we all know I love projects!!}

for 2013: I rocked this resolution!!!! The only problem is I should have said "Get rid of the clutter" rather than "Keep it clutter free". It took the entire year to rid our house of most of the clutter. My biggest advice- take it room by room. Even today after I finish writing this post I will be cleaning and re-organizing my office because it looks like Christmas exploded in there. I have to refuse to be overwhelmed by the mess (being OCD I want everything in its place all the time and I have to fight the urge to be stressed when it's not that way) and just take things one space at a time. I am WAY more productive that way. So for this year I'm going to focus on painting the kitchen cabinets and reorganizing them to better suit our needs, keeping up with laundry and putting things away, and being careful about impulse buys so I don't bring things into our home that are not going to be used.

3) for 2012: {Be committed to serving in a church. God led us in an unexpected direction church-wise this year and it has been awesome to see God bless our obedience, but it is hard to get plugged into and committed to another church. Please pray for us that our hearts will ignite with passion and we will find a place to serve.}

for 2013: God was so faithful! Josh and I joined Newspring Church and not only attend church now, but we are plugged in serving God through being a part of their Greeting Team! We have seen so much growth in our relationship as a married couple through us taking care of our individual relationships with the Lord. We communicate better, we are in better moods, and we enjoy the time we get to spend together volunteering. We've made new friends and look forward to volunteering faithfully and continuing to take our next steps with God!

4) for 2012: {Get out of debt!! Honestly, I don't really consider 2 credit cards and a home loan a lot of debt but it's important to me to be debt free. We need to purchase another vehicle and will not be able to do so until I get these credit cards off my back.}

for 2013: Y'all. This is hard. Financial hardship always seems to hit you when you're down. We have worked really hard this year to pay debt off and make better financial choices. We were very blessed to be able to purchase Josh a vehicle (even if it is an ole rust bucket- we love it regardless!) but we still have debt to take on. We were wasteful with our income tax money last year and will be very disciplined this year in using that money in ways that God leads us. My best advice when it comes to living comfortably on a not comfortable income: tithe. Every time we have tithed and been faithful in giving our 10% back to God, He has been SO faithful in providing for us. Every. single. time.

5) for 2012: {Save, save, save money!!!! Our responsibility with money has matured a whole HECK of a lot (I'm not sure how much a heck is, but it's gotta be a bunch!); however, in order to visit one of my best friends in England, feel comfortable talking about having babies, visit precious friends that live in California, and be able to pay our bills without ridiculous juggling and pushing due dates- we gotta get ahead of the game. Paycheck to paycheck ain't gonna work.}

for 2013: Again- money is a hard one. We did an okay job of saving here and there for small things we wanted, but in the grand scheme of things we did not make very calculated decisions and were not able to save any big bucks for any big trips. We feel pretty good about where we are in regards to whenever God blesses us with starting a family. Ideally I would love to be able to stay home and raise our children and teach part time or substitute, but if I had to continue teaching we would trust the Lord for that and just be overjoyed He finally blessed us with a family. We also love giving and being able to do things for our families and would love to be in a better position to do so.


Overall I have to say we did a bang up job growing together as a couple and doing our very best to soak in every drop of joy and opportunity given us by this one wild and precious life.

I have a feeling 2013 is going to be the best yet. :)



Friday, December 28, 2012

A Very Special Gift

I love surprises. I love to be surprised. However, (and our family knows this) Josh and I are horrible at keeping surprises from each other. We get so excited that we end up either spilling the beans or handing over the surprise early... (e.g. my new camera and Josh's iPhone).

So you can imagine that when my stepmom told me on THANKSGIVING she had connections to Chad Morris of the Clemson Tigers and that my husband (one of the most devoted Clemson fans I've ever met) would be receiving a football for Christmas autographed by Mr. Morris and Dabo and some of the popular players (Tajh, Sammy, Ford, Ellington to name a few... I hope I spelled all those right) I had to try my absolute.hardest. to keep this secret. I was so dang excited for him. I knew it was something that he would cherish and I just wanted to blurt it out so many times (especially while watching the games) but I am very proud of myself- I kept the secret! I did and his reaction was so worth it.

My husband works so very hard. And he loves even harder. If I mention that I want something (within reason) he will do whatever he can to get it for me. It's how I got my Young House Love book, how I convinced him to help me repaint the living room the weekend before hosting my sister's bachelorette, how I got my amazing teacher bag, and how I am able to do all my fun projects. He would move Heaven and Earth to make me happy, so when it came to keeping my lips sealed about this treasure I was happy to hold the secret because I knew just how happy this gift would make my sweet Josh.

Need proof? No? Well here it is anyway:

Sneaky, sneaky JoAnn. And sneaky, sneaky me. :)

Looking forward to sharing photos of our Christmas with you later today!

Until then,

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Cheer

Has it already come and gone?!

The day after Christmas always brings with it a certain amount of sadness. I blame it on my mom. No offense to her (different strokes for different folks), but when we were little Christmas decorations came down on Christmas Day. I wish I was kidding. Granted, we were up at 4am celebrating Santa's arrival and departure so when later afternoon came around and my mom and dad would make the switch so we could spend the afternoon with him and my grandparents, my sister and I felt like it had already been 2 days. It was still an abrupt ending to come home that evening or the next morning and see that life was 'back to normal'; that all the Christmas magic was put up in the attic to wait out another year.

Now that I have my own home, my love and I draw out the Christmas cheer as long as possible. I'd probably keep decorations up longer if it weren't for getting back to teaching so early in January.

Regardless, I tried to document a lot of our cheery moments this year on Instagram. I realized if I made my own hashtag I could see all of those moments at one time. So- until I can get good pictures taken of our holiday home and posts written about what we've been up to to share, I thought I would revive my poor, neglected blog with some warm fuzzies courtesy of Instagram- (Followers welcome: ajatkins4120).

I kicked off my decorating with my Gingerbread Scentsy in the kitchen!
First fire of the year. No stockings hanging- safety first! (Thanks Dad!)
The tree in all its clearance decor glory. I love my tree!
I handmade our stockings this year. I love them.
White silk and spice. Y'all. It's good.
Autumn's first Christmas!
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care.
Another view of our tree.
So glad we get to take time in the year to celebrate our reason for living!
Our wreath. I'm not sure I like the 'a' hanging in the middle. Will tweak for next year.
Someone special got an early Christmas present! Free iPhone 4 upgrade!
Good stuff. Given to me by one of my students. I <3 my church!
Went with simple brown kraft paper and decorative tape this year.
Three sweet snowflakes. We're adding icicles next year.
Christmas lab- turning Poinsettias into pH indicators!!
We spent our last day before Christmas break at school making snowflakes for Sandy Hook children.
First morning of Christmas break!
Someone got a little too excited with his gift... we still can't find the head. Poor hedgehog.
We couldn't wait to give all these presents
Waiting for Santa
The Year Without a Santa Claus- He's Mister White Christmas, He's Mr. Snow!
I made this for my nephew. And it was too small. Boo!
So pleeeease, celebrate me home! Beginning our Christmas festivities!
New tradition- Movies on Christmas Day. We saw Monsters, Inc in 3D. So good!
So, that was a quick run through of our holiday week! I'm looking forward to doing a recap of our Fall (I was horrible at keeping up with this blog. Sorry!) and editing the pictures from Christmas I got to take with my early Christmas present: my new Nikon SLR! Hurrah!

Until then,