2015 Year in Review

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2015 Year In ReviewThis year has brought it’s ups, downs, and everything in between.

Much like a Facebook and their version of a “Year in Review” I tried really hard to post photos and memories of my life in this blog.  It ended up being like one of those generated memes of expectation vs. reality….

My Recap:

Blog Wise ~

I posted seventeen (17) blog posts.

I began (drafted) four (4) blog posts that didn’t get published.

I posted seven (7) Instructables this year.  You can also see these on my Instructables tab.  They are shown from the most recent published.

Family Wise ~

My mother passed away in January.

My father successfully recovered from his open heart surgery in 2014 and was able to take care of his grandchildren once again in late February of this year.

My mother-in-law went through her cancer treatments and beat cancer.

My children began swim lessons this year and my oldest ~almost~ passed the highest level (Level 10.)

We went to Hawaii as a family this year.

Our youngest had the last adorable season of youth-soccer, where they don’t keep score and we’re just out there for fun. <Sigh.>

Kids playing soccer just for fun....

Intellectually ~

I read a total of eleven (11) books this year!  Three of them were non-fiction.  My goal was twelve, and I really wanted to count the Rainbow Magic Fashion Fairies that I completed with my daughter, but I didn’t.

Five books completed from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

The Horse and His Boy

Prince Caspian

The Voyage of the ‘Dawn Treader’

The Silver Chair

and “The Last Battle

With my oldest I read a fun book called “The Year of Billy Miller” by Kevin Henkes.

We completed “The Hobbit” by J.R.R Tolkien this year, and we started on the Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring in the beginning of December.

As a family, we read “James and the Giant Peach” by Roald Dahl.  That book is VERY DIFFERENT from the movie.

I personally finished the book by Dave Ramsey and his daughter Rachel Cruze called “Smart Money Smart Kids“.

My trainer gave me a book that I enjoyed reading (a health book!) by Dr. Kelly Starrett called “Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally.”

Lastly, I read a book with fellow believers from our church.  That book was “Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint” by Nadia Bolz-Weber.  It was…interesting and overall, a good read but it’s not for the new Christian in my humble opinion.

Health Wise/Physically ~

The biggest thing that happened this year was that I was able to lose 31 pounds in seven months.  I’ve gained about four of those pounds back, but I’m on the way to getting those holiday pounds off by continuing to run.

I’ve managed to avoid taking cholesterol medication that the doctor was going to prescribe me.

I’m also grateful that I’m completely recovered from my knee surgery back in August 2014.  The left knee though….  We’ll just have to see what happens next year.

And Career Wise ~

This is where the “adulting” part of life gets tricky.

I am so grateful for the job I have.  It pays well, I get to leave everything at the office and not take work home with me, and I have great co-workers.

The upper management people are …

well, they are …

hard to deal with to say the least.

As this is a public blog, I will put it like this: follow me on Instagram, and you can get an idea of my life on a daily basis.  I used the hashtag #DsLastProject and there’s 19 photos that will show you how much I loved the job I used to have.

As of January 11, 2016, that will be changing permanently and I will be permanently assigned to a desk job in the Special Projects Section of Design.

A government worker at her finest.

Yup.

~ In Summary ~

  • The first part of the year sucked.
  • My mom went to be with the Lord and the best way to describe how I feel is by repeating what someone told me: Grief comes like a thief.  It steals your joy when you least expect it, despite how well you seem to be doing.
  • No truer words have been spoken to me about my mom’s passing.  I am grateful of everything she taught me, and I know where she is but boy does it suck sometimes not having her around.
  • In April 2015 I made the decision to follow whatever my personal trainer told me to do.  My number one goal was to lose as much weight as I could before I went to Hawaii.  I did it.  I think I lost about 25-pounds before we left in August and when we came back, I began running to hit my next year’s goal – running and completing a half-marathon race.
  • We went to Hawaii in August 2015.  What a place.  We will be going back.
  • Children’s birthday’s and the year-end holiday’s have gone off without a hitch.  (Knocking on wood and praising the Lord right now!)
  • My husband and I have written goals down for the upcoming year, and I have lofty goals for 2016.

I say bring it.

I hope you bring it too.

As always, thanks for reading.

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My Book Review System

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One of the things I am grateful for as a mom is having children as an excuse.

I’m being very selfish (yet honest) with this but I can use my children as an excuse to not go out with people.

I use my children as excuses to make myself cookies, because you know, they want some too and it’s good to cook with mommy.

And one of the most wonderful things I am grateful for having children is getting to do things (even as an adult) that I couldn’t afford or I didn’t do when I was a child.

I try to tell myself that I am not living vicariously through them, but I will admit, it upsets me when they have no idea how amazing and blessed their little lives are.  But that’s another discussion for another day.

Today I’m going to tell you about my book review system.

DeAndrasCrafts Book Review System OverviewOne of the ways I use my children – as an excuse to read books I didn’t get to read when I was younger.

I have purchased books from Amazon that started off from a list I found on Pinterest, from an article called 67 Books Every Geek should read to their kids before the age of 10.

Since pinning that pin back in May 2013, my oldest son (7-years old last year, now 8-yrs old) and I have read over twelve books together. And we don’t include the ones he read for school in that total.  He’s only in second grade going into a summer of reading with momma so I’m excited what is to come.

I have two younger children, now ages 3 & 4.  I have been reading books with them since they were little, but it wasn’t until this year that my 4-year old got really intersted in chapter books and sitting down and listening to me read for good 15-minutes chunks of time.

The three-year old still gets bored of listening after about 10-minutes, and we are still in the board-book phase with him.

My plan right now is to review books with a three star system, also separated by category because I just can’t see comparing a life enriching book to a children’s book in the same way.

‘Highly Recommended’ books will have three stars and I plan on using that to describe the Life Enriching catagory as “You must read this to move forward in life.”   If a book in the Life Enriching catagory gets a ‘Good’ rating, then I can probably put my finger on why the book wasn’t a page turner and I didn’t finish it in a week.  The ‘Okay’ rating is to put the book on the bottom of the pile and it will be my suggestion to “get to it when you get to it.”

The Just for Fun catagory is going to be very random.  Usually I pick up a book because I don’t want to watch the movie and would rather read the book.  I did this with the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” series – one that I cannot stress how well written and page turning it was, although I couldn’t imagine watching the movie after I read what it was about.  Eww.  I let those things be visuals in my own head, not see it on screen.

In the Read with Children catagory, I will observe my children when they hear the story and make note of which books kept their interest and which ones they asked me to stop reading because they were tired.

I am looking forward to recommending books and giving my reviews, as I love to read reviews myself, especially the honest ones.  I hope to do that for you and start soon.