The Second Fresh Start of the Year {September Goals + August Recap}

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September 2018 Goals
Most pics in this post were taken around our backyard over the course of the month.

I guess the 20+ years I spent in the educational system in one form or another must have permanently influenced how I view the year, because I (still) think of September as a fresh start, as do most people, I presume. A lot of days, I feel like I hardly get anything “done” (or at least anything that can be measured by most traditional markers), so it’s good for me to do these monthly recaps to reassure myself that in addition to keeping two small humans alive and relatively happy, I’m also not totally letting my own personal goals drop, either. It’s a constant balancing act (and one that I’m itching to blog about), but I’m overall pretty satisfied with how things shook out this last month (and am excited for this month ahead, as September has always been my favorite time of year!).

Before I get into our plans for this current month, let’s take a step back and see how I did with my August goals:

(Note: there are some affiliate links in this post, which help support To Love and To Learn.)

August Goals

  • Choose my personal Assigned Reading for the 2018-2019 school year
    • I chose my assigned reading list the same week my daughter started preschool, which seemed appropriate. Check it out here.
  • Go to the temple
    • This one’s proving trickier than I thought to fit back in after having Mathias. Definitely going to have to schedule this in September ASAP before the month fills up!
  • Start Kayla Itsines’s 12-week BBG
    • Although I *technically*started her 12-week BBG the first Monday of September, I’m counting this as complete because I decided to start first with her 4-week beginner session before I go into the 12-week session. Let’s just say, the beginner stuff KICKED MY BUTT, so I think I made the right move. I’m sure I’ll be doing a post on this sometime because I’m pretty excited about how it’s going!
  • Read 8 books, including one off of my lists
    • I read eight exactly, and since I re-read a book this month (Speak), I’m counting that as one off my 101 in 1001 list (where I’d set a goal to re-read 5 books, since that’s usually a challenge for me). If you want to read full reviews of all the books, you can check me out on Goodreads, or if you want to keep up with all my current reads, you can check out the Loving and Learning Lately posts I’ve been doing.
  • Take load of boxes to the DI (the Utah version of Goodwill, basically)
    • I knocked this one out in the first week of the month, and since I did my decluttering project later in the month, it means that I’ve already gotten a good start on my next load. So it goes.
  • Hang up artwork in guest room
    • I FINALLY got this one done one Saturday when my mom and stepdad came up to help us with some stuff. Now I just need to follow through on some of the other plans I have for that room!
One of the photo sessions I did in August
  • Book two more photography jobs
    • Done and done. It’s looking like my fall season for photography will be busier than ever!
  • List stuff on KSL (local classified)
    • I at least took pictures of a couple of the items and looked into pricing, though I haven’t actually listed anything. Rollover goal (yet again).
  • Write and send thank-you cards for recent baby gifts
    • I did some the old-fashioned way (mailing the cards and everything) and some the new-fashioned way (by telling them in person and over text). Either way, I hope everyone knows how much their thoughtfulness meant to us!
  • Type up 50 pages of third mission journal
    • I knocked this one out mostly by sitting down to type five pages here and there when the opportunity cropped up. It’s been so fun going through these and remembering all the experiences I’d forgotten about!
  • Make homemade salsa
    • I totally would have done this if I could, but we’ve only had two tomatoes from our garden ripen so far, so this will be a September goal (when we’ll for sure have a lot more ripe tomatoes to work with).
  • Make five new Food Nanny recipes
    • One of my 101 in 1001 goals is to cook my way through a whole cookbook, and the one I’ve chosen is The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner. And I actually made SIX recipes from it this month, including two awesome Mexican dishes (one for chicken and lime rice burritos, and the other for plain cheese enchiladas), both of which had AMAZING homemade sauces that went over them. Yum!
  • Do market analysis on our house + move forward with appraisal paperwork
    • We got the market analysis back on the house, and we’re *just* a bit under where we need to be to have the house appraised at a value that would mean we would have 20% equity in the home (and can therefore stop paying the PMI, which is the whole goal with this). Seeing as we’re already funneling all our extra pennies to saving $1000 in 100 days and paying off all our hospital bills from the birth, we’ve decided to hold off on the appraisal paperwork for this for six months or so in the hope that the value on our home will continue to rise, plus we will have made several more payments on the principal, which should help too.
  • Go through one area for 50 Weeks to Organized Refresh project
    • I thought I’d be choosing the very easiest area to tackle for this one, but I surprised myself by going for a middle-level project–the second closet in our home office. Now, I won’t be doing a super thorough job of going through all the book boxes in that closet until we’ve put up our built-in bookshelves, but I at least did go through all the boxes that weren’t just filled with books, and I gave all the books that had been hanging out loose in there a home, too.
  • Complete six quarterly blog goals
    • I completed 3 (including the goal to have over 100 follows on my blog’s Facebook page–if you’re not following already, it’s a great way to support the blog!) and made decent progress on several more, including increasing my followers on Instagram by about 30 and updating the feature photos for over a year’s worth of older posts. Progress!

And, as per usual, I like to include some accomplishments that we had that weren’t on the official goal list but that we nevertheless accomplished in the last month:

  • Installed our new (to us) dishwasher.
    • My mom and stepdad remodeled their kitchen awhile back and have kept their old dishwasher for us for months, just waiting for a good opportunity to come up and install it. They drove up one day to drop it off and help us put it in, and it’s AMAZING. (I already raved about it in my last Loving and Learning Lately post though, so I won’t go on about it any more here.)
  • Tried two new cookie recipes, which is one of my 101 in 1001 goals.
  • Raven started preschool.
    • I was a bit nervous back in April when I started looking around for preschools that we might not be able to get her in anywhere (I had no idea you really need to start signing up by January, sometimes even a whole year before!), but we were lucky to get her on a waiting list and then to have a spot open up. She has absolutely LOVED it so far, and it’s been pretty nice to have those hours with just Mathias twice a week.
  • We started a more systematic way to help night/nap potty train Raven.
    • Raven has done very well with all things potty related for almost a year now…except for when it comes to nights and naptimes, which we still have her in a pull-up for. We know she is capable of staying dry because she’s done so numerous times, but she chooses consciously to go in her pull-up once it’s on (we know this because she doesn’t always nap and just plays in her room instead, but still wets the pull-up). I finally set up a new chart reward system where if she fills the special slots marked “nap” and “night” with enough stickers, we’ll take her to the zoo. So far, it hasn’t been as effective as we were hoping, but we’ll keep trying.
  • I started a loose sleep training schedule for Mathias, and he’s finally giving us 6-7 hour stretches at night.
    • He usually goes down initially for the night around 7 or 7:30 (though that varies), then I’ll wake him up around 10:30 or 11 (whenever I’m going to bed) to feed him on both sides. Since I try not to wake him up too much during that time (by feeding him in the dark and not interacting very much with him), he usually goes right back down to sleep after. Sometimes he’ll wake up fussing a little around 3 or 4, but lately I’ve just been reaching over and putting in the pacifier and he’ll drop right off again until 5 or 6. Victory!
  • We saved $265 more towards our goal of saving $1000 in 100 days, and I negotiated some of our medical and dental bills with the billing offices and saved us about $60 there.
    • We’ve saved a total of $401 towards our $1000 in 100 goal, which is right on track with where we’d like to be (although we got all the bills from Mathias’s birth, so it will be pretty amazing if we’ll be able to cover those AND still save the money in our emergency fund).

September Goals

  • Start at least two Assigned Reading books
    • Last month, I came up with all the books I’m “assigning” myself to read over this next school year, which you can check out here.
  • Edit + share all photo sessions until I’m up to date
    • By the end of September, I’ll have four photo sessions (at least) that I’ll need to edit, so I want to make sure I really keep myself accountable on staying up on those so I don’t feel totally overwhelmed (as fall is always the busiest time for my part-time photography business)
  • List items on KSL (local classified)
    • I have four main items I want to put up (I could have more, but I’m sticking with just these 4 for now), and it’s taken me months to get around to it. This is a rollover goal.
  • Declutter two 50 Weeks to Organized Refresh areas
    • One of these days, I need to actually do a post of what those areas ARE, but if you’re confused about what the whole project is about, you can click that link up there.
  • Complete 6 blog goals + create spreadsheet of growth
    • Even if I complete all six, I still won’t have finished all the blog goals I set for myself this quarter, but that will just be a good reminder when the next quarter starts that I need to be a little more realistic, ha ha. (Oh, and since this is the first time I’ve set formal blog goals in the 10+ years I’ve been blogging, I didn’t think to actually write down my blog stats when I started, so I’m making up for that now. Oops.)
  • Go to the temple
    • This is usually a monthly goal, though I took a bit of a break when the baby came. Time for that break to end.
  • Make homemade salsa
    • Rollover goal from last month (because this month, I should actually have the tomatoes from my own garden to do it).
Here’s some other produce we’re excited about!
  • Make homemade pesto
    • Our basil plant is singlehandedly trying to take over one of our garden beds. Time to show the plant its real purpose for living.
  • Go to our favorite u-pick apple orchard
  • Go on a date for our birthdays
    • Both Matt and I turn 32 at the end of this month, and usually we like to do a fun experience together rather than get each other a bunch of gifts for our birthdays. This year we might do a little bit of both since it’s hard to get a lot of time away with having a newborn and all, but we do already have a set day for our little birthday date.
  • Go on a family day adventure
    • Even though the orchard is already a family day adventure, I wanted to try something new this month that we haven’t had a chance to do together yet. Maybe a new hike?
  • Set up Facebook page for local produce co-op
    • For awhile now, I’ve wanted to find a way to serve our new community, though I knew it would be difficult to do in the stage of life that we’re in (with limited money and with very small children). However, last year, I think I came across the right idea, and this year, I want to start implementing it on the small-scale.
  • Type up to page 100 in my final mission journal
    • I have a 101 in 1001 goal to type up all my mission journals. I’m now almost in the home stretch! I should definitely be able to finish that goal within this year.
  • Have a family home evening about emergency preparedness
    • Another 101 in 1001 goal is to review all our emergency preparedness. Since it’s not a fun goal, it’s super tempting to put off indefinitely, but both Matt and I have felt really strongly we need to start prepping Raven for what to do in case of an emergency, and for us to do things like make a will and check our emergency supplies. Not fun, but super important to do all the same.
  • Add About Me tab to my photography webpage
    • Fall is always super busy for my part-time photography business, and as more and more people start checking out my page (rather than hiring me based on a referral), I really need to put the finishing touches on my website.

It seems the older the baby gets, the harder it gets to do all that I plan to do, but I’m hoping that come October, I’ve been able to make a good dent in these!