I recently went through my annual goal setting session and have come up a short list of things I want to accomplish and focus on for 2011. As usual I broke them out into five categories. Below is my list broken down by those five categories with an explanation for each goal.
**Eat dinner with the TV off**
I have noticed that Jen and I connect better when we have some time to talk with no distractions. We were doing this during the summer while eating on the deck but now that it's cold outside we migrated back to watching TV while eating. I think it's important for us to have that time to talk.
**Take over laundry duty from Jen**
Jen currently takes on most of the household chores and I think it would relieve some of her stress if I took a little piece of the pie away from her.
**Create an activity plan for Claire**
I want to create an activity plan for Claire to ensure that she gets exposed to all kinds of different things and is doing things that are in line with her current development to keep her challenged and enjoying life. A lot of times when I am spending time with Claire I don't really have much direction as to what I should be doing so I'd like to map it all out.
**Dinner with friends on Saturday nights**
This is our preferred method of staying in touch with our friends. It also seems to allow us to get to know each other better than training together because we actually talk.
**No electronics while on vacations**
This goes along with the theme about connecting better with friends and family. Laptops, ipads, facebook, emails, and phones all take away from the current moment and the "real" people that you are actually in the same room with. We are going to try to limit these activities unless we need to for directions or looking up a dinner spot, etc.
**Invite family and friends to join our vacations**
Instead of going on solo vacations this will give us another avenue to see some of our favorite people that we don't get to see often.
**Start MBA program**
I haven't quite decided what I might plan to do once I finish the MBA program but if my company is willing to pay $5k per year for me to go back to school then I might as well. I think I've decided to go to UNCC since I can take the classes uptown right after work and it's much less costly than the other programs in the area. I'm looking more for the knowledge than the network or notoriety and don't plan on spending much money out of pocket. This means I'll only be taking 3-6 credits per semester which will allow me a good life balance.
**Learn more about securities processing**
I have a great base of technical knowledge but would like to get down to the details of the business so I can fully understand what my customers are talking about. I'm currently reading "After The Trade Was Made" to get this ball rolling.
**Help Jen grow her business**
Jen has a lot of great ideas for her business but doesn't have the time to execute them or put more thought into it. My plan to help her involves taking a lot of her current load off of her shoulders on the home front as well as offering my opinions when it's asked of me. The biggest item is taking things off of her plate to let her flap her wings.
HEALTH & FITNESS:
**Climb Mt. Rainier (July)**
The security deposit is paid, our team is assembled, and now all I have to do is stay in shape.
**Run some local 5Ks**
I don't want to set any definite time goals for next year because oftentimes that discourages me to go out and race if I'm not fit. I'd like to race even if I'm not in close to peak shape.
**Increase strength and flexibility**
Sitting at a computer all day is bad for your body. I want to focus on staying healthy by maintaining balanced strength and flexibility.
FINANCES & REAL ESTATE:
**Take over personal finance duties from Jen**
This will be twofold. First, it takes something off of Jen's plate and second it gives me an opportunity to make some adjustments to our spending. The biggest area here is going to be reducing our food costs. The plan is to create a monthly meal plan and grocery list to try to reduce waste and the need for picking up something quick.
**Take over rental duties from Jen**
The idea is to reduce Jen's workload and also try to manage the rental properties more efficiently and with more attention to detail.
SELF IMPROVEMENTS & HOBBIES:
**Go through all five levels of Rosetta Stone Spanish course**
I want to learn spanish so I can teach Claire spanish.
**Read news daily for 30 mins**
I'd like to read the headline news each day to stay on top of current events. I oftentimes feel out of the loop when others are talking about something that I have no clue about.
**Read more about history**
History intrigues me and it also helps when playing trivial pursuit.
**Build a fence around the back yard**
We are thinking about getting a dog within the next couple of years and I'd like for Claire to have a place to play with some boundaries. Keeping the neighbor boys from running through our yard is another plus...
**Learn to cook 10 new meals**
I'd like to continue to cook good food and expand our dinner options. If you're going to eat, it might as well taste good!
On Sunday we went to breakfast at Original Pancake House and then followed it up with a family walk. Last week there was a Groupon for 50% off at OPH so Jen and I bought three groupons each since it's our favorite breakfast restaurant. Claire was quite the ham while at breakfast and everyone wanted to stop by to say hello to her. She has been very good so far while dining out. This week Claire has started to scoot around a lot more on the floor. She used to roll around everywhere but she can now take a more direct path via "the scoot".
Here we are on Claire's favorite walking route one block away from her favorite intersection: East Blvd & Dilworth Road East. She gets very excited to see all of the cars going by and the lights on our evening walks.
Here's a shot that I missed from a couple of weeks ago while we were at the beach. Claire's first time touching the ocean. In Claire's first year she will have been to the mountains, the ocean, New York City, Baltimore, Washington DC, Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, and Chippewa Falls. She will have driven through the following states in the process: North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin.
Work has been very busy lately but I've finally knocked down my TODO list to a few items. I'm starting to see daylight but my manager assures me that there is much more to come. This is actually one of the reasons why I haven't run a step in a couple of weeks. I typically get this done at lunch time but I've been working through lunch lately. Since I've taken some time off I've decided that I'm not going to run again until my left hamstring issue (that originated in April after "Death Camp") is 100% better. I'm going to try to lift weights or SMR/stretch every day until it's cleared up. My guess is that I won't be running for another week or two. I'm in no hurry but I'd like to be in shape by spring.
Our weekend was action packed with Clarke and Katie coming over for dinner on Friday night, Brad & Ieva's engagement party on Saturday night, and our family breakfast on Sunday morning. Friday night was mexican night as we had fajitas and margaritas and listened to some tropical music on pandora. Saturday we hung out at the engagement party with the triathlon crew. One thing I'm realizing is that I really don't care to talk about training or racing much anymore. It's an overexhausted topic for me so I try to change the subject but it's a tough task. I might have come across as a bit of a curmudgeon on Saturday night due to this.
Sunday morning was family morning at Original Pancake House. As noted above, Claire stole the show and enjoyed her time on the outside. Ever since the beach trip I've started drinking one coffee per week but this week I had one on Saturday AND Sunday. I've never been a coffee drinker but with enough sugar and milk added it's actually pretty tasty.
We've got some trips coming up in November and December that we're looking forward to. In November we have a wedding at Battery Park in NYC and the following week we have another wedding in Baltimore, MD. We're going to spend a couple of nights in DC as well to do some sight seeing. My parents haven't been up the East Coast before so it will be a fun trip to take them on. We plan to stay in NYC from Friday through Wednesday and then head to DC for a couple of nights and back to Baltimore from Friday through Sunday.
My neice, Summer, is not only dominating in the swimming pool but is also setting her sights on the stage.
My neice Summer recently tried out as a dancer for the Sauk Prairie Theatre Guild's
- The Nutcracker (performed entirely by children). At the rehearsal the parents were told that there were a bunch of choir spots open but not as many dancers. There was an normous turnout for dancers and since Summer doesn't shy away from a challenge she decided to go for the dancer position. After a slam dunk try out Summer was casted as one of the Flowers and Fairies Dancers! Congrats to Summer!!
The show times are:
Friday, December 3rd at 7pm
Saturday, December 4th at 7pm
Sunday, December 5th at 2pm
Tickets can be bought HERE