Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Happy Chri-bir-anni-new-year!

And I don't say that in the spirit of political correctness. Christmas may be over, but I still had a birthday and wedding anniversary (34 and 5, respectively) to celebrate before we kissed in the New Year. Having a post-Christmas birthday used to be a drag, but I now see it as an opportunity to "allow" my loved ones to combine my birthday and Christmas present...but only if it's a really big gift. I'm accommodating like that. :D

We had a beautiful Christmas that consisted of three days of gift-giving, two large meals, and lots o' familial love. I received several beautiful things, but one of my favorites is a pink T-shirt with the following quote from Ayn Rand: The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me. Love it. Among other things, I got a year membership to the local Y (for the whole family) and a nice, big gift certificate for a local designer shoe place (yippeee!!!).

Things aside, it was our best December yet. This is the first year that we pre-planned where we would spend what holidays and with whom, which allowed us to see both sides of our family while significantly reducing last-minute guilt/stress and the need to travel. Jack's office party was well-attended and much fun. Earlier in December, PEAK successfully pulled off its first fundraising event in the form of a Holiday Open House (ours), which meant the house was clean, organized and decorated early (unprecedented!). We took the girls to see the puppet guild's performance of Peter and the Wolf. And Jack surprised them with a limousine tour of the Metro area's Christmas lights, which was relaxing, romantic, and beautiful. We all loved it. All in all, this is the first Christmas that I was able to focus on my family without being distracted by too many commitments or my inability to manage time. By this point, I am usually exhausted, but it felt (and feels) wonderful.

I believe it is an adequate reflection of our whole year. 2005 has been quite eventful and fulfilling. For example, Jack's paper--Metro Business Chronicle-- and my homeschool experiment--PEAK--both turned one year old. Jack has made the Chronicle quite successful, and PEAK has become a statewide homeschool network. Both are promising to keep us busy in 2006 with new projects and broader focuses (that's all I'm at liberty to say...[EG]).

On the personal front, Jack set out to realize two dreams in 2005. Unfortunately, he was unable to speak at TOC's Summer Seminar due to health concerns, but he considers it an honor to have been invited. He did, however, successfully train for and complete the San Diego Rock-n-Roll Marathon with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's TEAM in Training before his 40th birthday--resulting in a thousands of dollars raised for LLS and a 47-point drop in his cholesterol! He will continue his Objectivist studies and marathon training next year, because it makes him, I do enjoy being married to a man with such a fit mind AND body. Additionally, he has talked me into training to walk a half-marathon and raise more money for LLS, so have your wallets ready, folks.

Due to my sister's post-Katrina six-week stay, which ended on the heels of the holiday season, homeschooling has been hit and miss at best. However, both girls are pursuing their own interests vigorously. Dagny believes herself to be a prima ballerina and has embraced tap (which I think she didn't care for initially). She is also showing all the signs for "reading readiness,"which we believe will take off in the coming months. Her current obsession is Sue the T-Rex (awakened after we saw the traveling Sue exhibit at our local science museum) and all things dinosaur. She also excels in impersonating animals (her turtle face continues to crack us up, no matter how many times we've seen it!). In 2006, she will participate in an upcoming homeschool drama workshop that will, no doubt, further add to her unique expressiveness.

Katie loves electronics, science and horses. This year, Katie will participate in PEAK's first science fair with a project on the sound barrier. She will also begin learning about computer programming and robotics at home, which is also a new fascination (and quite foreign to me, so it will be interesting for all of us). Our plans for riding lessons were put on hold after Katrina damaged several barns on our neighbor's farm, which will take several months for him to rebuild. In the meantime, we will visit two new stables and finally fulfill our summer promise of riding lessons. At a glance, it may look like we're on track, but we truly need to recommit to a more purposeful home education in 2006.

Other than our lack of disciplined learning, I met and exceeded my goals for the year. First of all, PEAK has outgrown me. We currently have seven branches located across the state, something I did not set out to accomplish and certainly didn't do alone. In 2006, we are filing for non-profit incorporation. I maintained my column in Jack's paper without getting kicked off for screwing up deadline (this year, I'll be better at managing my time. That's my only resolution.). I made friends both far and wide and made connections in the homeschooling world while the girls have established relationships with kids across the Metro area.

I've learned and grown in many unexpected ways due to homeschooling, group management, writing, and of course, through endeavors with my husband and children. All give me an immense sense of accomplishment and satisfaction I could never have imagined or achieved "out there." I hope to continue that in the new year.

May 2006 be a good one for all of us.
Here's to your health!

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