A New Year’s Gift for You!

hand 2016

There is nothing magical about a new year’s resolution, but I do love the freedom and promise of a fresh start.  Don’t you?  The transition from one year to another is a perfect time to think about the year that passed and to plan for the year ahead, if for no other reason than because you probably have a little bit of time off when you could squeeze some reflection into your busy schedule.

New year’s resolutions get a bad rap.  I feel a little sorry for them, actually.  They don’t fail because they are a bad idea; they fail because we call them “resolutions” when they are usually just fleeting thoughts rather than sincere commitments.  We break up with our resolutions when we were never seriously dating them to begin with.

It’s not you, Resolutions.  It’s us.  We were just pretending. 

Setting personal or family goals is a great way to model for your kids or grandkids how goal setting is really supposed to work.  Put something in writing.  Break big goals into smaller pieces.  Post reminders where they are visible, and put checkpoints on the calendar.  Encourage one another.  Teach your kids the reward of accomplishing a goal, and teach them how to pick up the pieces (rather than quitting) when the train runs off the track.  Because it will.

That is not called failure.  That is called “real life.”

Sometimes we forget that reflecting and planning and goal setting are LEARNED SKILLS.  I have taught countless high school students who have huge dreams but no goals; they are confident that they will play for the NBA or become President of the United States or earn a Ph.D., but they have no concept of the thousands of small steps that they could begin taking right now that might ultimately lead to those accomplishments.  Trust me; you want your kids to have these life skills, and you want them to learn them early, you know, before they are making critical decisions about finances, marriage, parenting, careers, and dangerous temptations.  You and I both know that life will test our children’s resilience over and over and over again.  I want my own sons and all of my students to grow into people who are able to reflect, plan, and adapt.  Isn’t that what you want for your own family, too?

As a teacher and mom, I love it when I find a fun tool to use so that I don’t have to create something myself, so here is my new year’s gift to you!  Try out this printable pdf for yourself!  It can be a fun starting point for both kids and adults to discuss the coming year.  Talk about it over a family dinner this week, and don’t forget to contemplate the smaller steps that you and your kids can take TODAY to start reaching your goals in 2016!

Bring it on 2016


HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Thank you for sharing and reading!

What are your goals for 2016?  Leave a comment and join the conversation!


A Broken Arm Christmas 2015


This December has been nothing if not unusual at our house.   First, there has not been snow on the ground here.  Not.  A.  Flake.  There are not even flurries in the air as I write this.  We could be running our last-minute Christmas errands in swimsuits because it is a balmy 64 degrees in Ohio at this moment.  We haven’t seen our breath since last winter, so I’m not even sure if we’re breathing.  It’s scary.  (But just to be clear, I’m not complaining.  I’m okay with this part.  This was our puppy in the snow in the middle of November last year!)

But that’s not the only difference this year.  Instead of baking sugar cookies and mixing up Chex Muddy Buddies (my holiday addiction . . . it’s like Christmas crack for us law-abiding citizens), I am binge watching Christmas Through the Decades on the History Channel while delegating holiday duties to my poor kids and husband to avoid testing the limits of my broken arm.  (And I swear that I totally could have written the episode about the 80’s!)

Yes, it’s my right arm.  And, yes, that’s my dominant one.  Merry Christmas to all of us at the Ware house.

You may be wondering how this could have happened when it has not been snowing and there is no ice on the ground.  The answer is that I am clumsy, and, apparently, even clumsier on roller skates.  In my defense, however, I fell only one time.  There were kids flopping around all over the place on that skating rink floor, but their bones are more like saltwater taffy while mine are more like peanut brittle.

And this proves that aging is not as much a state of mind as I had hoped.  It’s for real.  I’m getting old.  Bah humbug.

Anyway, after a long, stressful week, we took our kids to their school skating party to blow off some steam and share some quality family time.  Did I mention the week had been long and stressful?  That was a contributing factor, for sure.  I desperately needed some joy, so with just a teeny bit of mom peer pressure, I rented those brown and orange skates and thought, why not?  I mean, it only cost $6 (initially).  And I really did feel like I was ten-years-old again for an hour or so.  (Don’t believe my friends who will tell you that I even skate-danced a little to “Who Let the Dogs Out.”  I will not confirm whether or not that is actually true.All joking aside, it really was fun.

But maybe it should have concerned me when they made me sign a waiver before they would take my $6. That’s for real, friends.  The grown-ups have to sign a waiver at the skating rink.  If that shouldn’t send any right-minded adult back to the observation area, I’m not sure what should.  Oh, hindsight.  How you torture me.  I might have been better off signing up for the skating lessons advertised at the bottom of my receipt . . .  And, no, I don’t anticipate being back soon, but thanks for the invitation.

Skate Lessons

Because it started all fun like this with my kids and my friends. . .


And it ended all sad like this at the Urgent Care with my very patient husband. . .


A broken wrist.  Fa la la la la, la la la la.

We have tried to remain festive with cast #1 being red and green . . .

Cast 1

And cast #2 being green and red . . .

Cast 2

Look at my poor dog in that picture.  She’s silently asking, “When will  this end?  Will you ever take me for a walk again, Mom?”

So Christmas at our house has been different, and I have had to be okay with that.  Our Christmas celebration before the huge family gatherings was no gourmet meal . . .

Little Caesars

Our gifts look like they were wrapped by a nine-year-old because, well, many of them were . . .


(He did a really good job, I must say.)

And we are planning to leave Santa a few stale brownie bites that a sweet friend left after a party at my house last week.  No fresh sugar cookies here, Santa.  Sorry!  Better luck at your next stop!

For Santa

But, on the bright side, we have been forced to prioritize, and the basic things that we look forward to every year have all been covered.  The stockings were still hung by the chimney with care . . .


My loving husband pretended to be happy while pulling all of the trees and boxes and more trees and more boxes from the crawl space since I couldn’t do it . . .

Christmas Tree

My favorite things are all in place – because I just LOVE this holiday and everything it represents to my family and my faith!


And we have spent time and will spend more time with all of the people who mean the most to us during this special season.  Some of the hustle and bustle has been removed, leaving time for conversations and board games and Christmas movies and quiet time together.

This Christmas season has not gone exactly as I imagined it would, but I am learning a few things in spite of my frustration.  I am learning to love online shopping and appreciate gift bags.  I am learning to accept help from friends without feeling guilty about needing it.  I am learning to show more gratitude for  my husband’s sacrifices and to let my kids do more for themselves.  And I am learning that sometimes being forced to slow down is a blessing in and of itself.

Maybe you should consider the benefits, too, without waiting for a broken arm to adjust your perspective.  🙂

From our home to yours, we wish you peace, joy, and a very merry Christmas season!  Thanks for reading my blog!  And if your kid gets a skateboard for Christmas, please, I beg you, don’t even try . . .

Christmas Card