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New Year, Big Changes Ahead…

By January 1, 2011January 3rd, 2011Goals, Jessica, Neil, Relocation

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First of all, we want to wish you a Happy New Year! Whether you’ve had a relatively easy year, or it was tough just to make it day to day, there’s something to be said about making it to the next year, becoming older, and hopefully a little wiser. It’s also good to feel like you get a second shot or a fresh start.

New Year’s resolutions are always a weird beast. On one hand you’re setting goals and benchmarks to keep you on track with things that you might easily put off or forget about throughout the year. It’s important to do this, I think, because its extra reinforcement and a way to put your feet to the fire on things you’ve been meaning to try or may feel intimidated by. On the other hand though, there are so many things that can happen throughout the year which, many of which can be unexpected, unforeseen and a complete surprise.

No I’m not pregnant.

Sawhorse Desk

Our makeshift studio set up in our den.

But I did feel like we created something big this year: our freelance business. Looking back, I feel like we didn’t talk about its emerging presence in our lives enough this year, but that is honestly because the magnitude of its growth in such a short period of time, and completely by mouth mind you, is still a complete shock (as evident by its complete absence in our 2010 Resolutions). What I thought would be just a few projects every few months now has us booked several months in advance. Did I mention we haven’t advertised at all?!

Not to devolve and get all corny on you, but it’s been a complete blessing in so many ways. We’ve not only diversified and expanded ways to sustain ourselves in a tough economy, but we’re meeting so many amazing people, and learning so many new skills. We’re also expanding this blog. What started as a way to entertain ourselves and kind of document the many things that might be easy to forget in our first years of marriage, is turning into a genuine way to communicate our interests and knowledge to other people.


Clive, our little buddha and muskateer!

We did become parents though, albeit to a dog and not a child (I continue to insist they’re the same). We adopted Clive, a rescued Boston Terrier in April and he has fit right in to our weird little circus. Much like living with an old man, he groans, farts, snores and sleeps a lot and aside from a few issues with separation anxiety has been a perfect gentleman.

Aside from those glaring surprises, we made some real effort toward the goals we set in 2010. Here’s a brief recap:


  • Run a 5k Using the Couch to 5k method: COMPLETED! It took all year (thanks to endometriosis), but I ran my first 5k, the Springfield Turkey Trot over Thanksgiving break in a blistering 38 minutes.
  • Learn to Bake Bread: HALF COMPLETE! Although I’ve baked bread this year (evidence: here, here and here), I have yet to master a sandwichable loaf. There’s still time right?
  • Camp and hike at least three times this year, including a trip to Montana to see the Continental Divide: HALF COMPLETE! We camped only twice this year, including a week-long trip to Montana. I think the third camp/hike got lost in the shuffle after an accident in our jeep and adopting Clive this spring.
  • Lower my eco-footprint through the elimination of unnecessary plastics and disposable containers: HALF COMPLETE! We eliminated a lot of our footprint by drinking less soda and using less overall. 2011 Goal: Less plastic, more reusables!
  • Pay off my Jetta Loan, which is currently around the $4k mark: NOT COMPLETE! It was ambitious, but in 2 or so short months it will be paid off so I’m not too disappointed.
  • Eat and buy more organic and fair trade: COMPLETE! Although we’re not perfect 100% of the time, we have made major changes to our lifestyle and are much more conscientious about the purchases we make.
  • Grow More Food: COMPLETE! Despite having no success with our tomatoes this year, we had a successful garden.
  • Take GRE and finish school: HALF COMPLETE! Took the GRE, applied and got into grad school, 5 classes left!
  • Be a better helper to Neil and a good wife. Start a Journal that documents our marriage: COMPLETED! …I think? I guess only Neil can really speak to my progress. The journal never made it off the ground, but I think this blog suffices right?
  • Take a knitting/embroidery class: NOT COMPLETED. There had to be one, and this one just didn’t make it.

Neil: (added by Neil):

  • Work harder/faster in my undergrad classes: NOT COMPLETE. With the explosion of our freelance and Jessica in classes, I’ve decided to wait until she’s done and we’ve completed our move.
  • Work harder at the gym to maximize the time I do get to work out: COMPLETE! I’m really ramping up the running, diversifying my cross-training and feel great!
  • Work on spending more time doing outside activities: HALF COMPLETE! While I spent a good amount of time outdoors, freelance took up a lot of our time.
  • Do more camping/hiking (Montana cont divide maybe?): HALF COMPLETE! Had an amazing trip to Montana and a great spring trip, but life got in the way of more trips!
  • Do at least 3 track days and improve my driving: HALF COMPLETE! I did one track day, then decided to allocate money toward installing the roll cage in my car. I wanted to have this done before we relocated.
  • Put more money into savings (around $500-$1k/mo): COMPLETE! We’ve been doing really good, and still allow ourselves some fun sometimes.
  • Pay off the remainder of our Jetta loan (currently around the $4k mark): NOT COMPLETE! We didn’t get this knocked out but we only have a few months to go.
  • Be a good husband: COMPLETE! At least this is what I’m told.
  • Eat organic and/or cage free only (esp. any meats): COMPLETE! We’ve really made a life change this area, and I’m proud to say I’m sure 85% of the meat we eat is organic. It’s hard to be perfect, but we make all the effort where we can.
  • Take the time out to have fun, even if it accomplishes nothing: COMPLETE! Through all the challenges and hard work, it’s been a great year and a lot of fun!

So that brings us to our 2011 goals. This is going to be a busy year for us. Our top goal for 2011 is to relocate. We always knew we’d never settle here, but we decided that, rather than continue to put it off for all the reasons we were placing in front of it, that we’d pull the trigger and dedicate this year to making it a reality. We’ve been persistently nomadic and in temporary living situations for years and we’re craving a bit of permanence. We’re officially vested in our late twenties now, it was bound to happen at some point right? Over the past year we’ve been discussing our goals and long-term plans and a list of the places that would be well suited to them. Then we began to narrow them, down to our three favorites.They each have different perks and reasons for being on our list, but in the order of desire to move there, they are:

1. Denver, CO
2. Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
3. Springfield, MO

It was a daunting task, but not as intimidating as the coming year we’re going to spend downsizing, applying and planning this move. It’s scary and exciting at the same time, and we can’t wait to share the process, and what we learn and glean from the experience along the way.


New and challenging ingredients we’ve challenged ourselves to master…and enjoy!

With such a huge goal already on our list, we decided to make some of our other goals a little lighter and more fun. While we still want to make progress on a lot of the goals and hobbies we’ve been working on, it’s easy to overstack the odds and set yourself up for failure. Additionally, goals should be something you want to do, not things you dread and see only as arduous tasks. A few of our goals:

  • Take Small Trips: While it’s fun planning epic adventures, it’s important not to underestimate the scenic locales that are close by. So while we might forgo a big backpacking trip this year while organizing ourselves to move, we can still have some fun weekend adventures!
  • Ditch Our Cars: With Neil’s new office being closer to mine and only 2 miles from our house, there’s really no excuse for us to be driving all the time. We could use the additional exercise as well as the gas savings.
  • Start From Scratch: It’s one thing to know how to cook, it’s another to know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. We’d like to go back and learn some fundamentals and hopefully improve some of our ideas and technique.
  • Run More Races: Now that i’ve got a pesky 5k under my belt and Neil’s well on his way to a half marathon, we’d like to run more races and challenge ourselves to better distances during the week.

So there you have it. Big news and lots of change coming this year. Stay tuned, it’s bound to get a lot more interesting around here.

Are you ready for 2011?


  • Maria says:

    Congrats on a successful year. Sounds like 2011 will be another exciting year! Happy New Year!

  • MarytheGoodNeighbor says:

    Wow! You two, as always, amaze me! And bring me such joy. We will miss you when you relocate, but making one’s dreams come true is part of life– go forth and have fun!
    Ditching the cars–it’s something I could never completely do, honestly. But I have a friend with Pednet who has–the family of four has one vehicle (a pickup) that he uses in his work and the family uses on trips where bikes are not practical. She heads up the group that Zach bikes to school with, and does a lot of cycling education here in town.
    Wishing the two of you the very best for 2011!

  • Rachel says:

    I loved your first blog of the new year! Inspires me to really think about what I would like to do as well. Of course my hope is that you move here so that I can spend more time with my BFF! Heres to another year!

  • 🙁 This post makes me sad. Don’t move!

  • Ashley says:

    This is an amazing post! Let me know if there is anything I can help you with about CO! Your dog is so stinking cute. 🙂

  • Jessica says:

    Thanks! I definitely will. You’ve done lots of moving yourself so you probably have tons of resources and advice. It’s all very daunting right now that’s for sure.