I’ve read many articles recently about the futility of setting resolutions—how the gym attendance or vow to avoid caffeine slip away before the most recent snow melts. But with the start of every new page of a day planner, there’s possibility to tick all the boxes, whether the patterns are new or not.

I've slept beside the same man for twenty-one years. Yesterday, when putting clean sheets on the bed, we lay down on the other's side. Suddenly, the nightstand on "his" side was littered with books and papers—ideas for stories and blogs, notes from the kids, notes about the kids, grocery lists, receipts for things to be returned, recipes and task lists for Hoffman's Natural, lesson plans for Writing 202, health insurance paperwork to be filed and precarious piles of books. Books about parenting in the digital age, YA fiction, writing inspiration and English short story anthologies. In short, throw in a journal, some lip balm, the reading glasses I can’t figure out if I need, and neutral nail polish, and you have a snapshot of me. On the other side, perfect order. My husband’s wireless Apple headphones, “The Great Gatsby” and the empty glass of water he dutifully drinks every night to stay hydrated in winter.

“I like the feel of your side of the bed,” he said.

“I like the view from yours.”

We talked briefly about changing. I imagined rolling the nightstands around the foot so I could have access to what I needed, and my creative chaos didn't make him crazy. But when the bed was remade, we got back in on our own sides.

And yet, I keep creating these annual lists, in hopes of slanting the Curve of Me ever-upward.

In 2018, I will:


This is the story that is closest to my heart, that brings my late father into my consciousness and tears to my eyes. It is also the one I am most afraid to get wrong. But, as Anne Lamott says, SHITTY FIRST DRAFTS. Butt to seat, pen to paper. Words now. Tinker later.


Not on the outside—inside. If you watched a sped-up version of a typical day, it might look like most of what I do is for the nurturing of others—both two and four legged, my own children and my ‘kids’, the college students I teach, the customers who love our products. This is the life I have built, on purpose. My resolution is when I am doing things for others to make sure my intention is there too, not just going through the motions of giving rides, making lunches, washing bowls, filling bottles and orders, shaping voices, mucking manure, and positively reinforcing puppies.


There are few things we bicker about in this marriage. The fact that our chickens have free-ranged for five years is not because we don’t want to build a secure run. It’s just that my ideas are the best ones, and the person more skilled with a saw doesn’t see that yet.


I have become a little obsessed with sewing a blanket for Hayden that he has said ‘would feel like sleeping under dragon’s skin’. It is based off the weighted blanket I made for Max last Christmas, only instead of poly bead fill and pockets in a grid, Hayden wants his to be filled with smooth river stones, anchored in place with kantha/sashiko style stitching. We’ve picked the fabrics in dragon-esque grey, green and turquoise, soft flannel and organic bamboo batting. My goal is to have it complete by one of his last big surgeries this June. (Getting through the surgery is also a goal, but that’s a post for another time.)

my boys, greyscale


We have big plans for Teddy to be a therapy dog. Right now, his age (oh puppy adolescence!) and personality (stubborn and independent) mean all interactions are opportunities for training. As I remarked to my sister, “Raising a puppy could seriously be your full-time job!” In reality, it SHOULD be. Luckily, Team Hoffman is up for the challenge.


Our kids are getting bigger and don’t demand so much maintenance or take up as much space between us in the aforementioned bed. In November, we spent a long weekend together beside the ocean, without them, and it was strange and wonderful and a tiny glimpse into a future not so far down the road. Luckily, we realized we still like being with each other. The fact that we’re a decent team, passing the kids and their gear between cars like relay batons as we juggle our work and the Hoffmenagerie is a bonus.

CHECK—we went on a date to hot yoga this morning, and then out for a midday lunch to AllWays Cafe, and it felt decadent and sparkly. What it shouldn't feel is foreign.


Resolutions are important to me because it's a good way to practice setting goals and completing them. It's also good to recognize what you want for yourself in the coming year.

1. To get over my plateau in rock climbing

since I started rock climbing about a year ago, I've learned about 2 specific types of climbing.

1) Indoor top roping is typically about 20 feet tall. while top roping you are attached to a rope by your harness, the rope is passed through a loop at the top of the wall and the other side is connected to someone on the ground, your belayer. they are taking up your slack so that if you fall you won't drop. there is tape coming from the holds and you can only use the holds that have the same color tape as your start hold. top roping is rated like this: 5.1 is the easiest 5.2, 5.3 getting harder 5.15 is the hardest in the world.

2) bouldering is similar with the holds/tape but normally 10 ft tall and instead of ropes you have a 12 inch mat under you. the rating system begins at vB. the b stands for basic then it goes onto v0, v1, v2 and so forth; the hardest in the world is v16. a v3 is equal to a 5.10-5.11.

I am currently projecting v3-v4. I am hoping to be able to do a v6 by New Year's next year.

2. To keep my room not only clean but organized

it is constantly a struggle for me to keep my room clean and organized. although it is mostly clothes, it is hard to remember to put everything away. I am currently not living In my room as my great grandma has moved in with us. I am living upstairs in the loft with 2 of my walls being walls, one being organization and storage cubicles and the other being a curtain. i have really grown to like my space and make it my own.

3. To practice my cooking/baking in an organized class

I have recently discovered my passion for cooking and especially baking.i love to be able to create something that others enjoy. I am hoping to do a class this year to further my knowledge of all things food. my go-to easy dessert is meringues. they are super fun and only require 3 ingredients, and an oven, a mixer, a cookie sheet, parchment and a spoon or piping bag. I really hope that I will be able to pursue baking as a career.

4. To be able to have my device but not get absorbed or distracted by it

sometimes it can be really hard to disconnect from your device, especially when you are watching a show/movie. however it is important to be able to find a healthy balance between life and electronics. this doesn't mean give up your device forever but it is good to be able to stop yourself. sometimes what I do is find something else (knitting, writing, reading, playing with little cousins , building, whatever) and get myself very involved.

5. To stay fit and healthy

it is very important to stay fit and especially healthy. I have to remember to eat lots of food with protein to give me enough energy to do all the things I do throughout the day. I also want to talk about the importance of getting a healthy amount of sleep every night because our bodies are like batteries and need to fully recharge every night. there are a lot of things that you can do to prevent yourself from getting sick. if there is a drink that you like such as emergen-c, drink a lot of it. also a lot of it is mental; for instance, If you just put yourself under the impression that you are getting sick it is more likely that you will.

6. To get good grades

for me, getting good grades is very important. I find post-its very helpful for studying, whether it is covering things up and then spelling them or putting them around your room, they always help me.