Merry Christmas, y'all!

Reflecting on 2015

Reflecting on 2015 | RISING*SHINING 

I knew that 2015 would demand a lot from me with parenting a toddler and a newborn plus breastfeeding, returning to work and pumping all while trying to be intentional about making time for my marriage, for exercise and for creative work. It feels so fitting that my #2015bestnine photo above is full of the boys; that's exactly what the year was supposed to be and what it was. And then in the midst of this demanding year Chris and I decided to launch a podcast and to get aggressive with our savings and save $20,000. Plus Chris had he most demanding spring work schedule he ever has and people dear to us experienced difficulty and tragedy. 2015 was intense.

As the year comes to a close here's an update on my 2015 goals:

+ Be patient and present. This goal was to remind me that it's OK to put things on the back-burner this year. I wanted to be patient with not having a lot of time for myself including time to exercise and to write. And, knowing that it would be a year when both my boys would demand so much for me I wanted to be present with them.

Update: The present part was easier for me than the patient part. There is a lot that is hard about parenting and especially parenting very young children (and two no less!) but I still appreciated so much good this year from the light, sweet scent of newborn to being silly with Dashiell and watching a brother relationship sprout between my boys.

In the patience department I told myself, "Wait until the beginning of 2016, so much will have changed." I have been eager for my body to change and to start feeling more like myself (which I don't really feel when I'm carrying 60 extra pounds of pregnancy weight) and for the demands on my time to change so that I have more flexibility and freedom. It was hard to wait, but I made it! And I'm happy to say that what I kept telling myself is true: so much has changed and more often I am noticing that my life has a healthy balance between dedicating time to my children, to myself, to my marriage, our household and my work.

+ Exercising: 2 - 3 times per week consistently by the end of the year.

Update: Achieved! I started going to Orange Theory around six weeks postpartum with Cedric. The workouts are intense but I look forward to going and am feeling fit and healthy, which was my goal. There are some weeks where I am only able to workout once or even not at all but on average I'm fitting in two workouts a week, plus so many walks to the park, family bike rides and general toddler chasing. I've been out of my routine with being sick in November and December and traveling for the holidays but I'm so excited to get back to it next week. I'm looking forward to building on my progress this coming year.

+ Blogging: consistently publish two posts per week.

Update: Achieved! Although a week goes by here or there that I'm not able to publish to my blog for the most part I've been able to publish new content every week. I also took time off work for a creative retreat earlier this month and updated my site design which I have been dying to do.

+ Make time to cook for fun and try out new recipes.

Update: A solid "pretty good." Currently we are running a very simplified dinner menu and frequently eat the same meals. But if I come across a new recipe I really want to try then I'll find time to make something on the weekend. I do get to try out new cocktail recipes on The Girl Next Door Podcast, so that's a definite plus. And, Chris bought me a crock pot that I wanted for my birthday and I'm looking forward to putting it to use.

+ Complete a few house projects.

Update: An unexpected ACHIEVE! We ended up deciding to have the interior of the house painted last summer and I cannot overemphasize how much I love the change and how it's changed my perspective on our house. I went from liking our house to really loving our house - all from a few coats of grey and white paint!

+ Save $20,000 towards paying off our mortgage.

Update: Achieved! This was a big financial goal that Chris and I made that I blogged about mid-year. We thought we might fall a bit short but ended up being able to make a final transfer this month to reach our goal. We still have a long way to go but we are 20% to our goal of investing $100,000 over 5 years.

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It makes me smile to read the ending of my 2015 goals post: 

"I'm certainly a creature of habit and routine and so the prospect of finding our new "normal" is pretty exciting as mundane as that sounds.  So here's to routine and normal as a family of four in 2015!"

As the years go by I think that 2015 will stand out as one of the toughest parenting years and Chris and I keep saying to each other, "We made it!" Even though there are so many things I cherish from this year December 31, 2015 is worlds away from January 1, 2015 and in a really good way. As the days in 2015 run out I'm honestly glad to close the books on 2015. I'm left with the satisfied feeling of being on the other side of having poured love, time and energy into my life where it matters the most even when it was really challenging. Would I do it all over again if I had to? YES. Would I want to? NO. I'm so ready for a fresh page and for all the possibility in 2016. Hip! hip!

Happy New Year's Eve, friends!