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Hello, January!

Reflecting on 2022


It's time to say goodbye to 2022. I'm in an end-of-year contemplative mood and am enjoying listening to podcast episodes and reading blog posts reflecting on the year. There are so many highlights and changes to celebrate from this past year. Some of the good changes brought challenges too, like relocating to a new city for a month and being out of our routines, living through a whole-home renovation, and keeping up with an ever-changing toddler and our big boys.

Reflecting on the past year helps me to see and celebrate growth and accomplishments, big and small. This practice also encourages me to look at the bigger picture of the year to see what I learned about myself and our family. To that end, I'd love to share an update on my 2022 goals (which I'll list below in bold) as well as other accomplishments and reflections across different aspects of my life. I also shared a mid-year update for my 2022 goals if you'd like to see.


Personal growth

+ Prioritize prepping breakfast and lunch for myself. Sometimes! Something I'm still working to do consistently.

+ Paint my nails more often. Yes! And my cuticles are healthier than ever which I feel really good about.

+ Take REST. Yes. I said "no" to things I didn't want to do or didn't have the capacity for. I put myself to bed early when I needed to (for the most part). I took time for myself when I could.

+ Counseling was a source of personal growth for me this year. I noticed the power in setting aside time to articulate something to an objective person, even if what I was talking about wasn't anything "serious." I also noticed that sometimes the insights from counseling occur in the days after counseling as I continue to think about something with a different perspective. A practice I've found really helpful is to have a notebook dedicated to counseling. I take notes during a session and read back over what I wrote later.

+ I managed the bulk of the logistics for relocating our family to Eau Claire for a month (like what we needed to pack and buy, what utilities we'd need, etc.) and I've managed the home as a rental since we've left. We did make the decision to hire a property management company in November to help us because of some challenges. I'm really proud of myself and have learned a lot.

+ I've met my goal of reading 80 books this year and might finish another before the year closes. It's hard to choose favorites but if pressed I'll declare Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow as the best book I read and Thank You For Listening as my favorite audiobook. (Follow me on Goodreads if you'd like to see what I'm reading throughout the year.)



+ Strengthen my pelvic floor with regular exercises. I think so - ? I've fallen off the regular exercises but I think my pelvic floor is stronger than a year ago.

+ Increase my running pace at Orange Theory. Funny enough, I had solidly increased my speeds around mid-year but after a few minor illnesses am ending the year about where I started. I'll keep aiming to run a bit faster in 2023. 

+ We started 2022 with myself and the boys getting COVID. The boys never had any symptoms and I felt blah for a couple of days.

+ In better COVID news, Maeve is now fully vaccinated for COVID and the boys, Chris and I are boosted.

+ Maeve had a number of coughs and colds, as little ones will get at daycare. Chris had a couple of bad colds but has still managed to avoid COVID thus far. There was a brief stomach bug for Dash, strep throat for Cedric, and ear infections for both Cedric and Maeve (twice).

+ Since I strained my back when Maeve was around four months old (from carrying her all. the. time.) I've noticed I have occasionally recurring back pain. It's not debilitating but I'd like to be more proactive about preventing and managing it.

+ I dutifully took care of all my annual health appointments including with my midwife for a well-woman exam, the dermatologist, and my GP where I had blood work done. Overall everything looks great. My GP did recommend a vitamin D supplement as mine was a little low. My iron is also always right on the line of normal and I am trying to take an iron supplement a couple times a week.

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+ Be present in parenting and know that parenting is my most important job right now. I did return to this mantra often and it helped me. I gained perspective this year in giving myself credit for how demanding parenting a toddler is, on top of home tasks and parenting older kids too. When I feel frustrated that I'm not getting as much done as I'd like (with writing, podcasting, or around the house) I am better able to see all the work I'm doing in parenting. It doesn't mean I don't still get frustrated or overwhelmed! But maybe not quite as much before or as often.

+ Brush and make Maeve’s hair most days to get her used to having her hair up. E for effort! Maeve is so resistant to having anything done to her hair. But we continue to offer and her hair has grown in enough that it looks fairly tidy on its own at least. 

+ I had a sweet end to nursing with Maeve on January 2, 2022.

+ Maeve grew from a baby-toddler to a little girl-toddler. She can understand anything we tell her and she has so much to say. I love hearing her ask her brothers for something, "Dash-uhl, you want to play with me?" (And usually they say yes.) Her hair has grown so much that she's had two haircuts and we got a bang trim together. Along with becoming a full-blown toddler we've also encountered the full-blown toddler meltdowns and there have been some hard days and hard weeks. Also of note, Maeve finally finally does not cry before going to sleep. It only took two years and ten months (OMG).

+ Cedric just turned eight and grew several inches this year. He and Dash grew their hair out this year and are enjoying wearing it longer. This year Cedric discovered a love for gas station hot dogs while on the road trip with Chris to Eau Claire. He loves to play with friends but sometimes wants to be by himself too. He's a voracious reader and loves to be helpful. He's the kid we usually don't have to ask twice to do things.

+ Dash is nine-and-a-half and loves being a "big kid." He loves being independent, loves being with a big group of friends, and makes friends wherever he goes. He loves to wake up slowly in the morning and lay around in his huge wearable blanket. He's a great host, I've noticed, and will invite friends in and offer them water and snacks. Despite being so young, Dash can be a deep thinker. He'll ask earnestly, "But why are we all here?" and "Where did the universe come from?"

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Marriage and relationships

+ Weekly mini-dates with Chris. Chris and I did a pretty good job finding time for weekday coffee dates and scheduling babysitters for weekend day dates. Finding that time to connect and feel on the same page makes me significantly happier in the rest of my life and I'm thankful we're both so committed to making that time for each other. Sometimes just taking Maeve to daycare together and getting to talk on the 15 minutes drive home makes a difference.

+ We took the boys on a really fun road trip - in our new minivan - to Universal Studios in California.

+ We had our first family music festival experience at the Blue Ox bluegrass festival in Eau Claire. We kept expectations low for how long we’d stay or how much the kids would enjoy it and we ended up having a fantastic time.

+ I am fortunate to have several close friendships with women, both in-person locally and long-distance. Over the course of the year I had opportunities to reflect on friendship, what I value in friendship, and how I want to show up as a friend. I also made some new friends or met online friends this year which is such a gift. There were times in the year when I wished for more in-person friend interactions but felt like I didn't have the bandwidth to add something else to the calendar. Lately my long-distance friendships have deepened more than my in-person ones because of the flexibility in how I keep in touch with long-distance friends (on Voxer and on Marco Polo).

Creative work

+ Complete and publish Maeve’s birth story. Nope. I'm bummed about this but will eventually complete it.

+ Don’t put additional expectations on writing or podcasting. Hmmm I guess? Although we also launched our Girl Next Door Podcast Patreon group – which was something additional  – to great success and I'm so glad we did.

+ Erica and I went away together for the first time on a podcast retreat. It was incredible for planning the podcast as well as our own creative work. And it was wonderful for our friendship as well. It's definitely going to be a new tradition.


Our home

+ Streamline and de-stress our meal planning, grocery shopping, and dinner routines. Made some progress. Chris is more involved now and I've accepted (for the most part) that simple meals are just the name of the game right now.

+ Optimize organization and storage throughout our home. We tackled decluttering and organizing throughout the year. In particular, Chris made some improvements in our kitchen storage, and I organized our laundry room shelves and front hall closet (although I think it needs attention again already).

+ New floors! Yes. They are beautiful and changed the whole feeling of our home for the better. We also had the entire interior painted. Additionally, we bought a new bed frame for our bedroom, changed all bathroom towel bars to towel hooks, bought new vanity mirrors for our bathroom, and a new vanity light fixture for our bathroom (although we have yet to install it).

+ Primarily motivated by climate change, we purchased a second home in Eau Claire, Wisconsin (part 1, part 2), a city where we had never visited prior to making an offer on a house. We continue to feel so good about this investment from a financial and climate change perspective.

+ I set us up to use HomeExchange which enabled our stay in Madison this summer. We are booked for travel this coming March through HomeExchange and will host for the first time in March as well.


Personal finances

+ Weekly budget meetings. Hot and cold but we definitely made an effort, and always felt better about our money when we did.

+ It was a really spendy year for us, as our home updates above reflect, plus we bought a new minivan in January (which I still loooove). As a result, we did acquire new debt in the form of an additional mortgage and a car loan.

+ We also increased our daycare spending this year and are sending Maeve to daycare three days per week instead of two.

+ Currently we aren't saving as much as we used to which is a result of increasing our monthly bills with a car payment and daycare costs (our mortgage in Eau Claire is covered by rental income). However, we really value what those costs are buying us.


And that's a wrap for 2022!

Writing this blog post is my closing ceremony for the year together with recording a year-end podcast episode with Erica. Scrolling through all my photos and summarizing what happened helps me remember all that happened, how much the kids grew, and how much life we lived.

Thank you for reading and listening along today and throughout the year. I'm not always quickly responsive to comments lately but I read and value every single one. Sharing my writing and connecting with readers and listeners is such an important part of my life and I'm thankful to connect with such thoughtful and smart readers/listeners. I'm looking forward to kicking off my thirteenth year blogging and my tenth year podcasting with the new year. (Wow!)

Wishing you a reflective and restful end to 2022 and a bright outlook for 2023, friends!


If you'd like to take a stroll through the archives here are posts reflecting on... 2021 |  (none for 2020...too tired) | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | (none in 2014 - I just had Cedric!) | 2013 | 2012 | 2011