Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Dear 2017 {A Year in Review}

Dear 2017,
Where did you go? I swear I blinked and then you were over. Despite how quickly you seemed to go, you were a year full of some very special things, the best being the addition of Alder to our family. Last year at this time I was very pregnant and very hormonal about the changes happening to our family. I was so nervous about how bringing a new baby home would affect Aiden and the relationship we had. I remember very vividly crying as we left for the hospital because I knew things were changing forever for our family and I was worried. Well here I sit a year later propped up in bed, soft music in the background as my husband has graciously given me a few minutes to myself. I can hear my boys laughing together in the family room, cars vrooming on the hardwood floor and I wonder how I ever doubted that Aiden wouldn't be anything but ecstatic about having a brother. Hands down my favorite thing about 2017 has been watching my boys learn to love each other.

I remember being absolutely terrified about leaving the house with two kids by myself. And now I can snap two kids into carseats and load and unload groceries like a pro and with confidence, but it was a process. That has been my 2017. Learning to embrace my fears and just go for it.

This philosophy of mine carried over as I started a new role at work shortly after Alder was born. I went from 40 hours a week to 15 and I am so thankful to be a mostly stay at home mom, but also have a job that I love. But with every change I face, I was scared I wouldn't be good enough for this job. My coworkers are amazing and have encouraged me and supported me in my new role and sitting here a year later seeing the progress that has happened makes me so thankful. God is so faithful, friends.

With two kids, Drew and I have had to learn a lot about balance, about giving one another grace, about patience and about sacrifice. Having two kids has flipped our world upside down, but in the best way, but we still have a lot of learning to do about raising boys while also cultivating our marriage at the same time (especially since 9 months out of this year we were sleep deprived.) We have managed to go on more dates in December than almost the entire year combined, but we hope to be better about date night in 2018. One of my favorite things we started to give us more "adult time" was a suggestion by my friend Andrea. A few nights a month we feed the kids dinner and then put them to bed and then fix ourselves a nice cheese board and some wine, start a fire in the basement and call it date night in. It has been so fun to try new wines and cheeses and have more "us" time.

I have failed at being crafty, blogging consistently or hosting fun parties this year, but I did manage to keep two kids alive, potty train a toddler, work part time and still appear to be thriving so that's my big win of 2017. I did manage to throw Aiden a pretty cute Hundred Acre Wood party and pull off some amazing Halloween costumes though. Aiden also started showing a love for cooking so we have had fun cooking some recipes together and that is something I plan to continue in the new year!

So here's a look back at some of my favorite posts, events, recipes and discoveries of this past year...

Favorite posts:
It's no surprise that my favorite posts are once again centered around motherhood, but more specifically about the transition from one to two kids. It has been hard. It has been sweet. It has been a blessing. It has been a process.

Favorite events:
I did a horrible job documenting events this year. I never posted about my girls (and babies trip) to Michigan in July (which was absolutely amazing to be with my college friends on the brim of being out of college for 10 years (HOW?!). I never posted about meeting my new nephew for the first time or hosting my sister in law's baby shower (it was adorable and he is adorable, trust me). We didn't take any vacations or do anything big, but we did a lot of small family adventures and explored some new places together

Michigan girl's (and babies) trip
We explored a lot of zoos this year! (Columbus, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Nashville)
We met our new nephew and found out we are getting another niece of nephew in June!
We Knocked off a ton of things on our Fall Bucketlist
First Thanksgiving in Kentucky with Alder where we stayed with my whole family at an AirBNB
Continued Aiden's Advent and had fun with our Christmas Bucketlist

Favorite recipes:
I also failed at documenting any recipes here on my blog this year mainly because cooking was harder to prioritize this year (we ate more McDonalds than I ever imagined we would) but that doesn't mean I didn't make some amazing meals along the way. Aiden got a chef outfit for Christmas and has been my little buddy in the kitchen. Our favorite things to cook together have been my Mom's sugar cookies and Taco Pie. Here are a few of my favorite healthier recipes that I tried this year (July was a good health month for me). And as always, Pioneer Woman remains my favorite and I'm excited to try new recipes from her Come and Get It cookbook this year!

Favorite discoveries:
I always like thinking back about some of my favorite finds of the year...things I'm not sure how I didn't know about before, but am glad to know about now. 

The Crown on Netflix (So good!)
Silicone Bibs (why did I not ever use these with Aiden, WHY?!)
Polar Express Train Ride
Free Open Gyms at our Community Rec Center

I am so very thankful for what I learned this last year and I'm thankful for the people I get to do life with everyday. Cheers to a great 2017 and an even greater 2018! Happy New Year friends! Thank you for sticking around!

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