Monday, January 4, 2016

2015 : an honest look at the year

This year has been...well...hard.  And beautiful. 
The beauty came in things we did...
I ran my first marathon.  Training and seeing the incredible things my body could endure was really an awesome journey for me.  Hubby and I travelled to London and Holland and explored - an amazing trip I am grateful for.  We also hung out on a beach in Mexico for a week, drinking in the sun and the ocean waves and just being lazy.  Much needed while in the throes of parenting two little ones.   We did various road trips to Minnesota/WI to hang out with family.  I flew to Montana for an awesome long weekend with my big sis, bro-in-law and their twelve children.   Did a clean eating challenge with Hubby and started a whole new relationship with food...and lost six pounds in the process - yay!

My little girl became a talking, bold, spirited, stubborn two-year-old.  (So, if you are keeping track, that makes two loud, spirited, bold, stubborn children in my house!)  That means a lot of noise and stimulation for this mama!  Ah!  Adjusting to all of that has been the hardest stage for me as a parent. Harder than anything during the newborn/infant months.  Learning to filter noises and find my zen place in the midst of commotion is going to take a lot of practice and patience.

Cormac turned from toddler to full-fledged little boy - very independent, thoughtful, and smart.  The first time he told me he needed his "alone time" (basically to escape from his annoying little sister who is always in his biz) I had to laugh heartily...because I can relate so well.
these two keep me on my toes.
The hard part of this year came through self-discovery...

After training for months and running my marathon in early May, I became kinda depressed.  No longer having such a huge, exciting goal to focus on left me with sort of an emptiness and questioning of what I was meant to be doing.  With both kids growing - and Finola becoming older and "easier" in some ways (harder in others) I began looking at outside ways to spend my time. Should I work outside the home again?  What creative outlet can I find?  (You know, besides this tiny blog.)  The fact is, I'm a girl that needs a goal...and suddenly I had no tangible goal.  And I'll be honest, I sometimes feel like I'm the only person I know who "just" stays home to raise their kids.  Most moms I know, even if they stay-at-home, also have some sort of other gainful employment...whether they need to or they just want to.  This year I watched many, many of my friends find their dream job.  Or the right school to teach at.  Or something they were passionate about selling.  Or they decided they wanted to be a fitness instructor (I now currently know about twenty certified yoga instructors!)  Don't get me wrong - I am incredibly happy for my friends - amazed by them, even!  To have such drive and clarity!  But while my joy for these beautiful and smart women was huge, I began to feel like I wasn't doing "enough." I began to question myself : Should I find a "career" or start a business of some sort?   I didn't really feel called to do anything in particular, though I floated some fun ideas around.  Nothing seemed like something I could do at this point, whilst my babes are at home, and alongside our home renovation and my other hobbies.   Still, there was some sort of irrational pressure I was putting on myself to be something that I'm not.
Feeling utterly overwhelmed by that self-induced (or maybe social media-induced) pressure to add "more" combined with my intermittent bouts of depression, led me to seek outside help - so as not to drive my little family, (excuse the term) crazy.  I desired to be happier - for me and for them.  Long story short - I got a surprising diagnosis!  I bawled tears of relief to finally have a name for something I've struggled with since childhood...and because this particular disorder can be overcome through therapy.  I may write about it someday, but for now I am still figuring things out.

My little story, at the very least, shows that even at the age of thirty-four you can learn something brand-new and useful about yourself.

So, this year has been one of testing my physical endurance, personal growth, and many fun adventures, both solo and with the fam.  I am grateful for it all.

I don't know what 2016 will bring...but here are my hopes:
  • more writing
  • more running and outside adventuring
  • lots and lots of getting rid of unnecessary stuff (using Marie Kondo's lovely book, which I am re-reading to get me re-inspired!)
  • backyard hardscaping complete and ready to be landscaped by April 1!
  • master bathroom renovated by Sept. 1 - so excited to design this space and actually have one of those things they call a closet to hang my clothes in.
  • most importantly - more focus on God's word + family + close friendships, less focus on anything that doesn't "spark joy," as Ms. Kondo might say.
our fam in 2015.  crazy, dramatic, driven.
the backyard fence in progress.  yes, this sad, torn-apart mess will hopefully transform into a beautiful backyard in 2016!
my desk nook.  trying to keep it simple and inspiring.
That's it.  Rather, that's a lot!  Phew.

Let's take 2016 one day at a time, the good with the bad, with hopefully some amount of grace.

Happy New Year!

PS : You might notice the badge in my right column.  This is a wonderful website for mamas striving to be healthy, both mentally and physically!   I have become a contributor for the site and recently got to participate in a test-run for their new healthy eating + workout program The 21 Day Shred.  I can tell you that from my experience, the workouts were easy to do, yet effective, and the food delicious!  It kicks off officially today! Various women in our test-run lost 8-10 pounds! What a positive way to start 2016!
Click HERE to check it out!