A year ago, I closed out 2016 by opening up about my past. Talking about the rape and the experiences I went through soon after was difficult, but so incredibly freeing. Sharing my story gave me room to breathe, making my ultimate goal of moving on achievable.
As I think back on 2017 I have so many mixed emotions. It was an incredibly joyous year as we welcomed our sweet baby boy into our lives and watched our beautiful Magnolia turn 3. 2017 was also filled with some incredibly painful and stressful moments, but the older I get the more I realize that every year will be filled with those extremes. It’s so important to remember everything in between the highs and the lows! If not, you’ll miss all of the little joys and triumphs.
I started 2017 with 6 overarching goals: Invest in family, build a community, prioritize personal wellness, focus on our finances, grow as a professional, and learn to balance this beautiful, crazy life. I really enjoyed creating these broad goals as they gave me room to develop mini goals throughout the year. Each month I created a new set of goals that fell into my 6 overarching goals. Creating monthly goals is something I really enjoy doing and this year’s goals helped me to stay focused on my overarching goals for 2017.
Here’s a summary of the steps I took this year to reach the goals I established last new years!
1. Investing in family – While I won’t deny bringing work home and wasting far too much time swiping through Instagram, this year I made it a top priority to make my family a top priority. I blogged less, watched less TV, and cherished the little moments with my family. Whether starting a new Saturday morning doughnut outing with Magnolia, making the most of our season pass to the Baltimore aquarium, or going to long walks most nights, I am really grateful for the time spent and memories created this year. I also wanted to get closer to Neal’s family and I’m very grateful for how our relationships grew this year. Ending the year in Nashville with everyone was the perfect end to 2017!
2. Building a community – Joining our local Methodist church was such a blessing and I’m so thankful for the community we’re a part of. The women I’ve gotten to know are really amazing and I’m so thankful for how they took care of my family after Kinnick arrived. I also moved all of our doctors to Maryland and worked hard to really make Maryland home after years in Virginia.
3. Prioritizing personal wellness – This year, my pregnancy and breastfeeding were my top priorities. I am so thankful for my body and for the blessing of having another baby. I’ve also had a MUCH better breastfeeding experience this time around and I’m grateful to still be going strong at 6 months postpartum. It was a really stressful year for various reasons however and I didn’t always do the best job of managing my stress and emotions. Those moments made it hard to focus on my wellness, but I learned a lot from this year.
4. Focusing on finances – This year Neal and I completed Dave Ramsay’s Financial Peace University and we’ve followed his budget plan ever since. We have zero credit card debt and are plugging away at our student loan. All in all, I’m really proud of how we’ve saved and spent this year! I’m slightly terrified as we move into 2018 and have 2 children in daycare, BUT I am really glad we made budgeting a priority in 2017!
5. Growing in my professional career – Each semester stretches me more and more! This year I hit 10 years at American University, which is wild, but I am very grateful for my years at AU. I’ve worked with so many amazing students over the years and am very grateful for all they’ve taught me! I was actually Studio DIY and Jeff’s academic advisor years ago (small world)! I don’t know what the future holds for me professionally, but I did learn a lot this past year.
6. Balancing this beautiful, crazy life – Balance is something I strive for each and every day. I am actually extremely proud of all Neal and I balanced this year. It was a tough year and I’m really proud of how we supported one another!
Favorite Moments from 2017
- Announcing our pregnancy
- The baby’s gender reveal
- Introducing Balancing Today
- Kinnick’s arrival and birth story
- Sharing this season of life
- My 33rd birthday and goals
My favorite posts from 2017
- To the Mom Who Feels Like She is Failing
- Easy Homemade Floor Cleaner
- Things I Haven’t Done to Prepare for Baby 2
- Postpartum Supplies You’ll Need to Have
- Post Delivery Hospital Tips
- Say Hello To My New Body
- Quinoa Taco Bowls
- Creating Shared Lists with Wunderlist
Here’s to 2018!