Hopes And Goals For A New Year

Happy New Year friends!  I cannot believe another year is already behind us.  I hope you have been enjoying these first days of the new year.  I love getting the house simplified after putting all the holiday decorations away and looking back at the past year with hopefulness for what is to come.

I am a year around goals kind of girl.  So I wasn't really sure if I would want to make any traditional resolutions.  But after mulling over it for a few days, I jotted down a few hopes for 2018 and I was pleasantly surprised to come up with some realistic goals for myself in the coming months.

I believe my list to be more of habit changes.  Things I want to do to be a step closer to the person I want to be and the life I want to live.  I am already implementing them in these few first days of January and feel inspired to continue weeding out the distractions of life that might keep me from achieving them.  So with that, here is my list!

1. Settle down in Virginia

Our boxes are unpacked and we have even made a few home renovations yet I know in my heart that I have not allowed myself to mentally settle in to our new town.  This being our first year here, everything has felt so new.

We did a lot of sight seeing, tried all the restaurants nearby, and took in the newness of our current home.  But as we go into year two we are spending more weekends at home and I am starting to realize I need to allow myself to settle my heart into a routine and rhythm.

I want to stop longing to replicate my life from California.  Our circumstances are different here and I need to start accepting it and choose how to move forward. 

Plus I have been using this sense of temporary or unknown as an excuse.  I would like to spend this next year seeing Virginia as a more permanent home.

2. Find a babysitter for our son

Over a year now and I haven't had the courage to let anyone besides family (when visiting) babysit our son.  We need this for our marriage and I need to just make it happen.  It completely freaks me out but I know it would be good for all of us.

I am also going to be more intentional with taking time for myself while family is visiting.  My parents will be visiting next week and I put it on my calendar to take a day for myself! 

Which leads me to #3...

3. Take better care of myself

I want to spend less time distracted (aka being on my phone) and more time doing the things that refill my spirit.  I want to read more, have more quiet time, focus on my health, and go on more adventures with my son and husband.

I want to take the time to feel good about myself which includes putting in a little more effort to get ready each morning even if I do not have plans to go anywhere.

4. Have realistic friend expectations

I continue to long for friendships yet I feel so conflicted as I also want to be at home.  Having a young child and living so far from larger towns has complicated my desire to be social.

I have been looking for friends to replace the void of my friends back home.  When in reality these friends do not need to be replaced.  I have friends I can call on.  Instead I need social interaction which then can hopefully turn into closer friendships in a more natural and unforced way.  

I realized that I don't need to be doing more (more playdates or more groups to join) and that I needed to be patient.  I started forcing myself to try to attend everything only to come home tired and disappointed.  I need my time at home just as I need time out to get to know people.  My hope is to find a better balance.

I will continue to attend the few commitments I have made and let those relationships naturally play out.  And when I need a friend, I want to remember I can always reach out to the ones I already have from back home. 

5. Get a handle on digital clutter

We have probably tripled the amount of photos and videos we have since our son was born.  My goal is to get photos off of my phone and backed up.  I also want to cut back on how much I pick up the camera/phone.  We have an overabundance of memories.  I desire to be more present in the moment and not have the extra burden of digital clutter.

My friend suggested going through phone photos once a month.  To delete ones I don't want and then back up the ones I want to keep.  Then delete them off my phone.  Once I get this past year all backed up, I will be starting this new system.

I also want to catch up on our vacation photobooks (cross country road trip and New York City) and a few videos (Paris and Victoria BC!  Yikes!).  Though I did just order my Instagram book for 2017 and am feeling good about staying on top of that! 

// Those are my hopes for 2018.  What are yours?

Merry Christmas (And Christmas Cards Past!)

Merry Christmas friends!  As I sign off for the rest of the year I wanted to share our Christmas card as well as a fun roundup of our Christmas cards from years past.  Until we chat again in this space I hope you have a wonderful holiday and countdown to the new year.  See you all again in 2018!

// 2017 //

// 2016 //

// 2015 //

// 2014 //

// 2013 //

// 2012 //

// 2011 //

// XOXO //

"Staying Home" For The Holidays

A friend of mine who is moving her family out of state recently requested that I share some thoughts on what it is like to celebrate the holidays away from family.  It has stuck with me for awhile as I love the opportunity to share my thoughts with inquiring minds.  But I was hesitant.  Because I was afraid to truly be honest.

Home is sort of relative to us these days.  What is home?  We bought and live in a home in Virginia.  Home is also where we both grew up.  And we actually still have a physical home in California - just someone else is occupying it at the moment.  So instead of "going home" for the holidays this year we have decided to "stay home".

We talked about going back to California.  We even looked at airline tickets.  But after mulling over the idea we finally decided to stay home.

So how do I feel about it?  I am actually quite happy.

And that is the wonderful/horrible part.  Wonderful for myself in the day to day.  But a horrible thing to say out loud - especially to our family.

So I kept my feelings to myself for the most part.  And it wasn't until just a few days ago that I realized why I feel the way I do.

In a small group we are in at our church we watched a video by Andy Stanley that focused on some of the stresses of Christmas.  He talked about how our problems get exaggerated during the holidays because these three things are happening:

1. Problems we can't solve
2. People we can't control
3. Expectations we can't meet

It reminded me of holidays past.  Ones that were beautiful and wonderful - but also came with stress.  I remembered telling Brent many times that we should just go on vacation during the holidays because I would get so overwhelmed with all the things to do/places to be/and people to please.

But because my marriage was good, I had friends to spend time with, and I had a routine that I loved, getting through holiday stress was still manageable. 

Now let's fast forward to the present.

This past year has probably been the hardest year of my life.  While we have had a lot of great and memorable moments, I have never struggled/been sad this much for such a long period of time.  Just typing this gets me a little chocked up (I am doing much better than I was but things can still be hard at times).

And so the idea of taking my already sensitive state and putting it through a cross country flight with a one year old, heightened holiday airline costs, adapting to a three hour time change (with a ONE YEAR OLD), fairly splitting time between our family, and trying to see friends during an otherwise busy time of year on top of normal holiday stresses...all just seemed like too much.

And so making the choice to stay home this holiday season has given me a lot of freedom.  A weight has been lifted from my chest.  I get a free pass this year that allows me to skip over some of that holiday stress everyone else has to endure.

It doesn't take away the problems I can't solve, the people I can't control, or the expectations I can't meet.  But it gives me a little hop in my step to bake cookies because I want to, look at Christmas lights with my son, and end my days in the quietness of our home with my husband.

Because we need this time.  We need the rest.  We need to have time to bond as a family of three in order to have the strength to continue in this difficult season.

So how have we spent this holiday at home?

For Thanksgiving we had our annual Thanksgiving Eve turkey dinner.  It was extra special this year because we have a little one who could actually eat dinner with us.  We spent Thanksgiving morning eating cinnamon buns and watching the parade.  We had plenty of leftovers to indulge in, we went on a walk, and we had a quiet day at home.

For Christmas Eve we plan to go out to a late lunch and then service at church.  The next morning I have an egg and sausage casserole for us and a morning of watching our 17 month old understand presents for the first time.  I am sure we will Skype with family and then I have a semi-homemade dinner for us to cap off the day.  Between nap time and gifts galore (sent from family) I imagine we will have plenty to keep us busy.

We went to a handful of Christmas type events this year that made the past month feel festive and memorable.  And it was only because we had the margin in our weekends to go out and refill our family love tank up.

Circumstances change year after year and if we lived back home in California this would be a very different post.  But those exaggerated holiday stresses are likely to somewhat stay the same.  And that is okay.  We just needed to adjust this year for the sake of where our family is at during this season.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas - whether you choose to stay home or go home.  I encourage you to remember though that no matter what gifts you bring, the words you say, or when you end up arriving, it may not change years of ongoing expectations or problems. 

And that hopefully acknowledging this can free us to enjoy the day for what it is truly about.

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