Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reflection for a New Year: And Looking Back at 2015

I wrote a Reflection for the New Year, (last year), and I wanted to do it again this year.  Once again, I have a print out for you, so you can get these questions and hold them in your hand, spend some time with a paper and a journal, and really hash these things out!!!!  I also spent some time corralling some really, really good stuff on a new Pinterest board for you: New Year, New You/Me. Check it out! For real, guys I'm really excited about it, so go check out that link! :-)

Voila! Happy Reflecting. Enjoy.  (And now, you get a sneak peek at my answers...)

1. What was your biggest accomplishment this year?

My biggest accomplishments were having a fifth baby, writing an e-book, walking a bunch, and keeping up with my personal reading goals~ in particular, to read 50 books this year.

2. What was your biggest regret?

My biggest regrets were that my kids spent not enough time outdoors, the yard work I did (or lack thereof), the sewing I did (or lack thereof), and the yoga I did (or lack thereof!).

3. What was your biggest obstacle to good health?

My biggest obstacle to good health in 2015 was definitely sugary snacks. Cookies, pretzel m&m’s, and sugary cereal and the like were a huge stumbling block, you guys. Also, the occasional Coca-Cola!  The almighty drive-thru got a few too many visits, as well. Still trying to get the baby weight off. :-(  Not healthy were the times when I let all of my deep thoughts gather dust, and didn’t make time for journalling and reflecting on the areas of life that need and beg for reflection.

4. What was the healthiest thing you did?

The healthiest thing I did, physically speaking, this past year, was to get the juicer back out. We started using it consistently in October, and it was so good for us! Need to do that again, 2016! I had a lot of time with extended family this year, among my favorite moments was… having my sister in town this summer! Hurrah!

It is always good to be with family, and one of the better moments with my in-laws was going to their house after Stephen’s grandma had a heart attack and open heart surgery.  We all had barbecue and chatted, catching up after such a rough week, especially for his parents and Aunt and Uncle, who were in town at that time.

5. What was the hardest thing you did?

The hardest thing I did was stick to a walking routine after Annabel was born. I made the decision to go for a walk after cleaning up dinner every single night. I only missed a few nights, on weekends usually.  I started by going a mile, walking, then built up to 2 miles of walking/jogging.  I feel so much stronger, and more importantly, I feel like it has immensely improved my mood during the day. After that, dealing with toddlers and their teeth, was certainly one of the hardest things about the past year. And finally, I feel very proud of writing honestly about depression. Also, I think I can honestly say that having a little extra caffeine in the afternoon was really helpful for getting through the first few months with Annabel, although she is admittedly a very good baby... just because I was so tired!

Keeping off the internet after 10am was the hardest but best habit for me to have built. Having Annabel took a lot out of me, in terms of time and energy.  There was so much to do to get ready for her birth- making freezer meals, last minute shopping for that new boppy cover, nursing jammies for me, downloading books to read, on top of school starting for Molly and Frances, bringing down the winter clothes, laundry, and planning activities for the little kiddos.

6. What are your New Year's Resolutions?

I aim to:
~Treat everyone with fairness and kindness
~Listen to more podcasts
~Listen to more music, and particularly, more albums in their entirety
~Pick out some really, really good books to read
~Stay consistent with walking

7. What was your favorite movie this past year?

I am super duper picky about movies. I don't go see a movie in the theatre unless I'm serious about it.
In college, I became a huge Charlie Brown (the musical) fan/buff. Only because I was in it, in college!
:-D When the movie came out, Molly and I were like: We are there. Opening night. Boom. And it was really so good!

As for movie rentals, Far From the Madding Crowd was really excellent, with beautiful cinematography. ;)
walking into Tomorrowland

The entrance of Hollywood Studios

8. What was the most fun or creative thing you did as a family?

We went hiking several times and those were always really fun times.  Playing out at the park, getting hot chocolate, and attending the Christmas Program and other school events probably top the list this year! Driving to Texas for Easter tops the list for sure. But, I have to say, the most sparkly moment of the year was experiencing Disney with the family in June! I will always remember walking up to the entrance of the park and seeing their eyes getting as big as saucers at the sights to see! Taking in the rides, the princesses, and the food, and seeing it all through their eyes, was worth every penny!  We stayed at a Disney resort, and their little minds just couldn't even absorb it all. We'll have to go back in a few years.

9. What was your favorite book?

Oh my gosh. So hard to pick!!!! I loved- absolutely loved rereading Little House on the Prairie in December. And if you know the book, you know- perfect timing!  But overall, this whole year? Goodness, it would have to be one of the biographies I read. They were just so enlightening. So if I had to pick, I'd narrow it down to Einstein or Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. (so much longness, huge huge huge. but worth it!)

10. What was the best thing you ate this past year?

I had a very delicious dinner on a date night with Stephen~ a dish called Gringo enchiladas and Mexican street corn at one of our favorite restaurants, Taco Mamacita. Second place goes to Two Ten Jack and their disappearing addictive brussel sprouts. (SO Good!)

11.  What album did you listen to most this past year?

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty soundtrack.  (I need new music, you guys!)

12. What was the most expensive thing you bought this year?

An experience at Disney World for ourselves and our three girlies.
A baby (Paying for hospital was mostly covered by our insurance, but there was still a hefty out-of-pocket fee when you look at the big picture of the hospital + all the doctor visits, combined).

10. What are you most proud of?

I am the most proud of my kids, how well they can talk at such a young age, my birth with Annabel, the fact that I have been consistent with most things as they are prioritized accordingly.  And I have to mention again,when talking about what I am most proud of, because yes- it was something I had to make space in my schedule for- my E-Book!

11. What do you want to do better or differently in 2016?

I don't want watered-down faith. I want to live for Jesus.... nothing else.
I also really need to improve on clutter and disorganization in 2016.
There is so much more (See next question).

12. How can you improve your job, marriage and finances this upcoming year?

As for my writing, I need to hone my writing skills as always, keep consistency in my writing time budget and reach-out, as well as marketing my blog and e-book.

As for marriage, I think the best thing for our relationships has been my decision to start counseling. I don't dump on him like I used to anymore. We still talk and talk, about practically everything. But while before, if we had a hard conversation, he would say, "Write it down," to stop the flow of conversation and get me to reflect, now, he can say, "Talk to your counselor about this."

I think we could also use some more dates.  Our communication could always use some improvement.  And I think if I could keep the house cleaner and less cluttered, with five kids 8 and under, our marriage would have much less strain. (I’m doing pretty well, considering, but I could always do better and be more consistent).  One potentially hopeful thought is that Anders started potty training around the beginning of November, so hopefully with less diaper changes on the horizon, I can be a bit better about my cleaning routine and getting kids to help keep things in order!

As for finances, we’re in good shape, because God is good, and he has blessings abundantly for those who put their faith in him! I know for a fact that worrying about finances is not a first world problem, because we are in a blessed situation here in the US no matter your income! But yeah. Anyway, I can be more consistent about meal planning with a budget in mind. Also, tithing well and teaching my children to tithe and follow in this example.

13. What is ONE way that you can make your life better (what's missing in your life)?

Ok, I can't pick just one. Travel, and a sparkling clean kitchen everyday. (ha)  Going to confession regularly, Praying and Adoration, and attending Daily Mass as much as I can.

14. Who is your saint for the year?

Last year, my saint for the year was St. Bonaventure. This year, it is St. Anton Martin Slomsek. He was an author and poet of the late 19th century.  Find your's here!

15. What are Your Three Favorite Posts of the Year:

St. Catherine and St. Therese~ Two Saints Who Help Our Children Embrace the Passion of Catholicism

Q &A And My E-Book Cover Reveal

I Finished the Flannery O'Connor Biography, And It Is Definitely Worth Your Time

16. One word for 2016:
my word for 2016 is Marvel.

Thanks for reading... if you made it through to the end, you're officially awesome!
Linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter

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