Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Reflection for the New Year: Looking Back at 2016

I have written a Reflection for the New Year, for the past couple of years, and I really love the questions I picked out and find them pretty unique. So, naturally I wanted to do it again this year.  Once again, I have 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 the most inspiring content I could find, on a new Pinterest board last year, but I've added a few things to it: New Year, New You/Me. Everything from make-up to cleaning hacks to meal-planning! Check it out! 

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

1. What was your biggest accomplishment this year?

I am proud of the fact that I stuck to my goal of reading 50 books and actually ended up reading 52. I'm also glad that I'm in decent shape, from walking a whole bunch-- almost everyday. I have been pushing myself with my routine all year, and as a result, I think I'm getting more housework done (when I'm not sick-UGH). Finally, my biggest accomplishment has to be staying consistent with our traditions as a family.

2. What was your biggest regret?

Honestly, it was not enough time outdoors. I spent so much time in the fresh air when Molly was a baby, and also when Frances and Molly were little.  Having Anders and Madeleine 15 months apart was absolutely a shock to my system. Having either been nursing or pregnant almost (pretty much) non-stop since Frances, I have become a homebody to the nth degree. I basically run errands and... that's it! I dissolved into a complete reclusive shut-in this past year when I got pregnant at the end of the Summer. So! This is a no-brainer as I grew up in a very outdoorsy family with plenty of ski trips, hiking adventures, camping overnights, swimming non stop, etc. The fact that I have cast it aside pretty much breaks my heart.

3. What was your biggest obstacle to good health?

Aside from my answers above about getting outside more, my inconsistent meal plans and too much eating out definitely have inched their way to the top of the list. Making food-related resolutions is pretty much nil for me, but I am resolved to become more specific about my intentions and goals this year. So when we're talking health, I need to reflect and make very detailed goals otherwise I will flail in pounds of sugar and next year I will be the sugar plum fairy of delight. ;) For Sunday meals, I usually rotate spaghetti with garlic bread and a vegetable, or barbecue with green beans and rolls, but lately we have had pot roast or salmon with all the fixings/sides. Weeknight dinners often consist of sloppy joe's with sides, chicken teriyaki with vegetables, creamy pasta (like tettrazini or fettuccine alfredo with parmesan) with broccoli, or homemade pizza. I love cooking at home and one of the goals for 2017 is to keep doing this and not getting stuck in any take-out, fast food, or frozen food/unhealthy ruts!;-) So that's my goal, anyway.

4. What was the healthiest thing you did?

I'm pretty sure it was sticking to my walking routine.  The times that I stuck to Universalis Daily Readings and confession and regular mass attendance definitely fed my spiritual health! I get out our juicer every October, and that's a good habit, but I wish I got it out more often. Honestly, I think housecleaning is so good for getting my heartbeat going, and when I'm not extremely drained from this pregnancy that makes me feel like death warmed over, I am really happy about the cleaning I can do. Even though I love to read, I wouldn't claim I have a sedentary lifestyle. Most of my day consists of chasing after kiddos and cleaning!

5. What was the hardest thing you did?

This year has not been without its challenges. All people everywhere struggle, I know. But there is something unique about having 5 kids under 8, almost 9.  And being pregnant. I get tired. I get really, really overwhelmed. We have a ton a great memories from this past year, but just know that there were plenty of hardships, as well.  At the end of the year, for example, all of our kids got sick, and then Stephen and I both came down with whatever it was they got.  It made it hard for me to sleep, so that exacerbated my morning sickness.  I was a wreck for almost a week, and housework went to the wayside while I recovered. The hardest thing I did was to stay above water with my health- both emotionally and physically/spiritually. ha.

6. What are your New Year's Resolutions?

-More time with others
-Increased time outside
-Balance with motherhood and other activities and rest
-To stay in the know but not overloaded by news
-To keep the kids busy with activities and not too much screen time
-To have less Facebook interaction- my intention is to just post blog and that’s it
-To keep boundaries~ to be present but also have me-time/alone-time
-Read as much- or more- than 2016
-To have a good experience with the birth of our sixth child
-Keep up with a consistent blogging routine in 2017

7. What was your favorite movie this past year?

Brooklyn was so good, it has to be my favorite flick of this year. Stephen and I watched it together on vacation and I cried for so long after it was over. Not in a sad kind of way, but more in a moving, raw and real sort of way. It brought back delightful memories of our engagement, living in NY, and ah Nick Hornby (SIGH) ...I just love his writing so. stinkin'. much. Unfortunately I saw way too many kid movies and almost no grown-up movies this year. I started to wonder "Why does every movie involve talking animals?" Real question in my mind, and then I realized "Of course. It is because I only see kid movies."😂

As for the worst... I went into Moana with high hopes, but although I would like to say it didn't disappoint me, I actually hated it, unfortunately. I liked the artwork and many of the songs were good. I did not like Maui, the main male figure. He was supposed to be a Demigod, and the pagan elements were torture to me. He talks to his tattoos and it is pathetic and not funny at all. It just felt like a kids' movie. The humor was bland. I prefer the dry humor of ... so many other movies but not this one. It didn't grab me and I found the plot extremely predictable, which killed something that for me, was already dead. Mainstream. Yawn.

Honorable Mention goes to Hello My Name is Doris. So funny. So good. I watched it twice. ;-) Also! I can't wait to see Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson! #nobrainer

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

We went to Birmingham for Spring Break, then we went to Beaufort, SC for Summer vacation, and finally, we went to Minnesota for a family reunion as an end-of-the-Summer hurrah. Stephen and I stayed in town for our Anniversary, but we hiked, cooked for each other, and built a fire when we spent a weekend at a house on the river.

9. What was your favorite book?

I can't stop recommending The Little Bookstore at Big Stone Gap! It's by Wendy Welch, and just trust me, you'll love it. She is as smart as a whip, and her memoir is enticing, inspiring, full of depth, wit, and sensibility. A friend on FB was looking for something "heartwarming, funny, and inspiring" and I just had to mention this to her, because it fits those categories so well.  I think it is also smart and it isn't fluffy... it's just feel-good in a not-dumb kind of way.
I also loved Lab Girl by Hope Jahren so very much. It is unexpected and quirky in a very smart way. She blends hard science with the memoir genre and the outcome is fan-worthy. If this answer seems or sounds incomplete, see this post.

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

We ate out in Birmingham over Spring Break and the food at The Little Donkey is delicious.

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

I did a lot of listening to random songs via Spotify playlists this year, but 3 albums were worth buying and listening to in my CD player in my car. The middle one did not come out this year. I looked over some "best of 2016" lists (Rolling Stone, Paste Magazine, and Pitchfork), but I'm still standing by my choices! 

  • I've been enjoying Cleopatra by the Lumineers. So good!
  • My favorite album of 2016 was Dark Holler Pop by Mipso. ;-)
  • We did a whole lot of listening to Hamilton during car pick-up this year!
Honorable mentions for songs go to: "Pumpin Blood" by Nonono, "Hey Stranger" by Mandolin Orange, and "fireflies" by Colin and Caroline. Nothing beats Christmas music this time of year though and it is nice to have a break from the regularly scheduled programming!

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

We got a new couch. Also, all of the traveling we did and the beach house rental this past Summer.
The most worthwhile thing we paid for was our kids' education!;)

10. What are you most proud of?

I have five beautiful children who are very verbal and all love to read (or be read to!;). They are each growing into their own interests and it is so much fun to watch them come into their own.

11. What do you want to do better or differently in 2017?

I need to spend more time out in the fresh air.  My biggest resolution aside from that is getting together with friends more often. It always refreshes my spirit in a way that nothing else can! I want to keep writing and get better at writing/blogging as always.

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

I think my life just needs more balance and rest. I can get sucked into my Twitter feed, and literally an hour later, I have accomplished nothing, and I'm toast.  I gave up Instagram during the month of December, and guys: *I only missed it the first day.* I thought it would be so hard and I would be in withdrawal for days, but after *one day,* I realized it was sucking my life away! I didn't look back for the entire month, and it was so ridiculously good for me and my soul.

I consider motherhood and writing to be "my job." I think focus and not being distracted will be very important in the upcoming year. We are expecting a baby and it can be hard not to become sucked into the various outlets for distraction.

I have reflected privately on marriage and finance.

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

I think most days I just feel frumpy. My intention is to focus on getting dressed in clothes that are flattering, doing my hair and make-up, and taking care of my health by stretching, walking, and doing the 7minute workout (or some variation thereof). Making this getting ready a more basic part of my structured daily routine is becoming more important to me.

14. Who is your saint for the year?

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

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

Unbelievably, I wrote 114 posts in 2016.  A little over two per week. It was so hard to choose, but I decided to go with two trip recaps (because traveling and writing about traveling happens to make me incredibly happy), and one to further all of our holiness. ;)

Easter Recap: our Spring Break in Birmingham

Of Travels and Trunks: our trip to Minnesota

What is the Purpose of Your Lent?

16.  What worked for you in 2016?

I got this question from this post, but I liked it.  These Nalgene bottles/cups worked well for our family, so we bought four more in addition to our collection of one for each child. We have tried all the sippy cups on the market, at this point, and these are the only ones that remain sturdy, don't leak, and can be gripped easily by little hands! La Croix and bananas also worked for me, especially during my first trimester with baby beck #6.

17. What is your 'one word for 2017?
my word for 2017 is Struggle
I tried to think about what one word I would like to use, and this one just kept popping into my head and staying there! Last year, my word was marvel. It was appropriate as I think about meeting interesting people and going on trips that made me marvel and the world around me. This year I chose struggle. I think with having a sixth child, this will need to be my mindset. I want to work hard, be honest and fair, fight against temptations, fight against my lazy gut-instinct tendencies, work on patience and "speaking the truth in love" with my kids, and take what I have established in terms of a personal routine and build on it from there. I want to struggle for gratitude, struggle for patience, and struggle for the life and quality of life that I want to have even in the midst of obstacles or trials.

Thanks for reading... if you made it through to the end, you're officially awesome!

Linking up with Tuesday Talk!


Tiffany Borges said...

Awww, I can dig it! Congratulations on your pregnancy. We just welcomed our 6th baby in August, and frankly --- the 'baby' was 3 years old, I would rather just be pregnant perpetually, haha! Sorry to read that you've been sick, though. I had three babies in three years in the middle of ours, and I don't think we realize how heroic it is except upon reflection. Like wow. What a trip! Total immersion :) I liked reading about your 2016 and will be sure to visit more often in 2017. Thank you for writing!

Tacy said...


I'm always really appreciative of regular readership, especially since I source a different crowd for different link-ups. So, thanks for saying that ! ;-)

Emma Hughes said...

What a great way to look over the year and the lessons learned! Sounds like a mega one :) Hope everything goes smoothly for the rest of the pregnancy for you!

Tacy said...

Thanks! I appreciate you saying so. :0) ;-)

Wendy J Williams said...

"Therefore do not be anxious…your heavenly Father knows your needs…" Jesus' words taken from Matthew 6.v 31-32.
Last year brought many challenges, but we experienced God's mercy and faithfulness through each trial.
A deep joy was having our family connecting with their Norwegian and Swedish cousins on a trip to Minnesoata!
Our heavenly Father delights in family!