2020 Vision

Sunday, January 5, 2020

I hope you all have had a great holiday season and are having a wonderful start to the new year. If I could categorize our holiday season, one word I would have to use is busy. Of course, many people have busy holiday seasons, but ours seemed particularly tough this year as we navigated two 8-hour car rides to West Virginia (Thanksgiving and Christmas) with both our infant and our two dogs. Complicating matters was that Joe was out of town at his company's annual national meeting the week before Christmas, so I was home alone with Bert for an extended period of time, trying to get us all ready to travel.

First Christmas as a family of three!
Truly, we have been completely out of routine since before Thanksgiving. As much as we've enjoyed seeing our families and friends and celebrating a beautiful holiday season, we are also so happy to be home in our house, getting back in to regular life and cozy-ing up for the winter.

2019 was an extremely challenging year for our family. Of course, it was the best year ever in regards to the birth of our son, but moving to a new state and starting a new job was really, really hard on me and took a toll on my physical, mental, and spiritual health. We also bought our first house, had our first baby, and dealt with our son's post-birth health complications. This time last year I spent every non-school hour in bed, dealing with the sickness that often comes with the first trimester of pregnancy. So, in a lot of ways last year, we were just trying our best to survive. For a while we lived in what Jennifer Fulwiler calls "bare minimum mode" where you basically do the bare minimum it takes to survive. While there are seasons of life where this is exactly the place you should be in, I also know that it's important to not live in bare minimum mode.

Our 9 of 2019.

Joe and I got home from traveling December 30, so we spent New Year's Eve and Day in our new home. I'm glad we did so because by the time New Year's Eve rolled around, we had unpacked from our trip and started some laundry and were beginning to get the pieces of our lives back together. We decided we were not making any New Year's Resolutions. We have never really done this, and we're okay with it because it's easy for a person like me to miss a day of journaling/exercising/not eating cookies or whatever and then feel like a COMPLETELY HORRIBLE PERSON for failing that day. So, no good. Instead, after we went to Mass and put Bert to bed, we ate some appetizers and had a couple of drinks and made some goals for our family. Some things we'd like to work to accomplish in 2020. What really helped was we used this printout that allowed us to organize our goals by category. We feel really good about the manageable and measurable goals we came up with. We tried to be as realistic as possible. For example, while we'd like to take a neighborhood walk with Bert every night, we know that there are nights Joe will get home late, or it will be raining, or we just won't feel like it. So instead, our goal is to take two family walks per week. If we do more, GREAT! But we feel confident we can accomplish two. One important thing we decided was to check in with each other once a month to evaluate how our goals are going. I think that this will really help us stay on track and feel good about where our family is.

Our simple and cozy New Year's Eve.
One exciting goal for ourselves this year is we have decided to try and take on the 52 Hike Challenge. Joe LOVES the outdoors, and I like the outdoors, and we want our son to love being outside, too. So we've decided to take a family hike once per week in a new location each week. We use the term "hike" loosely because we have a 5-month-old son who cannot sit up, let alone walk, so he has to be pushed in a stroller. When he's able to sit up on his own, Joe will carry him in this really cool backpack his sister gave us when Bert was born. We are adapting this goal to fit our family, and we are excited to do it! We took our first family hike today, and we are so happy we spent a couple hours outdoors exploring somewhere new. 

Our first family hike of the year at the Gwinnett Environmental Heritage Center. Bert clearly had a blast.

I also used Jennifer Fulwiler's "Word of the Year" generator to get our family word for the year: Dream. I am really excited about this word because I've been telling Joe a bunch over the last year that we need to have more dreams for our family: places we'd like to go and things we'd like to do and accomplish over the course of our lives. (Basically, right now all we have is retire and follow College GameDay around to every location for the entire season. Which is an awesome goal, but it's the only one we've got!) I feel like this word was perfectly assigned to us this year. 

Our family's word for the year.

Along with our family goals, an individual goal I have this year is to be less judgmental of people and work harder to understand where they are coming from and what their motivations are. 

We were in bare minimum mode for a lot of 2019, but we are not there anymore. We are working as a family and as individuals to grow and learn and take care of our physical, mental, and spiritual health  so we can be better spouses, parents, children, and friends.

There is always excitement in the new year, but, for me at least, there is always a little fear too. Fear of the unknown and of what "might" happen. But I pray to understand that things will always happen, and that God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and self-control.

I pray that you and your family will have a blessed, joyful, healthy, and magic 2020.

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