In 2014, my life was pretty chaotic and the future was unknown. 2015 was all about our wedding – planning, anticipating, settling in to our marriage, and finding out we were expecting. Last year was all about becoming parents and learning how to be a working mom.
The theme for this year’s resolutions is all about bettering myself. It hasn’t been about ‘me’ in quite some time, and I’m excited that I have an entire year to dedicate to becoming the person I want to be both personally and professionally. These resolutions aren’t meant to be selfish, although by simply stating “this year is about me” it may come across as exactly that. However, by being a better version of myself, I’m actually becoming a better wife to my husband, a better mom to my son, a better employee, a better friend.
I’ve been sucked into the “mom guilt” cliche and because of this, I rarely give myself the opportunity to go out and do something for myself or by myself. I’ve always had a hard time asking for help – I tend to think that I can do everything and that others don’t need to stress out over things I should take care of myself. I’ve slowly come to the realization that this isn’t healthy for anyone.
So without further ado, here are my resolutions for 2017:
Be present. Life is meant to be lived in the now. I tend to wish away life – wishing it were summertime, wishing Finn could walk, wishing for some future time where things will be easier (ha!). It’s those moments when you stop and really take in the setting and the experience in which I feel truly at peace. I need to appreciate more of those moments.
Be intentional. I’m tired of going through the motions. I am going to start doing things because they have a purpose in my life now and for the future. I am going to make intentional decisions that make my life better. I need to stop doing things because they are what I think I should do. Even more, I need to stop not doing things because they scare me.
Be healthy. Physically -Maybe this will be the year I finally run that marathon! Emotionally. Mentally – I have a goal of reading at least one book per month. Turning off the TV! Professionally – I’ve made a goal to find 2 clients by March. Totally doable. Totally terrifying. Financially – Goodbye student loan debt – 2017 will be the death of you!
What are some of your resolutions for the new year?
I love writing these “year in review” posts! Looking back on everything I’ve done in a year is always so fun and makes me so nostalgic. As I get older, each year goes by faster – and 2016 absolutely flew by! For obvious reason, this year will always have a special role in our life story, and as it comes to a close, I’m so thankful for another year of memories and milestones.
David and I kicked off the year in New York, celebrating the holidays with my parents and little sister. When we returned to Virginia we were greeted by a large snowstorm. We took advantage of it and spent the weekend setting up Baby G’s nursery. It was also in January when we found out that Baby G was a boy! We had an ultrasound appointment in the morning and spent the day working anxiously waiting to open the envelope over dinner that evening. We both had a feeling we were having a boy, but when we found out, everything became a little more real.
In February I turned 28 and celebrated with a low key dinner with David. At the end of the month we took a trip to New York for my first baby shower. It was a combined shower for both me and my sister and we were both spoiled by our friends and family. That was the last time I was home until now! (This must be the longest I’ve been away from Caledonia!) After our shower, Sarah moved out to Colorado and I remained the lonely Rath girl on the East Coast.
March started off with a bang when Emily went into labor a few weeks early and our family was blessed with Miss Natalie Jean. I was so jealous that Emily had her baby already and so upset that I wasn’t there to meet her! It was also in March that things at work started to get a little crazy. I new I was on a strict deadline and started hunkering down to finish all the projects I had planned.
By April, I was waddling around and getting pretty impatient with Baby G. The warm weather was a welcome change, and David and I spent as much “us” time together as possible – with Juneau of course! My mom came to visit for a weekend and we spent a day in Washington DC with my cousins. My mother-in-law threw me another baby shower in April, and afterwards we felt like we had everything we needed for Baby G.
Awww, May. May had been the month we had been waiting on for months, and as soon as it arrived, I knew Baby G would arrive at any moment. I finished up all my loose ends at work, and frantically scoured the internet for signs of labor. On May 19th, just two days before my due date, we welcomed Finn Ryan to our family. It was a beautiful spring day and life seemed to stand still. I’ll never forget watching David with Finn for the first time. He was so nervous, and yet so natural. My parents came down to meet their first grandson, and we spent the remainder of the month getting to know Finn and learning to be parents.
I don’t remember much of June… lack of sleep, exhaustion, each day seemed to blur into one. In fact, most of maternity leave was a blur. Life with a newborn!
David, Finn, my mom and I flew out to Colorado in July to visit my sisters, their men, and my niece, Natalie. We rented an AirBnB in Netherland, CO and celebrated the Fourth of July, hiked, fished, shopped, and enjoyed our new family members. When we returned home, David and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We kept it low key, and were just excited to spend time together sans a newborn. At the end of the month, my Dad’s entire family spent the week just outside of Charlottesville for their annual vacation. We were close enough to stop in and enjoy the week as well.
In August, I returned to work. This month also feels like a blur, as I was juggling my new role as “working mom”. Finn started daycare and we began our new normal. David turned 29 in August, and for the second year in a row, I promised him a day of guided fishing on the nearby trout stream.
By September, Finn, David and I were in a groove as a family. There was little going on this month, so we used the weekends to spend time together.
In October, work was really getting busy for me. David finished out the month at the brewery he was working for and awaited his start date at his new job. Finn started eating solid foods, started rolling over, and celebrated his first Halloween. He dressed up like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and his costume absolutely melted my heart.
November saw a weekend visit from my parents. We “toured” Charlottesville and the surrounding area and Finn was able to spend time with his grandparents. He also celebrated his first Thanksgiving with David’s family in Virginia.
By December, Finn started sitting up, pulling up, and wanting so badly to walk. We spent the month gearing up for the holidays. We spent time decorating our apartment, opening gifts from family, and starting new traditions. We were able to spend the last week of the year in New York with my family. My sister, brother-in-law, and niece were all able to come as well, and we had the two babies together for the first time since July.
Month by month, this year was a lot less crazy than previous years. Instead, we had one huge change when we welcomed Finn to our family. Next year already looks to be a memorable one – 3 weddings, new babies, vacations! David will graduate in May, and Finn will turn 1! We have also started the daunting process of buying a house. I hope to continue to grow this blog, freelance more, grow as a mother, a wife, and a professional, and take in all of the little moments that are going by way too fast!
Hope your year was as memorable as mine, and Happy 2017 to you!
Someone asked me the other day if I remember not being a mom. I really don’t. I feel like Finn has been around forever. The first few months were a huge learning curve and it felt like things would never feel normal again. But now our normal just includes Finn. I don’t know if I feel like I’m a good mother. I constantly second guess myself, but isn’t that what parenting is? Just trying to do what’s best while fighting through all of the uncertainty? I still feel like a 18-year-old at heart. Who am I to be a mom? But Finn is starting to pick up on things and he no longer just requires the basic human needs. We have been reading more and more, and I’ve made it a point to stay on top of baby’s development so I know what to watch for. Parenting is truly intimidating, but really rewarding… I guess like all things worth living for!
Finn is really growing into himself. His feet are reaching the edge of his carseat, he is in 9 month clothing, and he looks more like a little boy at times than a baby! He loves to be up on his feet and is thinking about crawling more and more every day. However, we think he might skip the crawling phase altogether, because he would much rather pull himself up than scoot around on his hands and knees. Those top teeth are still trying to break through. I literally say “any day now” every day.
“Da da da da” all day long. So fun to hear! He has found quite the shriek for when mom and dad leave his sight as well. He has mastered passing things from one hand to the other and has started to recognize cause and effect. For example, when Dad makes the “claw hand” and starts to inch towards me, I’m going to get tickled and it’s going to make me laugh!
We’ve finally transitioned Finn to his own crib. Yes, mom is the reason he has been in our room this whole time. She is kind of neurotic 🙂 but he seems to be doing just fine with it. And I’ve actually managed to get some sleep for once! Every single moan and groan used to wake me up. Now he is far enough away that we can all sleep a little peacefully. The pain in the butt part remains getting him down for naps, which is hard to master since he is away at daycare most days. But we will succeed one way or another!
Finn can spot his bottle a mile away. He gets so antsy and excited and doesn’t need mom or dad to hold the bottle anymore. I’ve been pumping pretty exclusively for a while now, but a few weeks back my milk supply started slowing quite a bit. It’s been a struggle to get back to my regular amount, and for the amount of time I sit to pump compared to the actual amount of milk I get, I am starting to succumb to the fact that my breastfeeding days are over. I made it a month past my initial goal, which I’m proud of. Something inside me wishes I could go on, and the other part of me knows that it’s time. My body knows best!
Finn let’s us know when he doesn’t like a certain food. I’ll keep trying, and he keeps his mouth shut tight. I pulled out the peas last week and after one bite, a gross face, and spit up everywhere! It took me forever to get him to open his mouth to try again. No peas for Finn man. We bought some spinach and green beans hoping it’s truly not a green food aversion! We shall see… his current favorites include carrots, prunes, and anything mixed with apple.
Things I don’t want to forget:
I love Finn’s shy little smile he gives when he first sees you in the morning or when you first enter a room. It’s as if he knows he’s the best looking baby around!
Finn fell asleep on me at a holiday party this weekend. He was never really a snuggly, sleep-on-mom kind of baby, so to have him do that was so surprising and sweet. Finn may be a good sleeper, but getting him to sleep is another story. So for him to gently pass out on my chest was so amazing and relieving.
I can feel myself getting sucked into the winter blahs. I anticipate it every year. The daylight gets shorter, the weather gets colder, the sky gets grey-er, and my motivation fades away. I can feel it in conversations that I have with people, with my attitude about getting things done. I hate feeling this way, and every year I give myself an “out”, allowing myself to feel this way for a while, you know, because it’s the weather, or just this time of year.
But not this year. I’ve been fighting the miserable-ness so hard. This is our first holiday season as a family of three (four, really) and I want to make it extra special for Finn, and for us. I want to start traditions that we continue into his teenage years and beyond.
I think it’s important to stop and smell the roses every once in a while, but especially at this time of year. It’s so fun to look back and reflect on everything that has happened in 2016 and to look forward to another year of firsts in 2017. I’m a lucky, lucky, lucky girl. I have so much to be grateful for, and just because the weather is moody doesn’t give me a pass at forgetting all of those things I am grateful for.
Family. Golly, I am lucky to be married to my bestie. Last night, we were running through the grocery store – just being goofs. We looked at one another and reminded each other that we are parents and we shouldn’t act so immature. And then we laughed. We are totally meant to be! And we were given Finn! I cannot believe that we were blessed with such a beautiful, healthy, happy baby. And to top it all off, we have the best puppy in the entire world. I am one lucky lady to have three handsome men in my life. We were also given wonderful parents and siblings to support us and love us unconditionally, and to make us laugh every day!
Travel. David and I were those silly young kids who spent all of our savings and moved across the country… four times. There are days where I wish we had a house and a yard, but I realize that we would have had to give up our adventures in order to have those things today. We were so spontaneous and young and had the travel bug, so we did what we wanted! The house and yard are coming soon, so if I had to wait a little longer for them in order to travel and live in such wonderful places, I’ll take it.
Job. There was a time where I would do just about everything to have a job to go to every day. I have one now- a good one- and I’m thankful for it every day.
Health. The industry I work in reminds me daily that I am fortunate to have my health and that those I love are healthy as well. Too often this is taken for granted.
Love. This can come in many forms. Maybe it’s a Christmas card from friends you haven’t seen in forever. Or it’s a song that comes on the radio that makes you feel all the feels. Maybe it’s snuggling on the couch with your husband at the end of a long day and watching cheesy television shows. It can be a picture of your niece who you haven’t seen since July. Or someone leaving a nice comment on your blog post. It’s waking up in the morning and realizing your baby slept through the night or getting licked by your dog after you walk through the door. It can be all of your neighbors decorating their doors for Christmas or stopping to say ‘hi’ to them when you are walking the dog. It can be a free lunch in appreciation to a veteran’s service, a text from a friend, or watching someone you love fall in love and plan a wedding. I think you get the picture, but every day I’m surrounded by so much love. It’s so inspiring and refreshing. I hope you find love all around you as well.
As much as I love the holiday season, there is something about it that also brings me a lot of unnecessary anxiety. I always feel like I should be decorating a certain way, giving the perfect gifts, and dressing in a festive fashion. Every year I grumble at our apartment knowing that nothing is permanent, and like the rest of my decor, holiday decorations are usually haphazardly put up. I have grand ideals of the days when we own a home and how wonderfully I will decorate. Until then, I will depend on my parents and in-laws to decorate for me.
We went to a small Christmas parade in town last week, and I admittedly started crying when I watched Finn’s face follow Santa Claus down the road. He was probably more in awe of the bright lights and colors than of Santa, but still. This year will be extra special. Finn’s first Christmas will undoubtedly be memorable.
I have started to reminisce about some of our childhood traditions and how I would love to incorporate them into our new family’s celebrations. When my sisters and I were little, my parents did everything in their power to have us hold onto the magic of Christmas for as long as possible. Each year we would put out carrots and cookies for Santa and his reindeer. Then, my mom would read “‘Twas the night before Christmas”. As we got older and started to question the authenticity of Santa, my parents enlisted the help of my uncles, who would climb on the roof and stomp around, leaving half eaten carrots and footprints behind!
Christmas morning we would wake up extra early in the morning, close our eyes, and run past the tree to wake up Mom and Dad. Dad would make us breakfast and we would open our stockings. Once Dad was ready to sit down, we’d start opening presents keeping them in our own designated corner of the room. Later in the morning, family would come over, more presents would be unwrapped, movies would be watched, and food would be eaten.
This year we will all be celebrating Christmas at my parents’ house. I’m looking forward to introducing the same traditions to Finn and Natalie – although they may be a little young this year to appreciate everything this year! I made Christmas stockings for David, Juneau and I a few years back, so I will have to add a Finn stocking to the mix. Our Christmas Cards came in the mail last week and we will be getting a Christmas tree this weekend. (I grew up with the live trees, David’s family had fake ones. We have been getting the small, live trees the past few years. Seriously cannot wait for a house so we can have a huge tree!)
These are small traditions that I know will continue to grow as Finn does. I’ve already bought Finn’s Christmas outfit and have to stop myself from buying more! All in all, I’m feeling very festive this year and I’m looking forward to Finn meeting all of his extended family and to finally visit my childhood home!