Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reflecting on 2013

2013 reflection.  I found these questions from my high school English teacher's blog.  She's a fantastic writer (obviously) and the questions really helped me to reflect on the most life-changing years of my life.

1. What was the single best thing that happened this year?

Well, that's easy.  Andie.  Seeing her tiny naked body in the hands of my doctor as she was moved to my chest was one of those moments in life that warms my soul.  It was so foreign, yet so natural and powerful.  She is so precious and I love her dearly.
{my favorite picture of all of 2013, maybe even ever.  Holding Andie for the first time}

2.  What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

Honestly, when I think back to the moments where I said "this is so hard" - it brings me to family issues.  I won't go into detail, but sometimes the roller coaster gets a little hard to hold on to.  There are two sides to every conflict, but seeing the other side can be a very challenging thing.

3.  What was an unexpected joy this year?

Making new friends.  I am so fortunate to have some incredible ladies in my life.  I love learning from my friends... and with all of their different backgrounds and different life experiences, I am truly blessed to constantly be understanding life in new ways through them.

4.  What was an unexpected obstacle?

My pregnancy.  I didn't go into much detail to many people at the time because I was filled with fear and worry.  When 27 weeks hit, Andie's heart was doing some unusual things.  At 29 weeks, I was admitted into the hospital for 24 hour monitoring for a couple days.  I will never forget being in the monitoring room and having my doctor come in and tell TL and I that he wanted us to head over to the hospital.  I cried, TL's throat cracked as he asked what was going wrong.  Her heart was having "variables", or sudden drops, and no one could tell us why.  Even with a perinatologist, several doctors, and nurses examining us and telling us they were going to keep a close eye (twice a week at monitoring) on her, that fear never left. The unknown of why nearly killed me.  I worried every day.  I just wanted my baby to be okay.  The relief I felt when she was born and all was okay was like a 15 thousand pound weight being lifted off of my heart.  I am so thankful to have a healthy baby.

5.  Pick 3 words to describe 2013.

Intense.  Happy.  New.

6.  Pick 3 words your spouse would use to describe your 2013 (don't ask them, guess based on how you think your spouse sees you)

Happy.  Fun.  Challenging.

7.  Pick 3 words your spouse would use to describe 2013 (again with out asking).

Dad.  Wonderful.  Love.

8.  What were the best books you read this year?

Ha.  That's a funny one.  I didn't read a single book.  Unless you count the chapters in What to Expect the First Year, and People magazine.  Maybe I should work on that in 2014.

9.  With whom were your most valuable relationships?

My husband.  Ohhh, my husband.  We experienced some of the most powerful and happy moments of our lives together this year and it strengthened us.  My love for this man grew tremendously as I watched him become a daddy.  Also, I realized even more his love for me as he stood by my side for every minute of the challenges I faced in pregnancy, and held my hand and watched our baby come into the world.  He may not be perfect, but he is absolutely my best friend.  He is my biggest advocate and I know he would do anything for me.  A lot of life happened this year and he and I got through it together.  I am so happy that he is committed to me and we are determined to work together to make this marriage of ours the best it can be.

My mom.  She's my sounding wall, my life coach, my biggest fan, and the most incredible woman I know.  She is so darn special to me, and our relationship grew even stronger this year, especially because of the new perspective I have since becoming a mother myself.  I realized even more then ever how dang lucky I am that SHE is MY MOM.

My sister, Julie.  Both of my sisters are very special to me... and Juls and I both embarked on a new journey of motherhood together this year, and it has been so much fun.  She and I call each other and tell stories and ask questions about all sorts of things that just aren't normal.  (example: our girl's poop)  I am so excited to have girls the same age and really think it is so special that we have this in common.

10.  What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?

My biggest personal change this year... confidence in myself.  I realized more this year that I am a people pleaser, and in some ways this is a good thing, but in other ways... I need to stop worrying so much about what other people think and have confidence in making the best decisions for myself and my family.

11.  In what way(s) did you grow emotionally? 

I am an emotional person.  I always have been.  And I embrace that quality about myself, which I think is truly how I grew this year.  I cried the first time I rocked my little baby to sleep and sang "you are my sunshine" to her.  I learned that just because I am emotional doesn't mean I am weak.  I just feel my emotions.

12.  In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?

I saw a quote a while back that has stuck with me "Your beliefs don't make you a good person, your behavior does".  Spiritually, after this wonderful, challenging, beautiful year...  I believe even more that their is something bigger than me to believe in, because with out it, the world just feels empty.

13.  In what way(s) did you grow physically?  

Well, obviously, I grew a baby... so I grew bigger & fuller.  And it was the most incredible thing my body has ever done.  I am still amazed by pregnancy and the process of conception to birth.  Since Andie, I haven't focused much on my physical appearance, but I am okay with where I am at.  I gained a little more than 15 pounds during pregnancy, and lost it fairly quickly because of breast feeding.  In 2014, I need to focus on gaining more physical strength.

14.  In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?

I have truly begun to appreciate relationships more for what each of them are and the value they bring to my life.

15.  What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home?

Everything "Andie" related...  I am not a fan of laundry, but there is just something about Andie's laundry that I love.  I actually enjoy folding her pint sized clothes, organizing her room, and seeing her toys around our house.  This is the chapter of our lives where the "kid mess" is a large part of the decor in our home and I am completely okay with it.  I was so sad to put the "mamaroo" and activity mat away in the closet... so I just want to enjoy each stage of her toys.

16.  What was your most challenging area of home management?

If you ask TL, he would say I struggle most with cleaning the counters and washing dishes.  ha! (I married an extremely clean person... I haven't cleaned a toilet since I married him).  But for me, the most challenging has been just keeping up with things.  It bothers me to go to bed with a dirty house, but I have had to accept the fact that my sleep is more valuable than a clean home sometimes.

17.  What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?

Worrying and losing sleep because of what other people may think of me.  There is nothing more frustrating then having a sound asleep baby laying next to you when you are extremely tired and not being able to sleep because your mind is spinning about things outside of your control.  (friends, work, family - all of which caused me to 'worry' this year)

18.  What was the best way you used your time this year?

Rocking and snuggling with my baby. Smelling her, holding her, squeezing her, and kissing her... nothing better than that!  And of course, time with my family (TL, Andie & I - and extended family) and friends who are like family.

19.  What was the biggest thing you learned this year?

Life is all about our perspective and our mindset.  If I find myself frustrated with a challenge, I find a way to put it into perspective.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2013 for you.

My life centers around my love.

Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy, safe, and exciting 2014!


Anonymous said...

The picture of you holding Andie in your arms for the first time made me tear up! What a beautiful post! 2013 was an awesome year and I wish for you and your family to have a beautiful 2014! xox

Heather Scott Partington said...

Loved reading your responses, Tracy! And love seeing you as a mom. A is such a cutie. It's intense, isn't it? Love to your whole family and a Happy New Year!

April of Smidge Of This said...

This is so beautifully written. One of my very favorite posts of yours, ever.

Meghan said...

What a great way to look back on your year and move onto the next! Happy New Year!

Jodi said...

What a wonderful year you had. That girl is stinking cute! And I am married to an extremely OCD cleaning machine too!

Kristin said...

Reading this as my sick husband snores next to me and as I glance over to the monitor to watch my little one sleep! What an exciting NYE for me!

I loved reading this post and find myself saying "yes, exactly!" to so many of your responses! What a crazy ride that first year is with these babies! Can't wait to see what 2014 brings!


So much fun to read and I just answered on my blog. I plan to post tomorrow. Thanks for the great post. ericasrunningjourney.blogspot.com


So much fun to read and I just answered on my blog. I plan to post tomorrow. Thanks for the great post. ericasrunningjourney.blogspot.com

prince snow farm said...

It is a joy to watch you and your family grow and develop over time! Happy New Year!

Unknown said...

This was beautiful! As I was reading, I couldn't help but relate to so much you were saying. My sweet little guy was born in 2012 and I remember feeling all of those same things! Even the pregnancy scare - we had a couple of those with Cole and it was terrifying. Your family is beautiful!! I can't wait to see what 2014 brings you. Happy New Year!

Jess Norden said...

What an amazing year for you, Tracy!!!! Isn't it crazy how much can change in just a year? Thanks for the questions...they are so fun to answer! I can't wait to watch Andie grow into a beautiful toddler...it keeps getting better!!! :)

Carolyn said...

I love this! The questions are so great!! :)

Pretty Zesty said...

Wonderful round up. Happy New Year!


Jess at Just Rainbows and Butterflies said...

I loved this and could relate to so much of it, especially worrying about what people may think. I'm trying to let that go in the New Year bc the only thing that matters is what my family thinks and my relationship with God. Great list and loved getting to know you better.

Carol {Everyday Delights} said...

This is a really lovely post! Wow, what a year! Love your answer to #19 - I think we are very similar in that way. Happy 2014 to you!!

Ari Mack said...

What a sweet post! Happy New Year! Your beautiful spirit as a mom and a woman really comes through. Blessings to you and your wonderful family!

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

Ah, what an amazing year for you!

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

Ah, what an amazing year for you!

C Mae said...

This was so beautiful to read!