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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cheers to a New Year! 2014!

Things are quiet here tonight. My husband is doing an evening shift at work, the dogs are sleeping at my feet and the baby is sleeping soundly in my arms. She's cuddled up in a way that leaves my 2 hands free so I think I may have just found the perfect time to complete the post I started writing for New Years! Only 3 weeks late but better late than never, right?

2013 was a fantastic year for us. Most importantly, I had a healthy full term pregnancy and gave birth to a chubby little baby in July. Emily has not taken the pain of losing Katelyn away but she did bring the joy that only your child can bring, back into our lives. In April, we bought our first house and adopted our second dog. We made a lot of nice memories throughout the year and all in all, I know I will look back at 2013 with fondness. 

I want  to make 2014 another great year for me. I took a look before new years of things that I wanted to change. Most people call them their new years resolutions but I refuse to name it that since resolutions are notorious for being broken by mid January. Instead this is my goal list for 2014. 


My Goals for 2014

1. Have more fun.
 I want the little things in life to be fun again. I want to laugh a lot. I want to be silly again and not always take life so seriously. I was goofy as a teenager but had a blast. Then over time I've noticed that life has hardened me up. There have been many tears, heartache and worry over the last 2 years, and it's completely understandable, but I want to have just as many laughs, smiles and joyous moments.

 Emily was playing with her actactivity center so I laid down next to her and started playing. Dan joined and took a family selfie haha! I enjoy the butterfly by my cheek as well. :) Not a true family picture unless Katelyn is being symbolized by something.


2. Exercise.
 Back in December I was starting to feel depressed about the cold weather limiting my walks with the baby and not having gotten rid of the baby weight. My back was aching a lot and I just hated the way I was feeling. I decided to start exercising then and there, no gym membership or expensive exercise equipment required. We have resistance bands so I started using them. I also do a bunch of different leg exercises, crunches, stretches etc. My body is feeling stronger and leaner. I haven't had back pain. My mind is feeling sharper. I love it.

3. Read books
 I love to read. I think it's a great past time and it's so good for your brain. That's why last month I was ashamed when I realized that I couldn't remember the last time I finished a book. It's true that I don't have as much time to get lost in the pages of a great story like I used to with a young baby around. However, she does take naps and I realized that instead of taking the quiet time as an opportunity to read, I usually pull out my smart phone instead. Since I made this goal at the end of December, I have finished 2 books and am about 1/4 of the way through an amazing 900 page novel. When I have quiet time, I read and I LOVE it. You know the saying; something like, "A reader lives a thousand lives, the man who never reads only lives one". 


4. Write to Katie
I miss hugging her <3
 In the past, when I thought about what I would be like if one of my kids died, I always pictured myself sobbing in bed all day long and not wanting to live. When my worst nightmare actually came true, I surprised myself with how I was able to be optimistic and happy. Looking back, I realized that right after Katie's death was when I was most connected to her since she passed on. Why? Well, I wrote to her often and I think that has to do with it. Somehow writing to her stopped. After how horrible I felt at Christmas time, I realized that I needed to write down my thoughts on paper and talk to Katelyn again. Of course I think about her every day. I tell her I love her everyday. But there's something spectacular about writing a letter to her. I can't explain it but I've been regularly writing to her and I've been feeling more connected again. 


5. Finances 
 I was looking through my bookcases a little while back, searching for the next book I wanted to start, when I found a finance one that we bought a few years ago. I started reading it and one of the first things that the authour suggests is to look at where your money has been spent during the last 6 months. I thought it'd be a fun little project for us to do and my husband was on board. During the evenings of late December and early January, we would sit down together and figure out where our money had gone in the last 6 months. We spent double on restaurant food in June alone then we did in charitable donations all year. That was the kicker for us. We were so disappointed in ourselves. You don't really realize what you're spending on, or how fast things add up unless you're keeping track of it all. We made financial goals, figured out what we want to save up for and have been actively making positive choices to accomplish our goals. Let me tell you, it's a lot easier to decline spending money when you know you're going to put what you don't spend towards a family vacation in a few months!

6. Charitable Donations
 We usually make donations for a reason. If a friend asks for money for a fund raiser, for Katie's birthday, in her memory for Christmas, and of course dropping change into things like the salvation army bucket. We decided that we are extremely fortunate just to be living in a first world country with clean drinking water and after going through our finances, can't justify not putting more money aside to help people who desperately need it. As a one income family with a baby and 2 big dogs to feed, we may not be rolling in dough but we can certainly get by while giving more. It feels good to give so regularly. 

These are some of the goals I have for this year. So far I've been applying all of them to my life and they've been really helping me out. When I started writing I put on music and right as I finished up the song "Better Days" by The Goo Goo Dolls came on and the beginning of the song starts with the following lyrics

And you asked me what I want this year
And I try to make this kind and clear
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days