2017: Year in Review

Happy 2018! I hope everyone is recovering from what I lovingly refer to as the "holiday hangover." You know - where everyone is off-schedule, overstimulated, overtired, over-gifted and just generally ready things to go back to normal? I know I am.

Not that I don't LOVE the holidays - I do, I really do. But this year, for the first time, as ready as I was for them to come and be enjoyed, I was also ready to say goodbye to them. We spent our holidays in Iowa with our families, and while being home is always a joy, it's not without challenges—especially with two kiddos. We had an amazing time, but are happy to be back in Chicago, organizing our new (unnecessary) loot, cleaning out the old and getting back to a routine.

It goes without saying, blogging was not a priority for me in 2017. I started the year with the best of intentions (I always do), but pretty much, we went on vacation in February, came home, found out we were pregnant, and then everything that followed was mass chaos. I'm a sucker for a New Year though, so while 2017 was a year of ever-present ups and downs, both personally and for the world, I wanted to take a minute to reflect on the past year and share a little about what I hope for in 2018.

I started 2017 on a great foot with a promotion at my full-time marketing job. In this role this past year, I became a manager for the first time, and leading my small staff (of one) taught me more about management in 12 months than most people experience in a career! Suffice to say, I learned so much about what it means to be a leader, good manager AND good employee. I found areas where I needed to improve and I'm ready to focus on those in 2018 now that I have a new team when I return back to work.

2017 also started with the inauguration of a new president, Donald Trump. I try to keep my blog a place of love and light, so I'm not going to waste my breath on the setbacks that have occured under his "leadership" this year. I will simply say I do not support Donald Trump and don't believe he has our country's best interests at heart. I truly hope 2018 sees Trump's impeachment, because in addition to being unqualified and unfit to lead our country, the man is just a vile human being who should not represent our great country.

We watched our sister get married in the beautiful Punta Cana. It was a joy to spend a full week with family in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, and to see Liam enjoy the sun and sand. (Oh the sand...it was not meant for toddlers.)

We found out we were expecting our second baby and that said baby was a BOY! My pregnancy was less than ideal, as the first half was spent feeling sick and the second half was spent largely in the hospital due to complications.  Those tough months of pregnancy taught me a lot—about faith over fear, about family, about patience and about my own strength. I've since regained my own health and for that, I'm endlessly grateful.


And yet, despite those challenging 9 months, I can't complain for even a moment because now we have a beautiful, healthy boy to show for it, and I know that is more than so many others have. Our newest,  amazing blessing, Connor Leo, was born on October 5, 2017.

His arrival has rocked our world. With your second child, you think you have an idea of what's to come, but...I'd beg to differ. Sure, the actual "what do we do with a baby" aspect feels easier and less overwhelming. But you don't think about all of the other elements that a second baby brings. Because it's not just about caring for another baby. Now it's about caring for a baby, while also caring for your first born and helping him or her adjust to these major changes. It's learning how to parent not just one but two little people. Newsflash: IT'S NOT EASY.

In 2017, Bryan and I have faced more parenting challenges than I think we ever imagined. Not only have we dealt with Liam during his "terrible twos" and his entrance to being a "threenager" — we've also had to deal with challenges of helping him adjust during some major life changes, such as moving, moving into a big boy room, potty training, dealing with some big feelings surrounding me being in the hospital, and of course, becoming a big brother. Adjusting to life as parents of two boys has been hard...really hard. Gone is the luxury of one of being able to give the other a bit of a break. Now it's basically man-to-man defense, and half the time it feels like we are just waving hello across the room as we each deal with one respective child. But, this too shall pass, we will continue to learn and enjoy (most) of this crazy life we lead as parents!

We spent months and months (and months) in 2017 looking tirelessly for our perfect new home. When we found out we were expecting, we stepped up our game and finally found our perfect new home to fit our growing family, and which checked off most of our "want" boxes. We moved in July and it truly is the best of all worlds for our family, in terms of space, location, price, etc. I know we will be happy here for many years to come.

We traveled, which is our favorite thing to do, not only to the Dominican Republic, but to Montreal, Canada to celebrate our six year wedding anniversary. And when we couldn't travel anymore, we made the most of the summer with visitors, street festivals, and a $6 shark pool on our new rooftop deck.

We closed out the year with our three favorite holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

 We were able to travel to Iowa to see family for Thanksgiving and Christmas, while we rang in the New Year and celebrated Halloween here in Chicago at our new home.

Our home was sick for much of 2017, whether it was Liam battling a cold (which I swear has been non-stop since the fall, me being in the hospital, or Bryan's bout with the stomach flu. And, sadly, we lost a few dear members of our family.

It was year of major highs and major lows, so my hope is that we appreciate each of those highs and lows for what they taught us. So what do I hope for in 2018? Fewer life changes, for one thing!

This year, I hope to be more intentional with my life. One of my friends posted something the other day that resonated with me so much - she said that JOY in our lives comes from the Journey Of Yes. In other words, say yes. To everything, and especially to things that scare you. And instead of saying NO, how about, not right now?

Rather than make resolutions, I decided I want to have a focus word for the year. A theme to carry me through each and every decision I make. I've been thinking long and hard, and my word for is 2018 is: IMPACT. 

As people, we tend to spend a lot of time watering the weeds so speak. Worrying about and wasting energy on things that are not within our control and/or that simply do not matter. I know I'm guilty of this. By being more intentional and positive, I hope to have a bigger impact on all aspects of my life, from my health and well-being to parenting, relationships, giving back, business...all.of.it.

I hope to IMPACT other people with my stories and words here on my blog.
I hope to IMPACT the lives of others as I grow and lead my Rodan + Fields team and find like-minded people who strive to be successful and want more.
I hope to IMPACT my children in a positive way, as they teach me how to be a better mom.
I hope to IMPACT client's businesses at my full-time job, as well as lead my team to make a bigger, better IMPACT through our work and to my company.
I hope to IMPACT my personal well-being through being kinder to my body, mind and spirit.

You get the picture.

How was your 2017? What are you looking forward to this year?
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