Here we are. The last Friday in 2016. Most of the feelings I have about 2016 are negative, so I thought a GBOMB would be a better way to recap the year and *politely* close the door on 2016 – because I don’t want to focus on just the bad stuff, and I also think it’s an important year for me to remember the struggles we’ve had.
As we close out 2016 I highly recommend some type of reflection on the year, and I will say that this GBOMB format (good/bad/on my brain) was incredibly helpful for me. Use it yourself in your journal, on a blog, an insta post, or simply in the notes app of your phone. It was cathartic as h*ck.
- My baby girl turned 1! It was a weird thing to have a ONE year old, but so much fun. Her birthday was a beautiful, shining benchmark for me. It was great to recognize how much she changed our lives and to see how loved she was.
- I wrote my own Harry Potter Murder Mystery script and it was so much fun!
- I got into the Bachelor franchise with my girlfriend group and I can honestly say there were some weeks that it kept me going.
- I set a goal to read 36 books this year (3 per month) and I just finished #41 today! (I’m counting re-reads. Re-reads should count.) This goal was so so good for me. I’m doing it again in 2017.
- My niece Ruby Joy was born in January!!
- I started using a Bullet Journal and it has been AWESOME.
- Harry Potter Book Club had the best year ever. We grew a LOT bigger and tried a lot of new things – wandmaking, a House Pride Pep Rally, renting a movie theater for Fantastic Beasts, and we even had a new book to discuss with the release of the Cursed Child! Something that has particularly warmed my heart is watching people become real life friends within the club. I know that sounds cheesy. Still.
- We spent so much time outside this year, and it was so good for me to realize the healing power of fresh air, nature, and a new outlook.
- I finally went to Harry Potter World!
- We enjoyed Disneyland twice – once with each of our families. Watching Reese feel the magic more was, well, magical.
- We decided to go for another baby in the spring (originally I had wanted to start trying in December/January but just didn’t feel right about it when the time came). I found out right before Father’s Day and telling Ryan will always be one of my most treasured memories.
- Reese started nursery in August and it was a tender, tender mercy. I can’t even explain how crucial the timing was. We nearly miscarried at the end of July and were on pins and needles the entire month of August, and then September ended up being a nightmare, start to finish. With Reese in nursery we had no excuse to skip church, and every opportunity to give our full attention to lessons, scriptures, and the Spirit. It meant everything to me.
- THE CHICAGO CUBS WON THE WORLD SERIES
- I blogged 3x a week for a year (with only a few planned exceptions)! I learned a lot by doing this, and I think it made me and my blog a lot better.
- I got ~better at cooking & baking. I’m still not good, or probably even average. But I tried new things and successfully accomplished a lot of different recipes and meals throughout the year!
- I taught a planning class and LOVED it. The fire has gone out a little bit for me, but the idea of sharing and teaching more planning stuff is definitely still here.
- I definitely got into every major holiday and event in 2016. This usually means a planned outfit, food/treat, and some type of activity. I hope I’m always that crazy mom who takes holidays v seriously.
- We got a new Star Wars film, a new Harry Potter franchise film, and a new Harry Potter franchise book! That’s pretty rad!!! This was also a baller season of Game of Thrones.
- I learned how to cut people out, cut people off, and when to say when this year. Obviously I’m not perfect, but I truly learned this year that not everyone needs to be my best friend. I don’t have to do everything I think I should. I can leave texts unanswered and invitations unattended. Some people are better suited for a casual acquaintance category – it would make us all happier! I don’t have unlimited time or resources, and neither does anyone else. AND IT’S OK.
- I gained SO MUCH MORE EMPATHY this year it’s crazy. Because of the things that happened to me, or happened to others… I just feel I am so much more in tune with how other people might feel or see things. I still have a lot of lessons to learn about it, of course. But it almost feels like looking at the world through an entirely different lens.
- Enriched Spirituality. It’s not that I’m a better person, or have a stronger testimony, necessarily. Just that my spirituality became a new texture. It’s hard to explain, but it’s different. I don’t feel like I am much better, but I feel that we set the stage for me to finally begin to actually grow up and improve spiritually. If that makes sense? Idk. But it’s squarely in the “good” category.
- Reese taught me the value in single-tasking. As a chronic multi-tasker it took the happy simplicity of a child to show me that sometimes just playing with toys on the floor is more fulfilling and productive than writing articles while listening to podcasts and stopping to make a billion lists.
- I felt physical terrible for most of January and then found out I have hypothyroidism. While it was a blessing to know and I feel much, MUCH better on medication, it was still hard and a little depressing to think there’s something permanently physically wrong with me.
- Ryan switched jobs twice. Each at an inconvenient and unpredictable time. Once in February (he found out he, along with 2/3 of his company, had been laid off while in Disneyland with friends lol yikes). Then again in September with even worse circumstances. Both times he quickly found another good job that he was stoked about, but the stress and timing made them both semi-awful. I am STILL dealing with insurance issues from the last switch, lord beer me strength.
- We had a lot of big financial plans, most of which were derailed by the whole job shuffle situation.
- I had a lot of dark days, which is something I very rarely experienced in my past. I was not used to having whole days, or even weeks, where I just felt sad, worried, anxious, tired, and hopeless.
- Not one but TWO cancelled trips due to sickness. I tried to go to Arizona for a girl’s trip only to have Reese puke roughly 25x in a 48 hour period. Then about a week later I had planned a whole Harry Potter Book Club Retreat in St. George and woke up the morning of at 3 am and spent the next 24 hours puking and shaking. It was awful. They were both awful. Not only was I dealing with the physical pain, stress, and logistics of me/Reese being sick, but I was weighed down by harrowing guilt that I ruined not one but TWO trip! I hate flakiness. I hate screwing up plans. Like I’m still low key stressed that it happened.
- Sickness in general! I spent so much more time sick this year than any year before. Even the year I started teaching and was suddenly exposed to thousands of teenage germs on the daily. Whether it was flu or cold viral symptoms, thyroid symptoms, or food poisoning I felt like we, as a family, were more than our share of sick this year.
- We spent 10 hours in stop-and-go traffic on our way to Disneyland in May, costing us a day in the park. Then when we went in August we had the unfortunate timing of meeting a giant California wildfire that shut down I-15 for almost an entire day, taking us almost 12 hours to get from Baker to Anaheim. I realize it doesn’t sound that bad, but guys? It was seriously awful. Like one of the most stressful and frustrating days of my life. We can ~almost look back at it and laugh, but not quite yet.
- At the end of July I experienced sudden cramping and then a lot of profuse, scary bleeding at 12 weeks. I won’t rehash the whole thing again (you can read it here), but August was a very trying month. Learning to be patient, learning to rest, learning to just rely on the Lord and His plan are not my strengths.
- My childhood dog, Blade, died after a long, happy, healthy life. It was hard. We still miss him a lot.
- There’s no way September could be worse than August! Right? Right????? September was THE. WORST. Ryan lost his job, I broke my toe, we spent a billion hours in doctor’s offices, Reese cut like 5 teeth and stopped sleeping, I was exhausted and couldn’t exercise even if I HAD the energy.
- I’ve talked about this a little, but a big part of why September was scary and sucky was that Ryan’s health took a few serious turns. He had been not feeling great for a while, but in August and September he had a few episodes that had me really concerned. TYPICAL RYAN he refused to go see a doctor until I was basically melting down in the kitchen because I thought he was going to die lol. Turns out he had a bunch of stuff that was WAYYYYYYY out of whack and things could have gone down a bad road. Soon he was on a bunch of different pills, making diet and lifestyle changes that were NOT EASY, and in and out of regular doctor’s appointments. If you know Ryan, you know just how much of a scary change this was. Thankfully he was really sobered by the diagnoses and by being a dad, and I’m so impressed and grateful for the way he handled the changes. But yeah. I was BRITTLE for the entire month of September. A lot of crying, a lot of fear, a lot of “Whyyyyyyy? Why is this happening? All right now, at once?!!!” I still don’t know how we got through it when I look back. Well I do. It’s God, duh.
- More than ever, due mostly to the election, I realized how much conflict and anger there is in the world. I do NOT handle conflict well, and there was just so much of it in 2016. I felt uncomfy basically every time I logged in to anything online.
- This should probably go in my “good” section but I was just very humbled in the motherhood department. Reese was the easiest baby, and is a great toddler, but we started experiencing more challenges. And like, yeah, I like to think I’m smart and I’m a good mom, and I generally do a good job. But this was a year of realizing that it isn’t easy, it isn’t always YOU, and that the incredible parenting philosophy you’ve developed has flaws.
- Let’s not even get into all the celebrities and important people who died this year. Or the election.
On My Brain
- I feel like I already know that we will look back on 2016 for the rest of our lives. When our parents talk about their tough early years of marriage/young kids fondly and respectfully? I feel like 2016 was that year for us. Our tough, formative, springboard year.
- The future of America. I am far too much of an optimist to believe that this is the beginning of the end, but far too smart of a person to think we’re doing great. It’s on my brain A LOT, actually. The political landscape is now a place I can’t even recognize or feel comfortable with.
- My identity has grown more solid in the last year, but it also meant trimming away parts of who I thought I was, or who I wanted to be. I feel like I’m still kind of getting my bearings as I come to terms with the facts and changes. For example, I’m happier and more suited to hanging with my family. I’ve known it forever, but part of me was like “No, you’re Danica. Parties and groups and events are your jam!!!” It’s weird to realize that I don’t have to be that, especially when it’s harder for me.
- Am I ready to be a mom of two? How will this affect our family? Will I be terrible? Will I lose myself? Will I never leave the house?
- The blog. I had big ideas and dreams for it last year. This year… it doesn’t seem so important anymore. I still love it. I’m still doing it. But it simply isn’t as big of a deal to me, currently.
- Is 2017 the year I can finally just let ppl live? Get off my high horse and stop acting like I know what’s best for everyone? Signs point to no, but the empathetic episodes will probably be more frequent.
2016 was so hard, but so good for us. I learned to face things that were hard. I learned to rely on others, especially the Lord. I learned that fully feeling all the hard and tricky things allows them to be used to beautify you life, rather than leave you with ugly scars. And as I gratefully close the door on 2016, it’s with appreciation for all those difficult things it brought. Thank you for what you taught me, 2016. But also byeeeeeeeeeeee.