2017: An Unexpected Year of Greatness

This year turned out very different than I expected. I can be a pretty negative person. It's easy for me to see the bad and hard things. I really wanted to be happier this year. A part of me never thought that would happen. I’ve spent a lot of years stressed out, depressed, and sad. At the end of 2016, I felt so defeated and at the end of my wits.  I needed 2017 to be better. Here I am at the end of 2017 and I feel legitimate joy. It’s been a year of ups and downs like every year, but there have been so many more ups than I cold have hoped for my family.

My home away from home for four years.
1. Quitting Time: I quit my job in September. The needs of my family and the stress of day-to-day life changed things pretty fast. It was a really scary move to go from two full-time incomes to one. Money gives me legit anxiety.  Even with two incomes, I would freak out if we spent more than $100 a week. Financially, it’s tighter, but not as bad as we expected. I wish I quit sooner. I stay home with Cami and Emily full time. It’s still work (UNPAID), but it’s given me peace of mind. The stress dropped from chaos level, to almost nothing. I can focus on the girls needs and not worry about using all my time off. I can do the things that bring me joy as a person. It’s been a really wonderful experience and I would never trade it for a lottery. There are things that matter more than money.

Legit happiness. 
2. Drugs: Remember that introduction section just a second ago about being sad and crazy? This year I faced it. I talked to my mom and checked out my family history. I'm not the first or the last in my family to face this. I went to my doctor in the Spring. It was time to try something else besides freaking out and crying in the shower. Two weeks a month I take anti-depressants. It’s literally the best choice I have made this year. I struggled with the choice because it felt like a weakness. Like once I start taking it, they will define and change me. They didn’t do any of that. If anything it was the opposite, it allowed me to come out of the dark shell and be me again. The hard, crazy things are manageable and I don’t hate my life. Medication isn’t for everyone, but it’s right for me right now.

Only two of them, the third is much larger
3. Book Club Love: I joined three book clubs this year. The main reason is because I love talking about books a lot. They kind of landed in my lap. My neighborhood church group started one, a coworker invited me to her church group’s book club, and a friend’s book club. I’ve only been twice, but it’s everything I hoped it would be. I don’t know if I will be able to do all three long term. It’s nice to find people who like the same things and connect of a book in common, a great way to gain friends without pressure. 

Every POV so far. Editing is rough, yo.
4. I Wrote a Book: Well, I finished it at least. The book has been in process for  12 years. A lot of writers will say to never publish it. They say that a book that takes that long probably isn’t worth it. I finished it though. With a lot of help from encouraging podcasts (Writing Excuses & The Dead Author’s Society),I did it. It’s still in a VERY rough draft stage with LOTS of filling in. I am almost half way through the edits right now. It feels so good to finish something that I've wanted and worked for. 

Josh (Dave's kind-of boss), Dave, and
some people from work that I don't know very well.
5.   Dave’s Career: Dave has applied for a Manager On Deck position three times. This year was his year to get what he’s been working for. It’s not a position that comes with a financial bump and it’s been a lot of work with long hours and responsibilities. The job is really great for his experience, education, and resumes building. He has really enjoyed the job. Verizon has been really good for Dave.

Isn't he handsome?
6. Healthy Dave: Dave will probably feel embarrassed by this part, but it’s more important to me than it seems on the surface. When Dave and I started dating, Dave was really active and consistent with his workouts. When we had kids, he put aside taking care of himself to be a dad. When I quit my job, Dave gained some time in the morning to focus on his health. He immediately started running again and also does T25 (a full hour of activity). He feels better than he has (in years probably). I want to keep him around for a while, so this increased activity and focus on health is an important part for the last couple of months.

Some of our favorite party games.
7. Board Games: Who includes board games in their year summary? I do. We love games! It's one of our favorite past times. Dave and I embraced our inner-game nerds. We bought quite a few games this year including Santorini, Pandemic Year One, Ultimate Werewolf, and Code Names. As long as Dave loses, we all win, and it’s great. ;) We just bought an expansion for Sheriff of Nottingham too (the normal game only plays 4-5 people and we often play games with two other couples). For Christmas we also received Betrayal at the House on the Hill and two expansions for One Night Ultimate Werewolf. Our New Year's Eve party always surrounds games. I'm so excited to play some new ones and enjoy some older ones with friends. 

Obviously not my real community.
8. Community: One of my favorite things about 2017 was building community. I like our neighborhood and church group a lot. I put out some roots this year. Set up more playdates for Cami, spent time walking with fellow moms to/from school, making friends, going to events (even if it seemed lame or I felt “tired”). Building community is something that was easier before cell-phones and social networking. It takes a village to raise children in this world and keep your own sanity. Building community brought new friends for my kids AND ME.

The first day ever of swimming.
Before the teacher made her put her
head underwater.
9. Cami Swims: Cami started swimming lessons in the summer. While she practiced basics, I spent the time stopping Emily from jumping into the pool (that girl has a death wish). We only took two classes before school started, but it was a good beginning experience to conquer her fear of the water. She struggles still with her face in the water, but we’re getting there.

Cute smiles
10. Kindergarten: This year was my first experience with public school as a parent. It’s different than I expected. Cami has a certain love of words and numbers.It's been interesting because of her interests. Kindergarten curriculum is about learning letters and sounds. Cami reads books. Her teacher has had a hard time adjusting the school work. The only real difference is in the books she sends home with Cami. Cami likes school most of the time. ;)

Smiling was not happening the day it happened
11. Broken Arm: Cami broke her arm this summer while playing on the swings. A push to high and she fell right out of her seat. The break was a buccal fracture in both her radius and her ulna by her wrist. Traumatizing for all involved. Dave and I have never broken a bone, so we were seriously out of our league with the Instacare visit and taking care of her.

Obviously not going potty here.
I'm not THAT mom.
12. Em and the Potty: After I quit, I also started potty-training Emily. Diapers were the most expensive part of living expenses so it was the most logical place to cut a financial corner. It’s been a rough road and we aren’t through the woods yet. She has good days and bad days. It’s okay, she’s only two and I feel like she’ll get it in the next few months.  We will give another big try next month. She’s catching on a little at a time. Hopefully soon we can toss diapers altogether. 

This is her face right after she causes
immense trouble.
13. Emily: Our youngest and last child turned two this year and it shows. We like to call her our adorable hurricane. She's very active and moves fast. She’s really great figuring out what she wants and how to get it. She talks up a storm and loves playing with Cami. Her favorite toys right now are PJ Masks, dolls, princesses, and ponies. The conversations she creates are adorable, “Hi, Cinderella. How are you?” “Good, how are you?” “Good, let’s go to sleep.”:D

The majority of the Tate family
crammed in an SUV for a hike.
Dave's family (EVERYONE)
14. Family Vacations: This year I feel like we did the impossible. Dave’s family (Hunt & Larsen) and my family had big vacations this year within two weeks of each other. Dave’s family was in St. George and my family was at Bear Lake. Both vacations turned out perfect. For me, it’s scary to go to vacations. It’s stressful and can bring issues (good and bad) up to the front. There was none! It was so wonderful to spend time with all of our families this summer. I came away from both wishing that we could do that every year.


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