2017, like every year, has been one of great personal highs and lows…here are a few of my highlights, favorite memories and experiences of this past year:
1. Going home. Re-buying our Cedarwood house still feels like a dream and a gift. From the serendipitous way it all happened, to me taking a risk and putting myself out there to ask for what I wanted, to having the income we needed to support us living there again, coming home felt so redemptive. We immediately fell in love with all the wildlife, the access to the creek for exploring, all the extra space for us to spread out and host guests. We definitely appreciate what we have more than ever before.
2. My first counseling appointment. At the nudge of a friend who recognized my inability to cope alone with anxiety, I continued my journey toward self-awareness with professional counseling. I also took two classes this year to invest in my emotional health!
3. Going to work full-time. After 10 years of working as a part-time contractor, I went to work full-time. This feels like such an accomplishment, as any working mother knows. I feel so grateful to work for one of the greatest men I’ve ever known, and for the generosity he extends to his employees. I retained much of my flexibility in hours, plus I’m working for someone who is more interested in my own growth and development than his company’s bottom line.
4. Reading Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students. I devoured this book overnight. Since much of my anxiety centers on my children, this book gave me assurance that what we experience is common, and that things will be okay.
Other favorite books from the year: Awareness by Anthony de Mello, Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (and the subsequent purge that followed).
5. Jeff’s 50th Birthday Party. I’m still in awe of the generous hearts of our Katherine St. neighbors who open their homes and yards and fire pits and invite us in. Jeff’s 50th birthday party was a sweet celebration among friends who never fail to show us they care. This was one of many gatherings we enjoyed throughout the year, end capping with carols around the campfire a couple of days before Christmas.
6. Pumpkin Carving Party. Another neighborhood family throws the most fantastic fall shindig every year, and I feel so lucky to know them and be there. This year we had the added bonus of having new family friends who lived next door at the Cedarwood house in the fall until they moved into their renovated house next to the family who had the pumpkin carving party. It sounds confusing but just know that a grand time was had by all — and I felt extremely grateful to have such a fun fall family activity that didn’t involve paying a lot of money and driving a long way to visit a pumpkin patch.
7. Finding “my” perfume. My grandmother and mother both had signature scents and I remember them wearing perfume often. I stopped wearing perfume when I had kids, mostly because I didn’t want it to rub off on my babies but also because of comments I’d hear from other people about when they couldn’t stand smelling someone who had on too much perfume. I decided this was my year to start wearing perfume again, and while I had to sample quite a few, I was surprised one day when I realized my favorite scent was one that I didn’t like the smell of when in the bottle, but after it reacted with my skin, it smelled divine. It’s Modern Muse by Estee Lauder, and I love the description of the scent: Two distinctively different accords—Sparkling Jasmine Accord and Sleek Woods Accord—provide an intriguing dual impression. Modern Muse was inspired by the complexity of a modern woman, with the same dynamic contrasts as her life and her personality. Her creative energy and magnetic femininity are captured by its multi-faceted, sparkling floralcy. Her sleek style, strength and sensuality by its sleek woods. Who is a Modern Muse? She’s confident and independent, soft and strong, feminine yet dynamic. Stylish and original, she inspires everyone she meets—without saying a word.
8. American Girl Bistro. Mom, the girls and I enjoyed an afternoon at the American Girl Doll Store and Bistro in Cool Springs in October. The girls had their dolls’ hair fixed and we enjoyed a sweet lunch and conversation at the bistro.
9. Sara Watkins show at City Winery. This was a date night for Jeff and me and our first visit to City Winery. I loved the venue, the artist, the food and the evening. I wish we did this more often!
10. The Eclipse. Being in the path of totality was an experience unlike any other. We enjoyed the afternoon with friends in a local park, and the indescribable natural phenomenon felt like a once-in-a-lifetime event.
11. Family hang time. I’m going to cheat and add an 11th because it technically happened last year, but last year at this time we were visiting our Florida family and had such a sweet time.
And of course, once I started down the road of trying to identify highlights from the year, there were too many to name … here are several more. I’m so grateful to have such a good life.
- Styling a coffee table for the first time in 10 years.
- Being bequeathed with free donuts from the nicest man in the universe.
- Hangs with Liz, Jaya & Andre at Terminal Cafe.
- Snapping this photo and the evening that followed…fireworks on the lake…
- Pool party with the Karate family.
- The most delicious milkshake ever from the Soda Parlor.
- The most amazing vegan nachos ever from Wild Cow on my birthday.
- Getting drenched in the rain downtown on Father’s Day.
- Enjoying my face after my first-ever chemical peel and getting an amazing headshot.
- Hearing our bluegrass neighbors pickin’ on the front porch.
- Subjecting my children to waiting hours so we can meet the Pioneer Woman at an independent bookstore.
- Taking photos at my favorite spot.
- A perfect Halloween evening.
- Smelling the printed program at a solo night at the ballet in my favorite Nashville venue.
- Sound of Music with my girl.
- El graduating preschool and starting Kindergarten.
- Deep chats and laughs with co-workers.
- This is kind of sad, but our dog Macey living long enough to come back “home.”
- Madilyn breaking her first board in Karate and later this year making a really mature decision to step away from it.
- Christmas in our home, again.
- Getting my girls dolled up for the Nutcracker.
- Visiting my brother who works at the coolest place.
- El spotting a coyote in the driveway.
- Late night chats with my new middle schooler.
- Watching my girls become little world changers.
- Spending a lot of time walking and listening to music.
- The weather on this night…
- This cake.
- Visiting with my grandmother for the last time.