2018 Reflections

Usually it feels like the end of December has arrived way too quickly, but this year has, to me, felt like it's lasted for three years. I suppose a year that literally started with a pregnancy and ended with an infant will do that to you!

This Christmas was a fun adventure with a little extra magic. I know the holidays will only get more fun over the next few years, and I'm honestly looking forward to when we get to play Santa and Ariana can open her own gifts. The idea of starting new traditions as a family makes me so excited, as I reminisce on all of my favorite childhood traditions.

For now, Christmas as a three-month-old basically means sleeping through gift opening and playing with tissue and wrapping paper. Rough life!

I certainly enjoyed getting to open more gifts, even if the majority of them were for Ariana. I especially loved this gift to her from my parents, in a special gift bag. This one has been with our family since I was probably 8 or 9 years old, and it's been reused countless times. My mom would still put my gifts in it after I became an adult.

This year, the Barbie torch was officially passed down as the gift tag changed from "To Caitlin, From Mom and Dad" to "To Ariana, From Mimi and Paw Paw." Yes, the holidays have turned me into the biggest ball of mush.

While the holiday spirit is still in the air and we wrap up the last few days of the year, I've been doing a lot of reflecting. It's been quite the rollercoaster, and this year has taught me a lot of important life lessons. I'm looking forward to taking these into 2019 and along my parenting journey.

It's okay to say no.

I've always enjoyed being super involved and part of the action. This year, I've had to come to terms with saying no more often than I would've liked to, but I knew that it was important to take it easy and rest when my body told me I needed it. Sometimes, I still feel like I'm out of the loop, but I hope in the new year I find a new rhythm and pick what I want to focus on.

Slow down more.

Along with learning how to decline event invites, I've learned how to slow down a little more. Rest was extremely important this year, and I took many naps on the couch. A slower pace means that the things I do participate in are more meaningful and teaches me to appreciate the downtime.

Don't be afraid to speak up.

Being non-confrontational, I often keep things to myself either by working through them internally or by just not saying anything. I'm learning that it's important to myself, my daughter and my family to speak up in a productive and tactful way. Even when something is small, I am telling myself to be more confident and less afraid.

The petty things don't matter.

After our pregnancy loss in 2017, I found myself with a new perspective. Granted, that perspective was not super optimistic for the rest of that year, but it still taught me that overall, little things just don't warrant my energy. This year, my perspective shifted to one that just wanted to take care of myself, my pregnancy and Ariana.

Go with the flow.

I can thank my daughter for this one, as any parent would attest to. Life with a newborn, extended time away from work and a whole new set of responsibilities mean any routine will be turned upside down. I'm a very organized person, but that has pretty much gone out the window, and I'm learning to adapt more and just go with it. Especially with Ariana, I know that as soon as I get used to one way of doing things, it all changes, ha!

Even here on the blog, I've learned to let go of a more frequent writing schedule. It's okay to not stress myself out to get a certain number of posts published every week.

You can function on less sleep.

Thanks, Ariana!

Take it one day at a time.

This was one of the best pieces of advice I got before Ariana was born, and it really did help me get through those first few weeks and months. Especially on the sleepless nights or the rough days, I knew that the hours would pass and the day would start again. Already, we've made it three and a half months and I can look back and see just how far we've come. And of course, this will stick with me in 2019 and beyond.

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