2016 a Year in Review: babies, family and happiness!

Just a few more hours left in 2016 and I stand in awe.  How often do you get to look back on a year and go WOW.

I mean, truly, WOW!  Here’s my 2016 in review!

I feel like Scarlett in the sunset screaming, “As God as my witness, I’ll never go hungry again!”

I’m standing here (yes, I stand when I work) typing, and I simply can NOT get over what a year it has been.

Let me remind you, I started this year miserable out of my mind. Ravaged by hyperemesis, sick 15 times a day, wanting to die.  I know that will read like an exaggeration but my friends who came by with meals, who took those sobbing phone calls…. you saw the real me. Not the bad ass I want to be, but the miserable mess that I was.   I wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out. Add to that S.A.D., the weight gain, and I truly wondered if I would EVER be myself again.

And then, on to spring and ALL the work that entails here on the farm.

I woke up each day waiting for sunset out of sheer, pitiful exhaustion, but somewhere in the middle, there were children to love and fuss over and a whole lot of work to be done. In my bursts of energy, I’d see my true, crazy self-emerge. Like the day the kids and I drove an hour and a half to buy piglets. I was big and prego and one point I pulled over and peed in a farmers field. Oh yes, I did.

2016 a Year in Review: Back to eden!

2016 a Year in Review: Vintage Apron

2016 a Year in Review: six children!

2016 a Year in Review: DIY Greenhouse

I fussed and putzed in my greenhouse this year like a little old French man.

It was and is my happy place, and mark me, someday I’ll have a big ol’ happy place to rival Joanna’s. And then, I planted what I thought would be my most beautiful garden yet, here on this farm, completely mulched with golden, yellow straw…. only to have that bleeping straw sprout. And there I was, with my big old prego butt, pulling up wheatgrass for the sake of beauty. The garden did end up being lovely but the stupid squash beetles ruined my mojo and POOF.  In one week, 24 zucchini plants were gone. All because in my pregnant state, apparently making organic bug spray was just TOO, MUCH, PRESSURE.  Pitiful.

2016 a Year in Review: 8 months pregnant

2016 a Year in Review: Black Copper Maran

2016 a Year in Review: Homemade dress

2016 a Year in Review: doterra event

And then came June.

Cocky me, though I could predict what my body would do. I was dreading it. Let’s be real friends, I’ve had six babies without drugs. It hurts like holy hell. The thought of doing it again gave me panic attacks thru my entire pregnancy. You can read the story here but, the birth did NOT go as planned.

I am so thankful that I had decided I needed to be surrounded by my friends and I was blessed with a unique birth experience because people I love and respect so very much were there with me. And… at 41 years old, I was blessed beyond anything I deserve with a healthy, beautiful, baby boy. My Junior. My Mr Wonderful. I also ended up asking my midwife if I was going to die as I was loaded onto a stretcher. 

So there was that. hahaha

2016 a Year in Review: sixth labor

2016 a Year in Review: baby portraits

2016 a Year in Review: baby portraits

I came home from that emergency run to the hospital, anaemic and weak but bound and determined to get back to normal. So I ate a ton of greens, juicy steaks, oiled up…

Weeks later I was present at the birth of my second cousin.

It was incredible to once again have the privilege of being someone’s doula. Her labour mirrored mine in many ways… it was wonky and inconsistent. When the baby finally came his shoulder got stuck in a bad, bad way and to watch a husband and wife struggle in the throws of labour, wondering if their baby was going to live… actually, I don’t have words. You can read the condensed version here. I came home really shook up. Jittery. I swear it felt like PTSD in a way after two traumatic deliveries back to back like that.

2016 a Year in Review: doula day

I have my health (which I work hard for) and I have three girls and three boys that God, for some reason, has seen me fit to raise, I fail at that BIG TIME every day. I’ve had to really come to grips this year, that these days, my cup fills a little faster than it used to. The noise gets to me. The mess gets to me. I know it’s the devil quite frankly. He’d love nothing more than to steal the joy God has given me as a mother. My children are a constant reminder to me of God’s selfless love. And being a mother requires mass amounts of selflessness so it’s good to be reminded.

I stand in awe.

2016 a Year in Review: six kids

2016 a Year in Review: baby

2016 a Year in Review: babies, family and happiness!

2016 a Year in Review: babies, family and happiness!

2016 a Year in Review: babies, family and happiness!

The joke with my friends, for the last 12 years has been,… “As soon as I have this baby…”

‘Cause when I am expecting, I am a different person and I’ve been perpetually pregnant for over a decade now.   This year’s joke was, “As soon as I have this baby, I have to lose 50 pounds and hit Diamond!” What in the WORLD was I thinking!??? Those were two HUGE goals. But you know what… I humbly, proudly, share with you that I hit them!!!

When I planned my 2016 business year, I decided that September (two years just about to the day of getting my first $22 doTERRA paycheck) that we were going to hit Diamond. (Only 5% of the people in doTERRA have ever hit this level).

In July, I put it out there to my team… quietly, nervously and wondering in my heart just who I thought I was? 

In August, I proclaimed it loud and proud and almost lost my cookies out of nervousness. But you know what, we had a plan and I am blessed beyond measure to work with so many amazing people. In network marketing, sometimes, when you are working for a new promotion you can be working right down to the wire. Like midnight. But, I had set the specific goal that we would go Diamond with this amazing company by 3:00 in the afternoon on September 30th and you know what? The amazing news of our achievement appeared on my computer at 3:07. Booya.

2016 a Year in Review: babies, family and happiness!

Incredible.

By the end of October, it was apparent that it was time for Joel, for the most part, to retire his painting biz.  I had mooooore than matched his income and the future income potential with doTERRA is so much that schlepping all over the Chicago suburbs for painting work is no longer a wise way for us to spend our time.   We work with such amazing people and have been blessed to maintain our Diamond rank.   We are now a full-time family.

Full-time family.

I LOVE the way that sounds. We eat three meals a day together, school together, farm together.  We work, of course, but mentally, it feels like every day is a weekend. I can stand proud and say now, that hard work and consistency pay off. I mean, of course, they do. But, it’s surely been a year of planning, working, goal setting and accomplishment. I’m ramping up the goals even more for 2017 as we prepare to move to our forever farm and to go “Blue Diamond” with doTERRA.

2016 a Year in Review: full time family

2016 a Year in Review: full time family

2016 a Year in Review: family

2016 a Year in Review: farming family

And about those 50 pounds.

Wow. I hate trying to lose weight but I wanted it gone in less than six months. I took five months and 28 days. And yes, I count my eight-pound baby… I pushed him out after all. Not like I didn’t work for it. I’m going to press on even harder now – my baby making days are done and so, for the first time in my adult life, I am going for “thin”. Not out of some weird body image thing, but just because I want to.

There’s a mental relief in knowing that I won’t be packing on the weight again. I’m tired. I’ve had a baby about every two years for the last 11 years, not much of a break there. Quite frankly, it’s exciting. I want to lose 25 more (I can’t believe I’m telling you all this) and just carry on with life. And go shopping of course.

As a momma, I think the two highlights of my year, aside from the addition of the baby, were watching my children grow in their piano skills and helping them with their Halloween costumes.

I love, love, love listening to them play. Sitting next to them at the piano I’ve had since I was six when they need help working something out, as frustrating as it can be, is very fulfilling. Cause in my heart, I know it will click with them any moment. They fight over who gets to play next and that is awesome to me. And the costumes…

I had SO MUCH fun watching them design their costumes, helping them scour the aisles at the Goodwill… and then seeing them March thru town in their creations. Aidan and Julien made their costumes out of a white wallpaper roll and many rolls of white duct tape to be Buzz Aldrin and Aidan’s hero, Captain Jim Lovell.   Juliette was a beautiful monarch butterfly.   That’s pretty special to us because Aidan raises monarch butterflies on our porch and then releases them to the garden for us to enjoy all summer. Anaïs was Alice in Wonderland. I powdered her face and rouged her cheeks… she looked like a little doll. And then Amélie. Regal and STUNNING as “The Young Victoria”. I swear, she looked just like her. It was frightening.

2016 a Year in Review: piano recital

2016 a Year in Review: woodstock opera house

2016 a Year in Review: homemade costume ideas

2016 a Year in Review: babies, family and happiness! 2016 a Year in Review: babies, family and happiness! 2016 a Year in Review: babies, family and happiness! 2016 a Year in Review: homemade costume ideas

Creatively, 2016 has been one contentment and pride.

With the launch of my cookbook at Christmas last year, to see it go into the hands of so many people, to get the emails full of SUCH kind, generous words about it. I’m touched. It’s my first book and I’m still so proud of it. Every page looks exactly, exactly like I had envisioned. We leave this farm this next year it will be good to know we have so many memories captured.

Speaking of books, I’m thrilled to share with you that I’ll have a little feature in my bestie’s, Shaye Elliot’s upcoming homesteading book, “Welcome to the Farm”, that comes out in 2017.  Holla!

And speaking of homesteading… this year we went, what we’ve been told is, “as big as it gets” for homesteaders. We butchered our own hogs. Like wow. I’ll be devoting an entire post to this very soon because it was SUCH an amazing experience. But, like, wow. It was an enormous undertaking but we have another incredible skill under our belt and freezers FULL of meat AND meat curing of the ceiling all over the pantry.

2016 a Year in Review: hog butchering

OH! AND! We harvested our first honey! Sweet, delicious, golden honey. Let me tell you, a big ole pregnant woman in a bee suit is a hysterical sight!

I finally got so big Joel and Aidan had to take over the beekeeping. In the end, we ended up losing one hive to mice. I discovered it late this fall during a hive check. My poor bees. I felt as though I had failed them. Field mice for crying out loud. But, when you are raising bees you are truly trying to harness mother nature… I will try again next year and hope to add another hive.

Beekeeping is absolutely as addicting as everyone says it is. They are phenomenal creatures and….

I haven’t been stung yet! Though, I did have a horrific moment this year when one got caught in my mask. I was working with them thinking, that buzzing sounds awfully close. I looked up and there she was, crawling on the INSIDE of my screen. Not fun!  I calmly grabbed her thru the screen of my mask and ran to the house so the kids could help me get out of my suit. At our next farm, I’d love to have 5-10 thriving hives so that I could gift everyone I love with honey!  I think those hives are so beautiful and those copper tops send me to the moon.

2016 a Year in Review: babies, family and happiness!

I love to tease that between the bees, the prosciutto hanging in my new larder and the opossum I had to shoot in my chicken coop… I’m totally legit now! 

Angie get your gun. Except never call me Angie.  

2016 a Year in Review: Potager

2016 a Year in Review: French style

2016 a Year in Review: Potager

This year, in anticipation of our big move late next summer, I purged our house like a madwoman AND we rented a dumpster and spent one week cleaning out our barns. It was positively cathartic to throw out so much of the past. I find myself in a place where I can finally let go of a lot of things and have peace that my life will be OK without them.

I’m a VERY nostalgic being and so this has been an area of major growth.   Here’s a silly example…. I, very much pine for the days of all my travelling, I miss Paris, I miss those experiences. For years I’ve been keeping my water damaged, Kensington Palace guidebook. I love the memory of Joel and me in London. But you know what, I tossed it in the dumpster. I let go, knowing that I would have great experiences like that in the future, I don’t need to cling to crap from the past for my identity.

I told you it was a silly example.

And here I am. The last afternoon of the year. Typing frantically while the baby snoozes. I can’t believe it.   I’ve always heard you really settle in your forties. I’m one year into it, and I can see why they say that. I sure don’t have it all figured out. I’m still a hot mess most of the time but, I’ve finally… at least almost, come to grips that the perfection I crave would be rather lame. I love to work, I love to create, I strive to improve…. not in a sick, prove-my-self kind of way…. but because I think there is beauty in aiming for something. And peace in knowing I’m not created to be perfect. I’m created to love God and do the best I can by His grace.

It’s New Year’s Eve… the kiddos are down… I’m fixing to make Joel and I a steak and then in the light of the tree we are going to binge watch “The Crown”. Cause we’re cool like that.

2016 a Year in Review: New Years Eve

I wish you a Happy New Year and thank you for sticking with me here on the blog all these years. It means so much to me. 

Thanks for reading. Angela Parisienne Farmgirl

25 Comments

  1. Joannah

    I LOVE “The Crown”. Watched it all over the last two weeks, and can’t wait for the new season.

    I know you work so hard, but the results are pretty amazing. I don’t know how you do it! Bonne Annee!

    Reply
  2. Nita Hiltner

    You are so accomplished! I wish I were younger so I could be inspired by you to do most of the things you’ve done this year. I don’t ever want to butcher a pig, however. But, I look back at me at your age and was pretty much where you are. My thyroid stopped working when I was poisoned by my city’s bad water and didn’t know what was wrong for 5 years. It stole a lot of time from me and my kids but I could not control it. You would have inspired me to reach higher than I did, but always i will know staying home with my kids was the best time of my life. Love ya, lady.

    Reply
  3. Terri Smith

    I do agree, you ARE cool…in more ways than one! Your candid writings of all of your cool experiences (and emotions that go along with them) about your lovely family, your farm, your business, make for excellent reads and are very inspiring. Keep ’em coming Angela…happy 2017 to you and your clan. I’m so glad I got to meet you all….care diem, Terri.

    Reply
  4. Katherine

    What a year!! Maybe I shouldn’t have clicked through to read your last birth story (I don’t know how I missed it, at the time!), because I’m due in 14 days with number seven *don’t think about labor*–but I recognize and relate with so many of your thoughts.

    I am so looking forward to reading about your future endeavors–you are very motivating and inspiring!

    Happy New Year!!
    Katherine

    Reply
  5. Kim

    Great post! I love reading about your homesteading, homeschooling, and just your general thoughts on the world and your experiences with doTERRA. I enjoy and embrace that you are a real class act, and not afraid to share it. Thanks for such a lovely post, I look forward to them. Have a wonderful, happy and healthy 2017 and Good luck with the summer move to your forever farm!

    Reply
  6. FAITH

    You are amazing!! Truly superwoman in my eyes. It’s so exciting to hear about all of your accomplishments and your fabulous life and beautiful family. That is so amazing that you fet yo bd a full time family. I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings. Love you!!

    Reply
  7. sharon morrison

    I am a voyeur of your life.
    At 72 now, I can’t go back and redo anything.
    If I could I would live on a farm and work to make it wonderful as you do. I couldn’t butcher anything, but I would have a nice garden.
    I always loved going to my Grandparents farm in eastern Kansas for Wheat harvesting. I can still smell the cooking and the cut wheat. No running water, a well right outside the back door. No gas or electricity, but the food was out of this world. My job was to knead the bread, and cut the noodles. Love it.

    Many stories I have of farm life back then in a tiny rural town that doesn’t even exist anymore, Elsmore Ks.

    Maybe I should have a blog…. Happy 2017

    Reply
  8. anne laure

    Je vous souhaite une bonne année de France.

    Reply
  9. Kristi

    I’m so happy you mentioned The Crown! I just heard about it and now I will try it! 🙂 I love reading about your year! It’s so fun to watch and read about your adventures. They are very similar to mine, just different animals! 😉 And can’t wait to see your forever farm! I am in the middle of purging as well! :/ Feels good tho, SO GOOD!
    xo

    Reply
  10. Melody A.

    what a beautiful post, love all of it and thank you for letting us into you life, every person is such a unique creation and that shows through with your whole family, all the love you feel towards your children and husband and yourself !!! thank you
    Happy New Year, may you have good health, love, joy and prosperity for you and yours. from Iowa

    Reply
  11. Sharon L

    Hi Angela,
    I have been a follower for years!! Love seeing your children grow up. The picture of your baby just made me smile. You are an inspiration to many!! Happy New Year!!

    Reply
  12. Gaylin

    Wow! Lady I have been following you since baby #3,you amaze me!
    Your that women we all aspire to be inside (let’s be honest NOT the butchering thing though)
    You do homesteading with red lipstick and nail polish! You go girl!
    Cheers to a marvelous year ahead!
    I look forward to following along.
    Thank you!

    Reply
  13. Carla

    Love reading your year in review. Blessings to you and your family. I hope 2017 brings continued happiness and prosperity and is the best year yet.

    Reply
  14. catherine

    Its wonderful to hear all the things you are grateful for, acknowledge all your achievements and explain the painful things that are part of your life and women’s lives. I felt uplifted reading this post , so thankyou. To all the women who think it is too late to have a life like Angela, there are small ways you can achieve this, start small, dont let anyone stop you from putting off or not trying to accomplish a dream to have a happy healthy life on a farm. Ive been there, dont waste your lives waiting, make a plan.My plan that took over two years and now I have my half-way farm. I worry I dont get as much done as Angela, but I try to do one thing a day, and work towards my next big goal. You only live once.

    Reply
    • Parisienne Farmgirl

      This makes me soooooooo happy! How wonderful you’re on a farm now!
      And I’m touched by your encouraging words to others!

      Reply
  15. Dani

    Thank Angela, for this wonderful, encouraging, uplifting and interesting post. I`m reading your blog since about 6 years, loved your magazine, love your cookbook, love your style, love your farming life and skills and finally learned knowing and loving doTerra oils and personal help through you.
    Have a wunderfull 2017 with hopefully your forever farm
    xoxo from Switzerland
    Dani

    Reply
  16. Donna

    Happy New Year! So happy to be witness to this journey. I would so love living on a farm as my grandparents did, I keep saying one day. Until then I do as much as I can to be a homesteader. You inspire, don’t ever forget you do that! Hugs Lady! 2017 is going to be your best year yet! (I will be getting my first bee hive this year!)

    Reply
  17. Geneen

    I am in “awe” of you. You did it..! You’re doing it. You are the perfect example of..if you want something bad enough..you can work your butt off and get it..no excuses. It’s hard work to lead a blessed life. I’m just so proud of you. You have become such an inspiration to me. Your journey is just beginning and I see nothing but good things ahead…and another trip to Paris..

    Reply
  18. Heather

    “And peace in knowing I’m not created to be perfect. I’m created to love God and do the best I can by His grace.” This so resonated with me! I appreciate all that you share with all of us and wish you the best in 2017.

    Reply
  19. Abby

    Always my favorite blog to read! Congrats on your hard work towards your success. I always feel like a best friend when I open up your blog and read into your life. It’s the only blog I have kept up on all these years. Blessings~Abby

    Reply
  20. mandy

    love everything about this! and so grateful you were okay after that traumatic birth! I can,t wait to go on the dream farm journey along wiht you. you so better keep us all in the loop. blessings on this new year my friend.

    Reply
    • mandy

      I’m on a new laptop and apparently can’t type on it.

      Reply
  21. Fiona's Mosaic

    Loved reading over your year my dear. And it did inspire me that even though we are losing our farm now, that it doesn’t have to be that way forever, and we can work hard and maybe someday get another one. I’m not going to turn loose of our dream unless the Lord tells me to, and he hasn’t done that. He keeps telling me to do the next right thing, and do what he has given me to do in front of me. Can’t wait to hear about the plans for the next place. SO exciting! Smootch that baby for me!

    Reply
  22. Ingrid McNar

    Thank you so much for sharing your year.You really are inspiring.I’m so happy you all have a large family and involve your children in all aspects of the farm.It is refreshing to see a family working together. The best thing you are teaching is a life long work ethic.You go girl,I love hearing about bits of your life

    Reply

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