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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.