I hate to sound so cliché, but can you believe how fast this year has flown?
I still remember writing this post about taking a break between Christmas 2015 and Jan 31st, 2016 which resulted in some serious reflection about how I wanted this past year to go. My goal for 2016 was to make it a more mindful one. Specifically, I didn’t want another year to fly by without being able to recollect anything meaningful I had done. In the past, I had consumed myself with work, deadlines and ‘have to dos’ that I rarely took the time to really pause and think about a specific moment that meant something to me. I had decided to adopt basic and simple approaches to various areas of my life and ‘cutting out the fat’ that did nothing but suck up my time and added absolutely no value. I made a conscious effort to document my days, not just with tasks, appointments and cleaning schedules, but to take time either throughout the day or before bed time to reflect on anything that had happened of note and record it either in my planner or journal.
As I sit here writing this, I have in front of me a full set of my completely filled 2016 planner inserts, journal and notebook I had used throughout the year. After perusing through them all, a smile spread across my face as things I would’ve most like had forgotten at this point were quickly brought back to mind. Some good, some not so good – but that’s okay. Life is a mixed bag. Even looking back on frustrating and stressful moments, I’ve learned to find the hidden gems within, the test of my ability to muddle through and handle them. It showed me how much more I’m made of.
Okay, enough babble. Here are some highlights of The Weekend Wife’s 2016! (warning – LOTS of links and photos ahead!)
January: My break provided me with time to really think about how I wanted to approach the upcoming year in all areas of my life, which you can read about in more detail here. My word for the year was ‘Focus’ which meant simplifying a lot of things that had previously distracted me. First, was my method of planning and managing my day. After veering into the planner community around 2014, I found myself steered into directions that were just not me. I was ‘following the leader’ instead of ‘following my instincts’. As I stated above, I ‘cut the fat’ and stripped it down to what was necessary for me to have on me at all times This allowed me to downsize to a pocket-sized planner where I also combined my wallet into. Less turned out to be more! I felt as if I could breath with one less thing to stress over. This opened doors for more time to be spent on other things.
I also began meal planning our nightly suppers to the point of even designating Sundays as ‘cooking for the week’ days (not every Sunday – let’s be real here!) as a way to lessen the stress of ‘what to make for supper?’ every morning and free up more after-work time as most meals just had to be heated up.
February: The month started with the Broncos winning the Super Bowl and Sir Peyton retiring. Then I had stumbled upon an innocent pin on Pinterest about regrowing vegetables in water. This led me to trying it out for myself which intrigued me enough make an attempt at a vegetable garden this coming spring/summer. I spent a good portion of the rest of the month tossing just about every vegetable stump into a glass of water and doing oodles of gardening research on Youtube and Pinterest. Needless to say, I could not wait for spring to arrive!
March: After the mountain of February snow began to melt, March began to go out like the lamb it was meant to. But it also began where we lost several loved ones. Two of hub’s uncles passed away this month. Both were in their 90’s and lived full, long lives, however it was a stark reminder that everyone on both sides of our family are from that same generation. On a more lighter note, Nashville returned (since cancelled by ABC, but picked up for Season 5 by CMT!!)all our perennial bulbs began to sprout up early – REALLY getting me in the mood for spring! I began germinating some seeds end of month. Was both scared and excited to see if I had a green thumb after all!
April: Okay, let me get this out right away. The Walking Dead Season 6 Finale ticked…me…off to the max. Really? Cliffhanger? Really? Okay, I digress. Sadly, we had two more deaths in the family. My 90 year old aunt passed away exactly a year to the day her daughter passed away from cancer. It was as if she planned on going on the first anniversary of her daughter’s death. The way I knew my aunt, I wouldn’t have doubted it. My cousin’s death was very hard on her and I don’t think she ever recovered. She didn’t have a lot of medical issues, so we all secretly believe she died of a broken heart. I wound up taking another break from here and around as hub and I had become overwhelmed with financial and household matters. We made the decision to refinance our mortgage at a much lower rate so we can ‘cashout’ the difference to pay down some debt that had been suffocating us. But in order to get a favorable appraisal, we had some cosmetic work to do on the house, most of which we’d have to do ourselves. With hub suffering from osteo-arthritis, we knew this work would not all get done in a month. April began a long journey of my faith and patience being challenged.
May: I returned from the break feeling more confident of our situation because we let God take the reins. I learned even more about pausing to absorb what is important and not to fret too much about what I could not control. I reconnected with my cousins, began germinating more seeds for my container garden, started journaling in a more meaningful way, expanded my interests while further ‘cutting the fat’ by weeding out time suckers (blogs, videos, subscriptions, etc) that were not conducive to the path I wanted to be on.
June: On the 2nd I turned 54 years old. But on the 1st I had decided (as I had did every year on my birthday for the last five or so years) to FINALLY get myself in shape. Was tired of looking and feeling bloated, puffy and soft. This photo was taken around 2-3 years ago when my weight fluctuated between 160 – 165. My starting weight June 1st was 161.5 – so it’s a pretty close ‘before’ shot.
Six months into keeping things as basic and uncomplicated as possible, I realized the benefits of keeping things simple. A lot of it was due to how I was successfully using my Filofax Pocket Malden to keep things streamlined – a process that was featured in the Experienced User segment on Philofaxy! I made my first of two visits of the year to visit my parents where I was able to celebrate my dad’s 89th birthday with him.
We were also blessed financially, which helped to buffer the costs of all the repairs and renovations we were doing around the house. June really was a good month!
July: Well, the first 5 days of the month started out fine. Hub and I spent the long 4th of July weekend painting the exterior of the house.
But on the 5th, I woke up with a migraine, stiff neck and a red rash around the base of my neck. Fearing a bite of some kind as we were outside in our wooded yard all weekend, I brought myself to urgent care that only catapulted into two trips to the ER, a spinal tap, blood tests, CAT scan, prescriptions for Lyme disease and an all over rash that was a result of my overuse of ibuprofen that had caused my liver enzymes to get out of whack all over the course of the next 10 days. I meticulously recorded every pain, every pill, every frustrating and agonizing moment in a notebook
YIKES! Even though I was conscious and not immobile, it did cause me to ponder if my hub would be able to navigate and decipher my planner for anything that had to be done if I was physically unable to. On a good note – I dropped 6 pounds one month into my fitness regime!
August: Pretty uneventful. Work was coming along slowly on the outside of the house (pulling storm and screen windows out, stripping, priming and re-painting, painting foundation, replacing broken glass, painting window trim, repairing/rebuilding rotted sills, etc) . As of 8/1/16 I had lost a total of 11.5 lbs and began getting up an hour earlier and moved my workouts to the basement where I had a very bare bones gym set up.
Tomatoes and cucumbers I had transplanted outside in May (after the first day of the last frost) were growing and thriving! And the seed potatoes I planted in Home Depot buckets were shooting up greens like mad!
And on 8/23/16 the first couple of tomatoes and cukes ripened enough for me to harvest!
September: The grip of death was not done with the family. I lost another aunt – the second of my father’s sisters. She had battled cancer for a while, so it was something we were braced for. Still. On the fitness front, as of 9/1/16, I was down a total of 12.5 lbs. Did my very first comparison photo as my usually fitted pants were now starting to get loose!
October: Getting ready for fall! And my second trip to FL to visit my parents to celebrate my mom’s birthday this time – 86 years. To say that I am blessed to still have them alive and in pretty good shape is an understatement. I just wish they were closer – like earlier in the month when Hurricane Matthew hit down there. Fortunately, they didn’t have to evacuate and had no damage to the house. Just lots of scary wind and rain. And…….TWD Season 7 premier – wow! Saw one coming, but not two. On the fitness front – weighted in at 146.5 – down a total of 15.5 lbs. Had begun counting macros 10/1/16 and what a game changer it had been in my diet! Comparison #2
November: Time to strip what was left of the cukes and tomatoes from the vine and pull everything up for the winter.
Exterior work on the house had finished. The paint job looks great (color is Treehouse by Behr). Hub built a nice well around our mailbox and refurbished the shed – complete with replacing the rotted doors and ramp.
but a meeting with our re-fi guy suggested that we do some minor cosmetic work inside – mainly, removing the shiny, 80’s wallpaper from the main bathroom and paint as well as strip peeling borders from the office and spare bedroom. Okay, simple enough. NOT! Whoever wallpapered the bathroom did not ‘size’ the walls first and most of the sheetrock underneath came off with the wallpaper. The only fix was to cut out all the sheetrock and replace. So much for a simple job – AK!
Okay, let’s forget about the massive mess my house has become. 11/1/16 weigh-in had me at 142 lbs – down 4 from the previous month (thanks to macro tracking and a 5-6 x week workout regime of cardio and weight training). 19.5 lbs altogether. Comparison time!
December: Is this year really over? Do I really have to begin Christmas shopping?? Did I accomplish all I wanted to this year? Yes and no, but more yes than no. I wouldn’t have been able to re-visit all I did above if I hadn’t been faithful (as much as I could be) with documenting it. The house (and myself!) got makeovers, we said goodbye to family members, gave thanks to have everyone else in good health, been through ups and downs with finances and stress, but dag-nabbit, we made it through with the grace of God.
First off – 12/1 weigh in had me down to 138.5 lbs – down a full 23 lbs since 6/1/16. For all the years I had been telling myself to ,’ get these 15-20 lbs off’ I finally did it. And my journey isn’t done as I still have more stubborn bodyfat to lose and muscle I want to build to take it’s place. My personal goal for the first 6 months of 2017 is to really transform my body through weight training in time for my 1 year check-in on 6/1/17 – the day before I turn 55 (EEEEK! – I can’t be 5 years short of……no, I can’t say it!)
Sorry, digressed. First of month comparison on 12/1/16:
And a cumulative comparison since 10/1/16:
That part aside, I think I did pretty good in sticking with the rest of the goals I set for myself and felt as if I was able to really ‘focus’ on what was important. This would not have been possible if I didn’t weed out what had been bogging down my mind and home. And like my fitness journey, there’s still a lot of work to do. 2017 is going to find me making even more room for meaningful living, memories, joy and being able to relax, pause and take in the day to day happenings of our lives, no matter how minor. My word for 2017 is ‘Basic’ – meaning I will be further weeding out and stripping away stuff that weighs down our house, home life, person and minds. Simple living below our means, free of useless clutter and streamlined processed and routines to make our home and lives run as smooth as possible.
And as I did this time last year, I will be going on hiaitus for January to tackle all my year end client bookkeeping work and deadlines. My desire upon my return is to share The Weekend Wife’s journey towards mindful living, functional planning, healthy cooking/eating, simple approaches to gardening and household matters and generally adopting a ‘doing more with less’ lifestyle.
So from now until February 1st, so long, take care and wishing you all a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017 in your lives – mind, soul and body!