Wednesday, January 9, 2019

2018: A Year in Review

Now that life is starting to slip back into a quieter routine, I'm taking a few moments to sit and look back over 2018. It's always hard to predict what a year will look like, because so many unexpected things happen-and last year was no exception. 


The year kicked off with two positive pregnancy tests (because I can never trust the first one haha)! The days that followed included telling our families and neighbors about the baby, getting some work done for the Oklahoma Catholic Women's Conference, and being a guest on a Catholic radio show. It was a really full week.

10 weeks pregnant!
As the month continued, I learned that, when it comes to finding a homebirth midwife, you have to get on things ASAP because of how their schedules fill up (by the middle of January, nearly all of the midwives in our area were either fully booked or OVERBOOKED for the month of August!). Nausea started to kick in, so I read a ton of books, watched season 2 of Victoria, and my husband pampered me by making food and buying me Hawaiian pizza (one of my random cravings this pregnancy). Our car died on me twice within two weeks, I got together with several friends, and we went to the park a bunch of times. The month ended on a more challenging note when our midwife couldn't find the baby's heartbeat, and I began to learn how to trust God peacefully.


I started the month off by visiting a hair salon for the first time in years (one of our friends from church is a hairdresser) and getting my hair chopped off dramatically. Later that day, my  husband and I met my mom in a gas station off the highway to give her our toddler for the weekend (not sketchy at all, right?). We then attended the Evangelization retreat with the Domestic Church movement (you can read about it here). It was our first retreat together since Engaged Encounter several years ago, and it was our first kid-free weekend. It was awesome :) A lady who worked at Panera gave me a free lemonade, I got sick as Lent began and my husband surprised me with pupusas for our Fat Tuesday meal and a couple days later made me a huge pot of chicken noodle soup. My husband got stranded in Kansas for a weekend (our car died), so I read Elantris in about 48 hours. I finished watching season 10 of Doctor Who, and even though I've never watched ice dancing before, I eagerly followed the Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue hype. The month ended by getting to hear the baby's heartbeat, and by eating a burger (my other weird craving this pregnancy).

Pi Day! (my husband's office was having a party, hence we made two pies instead of one)

My neighbor randomly brought us pumpkin cheesecake, which was a great way to start off a month that would have some tough moments. I wrote one of my favorite blog posts of the year, which was about Jane Austen & The Office. I volunteered at the Oklahoma Catholic Women's Conference and had a great time serving the women there and meeting cool people. We watched Thor Ragnarok, we visited family in Kansas, and one of the neighbor girls spontaneously helped me make bierocks. I got together with a woman I had met at the conference earlier in the month and we wound up chatting for four hours at a coffee shop-I love meeting kindred spirits :) I went to a bridal shower for one of my friends, we had a beautiful Holy Week, and we ended the month by celebrating Christ's resurrection at the Easter Vigil. After a month that involved some really difficult and dark moments in between all of the fun activities, and it was nice to celebrate Christ's triumph over sin, death, and Satan.


Easter Sunday was dreary and rainy outside, so we stayed in our pajamas all day and played with the marble yrack we had gotten as a family gift. It was such a fun day :) The next day, we had an ultrasound appointment and found out that our baby was a boy! The day after that, I went to my first-ever counseling appointment. I realized that counseling is AMAZING and I wish I would have started going years ago-but better late than never, right? At the request of our neighbor, we spent a week making chocolate chip cookies for inmates at a local prison, which was a lot of fun and a great way to prepare for Divine Mercy Sunday. We went to Adoration as a family for the first time in a long time, and the next day I led our parish's first Children's Adoration hour. My husband and I teamed up at a local Mario Party tournament, and sadly got knocked out of the tournament with the first game (it was still fun, though). We went to a good friend's wedding, my husband got sick, I went to the bridal shower for another friend, and I watched Bajrangi Bhaijaan, which was SO GOOD. Overall, April was a really, really great month.

I found a Bollywood-themed cookbook at the library and made the "homestyle chicken curry" recipe.

Our toddler randomly woke up super early and we went to play at the park at 6 a.m. which was a lot of fun. We celebrated Mother's Day by going on a family hike and eating at a ramen restaurant. My toddler and I played in the dirt and found lots of pillbugs, I made quite a few cookies for fun, and I read One Beautiful Dream, which was the exact book I needed to read at that particular time. We had our first "movie night" as a family and watched The Incredibles, and the toddler became fascinated with the Parr family. We visited family in Kansas and watched Infinity War, Solo, and had a sushi date.

I hit 28 weeks this month and POPPED OUT, as you can see from the picture.

Our toddler turned 2, we had a fun Mass & picnic day with other families from our church, and the toddler and I took a whirlwind trip up to Kansas for a day to attend Mass with the Immaculate Heart of Mary sisters on their patronal feast day and catch up with one of my good friends who was in town on a visit. We streamed Mario Odyssey as a family, I started a knitting project while watching Little Dorrit (so, so good), we went to a wedding and some friends came over for a game night! Also, our storm shelter was installed, and our toddler had lots of fun watching the company put it in. Bring on the zombie apocalypse and tornadoes! Or...don't, because that wouldn't be fun. Our house basically got invaded with house flies (our neighbor's did as well) so I spent a week panicking and killing house flies like crazy as I prepared to host our circle's Domestic Church meeting at the end of that week. The month ended with cheesecake, which is never a bad way to end a month. 

I made cardamom bread for the first time, and I am so into it-the combination 
of cardamom and Nutella is just wonderful. 
I went thrifting with my toddler (since one of my favorite thrift stores is closed on Saturdays, we had to go during the week) and was trying on clothes in the dressing room and he escaped under the door while I was half-naked-so that was an exciting way to start the month! Thankfully it was a small store, and I was able to throw on clothes and run after him. We celebrated the birthday of a friend's toddler with pie after Children's Adoration (I hope the people at the small pie restaurant weren't too overwhelmed with 5+ families with lots of toddlers suddenly showing up at once!) and we had friends over for a game night. I had my final counseling appointment (though I'll probably head back to counseling at some point in the future), we started participating in a tabletop RPG for the first time, a friend's baby got baptized and we had tons of fun hanging out with friends there, and we FINALLY bought curtains after living in our house for a year. We visited friends in Kansas and I got a new laptop-my other laptop, my first laptop, was slowly dying after 7 years of use. I had a burst of motivation and energy and made lots of freezer meals while watching Alice in Paris.

39 weeks! Little did I know that I would give birth just two days later. 
The month started out with lots of little tasks around the house (making food, unpacking diapers, sorting baby and toddler clothes) in preparation for our new little one. We played games together, went to the park, finally got our toddler a bed, and watched Ready Player One (it was a little cheesy in parts, but it was a really fun movie).  My  mom and sister came to visit for a "girl's day" before the baby came. At 38 weeks pregnant, there was a day when I had tons of energy so I went on a lot of walks, was completely stir crazy, had sporadic contractions, and even started mowing the lawn-until it was dinnertime, and my husband informed me that he could finish mowing the lawn more efficiently (he said something about me making "crop circles"...). My husband's grandma flew in from Alaska for a visit, I randomly gave birth the next day (you can read that story here), and then spent the next several days visiting with family and friends, eating good food, watching Endgame, and trying not to "overdo it."
Happy birthday, little one!

A couple days after I gave birth, my husband got sick, which was not fun for either of us (he would continue to get sick 3-4 more times in the first two months postpartum). But overall, we had a really good end to the month and loved getting to know our little baby and see his brother interact with him.

I caught our toddler reading Beatrix Potter to the baby. So, so precious. 
One of my best friends came to visit for a weekend to play with the toddler so we could get a break, I skyped a dear friend from college on my husband's second day back to work which was fun but also challenging, since the toddler had meltdowns for most of that day-but once the weekend hit we went on a family outing to Mass, Denny's, Confession, and a friend came over. I started going back to toddler events at the library, and I finished reading The Habit of Being, which is a large volume of Flannery O'Connor's letters. I was accepted as a panel presenter for the inaugural Urban Village conference, the toddler came down with Hand, Foot, & Mouth a couple days before the baby's Baptism (cue me panicking and calling people to first see if we could still go through with the Baptism, then to let people know that their kids may get sick if they showed up). The baby was baptized and, aside from the craziness of trying to keep our toddler away from people, it was a beautiful day and a lot of fun to see the several friends who did come. The month finished off with a couple of fun family outings-one to a coffee shop, another to the park.

We went to the train museum! 

On the first day of the month, the new liquor laws in Oklahoma took effect, so I got to buy wine at the grocery store!!!! Plus, it was St. Therese's feast day, so it was just a good day. The rest of the month included hanging out with different friends, reading lots of books, watching season 3 of The  Man in the High Castle (some fascinating things happened and I enjoyed the season as a whole, but I did not like all of the sexual content), and frantically writing out a presentation for the Urban Village conference. We finally bought a popcorn maker (and have since made lots of kettle corn) and I attended the Urban Village conference (you can read more about it here). My in-laws came to visit, I went to a "Mortality Party," and my husband took our toddler trick-or-treating for the first time (I stayed home since it was a really cold night). The toddler STILL talks about trick-or-treating!

We love the flamingoes at the zoo!

We went to All Soul's Day Mass (and prayed at a cemetery afterwards) with friends, my husband got sick again, my sister-in-law and her husband (and our cute little nephew!) came to visit for a couple days, and we potty trained our toddler! Potty training was a little challenging for me at first, since it seemed like he was making no progress, but one week to the day of beginning, it clicked. Yay! I made the baby a hat, we started watching season 3 of Daredevil, and visited family in Kansas for Thanksgiving.

I ended the month by getting some cavities filled, and decided that getting half my mouth numbed made me look like Two-Face (from Batman).


We began the month-and the liturgical new year-with our second Advent Tea! It was so much fun to celebrate the new year with friends :) We finished watching season 3 of Daredevil, and I promptly wanted to re-watch it because it was that good (but I held myself back haha). I joined a co-op for raw cow's milk (delicious!), I came down with the flu (I may or may not have let my toddler watch an entire season of Shaun the Sheep in one day so I could get some rest in between nursing the baby), and we went to a Domestic Church "Community Day;" an afternoon when everyone in Oklahoma who is part of the Domestic Church movement shared a meal and hung out-it was crazy and lots of fun. We started showing our toddler Avatar: The Last Airbender and we had a lovely, peaceful beginning to the Christmas season at home and then spent some time with family.

Looking back on the year, I am so grateful to God for being so merciful and loving. I can honestly say that there were some incredibly difficult moments but I am so grateful for those-because of how God drew me closer to Himself and began some wonderful and much-needed healing. Life is far different than it was a year ago, but I wouldn't want to go back at all-I am so thrilled for where I am and what I do, and I am excited to see what God brings our way in 2019! 


  1. 2018 was a good year for babies! :) I love your recap of of the big and small wonders of life. It was a year of some really major changes in our lives...mostly good ones but also some goodbyes and I still feel a bit shaken up. We lost two elderly family members at the end of the year, which was not unexpected, but it's the first time I've lost family while not being able to be in America with the rest of the family--and two within a week--so that's been a weird, sad experience to mourn from a distance.

  2. I'm curious about the children's adoration. Our mom's group would like to do this but other than finding a willing priest I'm not sure how to start or what to do.

    1. Ellen, I hope you are able to start this! It has been such a blessing to offer this at our parish-it is seriously the coolest thing to know that having an hour specifically for children has made it doable for some moms to bring their kids to Adoration for the first time in their lives :)

      A few months back, I wrote an article with some basic ideas for getting started, but to sum it up, just find a time that works for a few families (ours is at 10 a.m. once a month-we just claimed an hour of our church's all-day Adoration on First Fridays), get the priest on board, and plan out some guided meditation, Scripture reading, prayers, times of silence, etc. for helping the children adore Jesus. Here's the link:

      It really can go many different directions-I used to attend an hour when I was a kid, where one of the families who occasionally led would spend a lot of the hour in song, since they liked singing and leading others in song. I usually lead our hour, but one month a couple of my friends tag-teamed it and they brought in their own particularly favorite prayers or devotions to do with the kids. I once heard about a parish where the priest is available to hear confessions of the moms during children's Adoration, and our deacon once came to our Adoration hour to proclaim the Gospel and discuss it with the kids. If you want more ideas or want to bounce ideas around or anything, feel free to e-mail me!

  3. I love how foods are so prominent in your reflections! :-)

    1. Haha! I hadn't even noticed until you mentioned it that several of the pictures are of food-and that I mentioned it quite a bit. I do love food! In fact, when I was a little kid, my favorite books were all ones in which food was prominently featured (even to the point where I once bought a book about a certain saint solely because it had a picture inside of chocolates and oranges...).