January 16, 2024

2023 year in review

Not going to lie: I am exhausted by the yearly recap folks. Whatever you did last June, good for you. 

(You know exactly what I'm talking about. People do it. Maybe you do it. It absolutely exhausts me though to think of having to reflect on memorable moments from each month and put them on Facebook or Instagram.) 

I saw this on another blog and couldn't resist It's a prompt-y recap and makes a lot more sense to me. 

That being said, I saw on *another* blog that taking the first couple of weeks of the new year just to acclimate and process is a good thing. We don't need to be ready to go on January two. 

Best adventure/travel/trip: I took Wells and Sutton to Pennsylvania for Christmas. I don't know that I would call it "the best", but it was a whole thing. It's just one of those things you do when you have kids and you live far away. I never thought we'd be those people but we were spoiled by spending Wells' first couple of Christmases close to home so now I'm like why not? Recap forthcoming, I promise, but it's important that they see family for holidays. 

Best kiddo milestone: Sutton talking a lot more over the last 2-3 months has greatly improved my quality of life. The 18-24 month stage is A Thing. Wells learning to read words and sounds and all that is really fun to see too.

Best faith grower: I did a summer book/Bible study every Monday morning. This was huge for me because I hadn't done a Bible study of any sorts since we lived in Alaska. It was an excellent way for me to be with like-minded, (mostly) military moms. I wish it had continued on into the school year in some capacity. We read Mama Bear Apologetics, which I did like and recommend. 

Favorite blog posts you've written: I like the birthday posts just because it's why this blog is important to me. Sutton's first birthday, Wells' 5th birthday. Also I love a good airing of grievances. Here's another. 

Best trend you tried: I did get a beltbag. I feel not great in it though. I'm thinking it'll be GREAT this summer if we're out on walks since Sutton will be outgrowing wanting to ride in the stroller soon (and I usually stash all my stuff in the stroller). It's just weird...I don't hate it. But I don't like it. I think having a bag like this is a necessary evil in a world of keys-wallet-phone-snack-diaper, but not able to handle a shoulder bag. A shoulder bag on an *outing* is hard, and a backpack is too much. 

I have discovered I love a high-rise pant, so much. And sneakers being fashionable again is really great. 

Best beauty purchase: I did a round-up of my favorite beauty buys last month.

Best habit you've created: To be honest, I've already broken it. The best habit I set up for us in 2023 was going to church. We found a church with great people right by our house. However, there were a few things I felt iffy about after a certain point and then, I came to realize just recently that I would rather be at home on a Sunday instead of shuffling them off to childcare or children's church or making smalltalk and the like. Going to church is important. It's just not for us in this season and I have kept looking for a reason or an excuse to not go. Truthfully, it just kind of came to me last week (note: we haven't been to church since maybe September?): I don't need a reason. I would rather spend Sunday mornings at home. I'm not going to try to reason it away anymore. If I want to spend Sundays at home, I can. We're in a season with a toddler and a 5 year old who needs more rest than he thinks he does. 

Best home improvement: omg so many. Some are purely functional: new hvac, fixing the pellet stove so it works (the clowns who sold us the house never told us it was broken), putting new siding and two new windows on the front of the house. a new well tank in the laundry room because the old one stopped working. 

Some are cosmetic: partitioning off an office in the big living room, new kitchen counters (though the old ones were moldy underneath so this was a necessity), we hung up TVs for the first time ever because we never stay anywhere long enough to put holes in the walls unnecessarily

...I feel like there's more, but that's *just* 2023. 2022 and 2021 held enormous back-breaking projects too. 

My difference-maker was painting the living/dining area though. It was builder's grade taupe and I painted it all gray and it just gave it a finished and home-like look. 

Best little luxury you've enjoyed: I really enjoy using BeautyCounter products, which feels like a huge splurge for some reason. I also made the time to get multiple pedicures this year. 

Best books: I did not have a lot of 5-star volume in 2023. I also canceled my Book of the Month so these are basically all kindle for fiction and audio for non-fiction. 

Fiction- I really liked None of This is True by Lisa Jewell and No One Needs to Know by Lindsay Cameron. Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan was good too. My only five-star fiction seemed to be Just the Nicest Couple by Mary Kubica but I cannot, for the life of me, recall anything about it. 

Non-fiction- Street Smarts by Greg Koukl and Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch.

Best movies: We don't really watch movies? Or I don't at least. My favorite movie to watch is The Other Guys. We watch it once a month or so. 

Best tv shows: SO MANY. I spent all summer watching Suits, so that probably wins for 2023. I also have currently been watching Jack Reacher and Jack Ryan. Recommend both. 

Best album or song: We listened to a lot of Morgan Wallen this summerish, I guess. Right now, we're not in a music phase, but the Foster the People and Fitz and the Tantrums are popular Pandora stations with Wells and Sutton. Also, really liked Lil Boo Thing by Paul Russell. 

Best podcast: SO MANY. Honestly it's The Prosecutors. They record most episodes live on Youtube so I can watch far in advance and I love hearing what a professional thinks about well-known true crime cases. It was my best discovery of 2022 in the podcast world and that continued on into 2023. Minus that two month stretch where it was nothing but Murdaugh. I cannot care about that case. 

Best family memory: We did the St. Louis Zoo in May. That's a core memory for Scott and me, since we went there right after we got married. Fitting that we took both kids there on our anniversary weekend (i.e. Memorial Day). We also did The City Museum at the very end of 2022. And we took multiple trips to Bass Pro this year. 

There were a few more prompts than this but I picked and chose the best fits for my year. 

This also sums up the year with a 1 year old and a 5 year old: Sutton thinking it's the funniest thing ever to do something ridiculous. Like lay down on the freezing cold sidewalk after school. And Wells convincing her it's the best idea ever to do it because he knows it drives me nuts. 

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