I am so done with 2016! It’s been a wild ride. I’m not saying it was terrible like all the memes you’ve seen so far. I mean, yeah, some pretty crappy things happened in 2016, both in my family’s personal life and in our nation, but some great opportunities also happened. And, we ended the year with such a gift: our precious Evelyn Morgan! These year in reviews are one of my favorite things to do for the blog at the end of the year. It also helps me remember that the main I blog is for me, and I love documenting my life.
January started off with us scrubbing our rented townhouse and packing up. We were moving in with my parents due to finances. I also created a really impactful Mission Statement for 2016: Be Intentional, Have Contentment, and Bloom Where You’re Planted. Rhys turned 1.5 years old and was definitely a toddler!
I turned 26 years old. We started to get hunkered down living in my parents’ basement. We were being spoiled with comfort, food, and love. It also snowed quite a bit, and Rhys had so much fun playing in the snow with his aunts. I also got pretty sick due to the inversion in the air, and I had a down cycle in my depression. But, I did some self-love and got my hair and bangs cut and dyed a deeper red. We also met up with some friends for free zoo day.
Recipe: Root Beer Pulled Pork
I got my blog redesigned and switched over the Word Press. I fell in love with the concept of grace and heavily focused on it in my scripture study. I found new ways to workout at home because I didn’t have a gym membership. Justin surprised me with a day of self-love and self-relaxation in Salt Lake all by myself. It was definitely what the doctor ordered. Playdates were also plentiful, as was seeing friends and having girls’ nights. I decided to test my SAHM skills and make a DIY Bead Run for Rhys and he absolutely loved it. I was called to be our congregation’s Young Women Laurel Advisor (girls 16-18). We also discovered that Rhys is afraid of the dark.
Helpful Blogging Post: Blog Post Checklist
Being Rhys’s mother was the highlight of my month. The days otherwise seemed to be pretty monotuous with staying home while everyone else worked or went to school. Disney Junior and Nick Jr were on a lot. Toddler toys were always strewn across the floor. Walks to the neighborhood playground were taken. Running became a habit again. We went to Idaho for my nephew’s baptism. My sister got engaged. And, unbeknownst to us at the time, I became pregnant!
I had terrible headaches and morning sickness and finally took a pregnancy test. The first trimester totally kicked my butt, so I didn’t blog a lot in May. I reflected a lot more about my relationship and belief in Christ. I also had to learn to trust in God because a week after we found out I was pregnant, Justin lost his job, which meant we lost all insurance for the pregnancy and for Justin’s chronic condition. And…of course, no income. Wedding planning also took up the entire family’s time. Needless to say, it was a tough month.
Recipe: Glazed Pineapples and Teriyaki Burgers
Again, first trimester headaches and morning sickness controlled my life. I spent most of the days laying on the couch. Thankfully, my mom quit working (as my dad got a better paying job) and took care of me–when she wasn’t in full panic mode doing last minute details on my sister’s wedding. My 16 year old sister and I planned our other sister’s bridal shower and it was beautiful. It was also fun comparing the similarities and differences between my sister’s wedding plans/themes to mine and so I wrote a post on how to have an inexpensive wedding. Madison’s wedding was beautiful. Justin got a new job located in Texas, but had to do training in Los Angeles and Atlanta for many weeks. We also announced our pregnancy.
Recipe: Turkey Gyro
Justin was gone during the first week of July–Independence Day, Rhys’s second birthday, and his own birthday. We celebrated Independence Day by going to the local parade, where my youngest sister was playing in the marching band. We also watched fireworks–Rhys loved the colors, but hated how loud it was. For his birthday, he got croup for the first time ever and was pretty sick for quite a bit. You can definitely tell he was sick with how flushed and red his face was in his 2 year old pictures! We moved to Texas and Justin left to do more out-of-state training while I tried to set up house myself…with a toddler and pregnant! I was definitely missing Utah. But, I decided to re-evaluate my life: my goals, my relationships, my blessings, my relationship with my Savior. And, I began to have a more positive outlook.
Helpful Blogging Posts: BeYOUtifully Made Blog Redesign
We began to settle into Texas. Justin spent the first week and a half of August away, meaning we spent our 4th anniversary apart. But, we really felt truly welcomed by our church congregation. Just about every week, we had guests come and welcome us and introduce themselves. I began to make friends. Rhys and I spent a lot of time at the library or mall. We also transitioned Rhys to a toddler bed rather than his crib, and tried different tricks to help him be more willing to eat. I also was 20 weeks pregnant and we found out we were having a baby girl!!! I also started doing some free lance writing.
Justin no longer had to travel for work. But, since his office was a 50 minute commute away, and we only had one car, it was really annoying whenever I wanted to the car to go out and about with Rhys. However, Rhys and I were able to settle into a pretty solid routine. We finally had our entire apartment completely set up. We visited the local Farmer’s Market. I mentioned that I let Rhys watch TV, one of the main reasons being that it was helping his communication skills. I had another low round of depression.
I didn’t do a lot of blogging in October. But, I did really get into reading a lot. I was also working hard on free lancing so that we could afford a second car’s monthly payments. But, I did mention how confident I was in how I looked this pregnancy. I also shared how we were able to easily transition Rhys to a toddler bed from his crib. Rhys started to understand Halloween–thanks to Nick Jr and Disney Jr Halloween specials. He also learned a new word: “spooky” and loved being a “spooky ghost” (“ookee ost”) with a blanket over his head. He chose his own costume this year: Marshall the fire dog from PAW Patrol, and we went Trick-or-Treating. He loved pointing out the different decorated houses and said “ookee ows” (spooky house), then would go up and say “eese” (please) for the candy. He had so much fun!
We got a second car! It’s my very own mom car: a royal blue 2008 Mazda CX-9. I love it; it’s so spiffy! Rhys and I went somewhere out of the house basically everyday just because I could! It was such a nice, freeing feeling. It finally started to cool down…meaning not shorts weather, but not long sleeve weather. We went to 6 Flags for the first time ever with Justin’s company–Rhys had the absolute time of his life on the kiddie rides. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him. I began to love Texas, even though I still love Utah more. We also tried, and failed, potty training. I opened my Etsy shop, The Morrell Tale Design, for digital prints after some encouragement from family and close friends (although I have yet to see a sale…..). We also had our first Thanksgiving to ourselves. Having lived in Utah our entire married lives, we were able to spend all major holidays with family. But, this year, it was 1) too expensive to fly to Utah, and 2) I shouldn’t travel with my 3rd trimester. We were grateful, though, to have a small, quaint, Thanksgiving and begin our own traditions. We also got our maternity/family pictures done.
It is now finally sweater weather–mid 40s to mid 50s. We had a small cold snap: a weekend spent in the 10s and 20s. We went to 6 Flags again, while I was 38 weeks!! pregnant, to set up our season passes for the next year. I have also been focusing on the special moments with my first born We decided to begin the Elf on the Shelf. His name is Jingle, and Rhys loves finding him in a new place every morning. We’ve had a lot of parties to go to…our congregation is very social!!! I went to a Relief Society ornament exchange and a girls’ night out white elephant gift party. Justin and I also got a babysitter–our very first real, not family, teenage babysitter, to go to an annual adult only white elephant gift party hosted by a couple in our congregation. Then, the next day, we left him with our neighbors (in our congregation) to get all dressed up and go to Justin’s company’s fancy Christmas party. Rhys is starting to understand Christmas: the secular Santa/Frosty/Rudolph part and the Nativity part. We made our 4th annual Morrell DIY ornament for the exchange. On the 23rd, we were surprised by Evelyn coming a week early! It was so nice to be able to have a family of four (plus my mom who flew in) for Christmas.
Recipe: Rice Krispie Wreaths
How was 2016 for you?