The fact that this is my first post in months serves as clue number one for why I was more than ready to say goodbye to 2017! This past year really got away from me, and I by no means think that I am alone in this!
Over the last couple of weeks, I have heard so many people marvel at the fact that they managed to get a tree up and presents wrapped, just in time for Santa’s arrival. And as we ring in 2018, news articles everywhere are lamenting the year that was. Trump, Weinstein. Need I say more? On a more personal note, this year also saw some huge changes in my life, bringing about a healthy dose of upheaval.
Around this time last year, my family sat down and made our New Year’s Resolutions and there was a resounding similarity in all of them – we were all craving more downtime in our life. Even Max, only seven at the time, voiced a desire to spend more time at home, just the three of us. This was a huge wake-up call for us. While we were fully aware of how busy our life had become, it was mostly “fun stuff”, and we hadn’t really processed the toll it was taking on us. To combat this, over the course of the year, we have each worked on the subtle art of saying no. It’s not easy, and it will continue to be a work in progress as we move into 2018, but we are slowly but surely getting better at taking stock of the activities and the people that mean the most to us, and saying no to everything else.
However, what really threw a monkey wrench into this, even if only temporarily, was my brilliant idea to change jobs. You see, my career goals and I have been at odds for years. As much as I love to work, I also love being a mom and a wife. And a few years ago, I made a decision to step away from management in order to have more time for my family. I haven’t once regretted the decision, but if I am being honest, I have been terribly bored at work, causing me to question why I was working at all. But then I remembered that I need to work to help fund all our reno projects!
Earlier this year, I finally came to the conclusion that I wasn’t happy holding myself back and that I was ready to find a job that would challenge me, but that would allow me an appropriate level of work-life balance. Seems impossible right? Well, it wasn’t easy and it took more than one move to find the right opportunity. And even then, the first few months definitely had me second guessing my decision, but I am happy to report that things have been settling into a routine and after lots of research on the topic, I feel pretty confident about the boundaries I have set in order to ensure I maintain the work-life balance that we all deserve.
Sidenote: if you are also striving to find that balance, there is one line I can share with you that once I read it, stuck with me throughout the last few months:
“It’s not enough to set boundaries; you have to make sure they are reasonable, and you have to respect them. If you don’t respect your own boundaries, how can you expect others to?”
In order to actually implement this in real life, I needed to work even harder at that whole “saying no” thing. And a big lesson for me was that it isn’t just about saying no, but also about letting go and feeling good about each of my decisions.
One such decision was to not post a holiday home tour this year. Between work, hockey, and holiday get togethers, it was a small miracle that we managed to get lights, trees and decor up. I actually had the camera downstairs, sitting on the island for a week, making me feel guilty each night when I didn’t get around to taking photos… and when I finally did take them, the laptop sat, waiting for me to write the post. In the end, I decided to just let it go. And you know what? Not writing that post meant that when we had an afternoon at home, a week before Christmas, I could snuggle up on the couch and watch Elf with my family instead. And it felt great!
So what lessons am I taking into 2018? The realization that I can invest time into my career and still be completely present and engaged at home. But that it takes work and it takes hard decisions about how I spend my time. These were some highs and some lows in 2017 but I know that I have laid the groundwork and I plan to keep it up over the coming year!
As great as a little personal development is, this isn’t all that I accomplished this year! In the midst of all this, we also managed to get a few projects done! First up was a makeover for my niece’s bedroom. With some pretty interesting direction (pink, but not princessy, punky but not totally punk rocker), this space was a lot of fun to pull together!
Back in our own house, we decided to refinish some old french doors that we found in the basement as a free attempt and helping us decide if we liked closing off our entry.
Spoiler alert – once you paint anything in Hale Navy, I’m hooked! When we order new doors for our main floor, we will definitely be adding two more to the list for this space!
Next up was the boring, yet oh so expensive project of replacing our roof. No photos needed here. Try as I might, I just can’t make this sound interesting. However, once all the millions of nails were cleaned up from our yard, we started our biggest project of the year – completely overhauling our backyard. This project involved digging the space out entirely and starting fresh, expanding the deck and adding a roof, building a patio space, adding some river rock leading into the yard on either side of the house, building window wells, and re-sodding the remaining space. While the whole process took a few months, we were thrilled with the end result!
We took a bit of a break after this, and got back into things just in time to take part in the $100 Room Challenge hosted by Lemons, Lavender & Laundry. For this, we decided to make over the eat-in portion of our kitchen, as it had proven to be a bit of a wasted space with the dining area just across from the kitchen. We created a homework area for our son and it has proven to be a lifesaver with him entering grade three this year!
It was through this project that we completely changed our mind about renovating the kitchen. When we first moved into the house, we had big plans to completely change the orientation of the kitchen, making better use of the space, however, we really like having this little homework area and have since decided to do a smaller scale update to the kitchen, saving the major renovation for when our son no longer enjoys our company while working on his math assignments! More on this later!
I also had the opportunity this year to help a few friends come up with some designs for spaces they are hoping to make over. First up was creating a cozy guestroom in a basement, ready to welcome family for short or long visits.
Next was a bedroom suited for a pre-teen who knew she wanted something more mature but wasn’t quite ready to give up some of her beloved childhood items. Striking a balance between kid and teen while also working with her unique request to include pink, purple and teal was a bit of a challenge (and took some convincing on a subtle paint color) but we have come up with a mood board that satisfies both mother and daughter!
And that was it for 2017! Oh, except that holiday decorating that I never got around to posting about! Like I said, the whole letting go part of saying now is a work in progress for me, so here’s a quick and dirty home tour for you!
We kept things super simple this year – completely in line with our holiday plans in general!
So what have we got in store for 2018? This year, we are moving back inside the house and hoping to finish our main floor. This includes the update to the kitchen I mentioned, which will hopefully modernize the look and buy us a few more years before we are ready for a full scale renovation. We’ve also got plans to have the floor refinished, build a few new pieces of furniture, finish the ceiling in the entrance (yes, the ceiling is still sitting in it’s unfinished state from when we stripped off the popcorn finish), and update both the entrance and the powder room. Budget pending, we may or may not get to the mudroom on our main floor, and once everything is finished, we plan to replace all of the doors and trim. Unfortunately, 2018 kicked off with yet another expensive, boring house purchase, but with nothing but minus 35 degree weather on the horizon, I am trying really hard not to complain about getting a new furnace!
In keeping with my efforts to simplify life, I am going to give myself a bit of a pass and not stress out over the frequency of my posts this year. I am excited to share our progress with you, but in the meantime, there are a lot of really fantastic blogs that you can check out when things are a little quiet over here! Some of my favorites are listed right on my homepage!
Until next time!