I have seen so many statuses and comments about how dreadful and terrible 2016 was and how they couldn't wait for it to be over. And to be honest, I felt bad for those people posting it. None of us are strangers to trials and frustrations, but I would hope that through whatever we face, we can find the joy and happiness and learn to focus on those.
2016 was not the easiest year of our lives. Adding another kid to our zoo also added stress, marriage was not the easiest by far, and adjusting to a new area has been a lot harder than we imagined. In fact, there was a time this year that I felt so completely overwhelmed and down that I decided to choose a family motto to focus on. And here it is: CHOOSE JOY
I wish I could tell you how many times having this hung in a high traffic area has helped me through this year. It reminded me to choose to be grateful for the year of 2016 and how we have all grown-and how I personally have grown.
And now it is that time of year again to choose goals to focus on for this new 2017 year. I loved that as I woke to a New Year, I woke to fresh snow on the ground, reminding me that it is time to start anew with a clean slate.
And as tradition, we chose our word goals for the new year.
At 15 months old Lydia's goal word was Explore. Throughout the year of 2016 Lydia did some majoring exploring. Her explorations brought us a lot of joy, and sometimes frustrations and tears.
Lydia explored boundaries and what it means to "push mom's buttons"
Lydia explored language and her vocabulary has exploded.
She explored what it is like to play hard during the day but be grateful for and even ask for "nigh nigh" each evening.
Lydia explored the art of play. This has been one of the most fun to experience and see develop. She is beginning to pretend play and talks with her toys.
Lydia explored what it means to be a sister and she takes the role borderline too lovingly.
She explored different sports and may have been a fish in another life with how much she loves swimming.
Lydia explored her testimony and planted a little seed. She breaks out in prayer randomly throughout the day "Heavenly Father Day" is how she starts out and it is a heart melter. So if you hear it, grab a tissue.
Lydia explored toys and has found which ones she loves most (She's big into magnets, blocks, and fisher-price little people).
Lydia explored characters from movies and books and while she still loves Winnie the Pooh, her adoration for Finding Nemo and Mickey Mouse may be even stronger.
She explored her independence as she is now potty trained (still loving to "blow kisses" to her potty as it goes down the toilet). [insert embarrassed emoji here]
Lydia explored some major gross motor skills such as jumping and riding a tricycle
She explored the snow and actually enjoyed playing in it this year which has been perfect with our awesome hill in our yard.
She explored her love for animals more in depth and even rode a pony.
Her exploration set no limits and fears and she has grown SO much!
Her new word for 2017 is CREATE
Lydia has so much energy and joy for life that it is my hope that this next year she can channel it to CREATE joy, growth and knowledge.
Adeline's word for 2017 is BLOOM
(It is weird to think she wasn't quite with us last year yet (I was pregnant with her). It just feels like she has always been with us!)
Our hope for Addie this year is that as she grows, she will BLOOM. She is our little bud of joy and we look forward to watching her learn and see her personality and happiness sprout.
I'm going to quote myself from last year on what I hoped to achieve this year with the word Embrace, "My new word for 2016 is Embrace. I want to embrace this new year and all the changes and experiences that are in store for me and my little family. Embrace is such a warming action word. It involves attitude and feeling, enthusiasm, and support. I think it will be just the word I need for this year."
When I chose this word, I knew that I was only 4 weeks pregnant and that it was a bit sooner than I had planned. Adeline's due date landed right around the beginning of residency and I was scared that it was going to be such a terrible time to have a baby. I also knew that with graduation and residency approaching that I needed to embrace all the changes, even if that meant we didn't end up where we wanted.
-I embraced my pregnancy and the struggles that came with it. I embraced the new changes in my body for being a vessel for another human being and that meant embracing new stretch marks and a rising number on a scale that meant I was being blessed with another sweet spirit.
-I embraced the move from Illinois to Utah with open arms. I was excited for the new chapter but had many reservations about what Utah had in store for us.
-I embraced the task of making our new 1950s house a home and worked hard to whip it into shape and make it livable.
-I embraced residency.. and yet, I am still learning to embrace it. It is hard and it really stinks sometimes. I have watched Brian be emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausted all at the same exact time and felt helpless and yet I embraced this new change and strived to support him and be enthusiastic through the trials.
-I embraced motherhood to two little girls and the demands of my new role. I embraced this calling and learned (and am still learning) how these two should come before myself and my desires.
-I am learning to embrace my new body after having 2 girls and strive to get healthy and strong.
-I have embraced a stronger sense of who I am as a daughter of God and where I want to go.
-I have embraced a deeper understanding of the gospel and our Savior's atonement. And am realizing I have more growth and knowledge to embrace still.
With all that I have embraced this year, the biggest is that I have embraced a new me. I am not the same Anna from a year ago. I'm grateful to look at who I have become this last year and be thankful for the experiences I have embraced to get me here.
This next year of 2017 my goal word will be BECOME.
The definition of BECOME is "begin to be." My hope is to begin to be happier, stronger, healthier, a better disciple of Christ, a more loving wife, a kinder teacher and mother, more teachable and humble, and more willing to serve and trust in the Lord.
Brian choose the word better to focus on this last year.
This was an excellent word to summarize his goals since it was filled with so much change. Brian is better because of it all and because he held firm to faith that it was all going to work out if he continued to try and be better and not give up.
Brian is a better student, a better father, a better friend, and a better follower of Christ.
His abilities and skills are better and even his cooking is getting better (ha).
This year he has become a better version of himself.
For 2017, Brian has chosen the word REACH.
He spoke about his fears of complacency and how he wants to push himself to work hard and get out of his comfort zone. Sometimes all it takes is is effort to reach and aim higher to improve yourself.
Brian hopes to reach more knowledge in his fields of study and in his work. He hopes to reach to have more understanding of his patients and how best to help them.
Thank you 2016 for a wonderful and growing year! We are excited for 2017 and all that is in store for us!