Make Real Food

On a Journey to Love Myself and (the food in) the World Around Me.

2014 – A yearly review…

by Chelsea @ Make Real Food on December 30, 2014, no comments

I did a yearly review (of sorts) in 2011 and 2013.  I’ve never been one for grand new year resolutions, but I do enjoy taking some time to reflect on events and growth at the end of the year.  2014 has certainly been an interesting year.  A lot of things fell into place.  A lot of plans fell off the table.  I grew, Nathan grew, we grew as a couple – sometimes painfully, and not always with grace.  But we made it.  Here’s to 2015…

When I started writing this recap it quickly became a jumbled mess.  I quickly decided this should be a vlog instead of a blog.  Then I decided that I needed to work on my writing, because recording vlogs has gotten to be my cop-out.  Determined to make some sense, I’ve decided to break it into categories, and talk about lessons learned in each category.  It’s still going to be a jumbled mess, but…at least it will be a jumbled mess in categories…

TTC: Oh geez.  This one is going to make me cry.  No crying today.  Let’s get right into the lessons learned:

  • Loss of fertility is death.  It isn’t “like” death.  It is death.  It is the death of the assumed realities for your life, your future and your children.  It’s okay to grieve.  You must grieve.  It’s okay to have days you want to cry your eyes out.  And it’s okay to have days that you feel happy.  It’s okay to be angry, to question your decisions.  It’s okay to be jealous and upset.  It’s okay to be okay.  And to be not okay.  
  • It is okay to stop because it is taking over your life.  This doesn’t make you a failure.
  • IUDs are awesome.  Having control of your life over Endo is awesome.  
  • It’s okay to see a baby and want to cry.  It’s okay to see a baby and want to hold it forever.  It’s okay to see a baby and not want anything to do with it.  It’s okay to feel out of control.  It’s okay to have wine on those days. 
  • If you started traditions or had plans or items saved contingent on future children, it’s okay to stop them.  Or throw the items away.  Or turn the “nursery” into something else.  You can restart plans or buy new items or convert a room back later.  Until then, it will only make you sad.

Foster Care / Adoption: If you followed my vlogs during 2014 you know that Nathan and I took the certification classes to become foster / adoptive parents in our state.  We learned more than I ever expected we would from those classes.  You can find the vlogs on this page for more details.  Let’s hit the highlights…we learned:

  • Foster care / adoption is how we want to grow our family (It was awesome to both walk away from the class feeling this way)
  • Emotionally we are completely ready to begin the process 
  • …But, financially and location-stability-wise we are not
  • Making the decision to stop the process was a lot harder than I thought it would be
  • We’ve continued to learn about and discuss different parenting ideas, techniques and situations

We look forward to continuing on the foster care / adoption journey as soon as we are on more stable ground! 

Myself + My Health + Exercise: My recap of 2013 was all about my health.  This one is not, because…I have all of these other random things to talk about?  In 2014 I learned:

  • That taking time for myself is not only important, it is vital.
  • Exercise is still my anti-depressant.  It’s not optional.  
  • I am stronger than I think I am – emotionally and physically. 

Nathan and I:  People often tell you that the first year of marriage is the hardest.  This is a lie.  Nathan and I had gone through so much during our three years of dating before we got married, that I wasn’t sure if anything could ever effect us.  I was wrong.  Just because a relationship is strong doesn’t mean it doesn’t need constant work.  With everything we had been through we had always held each other together.  Year two was the first year we had to make decisions for us, and not for others.  That was a lot harder than we thought it would be.  In year two/half of 3 of our marriage I learned:

  • Communication takes daily work.  It needs to happen.  Even when it’s hard.  Even when it means it will make the other person sad, or upset, or angry. 
  • My daily emotions have a direct effect on his, and vise versa.  
  • No matter what you’ve been through, marriage is hard.  It takes a lot.  It takes everything.  It’s totally worth it.  
  • When my “best laid plans” fall to pieces, Nathan will always be the one with a back up plan.  He’s good like that.  
  • I love him even more.
  • Year 3 is looking much more awesome. n and i

Cat Parenting: Ohhh LittleMan.  I learned:

  • That parenting requires communication.  Don’t think we’re crazy.  When a 15 pound animal is dependent on you for daily food, meds, entertainment and lots of discipline, communication is key.
  • What a blood glucose of 25 looks like in a cat
  • To always have an emergency credit card for 2am vet deposits 
  • That he really is sweet.  Sometimes.  

download_20141125_090434Food: This year was the first time in a long time what we do and don’t eat didn’t change dramatically.  I did learn:

  • One bad meal doesn’t make a bad day, a bad week, or a bad person
  • I don’t have to make everything.  Sometimes safe store bought items are a good idea, too
  • What I eat really translates into how I feel.  Eat crap?  Feel like crap.  

Knitting: I’ve been knitting since the Winter of 2011 – so for almost 4 years (wow, seriously?!).  This year I became brave and decided to learn a lot of new techniques that had always scared me before.

I learned: 

  • Cables
  • Socks
  • Color-work

Here is a snapshot of the projects I completed in 2014.  Although, this is totally inaccurate since, for example, I made 10 pairs of Bella Mittens, and 5 “snoods”.  I also knitted a few baby sweaters and other baby items that didn’t make the Ravelry page. But…it’s a start, right?!  I do feel mega accomplished to have learned so many new skills in 2014.  Oh.  And to have finished Nathan’s dang Harry Potter scarf.  So sorry that took me two three years to knit, hun. 2014 projectsBlogging – It’s been over a year since I switched from my wordpress free account to my self hosted MakeRealFood site.  Guess I should have celebrated the anniversary? Eeek.  Yeah, that didn’t happen.  So, what have I learned in the first year of self hosting?

  • You won’t make a million dollars overnight, but you will make a few pennies 🙂 
  • Taking high quality photos takes time and energy.   And it’s okay if sometimes you don’t have that energy. 
  • Promoting blog posts takes time
  • A blogging schedule is awesome.  Posting on the same days of the month or week is really helpful to your readers, and to your planning.  But – if you miss a post, it is okay.  For reals. 
  • It’s worth it

Vlogging:  My vlogging was fairly infrequent at the beginning of the year, but I knocked #BattenVEDA and #VlogTober out of the park, and have held strong ever since.  I also managed to hold on to daily vlogging in some small stents, and enjoyed documenting our journey through our foster care classes.  My love for vlogging has grown and flourished.  I’ve made (even more!) new friends.  I published over 120 videos this year and I learned:

  • I haven’t gotten sick of talking to the camera, and – apparently – people haven’t (yet) gotten sick of listneing
  • How to monetize my videos 
  • Filming with a real video camera doesn’t produce anything that is any better quality than my phone.  And uploading from my phone is a million times easier
  • Random vlogs and cooking vlogs are on the books for the first of the year!

Etsy-ing:  Etsy was pretty smooth sailing this year.  I learned:

  • About paying income taxes (it wasn’t as bad as I thought!)
  • When to post seasonal items to make sure they sell in time and are seen

Connectivity: This year I was slapped hard in the face with the lesson of being connected.  Between writing and sharing blog posts, recording vlogs, being engaged with other people’s vlogs, and replying to comments…oh and working my “real job”… I found myself mega exhausted a lot of the time.  It’s been a year and a half since I cut off my work email from my personal phone, but it still wasn’t enough. In June I turned my phone on silent to allow myself to chose when I checked it.  In November I turned off all of the notifications, so I had to manually check each application on my own time.  In December I logged out of facebook on my phone.  The week of Christmas I randomly didn’t write a new blog post so that I could work on other posts.  (like this one).  Little by little I’m finding the balance.  

So that is 2014.  I hope everyone is having a fabulous last week of the year.  Things will be back to their regular schedule next week! I’ll see you then!

P.S. – 

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