Saturday, December 31, 2016

Closing Out 2016

When I first sat down to open up the ole blog this evening, I was pretty sure I hadn't blogged at all in 2016. It turns out I wrote one post a few days into the year and that was that. I remember now that when I wrote it that I intended to blog this year, even if not frequently. I didn't realize I wouldn't touch it. Oops.

I haven't abandoned the idea of this little space of the internet. In fact, I just paid my $10 to renew my domain all because I'm not ready to close up shop.

If you're still reading, say hi. I know it's not the cool thing to leave comments any more, but you're welcome to do so or find me on social media. I'm MarathonMelanie most everywhere I think!

But I'm not sure what blogging looks like for me down the road, other than I'd like to pop in again more often - even if it's not on a consistent schedule like I did years ago. I realize blogging has changed a great deal since then, but I still read a ton of blogs I started reading a decade ago and often wonder if I start posting again if I might not reconnect a bit with some online friends new and old.

I find myself thinking tonight that I think I didn't end up blogging in 2016 because it was a tough and busy year. I mentioned in that post almost a year ago that I had just started a new job, and it's truly taken this entire year to get settled and feel like I've found my groove. Not only did I start a new job, but Adam ended up changing jobs as well. It's a lot to learn a new role, new company, new people... so many nights we came home from work just flat out exhausted. (Meaning, we have ROCKED at getting our $10.94 per month out of Netflix this year.)

Oh yea - we were also both still in grad school. We are FINALLY finished, but it took until October so homework still consumed much of our year when we weren't at work. We've yet to receive our diplomas - they are conferred with today's date, so we can't wait to get them soon and frame/hang them up in our home! We also don't get to "graduate" until May since Trevecca only has one ceremony per year. Talk about delayed gratification. Nonetheless, the work is done, and we get to add the letters behind our name tomorrow so yay.

We did have some fun this year, too. It snowed in January when Connor was home, so we had a blast sledding in our neighborhood. We took Connor to Tybee Island for a few days as a little getaway with him this summer. Adam and I were able to take a few days to go to West Palm Beach to see two DMB shows, spend a day at the beach, and spend a day at Universal Studios (we love Harry Potter World). We also spent a weekend in Gatlinburg this fall and got to go to Dollywood for the first time ever. We went to some football games, including Connor's first UT game in Knoxville. Honestly, we had to work so much harder to get all the work and homework done to do anything fun that those occasions were a little less frequent than we would have liked.

My grandma passed away December 2, and that put a damper on this last month of the year. I know lots of people had their panties in a wad over the election (I felt sort of indifferent, to be honest), and everyone is in tizzy over all the celebrity deaths. I don't disagree that all of that has made me ready to wave goodbye to this year, but it's the personal stuff that really sealed the deal. Grandma was my last grandparent, and I was always closest to her. It's been more emotional for me than I expected.

One thing that did not happen in 2016 was any sort of investment in my health. Adam and I are just now started to feel like we've had time to recover from the insanity of being in grad school while working full-time (and investing in our marriage and in Connor). The last few months of school were brutal, and it just got too easy to eat something quick and unhealthy. Working out was not happening. If we had free time, we wanted to relax or sleep. When we finally did finish school, we really just needed some time to not feel like we had to "work" on anything.

But that time has ended. With the new year comes new intentions. We haven't had time to really think through our plans for the year yet, but we're going to sit down and sort it out soon. I don't like to think of it as resolutions. Rather, it's just time to focus on the things we want to focus on. 2016 was work and school. Now it's time to focus more on our health, our marriage, our son, and having fun/enjoying life as much as possible. We may work hard, but we also want to play hard.

Here's a few things we've toyed around with so far:

  • Running a race every month, like we did in 2014 - we're already signed up for January and February 5Ks
  • Finding ways to eat healthier that work for us
  • Finding ways to invest in our marriage and grow stronger together - more dates, reading books together, etc.
  • Getting plugged in at church - we did give this a valiant effort in 2016, but we lost steam when grad school got so intense
  • Taking Connor somewhere fun this summer
  • Going to Germany, Austria, Switzerland just the two of us this fall (or going to an all-inclusive resort if we can't swing Europe)
  • Paying off as much of our student loans as possible - we'd love to either totally pay them off in 2017 or pay enough that we finish up in early 2018
  • Finally hang things on the walls in our home - like DMB concert posters, wedding pictures, and everything else we've had sitting in a spare bedroom since we moved in here summer 2014
  • Start strategizing and budgeting for things we want to do in our home in the next few years after the student loans are repaid - like a new deck, kitchen remodel, bath remodel, hardwoods in carpeted areas, etc.
So good riddances to 2016. I'm toasting the new year tonight with both of my boys at a quiet evening at home (well, after we hit up our favorite mexican restaurant for dinner and some margaritas). After dinner, we're going to play video games and board games until time to pop the champagne and pour Connor a mocktail and countdown as we watch the ball drop. I wouldn't want to ring in the new year with anyone else this year. I love my boys, and I'm looking forward to seeing what awaits our family in 2017.