Ah, the new year has finally arrived. January 2018. Time to wake up from our holidaze, set some goals and get back down to business. As I sit here, typing up this blog post for your enjoyment donned in my new, argyle-purple hooded bathrobe (a fantastic Christmas gift from our neighbor Charles,) I imagine you, along with crowds of people you may never see again, are hitting up the gym with your new, unscuffed 12-month membership cards, choosing a salad for lunch today instead of that delicious pork tenderloin you really want or actually taking your pet(s) on a long, outdoor walk – despite the below-freezing temperatures. Good for you! Keep it up! Before I get into everything I hope to accomplish in 2018, let’s reflect on everything that happened last year.

I seriously hope 2017 was as good for you as it was for me! Spence and I enjoyed our first full year being homeowners, made the government officially recognize our love for one another and became parents. We both switched careers to start doing things we used to dream about and had a heck of a lot of fun along the way, like discovering some hidden gems of Kansas City cuisine, watching the Royals beat the Cleveland Indians 12-5 from a private game-day suite, and doing two photoshoots with Taylre Pearson Photography. My sister-in-law rocks, guys.

  1. Savings stay in savings – Although I established a disciplined money-savings routine as part of my 2016 resolutions, I gradually transferred it all to my checking account. And spent it. Bad, Laurien! Bad. So when 2017 rolled around, I resolved to stop. And I did. Yay! Savings-wise, it was my most successful year to date.
  2. Build integrity – This may come as a shock to some, but past-Laurien has made some morally reprehensible choices. *GASP* Let the dude with no an objectionable decisions throw the first stone. In a nutshell, I acknowledged my problems, identified the triggers and wanted to get better. So I did…by imagining my dead relatives watching me when I was alone. (Hey, Papa! Hi mom.)
  3. Tie the knot – Don’t worry, your invitation didn’t get lost in the mail. After living together for six years, Spence and I finally decided to cash in on those tax benefits. Someday, we’ll have a union ceremony for our families and friends. But for now, our super cheap date with the justice of peace will suffice.
  4. Have a baby – Can you believe it? Planned pregnancies do exist! After a full year as homeowners tired of the alarm on my biological clock sounding off, Spence and I finally decided it was time. My daughter, Reila ( pronounced Ray-luh), was born naturally at home on August 20! We had an absolutely wonderful midwife (shout out to Cheryl Gilman – “absolutely wonderful” is a total understatement) who fully respected our wishes. Thanks to her guidance on health, nutrition, reading and supplements, Reila’s birth was perfect. Literally PERFECT. It was fast, the pain was minimal, and there was no fear in my mind.
  5. Convert the “office” to a nursery – With a little help from our family and friends, Spence and I turned one of our spare bedrooms into a jungle-themed nursery for the little one for less than $100.
  6. Work from home – I’ve always wanted to be my own boss, so in 2017 I made it a priority and tackled it. Even before accounting for the cost of gas, a parking pass and time lost sitting in traffic (time is money, man), I’m making more than I was at my last salaried position from the comfort of my own home. Aside from setting my own hours and being able to wear whatever I want, I don’t have to pay for daycare or worry about Reila because she’s right here!
  7. Deck the halls inside and out for Christmas – When I was a kid, my parents, grandparents and I would hop in the car and drive around the neighboring towns to check out all the lights and decorations. Now, Spence and I have always decked the halls, but not for everyone to see. So this year, we went all out.Spence got up on a 20-foot ladder and strung some lights. Our neighbor, Charles, gave us a light-up train for the front yard. We moved our tree to the bay window for all to see. And, at 5 pm the day after Thanksgiving the lights came on. We had to do a little troubleshooting, but we got them on. And although three-month-old Reila wasn’t all that impressed, the neighborhood kids’ were, which made it totally worth it.

But 2017 ended with a bang. Literally.

Spence was cut off driving to work on Christmas Eve. The car was totaled but we were blessed everyone involved was okay (which is all that matters) and Rei wasn’t in the car at the time. I trust her car seat would’ve kept her safe, but I don’t want to find out.

Being out of a car was a bummer, but it helped me set my first goal of the new year: buy a car, which I wrote down in my copy of The Winners’ Journal, one of my Christmas gifts from Spence. Then I flipped the page and found some much-needed advice:

“Goals must be specific. Broad desires have no effect. It must be concrete and detailed.” – The Winners’ Journal, 2018

I took a minute to visualize my ideal set of wheels and finally wrote, “A manual-transmission sedan under $5k with low miles, black leather interior, power locks, heated seats, cup holders in the backseat and sunroof.” And I kid you not, the car manifested into our Craigslist search two days later: a 2010 Volkswagen Jetta SE. The dealer was kind enough to open shop on New Years’ Day for us to test drive it, and the next day we brought Häns home.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” – Steve Jobs

So as it turns out, the accident was a blessing in disguise and, upon reflecting, I discovered my biggest lesson of 2017: stop limiting yourself. I trust 2018 will be an even more successful year than 2017 and can’t wait to take a look back at the end of it with you to see where we are and how much we’ve grown.

  1. Clean up my diet – I had the healthiest diet of my life while I was pregnant and I felt great all the time (once the morning sickness ended, that is.) This year, I want to commit to that lifestyle, swapping sodas out for smoothies, cooking at home instead of buying fast food on the run. If I wouldn’t feed it to baby Rei, then I probably shouldn’t eat it.
  2. Make time for exercise – No excuses. I’m not buying a gym membership or anything like that. But I have pulled my dumbells out of the basement and will be committing to at least fitting a little cardio in every day. Bye-bye winter blues. Hello fit and fabulous.
  3.  Make Reila a scrapbook – There’s plenty of baby books out there to capture milestones and first times. But despite the seemingly limitless options, nothing strikes me. So I’m doing it my own way and making Reila her very own scrapbook. This will be my first scrapbooking venture so please, veteran scrapbookers, share your tips and advice in the comments below!
  4. Craft room – When we first moved into our house, I claimed one of our spare bedrooms as my dedicated studio. Sadly, as it stands, I just keep the door shut to avoid looking at the mess. Organizing all of the odds and ends I use to make art is a seriously daunting and intimidating task. But this year, I am going to tackle it.
  5. Introduce Reila to the family – My whole family is in Massachusetts, so we’ve got to road trip out there to introduce them all to Rei! Few things in life bring me more joy than a solid, well-prepared road trip.
  6. Get this site up and running – You would not believe how many items are in my inventory waiting to find their forever home from this here online store. Art, crystals, fossils, jewelry, retro and vintage oddities – the list goes on. Hopefully, next time you check back in, you see some progress! Between creating a content schedule, designing this website and taking product photos I sure have my work cut out.

Feel free to share your 2018 goals and resolutions in the comments below, I’d love to hear them. I can’t wait to see what this new year has in store. And with that, let 2018 officially begin! From my family to yours, happy new year!

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