Sunday, January 1, 2012

The year of Settling

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I looked up the definition for "Settling" and confirmed that it probably best summed up my feelings about this year as a whole. Here are my favorites:
Settling- To restore calmness or comfort to.; To put into order; arrange or fix definitely as desired.; To put firmly into a desired position or place; establish.

Not to be confused with Settling for...which I have done in my past, but rarely becomes an issue for me now...

2011. It was a year of settling in. Settling in to the routine of a family of four.  Settling into my youngest's therapy schedule.  Settling into new goals and resolutions.  Settling into my roles, my body. Settling in to who I am.   I want to reflect on the year: What I learned this year, the highlights, old resolutions and the making of new resolutions.  Strap yourselves in folks, this could be a long one.

The beginning of 2011 was filled with lots of family and friends, and getting back to work on my event business:
Grandma came to visit in January:
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My Mom and Dad celebrated their 40th anniversay:
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Christian and Elijah work on their bond:
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I read more good books and enjoyed creative outings with my book club friends in the name of said good books...oh, what am I saying?  We just like to get out and have fun, even if it has nothing at all to do with the book...
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Self Lesson #1: I learned more than ever to Trust Your Instincts.  Whether someone says something that "doesn't fit" or you're feeling like a doctor has it all wrong- usually if something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. I have questioned this about myself for so many years, but the reality is that my instinct hasn't steered me wrong, and when I listen...even when it's not what I want to hear, I avoid the big mistakes.

In February, we hung with friends in Santa Barbara. It was so much fun to just relax and cook and eat and catch up!:

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In March, I ticked a 2011 resolution off of my list, and went on a girls trip. Wine tasting, gambling, shopping- what could be better!  I picked the perfect roomie, went on my first wine tasting experience, and literally danced the night away (We won't talk about the knee injury I sustained as a result.  Just a short 6 months later, the knee was all better.  Good reminder to myself: Heels, uneven surfaces and Britney Spears moves do not mix.)

Self Lesson #2: Say I'm Sorry. And mean it. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes.  I make mistakes.  Those two little words can be some of the hardest to utter, especially when you're not sure how they will be received. However, think of how it feels when you're on the receiving end? Even if you're not ready to forgive and forget, it feels good. And when you don't get an "I'm sorry"? It's easy to feel invalidated, to feel like someone doesn't care, and that always feels bad. I am reminded to take responsibility for my actions and say I'm sorry when I've hurt someone or done something wrong.

In April, Elijah turned One! We threw him a Retro Superhero Party because he's our little superhero:
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He also got kissed by cows.  Maybe I'm just projecting more onto Elijah than there really is, but I think he has a gentleness that maybe animals can sense.  Whatever it was, it was kind of an awesome moment...moments (it was not just one interested cow...)
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In May my sweet Christian turned 4. We celebrated with a big bash- A Fancy, Pool, Costume Party (from one of Christian's favorite Mo Willems books):
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In June, I had to say goodbye to my long time friend, Keren.  Life is so fleetingly short.  Say I love you. Say how much you appreciate someone. Even though I hadn't seen Keren for awhile before her death, I know that she knew I loved her and vice versa.  It is a lot to say I knew that. (Keren is the dark haired beauty in this picture.):
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July saw beach trips and getaways to Palm Springs with friends:
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Self Lesson #3: Take Time For Yourself. This is mandatory- even if you have to be creative about how and when you take that time.  It is the reason that when you go on an airplane and they teach you that if the oxygen masks drop from the ceiling, put on yours first and then help your children.  I find that it is truly THAT life saving.  Both for my sanity and for all of those around me.

In August, I turned 40. I had an amazing birthday party with the people I love and decided to grip 40 by the rails and go gracefully with it...of course a little hot pink dress never hurts anything:
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Christian started his second year of Preschool and a Boys Hip Hop class in September:
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Elijah started standing:
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I started a new business venture and took on a partner for my business.  My dear friend Karen and I are now on a mission together to make "La Soiree Chic" parties something special! :
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Halloween was a ton of fun! Christian was adamant about being a dragon for Halloween and thought Elijah should be a dragon too:
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In November, we raised money for and attended the Buddy Walk to benefit The Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles. Our team-"Elijah's Chariots" :
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Self Lesson #4: Find a Positive Outlook. I am, in general, a "glass-is-half-full" girl.  I've also found that sometimes you need to put on a smile on, even when you're not feeling it at first. However, I've also found over the past 2 years that when I'm just not feeling good or right or just downright negative, that it is best to lean on a friend's shoulder, cry my eyes out, or post a blog pity party- And then move on. Life isn't fair, and it isn't easy and it isn't predictable.  So, it's just going to be generally a better experience to try to see the positive in the journey.


December was all about Christmas, and all I can say is that the word that sums this year up was...Magical. Experiencing it all through Christian's eyes brought back all of the old childhood beliefs and re-enforced the importance of creating our own traditions to enjoy with our little family:
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I might never before been able to say that I was able to check all of my New Year's Resolutions off, but last year, I made these resolutions and this is how they worked out:

1. Continue to find a better balance between work and family. Prioritize. Prioritize. Prioritize.
*This is a work in progress, and will be even more so in this coming year as I work to expand my business. However, it has been something I have been taking seriously all year, and continue to have a pattern of succeeding and failing. :)

2. Get my pre-baby body back!!
*I worked harder than I ever have before, changed my diet and dropped back down to a size I'm happy with! It was really difficult and I feel good about the fact that I stuck to it and made it happen.

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3. Treat myself to a fabulous pair of heels...even if I have no place to wear them. Then, create a scenario where said pair of heels is worn!
*New fierce heels to wear at fabulous event (my 40th Bday):
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4. Girls Trip! I've been wanting to do some sort of a girls trip, and I think 2011 is the year to do it!
*Took TWO girls trips actually! (One was wine tasting & the other was a fabulous birthday present from my best friend to Carpinteria, where we got pedicures, ate and vegged out to movies :
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5. Listen to my instincts- particularly when I feel certain people or situations are too draining. Life is too short to waste the energy!
*This year confirmed how right on my instincts really are.  This might be one of those lessons that needs to occasionally be re-learned, but right now I feel more sure of my instincts than ever before!

I love the fresh page feeling of a New Year, and this year I'm aiming for some big resolutions.  My resolutions for 2012 are:

1. Live with less "stuff", by purging more, setting up better organization systems and sticking to them!  It's a challenge to live in a small space and becomes even more important to get rid of things as new ones come in.  My commitment in 2012 is to let go of at least 1 thing as something new comes in.
2. Make more money!! I know people who have no problem setting their worth, financially, but this has always been difficult for me. The reality is that I haven't been charging enough in my business for the amount of work and effort I put in.  I am worth more. My family deserves more.  And if I am going to do this crazy balance of working from home and parenting, then it should be paying our bills. We struggle a lot and I am ready for that to change this year.
3. Face the tasks that I usually run from.  These include overdue bills, getting our health insurances settled, dealing with car maintainance, and other black clouds that hang over my head.  They will never be easy, but running from them just means that I carry them as a weight on my shoulders.  Get rid of the black clouds in 2012!!
4. Stop taking things personally.  I spend WAY too much time second guessing people's comments.  Was that about me?  Are they trying to tell me something?  Am I guilty of doing that?  I have always tried to live my life by "keeping my side of the street clean" so that I feel good when I put my head on my pillow at night.  I might not always get it right, but it comes down to intention. Were my intentions pure in my actions?  If not, that's on me. If they were, but someone feels differently, then they are going to have to say it, outright.  No more second guessing myself and taking things personally. Period. I waste too much time on that.
5. Take more pictures.  It turns out that the love of photography does run in my family. My Dad has been a hobby photographer for most of my life.  I really love it too and I'd like to be able to get the kind of photos with my camera that I imagine in my brain.  No professional aspirations- just would love to know more about my camera and how to take beautiful pictures of my family and events!

2010 was a year of incredible change and growth and I had hopes for 2011 to be a little bit less of a stretch, and it was.  Although, I still learned some powerful lessons, this was a year of settling in to what is. I'm embracing the many wonderful memories from the year, but looking forward with anticipation to the newness and challenges that lay ahead in 2012- some of which may involve kindergarten, business expansion, new milestones for Elijah and I'm sure many unforeseen to come.  I'm ready to move from Settling to Stretching my wings a little more...

What goals and resolutions have you made for yourself in 2012?  I like the idea that most yoga classes begin with: Setting an Intention.
What's your Intention for 2012?

4 comments:

Fabulouscm said...

Jen, Love this post. I'm glad I got be a part of some of you meeting your 2011 resolutions. I would to help out with your 2012 resolutions too, especially number 5. Any interest in taking a one day workshop??
Good Luck and Happy new year!

Anonymous said...

hey lady. happy new year. i am so glad to have been a part of so many of the past year's events. (especially the 'perfect roomie' part. look forward to a year of growth and firsts for our kids. love you! lori

P said...

What an amazing year and a fun and sweet way to wrap it up and look ahead. I like the analogy and plans to stretch--I think you can do it! Your business results look fantastic & are creating priceless memories. I think you and your partner will find the right balance in setting expectations & costs and develop a way to safeguard or be compensated more closesly with your effort and time! The work you've shown looks stunning and I know many you've shared have been charity events too--thanks for that extra effort helping so many groups dazzle their supporters.

I need to reread this post every two months to see where I stand on many similar issues!

I think your instincts about the animals are right on, trust them and make use of that unique bond as best as you can. I see lots of fun for all of you in light of that interesting gift of Elijah's!

P said...

I love that you have added a goal about photography, it will keep you on track to have that extra stretch in a new area--pretty neat! Despite your full plate it's nice to also keep expanding and good for your mind too, sounds like Dad can help or give you some good ideas. Your events are an excellent venue to try and polish that interest too--when you get time, I love all your photos already so you have one photography fan already.

Kelle Hampton has a photo blog too, that must be good but in LA there has to be tons of amazing classes and experts readily available so work your connections for a good efficient way to jump start that fun goal. Good luck!

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