It’s that time of year again where Mr. Transatlantictransplant and I reflect on the year that’s been and express our hopes and goals for the year ahead. This year has been a mixed bag. Mostly great, but not without its challenges, and I am looking forward to what 2018 has in store (even though it, too, will have its own set of challenges).
I only had a few goals for 2017, so thankfully I made good progress.
- Continue going to the gym – Oliver and I did this consistently up until the end of November, at which point we retired our YMCA membership. It was a true lifesaver for our 2-3 visits per week, so we even kept up our membership after moving, which meant a ~25 minute drive each way. Eventually the drive became a hassle, potty training Oliver made his time in the kids club a challenge, and I had my own physical limitations (see: pregnancy), so we decided to call it quits for the time being.
- Attempt a family holiday, even if it’s only a road trip to Anaheim for a couple days – Oliver and I joined Mark for BUILD in Seattle in May, and we added a couple extra days to make it more holiday-like. Oliver loved flying, and we had a fun trip, but were also reminded how much better-suited suburban living is for wee ones, since the city doesn’t have many toddler-friendly climbing structures or open spaces. We also took a family trip to Disneyland for a couple days in December, which was great fun. Oliver loved staying in a hotel, and proved himself as much an adrenaline junkie as Mark and I are with his love of rollercoasters (he’s only big enough for one of them, but he went on it 3 times in a row and never stopped beaming). We had lots of days off together as a family throughout the year, even though we didn’t travel lots, and quite honestly, we’re enjoying our usual life so much, I, personally, don’t miss the years Mark and I were more worldly travelers. Those days will be back, but family life is pretty sweet for now.
- Find a new hair conditioner – This goal is the one I was least successful with, but I’ve found a half-decent replacement that’s getting me by for now. Did you know hydrolyzed wheat protein is a common hair conditioner ingredient? I never realized how common it was, nor did I believe it – being a topical product that is rinsed away – would create problems for a celiac, but lo-and-behold the return of some various glutening symptoms were resolved once I figured out a conditioner I had been using for a couple months was not celiac-friendly and switched to another alternative. Thankfully, the nearly perpetual bags under my eyes seem to detract from any bad hair days 🙂
- Move into our “family home” – This was a major highlight of 2017. We are so, so pleased with our new home, our new neighborhood, our new neighbors. It has been an even better upgrade than we anticipated, and we don’t ever see ourselves moving again. We completed several updates to the house right away – paint; closets; a couple minor yard tweaks; smart-ifying the doorbell, garage door, carbon monoxide detectors, and thermostats; furnishing the extra rooms we acquired; having built-ins installed in the living room and the mudroom; adding ceiling fans; and having the pergola rebuilt to eradicate wood rot. Many projects were completed straight away and thanks to our extremely Type-A planning and research, made the move pretty smooth. We have a handful of additional projects on the horizon for the coming year, and even ideas for longer-term updates to keep ourselves from getting bored. 🙂
Additional items of note from the year:
- I’m pregnant (again!), and Baby Boy Osborn #2 should be joining us early in the new year. He’s due in early February, but between never-ending hyperemesis and heartburn and just generally feeling huge, I am not-so-secretly hoping he arrives at least a couple weeks early. We are basically past the danger zone, so whenever he arrives, he should be as healthy as possible. I’m hoping for a delivery, and especially a recovery, as wonderful as the one I had with Oliver. I’m also curious to see how Oliver handles mama – whom he hasn’t been away from for more than several hours at a time – being away at the hospital for a couple days.
- Sleep is still not Oliver’s strong suit 🙂 We’ve settled into a decent routine for naps these days, but he still wakes anywhere from 0-3x/night. He does sometimes sleep through the night, compared to the first 6 months we lived in the new house and it was an endless mess of night wakings and awakeness and escape attempts. With another little one about to drop, I guess I’m resetting the clock and also risking jeopardizing Oliver’s sleep even more, so maybe around our next presidential election cycle, I’ll be well-rested again?
- Despite his sleep issues, Oliver continues to be fun and amazing. He’s brilliantly clever, has a great sense of humor, and loves us so much. Two has been an incredible age, since his language exploded and his personality is really shining through. He’s introverted and can be shy, but he’s also boisterous and full of thoughts (when he and another kid are both on the swings, Oliver will be a nonstop stream of consciousness chatting, while the other kid quietly swings away). He’s physically fearless, loves going faster and higher whenever possible, and is very strong and capable. He loves to snuggle under blankets, give hugs, and be tickled. He loves Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder, Daniel Tiger, and all kinds of trucks. He has a sweet tooth and loves cheese and crackers, green smoothies, and a decent breakfast – all of which he comes by honestly. He has so much energy. He was shockingly ahead of the curve (relative to friends the same age) and quick to potty train, but had his own unique challenges, because he is very introverted and private. He’s impatient and loves mama’s undivided attention, which will make having a baby brother a challenge, but I’m also optimistic, because he LOVES babies. He can be exhausting and frustrating in the way toddlers naturally are, but he brings Mark and me love, joy, and fulfillment beyond measure. I truly can’t imagine our lives without him, and if his little brother is exactly like him, we wouldn’t be at all disappointed.
- Mark continues to kick butt at work, and make his family proud. I’m so thankful he loves what he does and that he’s good at it. It keeps him happy and fulfilled, allows me to stay home with the little one(s), and – thanks also to all our careful financial planning and a decent amount of luck throughout the last decade – affords us a pretty awesome life.
- I’ve continued to focus on relationships that bring me joy and to weed out the ones that are pain points. In particular, the relationship with my parents has been tested and devolved as I stood up for myself and exerted much-needed boundaries this year. The experience has not been without its hurt and sadness, but overall, it’s been an empowering and positive change. It’s possible time will heal all wounds, but failing that, I can truly say I did what was both right and necessary.
- We increased our charitable giving over 3-fold this year compared to last year, after realizing what a disappointing percentage of our annual earnings we were giving back to those less fortunate. We plan to continue increasing our target/minimum charitable donations in the years to come, starting with another 50% increase next year.
- I’ve been tired in all senses of the word. Not just because of sleep deprivation, but also because we’re in the midst of a very taxing time of life right now. Small children with zero physical or emotional family support is a lot of work. Trying to get pregnant and then being pregnant with literally never-ending vomiting and nausea that leaves you completely medication-dependent for the entirety of your pregnancy is a lot of work. Unwinding complex family relationships is work. Settling into a new home is work. Still grieving the loss of your daughter is work. The last 18 months have been a lot of work. I’m looking forward to getting to the other end of all these challenges, but for now, we’re keeping our heads down and moving forward. I’m thankful that we’ve got our own health, a solid and supportive relationship, and the financial resources to fulfill all our needs and many of our wants. Just keep swimming, and hopefully in another 18 months, we’ll be in a phase of unadulterated joy.
As I did approaching 2015, I am not setting many goals for myself in the coming year, since adding another member to our family will create so many natural and unpredictable changes. Right now, my plans for 2018 are:
- Weather the inherent challenges of both having a newborn and helping a toddler adjust to the new baby. Mark has a good amount of paternity leave planned, with 3 weeks off upfront, like he did with Oliver, and 2 days a week for the 8 weeks thereafter, all of which should be enormously helpful.
- Complete additional home projects. Specifically we’ll be doing more work on the yard, replacing a handful of windows, adding plantation shutters to some of the windows, doing a mini kitchen remodel (new counters and backsplash and cooktop), and adding some new lights to the play room.
- Buy a Tesla for Mark. The man rarely wants for much beyond a new pair of Adidas sneakers every couple years and is not at all a ‘car guy’, but he’s been obsessed with Teslas at least as long as we’ve lived in San Diego. Justifying the cost of a Model S was impossible to do in our use case, but the “everyman” Model 3 is much more wallet-friendly and suitable for our needs. We added him to the wait list early in April 2016, and all being well, he should finally be able to build and buy his new car in Q2 or Q3 this year. He is such a hard worker and great life partner/dad and I’m excited he’ll finally have the one material thing I’ve ever really seen him excited about.
- Be DONE growing our family. Even before I got pregnant this time around, we planned for this to be my last pregnancy whatever the outcome. In fact, if I hadn’t gotten pregnant within a few months of when I did, Oliver was going to be an only child. I love Oliver, I love Lily, and I love Baby Brother, but I loathe trying to get pregnant, the side effects of being pregnant, the challenges of making a healthy baby, and am still emotionally scarred by the issues we’ve had in the past. I want to carry on with life and enjoy the family I have and stop opening myself up to the physical and emotional tolls child bearing has created. Thankfully, Mark has always been pretty set on an ideal maximum of 2 kids for a variety of reasons I agree with, so it is a conclusion we are both happy about. Medically, during 2018 we’ll be ensuring we don’t add any more babies to the Osborn family, and I am excited about closing that chapter and enjoying our family as-is in the years to come.
That’s it. I’m intentionally not making any goals about gyms or fitness. I didn’t join a gym until Oliver was over a year old and didn’t regret it, so I don’t want to put any pressure on myself this time. I’m hoping I’ll be as lucky with natural weight loss (thanks to genes and nursing and basic activities like stroller walks) this time around as I was before, and I’ll probably start running if/when I feel ready and eager. In the early months, however, I’ll be prioritizing sleep and survival, and anything beyond that can wait until 2019.