16 Things 2016 Taught Me

Hello! It’s December and I am taking inventory of the growth I have made this year. The only way to know what I need to take on in 2017 is to take stock of where I am now. When I started this blog post, I put the title as “XX Things 2016 Taught Me” and decided I’d jot the things down and wherever I ended up, that would be the number. An additional note is that these are things 2016 taught me about MYSELF, MY MARRIAGE, MY CHILDREN, MY WORK and MY LIFE…way too long of a title, so I left it as “Taught Me.” Also, they are in the order I thought of them, so there’s no rhyme or reason or importance given to the number next to each.

  1. 35 miles per hour is plenty fast enough with your 15-year-old in the driver’s seat.
  2. The world won’t cave in if my children aren’t in Catholic school.
  3. My weight doesn’t define me. I read that quote on a piece of paper lying around Dani’s bed when I was cleaning up after the girls. I love that she tells herself that and it was a cue to me to get my act together on that little bit. I’m forever struggling with how heavy (or not heavy) I am, but nothing changes the fact that I am working to be healthy at whatever weight I happen to be at the time.
  4. Some kids really can’t tie their shoes until well past age 5.
  5. I’m still an early-morning person. I still get up for crazy-early morning workouts. I like the later workouts, but I am far too busy playing mom-taxi in the afternoons and evenings, so the morning it is!
  6. Some kids are ready for more heavy literary material earlier than others. When Sarah read the Harry Potter series, starting in 2nd grade with the first book, she needed a break of about a year or so between books 3 and 4. Dominic and I read the books straight through this year starting in March and finishing recently. It’s true — each kid is different!
  7. Dani and I are quite similar personalities. Much more similar than I thought.
  8. I probably dealt with depression and anxiety as a child all on my own. Helen struggles with some anxiety and has been in counseling for almost a year. The growth has been AMAZING (wonderful therapist!) and she teaches me every day that children absolutely can be incredibly in touch with their feelings and mental state and simply need someone to listen to them and provide help — either directly or through a therapist. Sometimes I look back at the things I went through as a child and I can see that many of the things I did to cope with the voids in my life could have been alleviated if someone had allowed me to talk about things openly.
  9. My marriage needs more work now. When we were having babies every couple of years, we were forced to connect and communicate for the survival of the baby and the kids. I had taken our strong, connected relationship for granted. I have started to realize that not having babies requires us to take the time to cultivate our relationship in a new way. I’m not saying I’ve been good at it — only that I have learned that I need to work on it.
  10. I am not a salesperson. The qualities it takes to be a successful sales person are simply not a strong enough part of my core personality that I could make a living selling anything, even real estate.
  11. It’s okay to take risks, as long as I understand when the game is up. I took a risk delving into real estate for a year. I had a great job that was less risky on the family and financials but had an opportunity that I would have kicked myself forever if I wouldn’t have taken it. It was not the good fit I dreamed it would be. Lucky for me, the people I used to work with still liked me, so I got to go back to the bank. I’m still glad I tried, but I’m really happy that I was able to “go home.”
  12. My siblings are still my best-est friends. A year ago, our whole family came together here in Kansas City — all of my siblings, all of our spouses and children…together. I believe that time together nourished my soul so well that I weathered the storm of my job change and some other things going on with our family much better for having had that time with all of them. I can’t wait for us all to get together again!




13. I love each of my kids completely differently, and that is okay.

14. The cutoff for Kindergarten works for us. Sarah is a “baby” of her class. Dani is one of the oldest of her class. (Missouri cutoff is August 1 — child must be 5 before August 1 to go to Kindergarten). I toiled over the impending decision for Vincent — do I send him and have him be the youngest or do I hold him and have him be the oldest? I went with my gut and sent him and I am glad I did. He sometimes mentions that he wishes I would have let him wait because he does not like to be the last kid to turn 6. But other than that — he is doing great! It has worked well for us.

15. Our faith sustains us always. There have been some things over the past few years that have caused me to ask God why things happen the way they do. I’ve suffered some setbacks, but also found comfort in my faith when things have been tough.

16. I need to pray more — frequently, with more structure and with more intensity.


And here’s to perhaps blogging a bit more frequently in 2017!! Happy New Year!