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2014 in review

Happy New Year! I’ve enjoyed an extended winter break thanks to some illness in our family. Three weeks of family time has been amazing, even with two sick kids the first week. But I’m also ready to jump back to our routine and get going on my 2015 plans for this blog and life.

2014 in review

I can’t move forward though, without a quick look back at this year. It’s amazing what can happen in a year. Our 2014 in approximate order starts now.

Sri Lanka Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage #suntrustbucketlist

Traveled to Sri Lanka with our 2-year-old while pregnant. Yes, we traveled 36 hours (includes flights and layovers) each way to get to Sri Lanka for our 12 day vacation. It was an amazing trip filled with food, beaches, adventures (serious adventures), busy roads, visits to beautiful Buddhist Temples, Tea plantations, a ride in a Tuk Tuk, family time (meeting my husband’s family) and more.

Gender reveal

Found out Ezra was a boy. This was a huge moment for us. It made our family feel really complete.

DIY playroom light fixture using GE Energy Smart light bulbs. #LEDSavings #CollectiveBias #shop

Redecorated our playroom. This was minor, but it did take quite a bit of work and almost no budget.

Introducing Oh Boy Style! A new fashion site featuring hip wearable fashion for cool boys on the go.

Launched Oh Boy Style. While I haven’t put much time in yet, I’m looking forward to working harder on this little dream soon.

Minnesota Parent Magazine Dino Might birthday

Had Bodhi’s birthday featured in a magazine.

Jessica's nursery for baby boy two (5 of 7)

Created a nursery. You all know how much work this can be. Such an accomplishment. ;)

A very easy spring ladies brunch using Oh Joy for Target.

Hosted a neighborhood ladies brunch in my third trimester with my friend/neighbor/sister-from-another-mister Megan.

Played outside, a lot! I’ve learned that being outside is so good for the soul. And amazing for my kids.

Started writing for Momtastic. This contributing gig has been such a dream. Check out my latest post on how to survive winter inside.

Semi-finished our basement which is now a complete kid zone. So fun!

My thoughts on having a second baby. Newborn photography. Leah Fontaine Photography

Not only survived after baby without postpartum depression, but actually thrived. I created a full blown postpartum plan with a therapist this time in preparation for the possibility of having PPD. I ended up being more than ok, but having the plan was so comforting. I may share here soon.

Grew existing friendships with other bloggers.

Grew existing friendships with a few of my longtime friends and neighbors. Thankful for this.

Somehow managed to meet several amazing new friends this past year.  It’s so beautiful what can happen in a year. I had no idea that some of these friends would be in my life when I started 2014 including a mama friend I met through Bodhi (and his school).

Grew my blog readership and revenue dramatically. Thank YOU! Seriously. Thank you for coming back every day.

Created amazing relationships and sponsorships with brands I love. You may or may not have noticed that I’m getting pretty picky about who we work with. Being 100% transparent, I used to take most work I got from brands. I don’t anymore. If the brand isn’t a really good fit, something that aligns with my beliefs and values or isn’t a product I use regularly, they aren’t coming on this site.

Stayed pregnant forever! No, really.

Newborn baby photos.

Welcomed our baby at 42 weeks pregnant after inducing failed and Ezra finally showed up on his own after 16 hours of peaceful labor.

Exclusively breastfed my baby way longer than I ever thought I could. I thought I may go with formula this time around due to my risk of PPD and feeling really stuck when breastfeeding, but I gave it a go and it was actually really easy for me this time. I know this isn’t the case for a lot of moms and I fully support all mamas who are feeding and loving their babies!

Brothers

Watched my big boy grow into the most amazing brother.

Ran a 5K less than 3 months postpartum. Hard? Yes. Worth it? Totally!

Twin Gender Reveal Baby Shower

Hosted a HUGE gender reveal baby shower for my cousin’s twins (no small feat with a  4-month-old on my hands). I was lucky to have my mom, grandma and aunt help.

Redecorated our family room. It’s amazing what a brighter room does for your mood on a daily basis and it’s amazing what a soft rug does for a baby who refuses to do anything but sit and stand and still falls over.

Got a whole new blog design on Live the Fancy Life.

More than doubled my Instagram followers.

Had family photos three times without tears. We did it!

Wallpapered our powder room. Well, the professionals did, but it’s a fun change.

Hosted a huge very merry cocktail party and had so much fun with our friends.

Hosted Christmas with our families. It was lovely. Potluck makes things really really easy and enjoyable.

Bodhi tubing

Went tubing with Bodhi for his and my first time. SO fun!

Learned to be really good at apologizing. Might sound minor, but it’s a huge skill and something that takes work. We really want Bodhi to feel comfortable and able to apologize when he needs to and honestly, I wasn’t that good at it for a plethora of reasons which I may or may not share at some point, but since Bodhi is a full blown human with feelings and words, it was time for mama to take a dose of humble pie and start showing Bodhi how it’s done. My husband is great at it!

Learned that every hard phase as a parent ends so fast. Even though the transition out of the swaddle, for example feels like forever, it ends in a week or two. This has really helped me to stay positive in hard times.

Learned that I’m really functional on no sleep.

Learned that I actually can go to the grocery store with both boys if I have to. Super mama!

Had a wonderful time at our neighbor’s New Year’s party.

Such a great year! But the things I learned that matter most are the daily interactions, the tiny moments between the bigger stuff.

Flannigan-FaleelLifestyle_136

It’s how you greet your children when they wake up and your husband when he comes home from work.

It’s being kind and compassionate when someone fails you or doesn’t meet your expectations. We’re all human. We all deserve the benefit of the doubt. Always.

It’s making people feel like they matter to you (because they do)!

It’s a warm smile.

A hot cup of coffee on a cold day.

A sweet text from your friend you have never met when you are having a tough day.

It’s the scent of baby laundry detergent.

It’s the sound of the big boy playing pretend with his animals.

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It’s the warmth of the fireplace and the feeling of baby and big-boy snuggles in the morning when you’d rather be in bed.

It’s that much-needed bear hug from your husband after you both almost melted down getting the kids to bed.

It’s doing the dishes with a positive attitude.

It’s the smell of your baby’s head as you rock him to sleep.

It’s the joy of your 3-year-old as he runs in circles in your home and falls over laughing.

It’s the conversation you have with your grandma as you fold the 16th load of clothes together (no joke-this happened over Christmas).

It’s the way your mom and uncle play with your son loud and fun and undistracted.

Flannigan-FaleelLifestyle_137

It’s the crunch of the snow beneath your big winter boots. And sipping hot cocoa after getting snow in your mitten.

It’s that first taste of frosting when you bake with your big boy during baby’s nap.

It’s shopping at Whole Foods for nothing in particular but trying everything because that’s what your big boy likes.

It’s the tiny hand that holds your finger.

It’s the two small arms that wrap around your neck every day.

The big stuff feels like it matters, but the little stuff really does make up life.

Cheers to a new year!

Photos by Melissa Oholendt Photography, Leah Fontaine Photography, Gina Lang Photography and Live the Fancy Life.

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