What Worked (& didn’t) in 2016

So much happened in 2016 that I’m not sure I can condense it all into one post. I got my first job as an occupational therapist (wahoo!), found out I was pregnant (yay!) & gave birth to a healthy chunk-a-monk, Kai Daniel ūüôā We are so thrilled to start our journey as a family of 4 this year, as I resume work, Josh starts preschool & Nick keeps powering through in ministry.

Here’s a summary of silly & not-so-silly things of what worked & DIDN’T work for me in 2016:

What Worked in 2016

  • Books about food
    I didn’t read much in 2016, but when I did pick up a book and stick to it, it often ended up being about food. My favorite books this year, hands-down, have been¬†Bread and Wine,¬†How to Celebrate Everything, and¬†The Sprinkles Baking Book.¬†Two of these books are basically cookbooks with personal anecdote woven in, one of these books (Bread and Wine) is a memoir¬†with recipes woven in. It’s safe to say I love food & reading about it. It sounds straightforward, but there’s more to it than that: What I’ve learned definitively is that I love the way food ties people together. It creates tradition, instills meaning, and tends to be the centerpiece for celebration. Food fosters relationship and communicates love. If anything, it’s taught me the importance of sharing my table & inviting others into our home, even when things are messy (literally & figuratively).
    Next on my list: Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach
  • Overnight oats
    The best and easiest breakfast for someone who tends to either not know what to eat in the morning or skip this meal all together. I now have something quick to grab¬†as I leave for work (or as I’m taking care of the children) that’s both yummy & nutritious.
    *Favorite (& most used) overnight oats recipe found here.
  • All-natural cleaning products
    We made the switch this year to only using all-natural products (everything from dish soap to laundry detergent to all-purpose cleaner… everything). This makes me so much more comfortable and less paranoid about what toxins I’m exposing to my kiddo’s.
  • Our first holiday in Los Angeles
    Our first big holiday spent away from family (Thanksgiving), which was weird and sad for both Nick & I. We did, however, realize that we’re becoming a real-deal family now… one that can create new family¬†traditions & still feel a sense of belonging, even when we’re not with extended family. ¬†Although we missed family a ton, it was nice to keep things low key. I forget how crazy the holidays are until you spend one¬†relaxing & staying in.
  • Experiences > Things
    We made the commitment this year to invest more in our experiences rather than¬†things. As an adult, my fondest memories as a child were the times I spent with family, vacations we went on, the parties¬†my parents threw, the community we built… Barbies & American Girl Dolls (as much fun as they are) can’t really love you back. So we decided to not buy toys for Josh this year as best we could, and instead use that money¬†to build memories, go places, see people, etc.
  • Asking for Help
    I still have a longggg way to go in this arena, but at some point this past year, I decided to challenge myself to ask for help when I needed it. If there’s anything that’s particularly difficult for me, it’s¬†receiving¬†from people when I am in need¬†(and nothing has shown me how needy I am quite like becoming a mommy of two tiny boys). I’m going to continue working on this in 2017.

What Didn’t Work in 2016

  • I didn’t exercise
    I did not exercise, pretty much¬†at all in 2016. Unless you count walking 1x per week with a girlfriend.¬†In my defense, I was either pregnant or nursing a newborn the entire year. Cheers to a more disciplined & healthy 2017 ūüôā
  • I didn’t have healthy eating habits
    Nick & I realized that we ate out A LOT this year. This is probably due to the fact that I a) got a job and b) moved to little saka (best Asian food in West LA).¬†We’re kicking off 2017 with a fast for the next few weeks (the Daniel fast, to be specific) and hoping that this will be a good launch to start eating healthy this year (among other things).
  • I didn’t read much
    Not sure why… it was probably because I began work and became pregnant and had a baby… all the distraction seemed to interfere with my ‘read for leisure’ time. I plan and hope to read more this year.
  • I didn’t date much
    My husband. I didn’t date my husband much because we just didn’t get a lot of date nights / just him-and-I time. We plan on changing this in 2017 and hopefully pencilling in¬†at least once a month date nights ūüôā

What worked & didn’t for YOU in 2016?


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