Bring on the New Year – 2021 Recap

Let’s walk 2021 to the door and maybe lock it once they’re gone… It wasn’t the worst houseguest we’ve ever had- we didn’t kick them out- but I’d be content if they never came back. Ya know?

Honestly, this year was more difficult for me than the dreaded 2020. Events were held, but it was a risk to attend. I felt itchy and wanted to take M to explore… but things aren’t quite right yet. We had a pretty slow and quiet year. (2020 was wonderful with an infant/baby… so much alone time and bonding and no where to be. Social distancing with a toddler is… rough.) We tried to do a family vacation but our vehicle broke down. Then I had not one, but TWO canceled trips later in the year. Sigh. It wasn’t my year to travel. M was sick quite a bit, too, but none of us caught the big C19, so I’m grateful. (Hand foot and mouth wasn’t a walk in the park for any of us, though. SHEESH.)

Anyway… there were good moments, too. We added kitties to the (office) family. We added a car to the garage (& now we need a bigger garage). K and M both had necessary and beneficial surgeries. My two best friends got married (to other people, lol). And we went on some great camping trips. We are healthy and comfortable and all together. I can’t complain much.

I’m looking forward to 2022, though. I’m putting it out there in the universe. Lord, give us a good one 🖤

On to the photo collages…

New Year’s Day | M can walk! | 🖤 | K’s surgery | Bristol is 2 | A trip to FL to love on Aub | Snow Day | Valentine’s Day | Joining A&M’s wedding party!
A visit from Aub | Kayla’s bachelorette party | Kayla’s bridal shower | bed head | K’s bday | St. Patrick’s Day | camping at Bristol | dirt racing at Bristol | Easter
Mowing with Dad | new scooter | visiting Dad at work | 8th wedding anniversary | Fridays with Andria | sick baby | rehearsal dinner | Kayla’s getting married! | Kayla’s wedding
camping with friends | Memorial Day | Mid Ohio racing | welcome Mac & Cheese! | splash pad with F&C | Father’s Day | bike rides | 4th of July Indy Cars | ear tube surgery for M
farm visits | K behind the drums | Frankenmuth | Boyne Falls, MI | family | spa weekend with Aub | 🖤 | DCI in Indy | science center with friends
Labor Day | rehearsal dinner | Aub’s getting married! | Aubrey’s wedding | county fair | fall festival | my bday camping | pumpkin patch | new car!
gender reveal for Kayla | Halloween | PASIC in Indy | Christmas trees | Thanksgiving | Moo turns Two!| Kayla’s baby shower | Christmas | lounging before the new year

Looking back through my pictures to make this post is such a happy experience for me. Now that M is in the picture, it’s wild to see her growth over 12 months. But to be honest, K and I grow significantly every year, too.

What were your favorite moments of 2021?

-Aud

Happy New Year!

Every year I try to reflect on major moments and special memories. I do it a little differently each year. Usually there are pictures and paragraphs involved. I’m a creature of habit so…

one year down at PI | E&T’s birthday | OMEA | off to TMEA | CLE with friends | winter party | Easter | WGI | 5 yr anniversary pic

Gettysburg anniversary trip | Cinco de Mayo in CLE | F’s bday & Mother’s Day in C-bus | nephew’s hs graduation | grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary | landscaping | PRIDE in C-bus | Kenny Chesney | Queso!

Indians game | boating | Jimmy Eat World | DCI in Texas | DCI in Indy | NASCAR H.O.F. | Darlington Raceway | E & Q | Ben Rector

a wedding | a sunset | a dog & a book | Kayla’s bday | new deck | fall decor | my bday | water taxi to Daufuskie | Daufuskie

Halloween | mother-in-law’s surprise party | hike with E & my sis-in-law | party in Indy | PASIC | Williamsburg | Thanksgiving | Xmas tree | work mtg

Looking back, this year was predominately good for us. We were so busy with trips and parties and home improvements. We went to Texas, Indianapolis, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, & Tennessee. (I think that’s it- although we drove one of the Texas trips so… everything in between, too.) I read lots of books, K swapped his truck for a Jeep (and another truck for the business), and the pups got a new deck to sun themselves on.

We painted the house and hosted Easter. I went to an Indians game, went boating, and went to my first PRIDE event. We went to lots of concerts. I was sick twice this year- both times affecting trips. (I had to skip one completely.) I had pleurisy at one point. In the middle of the summer I played on a softball league and had a garage sale and cheered as my in-laws got their wine company off the ground.

It was a busy busy busy year, but a good one. And I’m grateful that I feel that way.

If your 2018 was rough or turbulent, I hope you 2019 is spectacular. And if you had a good ’18, I hope your ’19 is even better! ❤︎

Happy New Year!

A New Chapter

I know I teased on Wednesday about big news today. I hate when people do that so I won’t keep you in suspense any longer…

I quit my job.

To give a little background: In May of 2013 I started a job with an appraisal company as a writer. It’s a small company with 12-ish employees (they’ve come and gone over the last three years). It was a great job with wonderful people- I’m very, very appreciative to have spent the last +3 years of my life there. I’ve never had to resign from a job where I liked my boss, enjoyed my co-workers, and had relatively no complaints about what I did- it was tough to do, emotionally. Today is my last day.

So where am I headed?

The stars have aligned and K offered me a job at our company. (I say “our” but really he’s been the one building it for the last four years.) One of his administrative employees is leaving the company and his position isn’t one that can go unfilled. K is changing hats and taking over sales (in addition to designing the products) and I’m taking over any and all administrative/HR/accounts/social media work.

“I could NEVER work with my spouse…”

I’m very excited for the switch. I’m glad that I don’t have to forfeit the flexibility that I had with my old job and I love the guys that work for K (which includes my father-in-law). Plus, I get to bring Enzo with me whenever I want!

Am I nervous to work along side my husband? No. So many people have asked me this or raised an eyebrow when we’ve told them the plan. Building a business was hard, but we were careful to put one another first throughout the years- I don’t see that changing. If you know us, you know that we are both ridiculously stubborn and bullheaded. But you also know that A) we’re perfectionists and B) we understand one another without having to exchange words. So honestly, I’m not concerned. My job is only being done by me- I’m not being micromanaged. I think this is going to work out well for us.

So that’s that. On to some 2017 goals/resolutions!

Be Healthy.
I hate the idea of dieting. I like to enjoy food- regardless of the calorie count. That said, I know there are millions of yummy & healthy meals out there, and I’d like to make more of them. Also, I need to get my body moving. This is a vague goal, but I think y’all know what I mean.

Feel Less Guilty About Downtime.
I am the person that can’t lay on the couch all day staring at the TV with nothing to do. I feel guilty reading more than a chapter when there’s a hamper of dirty laundry in corner. I never take the time to write when I’m home because my mind won’t quiet down about all the chores. So I’m going to work on turning off the responsibilities and turning on the relaxation.

Read more.
Last year I read 25 books. This year I’m aiming for 40.

Become a Morning Person.
My morning routine is ridiculous (a.k.a. nonexistent). This is the year I stop rolling out of bed at 7:30 for an 8 am clock-in and I start brewing some coffee, enjoying my shower, and avoiding the snooze button. *Yes I’m working for K, but he still expects me to be at work on time!

Get on Schedule.
What I mean is… figure out meal planning, get the house on some kind of cleaning schedule, figure out a walk/bath/grooming routine for the dogs. Despite my downtime resolution, we need a little more order and routine in our house.

Last year I made the following goals : Start running | Learn to cook more (vegetarian) meals | Find a word for 2016 | Read & write more | Volunteer
(Here’s the original post for these) Quick summary… I did not start running or writing more, but I did find a few new recipes, read more books, pick a word (“embrace”) and find a place to volunteer. So as Jen would say…

yes

Word of the Year

Last year I chose the word “embrace” and it was fitting. I learned to embrace the nothingness between life’s big moments. (I’m terrible with downtime/limbo/lack of progress.) I learned to embrace new career opportunities and spontaneous home maintenance and last minute car purchases and random vacation pit stops. I’m ending the year with a messy house but I’ve got a perfect partner and happy dogs and a warm bed- so embracing the now and the waiting and the surprises has paid off.

I don’t have a word/phrase for 2017 yet…

2016 Summary

What can I say about this year… It was a pretty stationary year for us. Some highlights included Elliot’s 1st & my grandma’s 80th birthday party, our 3rd wedding anniversary, two NASCAR races (Bristol, TN & Loudon, NH), Fred & Christina’s wedding, new cars for both of us, some yoga, lots of family, new front yard landscaping, spending almost every day with K, meeting business milestones, cuddling the dogs, going to movies and dinners and showers and bachelor/ette parties with friends, two trips to the east coast, and concerts with the husband and friends.

2016

* The end of 2016 is weird for us… We’re in the middle of career transitions, we lost a close friend on Christmas day, and we’re slowly emerging from a long-running limbo into a new normal. I’m really hoping that 2017 brings some progress and success. I could use a break from the sadness and shock. The end of 2016 was as glum as the entire year. I’m hopeful 2017 will be infinitely better for us and for you ❤︎

That was a lot of information and news… Sorry about all that. I promise I’m done until 2017 😉 Also, in 2017 I’m going to try out a Tuesday/Thursday posting schedule. (Typically I post MWF.) We’ll see how the two-a-week thing goes!

Have a happy new year, my friends!

Charlie Brown NY

audielou.com_signature

Reflections on 2015

Today is the beginning of a three week past/future/present series. It’s nothing big or grand, but I think it’s a good way for me to wrap up one year while preparing for the next. So today, next Wednesday, and two weeks from today I will cover:

  • Reflections on 2015
  • Goals for 2016
  • My word for the New Year

(Is it a sign that I’m already writing “2016” when I only mean ’15?)

We didn’t experience much change this year, but I think there was a lot of growth. Our best friends grew their family by one (actually, they adopted a dog, too… so by two!), K’s business really took off this summer (huzzah!), and my brother proposed to his girlfriend, adding another permanent member to our family.

K and I didn’t travel much this year. We spent our anniversary at Niagara Falls and we went to Tennessee for the NASCAR race. I took a beach trip with some wonderful gals to South Carolina and he spent some time in Texas on business. At home we finished the basement bathroom and put central air conditioning in (praise the LORD).

Career-wise, I didn’t make any changes but K’s company has tripled in size and we’re now moving into a new office/warehouse space. (I’m so proud of my husband.) My thought have officially turned to nonprofit & dogs so I’m hoping to make progress in the years to come.

2015_photo_recap

So what can I say about 2015…

This year K and I found that tough conversations about money and the future and children and goals became a little easier. We tend to be on the same track as far as 5-, 10-, and 20-year goals go. When you’re starting and growing a business a lot of time and energy gets put into that… so this year it was amazing to see the efforts pay off. I think that next year we will have a little more balance.

Our dogs kept our hearts full and glowing. Our family stayed healthy and happy. Our troubles were minimal. It was a very low-key year.

2015 was my first year of consistent blogging. I used this space every week and met amazing people through the blog world. It’s really been life changing for me. (So thank you! ❤️ )

I’ve tried to be more self-reflective and aware. I’ve tried to avoid drama and excuses- if I wanted to do it I did it and if I didn’t want to do it I declined (tactfully). I took a few Facebook/news hiatuses because the violence and hate in this world is crippling. I’ve focused on faith and healing and the encouraging grace of others. I’ve tried to lessen the sarcasm and up the genuineness. Overall, if I were charting this past year, I would say that I’m a little higher on the graph than I was on January 1st.

And now I think this is good place to stop. Next week I will talk about my goals/resolutions for the new year.

What did you think of 2015? How would you sum up the year in review? Was it a year of change or growth? Maybe it was a year of exploration or discovery? I want to know!

-Louise

Goodbye 2014

Last night I finished scrapbooking our honeymoon and I begin the book for our first year of marriage. I’m more than halfway done because a year ago for Christmas my sister-in-law gave me a pre-made scrapbook. The book looks AWESOME because she’s 10xs more creative and better at the hobby than I am. Oh well, I try.

scrapbookSo while I’m doing this I’m taking breaks and looking through Facebook. I saw posts about pregnancy, new houses, new jobs, and engagements, and, while I absolutely hate change, I feel nothing but jealous of all the big changes in everyone’s lives! K and I have been married for a year +, we’ve both settled into our jobs, we won’t be moving for a few years, and we’re not ready for kids yet- but I want a brand new sparkly adventure, toooooo.

Then I started flipping through my recently finished/started picture books. Dang, we live a fulfilling life. Nothing confirms that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be than revisiting what got you there in the first place. Why am I so bitter? Instead of this material lust I should be feeling genuine joy for others!

happiness 2Right now I’m camped out in this mental state of serenity. I’m so ready for 2015 and I’m feeling motivated to building upon the foundation that K and I have worked so hard to create. This year I want to keep the toxic pressure away and focus on what’s best for us. I think this means moving at the right pace, encouraging others, and celebrating each little victory as it happens.

I don’t have “resolutions” for 2015. I don’t want to drop 20 pounds or run a 5K. I’m not going to post organization lists or start a rigorous financial plan. I have goals that include all these things, but I don’t want my year to be defined by these things. (Did you know that only 8% of people that make resolutions keep them/meet them?!) My 2015 is going to progress one day at a time and my 2015 Promise is to experience each day and make the most of it. No more “I can’t wait until Friday/summer/Christmas/etc.” Each day is just as important, fulfilling, and memorable as the next.

Bring on 2015 ❤

happiness 1 -Louise