Happy 2014! How did you spend New Year's Eve? We had fun with some friends eating Thai Food, drinking wine and playing with our babies. Last year, one of my biggest goals was to make make new friends- primarily close girl friends here in Traverse City. I am so thankful for my new friends!
Today I wanted to spend just a minute reviewing last year's letter.
It is January 1st, 2014. Life is more wonderful than I could have imagined. I thought that 2012 was a blessed year, with a new husband, financial freedom and the conception of a perfect baby boy, but 2013 exceeded my expectations. Absolutely astounding. I was able to focus on what matters, and forget the rest. YES. Everything was better than I expected. I refocused after Rowan's birth and am getting better everyday at forgetting the rest.
We brought our beautiful son into the world in June who Isaiah and I cherish and love above almost all else. We make bonding and family time a top priority. We were able to visit my parents and grandfather, and took time in the summer to visit family in Connecticut. We spend time together everyday, even if just a few minutes. We visited Minnesota twice, and Isaiah's grandparents came to Michigan! We have a trip planned to CT for May.
After I gave the natural, med-free birth that I trained and prepared for, I never returned to the bank full time. We are wise with our money and as a team developed a budget and found a way to support our family the most efficiently. Birth was not med-free, but it was just how it was supposed to go. You can read the birth story here, if you wish.
Each month we review out budget and statements. We do not use our credit cards and are working on diminishing our debt. I feel comfortable and secure financially and Isaiah and I are constantly on the same page. We have been working on our budget- empowerment and transparency. We have started using Mint and continue to reduce our debt.
We established a workspace for Occasion that is the perfect place to build my business. It is clean and allows me to think and create freely, without clutter (mental or physical). I feel peaceful in my office. Yay! I love my studio so much. I will post photos this year, but you can see some previews over on Instagram!
My blog is picking up with regular posting and gaining meaningful readership each month. I write about my business, family, inspirations and intentions as I approach and experience motherhood. Yea! I still love blogging so much, and am grateful for the friends and connections I've made through writing. Ultimately, this is a perfect space to express myself and share more about my little life.
I have found a way to generate income while working from home in some capacity. This could be through calligraphy, floral design, or another extension of Occasions. Working creatively with my hands has been rewarding and helped me define where I want my business to go in the future. I've developed a business plan and am so satisfied with where I'm at. I went above and beyond the expectations of my clients and this only deepened my sense of gratitude for amazing clients. This was an intentionally "slow" year for me, but I was still able to produce a photo shoot that I'm proud of and grow Occasions behind the scenes. I am ready for 2014! My oh my! 2013 was incredible. I changed my business name to Sincerely, Ginger Weddings & Events to truly reflect the core of my heart & business. I knocked out 2 amazing weddings and 2 editorial shoots that I'm very proud of, and have 10 weddings booked for 2014. I've generated enough income for the year and can be at home with Rowan. (I want to stress how much I did not think this was going to happen. Put your biggest dreams out there, you will be blown away.)
During pregnancy, I made the best use of my time. I gained a "normal" amount of weight and ate healthily and exercised throughout. We eat a balanced diet and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. After I gave birth I continued to focus on my health and wellness as I easily achieved my pre-pregnancy weight. Yes! I gained a little more than ideal, but after Rowan was born I started slowly exercising and eating well. I joined the Postnatal Project and have been cooking at home much more. Not to my pre-pregnancy weight yet, but I'm trying to be patient.
I designed baby's nursery on a budget and we love the way it looks! It is organized and simple, perfect for nursing, changing, and letting baby sleep. We took tons of photos this year! We printed them out and even framed some! I love Rowan's room! It's organized, easy to clean, and perfectly neutral. I printed about 400 photos this year, and indeed, put a few in frames. Hoping to continue this next year!
During my maternity leave, I learned to maintain the house and clean regularly. We have "systems" and organization in each area of our home. It makes cleaning and finding things a breeze! Isaiah and I feel like our responsibilities are divided equitably and fairly. As I write this, Isaiah is folding laundry (good sign, right?). I did pretty well this summer, we are sharing responsibilities. This year we are focusing even more on streamlining our home so this is natural.
I strengthened my relationships with Brittany, Callie, Natalie and Bk this year. I made an effort to remember birthdays and call more often. Friendship took a new role in my life. I was able to balance relationships with my oldest, greatest friends with some new ones too. I'm working on building up "my team" of supporters, and in turn I am more fully present with others. Some relationships didn't grow the way I imagined they would, but that only left room for lots of new friends. I am so grateful for my new girlfriends and industry friends. I honestly have like 4 coffee dates a week. I love that!
This year I read more and watched less television. It was a good example for baby and great for my brain. I read a mixture of fiction and non-fiction that included baby books, business development and cookbooks- some fiction too. We also read to our little babe almost every night. Could've been better about this. I know part of it is our new TV, and nursing. It's so easy to watch TV a lot when you have a newborn who just wants to sleep in your arms. We did read a lot, but we watched more TV. I do read to Rowan daily!
I felt beautiful this year. Pregnancy was healthy and I took care of myself. During pregnancy I practiced yoga and walked outside regularly. Afterwards I hit the gym harder and got back into running at a comfortable pace. Even through early motherhood, I made myself feel great by taking relaxing baths, and made "getting ready" in the morning a priority. I am grateful for an uneventful and healthy pregnancy. We walked a lot this summer, and now I'm just starting to get back into vigorous exercise.
We were very picky about how we spent our time. When given the chance to travel, we focused on visiting family and friends. During that time it was relaxing and stress-free. Lots of time outdoors, at the beach, eating together. It was lovely. I was so happy to make more trips downstate this year, to see Isaiah's parents and grandparents. We also went to Minnesota as a family, and Rowan and I took a separate trip to see my parents. It truly was lovely, and something I hope to do each year!
Above all, I showed Isaiah how much I love him, and I put family first. Together we lead a household with a foundation of love. Our marriage serves to show our son what's really important, because we focus on living out those intentions daily. We supported each others goals wholeheartedly and went after what we wanted fiercely. We are learning to dream bigger. If you read my 2015 letter yesterday, you might recognize this little passage. I didn't add it to my 2015 letter because we didn't do this last year, but because we DID and it was AMAZING. I love this mission. I love our marriage. I want to continue focusing on our intentions, supporting each other, and showing love.