As we close out the first month of 2016, and Farmer J and I get ready to close one chapter of our lives and open a new one in the next 5 weeks with the birth of our first child, I am put in a very reflective mood.
We accomplished a lot this year (although admittedly not everything I had originally set my sights on).
- We started the journey toward parenthood. The day after my 29th birthday, our suspicions were confirmed. There indeed was a Baby H. After a somewhat rough first trimester, I managed to finish 2015 in good physical and mental shape while preparing for baby (despite the increasing forgetfulness, anxiety, and lack of mobility). Life hasn’t changed too dramatically with pregnancy (except my wine bill certainly decreased), but I know those changes are looming on the horizon.
- We bought a farm. We bought a piece of the world that we hope to have in our family a long time. Farmer J poured his sweat equity into the property so it can generate an income for us in the future. We also managed to have some fun enjoying our piece of land together through summer walks, picnics, night time star gazing, and winter snowshoeing adventures.
- I got a promotion. I “leaned in” at work and went for that promotion I thought I was ready for. Turns out, someone higher up thought I was ready too. The timing wasn’t awesome, as I was about 8-10 weeks pregnant at the time, but I couldn’t let the fact that I was with child put my career in a holding pattern. I started to build a team that is launching at nearly the same time Baby H. is set to arrive. I joke about not really wanting to leave either baby behind . . . but it’s true.
- We got off the farm. Last year around this time we were preparing to go to Greece for what we both knew was our official last BIG excursion before we would earnestly try to start our family (honestly, I didn’t think it would happen only a few months after we returned!) There were other smaller scale adventures we enjoyed too: Chicago, Kansas City, Minneapolis, and Orlando to name a few.
- Farmer J was smart. In 2014, it was easy to be in the cattle business. It was easy to make money because the price of beef was skyrocketing. 2015 saw those prices come back down to reality. Farmer J is a good risk manager, and while we didn’t make a lot (or anything) on our cattle this year, we didn’t lose our shorts either. It creates stress when business is tough, but I give all the credit in the world Farmer J for knowing how to manage risk!
Looking forward to 2016, this promises to be the most interesting and probably challenging year of our lives. Life will change forever and we know that. Because of that, I am not going to make too many goals, but if I am going to make one primary goal, it is to survive. Beyond that, I do want to continue building upon the things that we accomplished in 2015.
- Be decent parents. We won’t be perfect, but I do have a goal of decency. I am quite sure neither of us has the foggiest clue what we are getting ourselves into, but I do know that Farmer J has never let me down when it comes to an adventure and this one is going to be our biggest yet!
- Take care of our land. I know Farmer J has some big plans for our little piece of the world from the business side. This will include even more fence being built in 2016 and establishing some rotational grazing practices. In addition, we want to continue to enjoy our little nature preserve by perhaps adding a small cabin where we could have family camp outs and gatherings. We want to treat our land with high respect and we’d like to envision our great-grandchildren taking care of it someday just as we are taking care of land Farmer J’s grandfather worked for generations ago.
- I still want to work. I will soon find out the challenges that working mothers face. I am anticipating guilt and an overwhelming amount of personal and professional duties. I am excited about my challenging year of work ahead, but also scared beyond belief of failure either in my new professional role or as a mother . . . or worse, both. I know I was ready for this job in the state in which my life previously existed, but what about my new life? Can I balance it?
- We still want to get off the farm. We probably won’t be going to Europe this year, but I also don’t want to use my child as an excuse not to leave my house. We want our child to become accustom to travel, and we want that to be part of our family life. I don’t necessarily want to go too far from home, but the sooner we start practicing getting off the farm, the better!
- We still want to be smart, or even smarter. Agriculture is experiencing a slow-down with lower commodity. The industry is much different than just a few years ago, and lifestyles will change for many. In the past, we have been smart about our financials. We try to only spend what we have and try to find new and creative ways to generate income. We want to continue this in the future as our expenses grow (thanks kid!) We want to have the data in the information to get better in our business and not necessarily bigger.
One goal you won’t find on this list is being a regular writer. With all the changes in my life, something is going to give. Because we still want to give 100% to our child, our careers, our family, and our friends, blogging regularly might not make my to-do list often. Instead, I have taken some of my time to begin writing a journal for my child (the old fashioned way in pen and paper). This doesn’t mean I intend to be completely absent forever. There will be stories to share, you may just have to exercise patience. I will also have to exercise patience as I figure out what exactly life in 2016 looks like . . . it will certainly be “A Whole New World.” I let you know if I figure it out by the end of the year :-).