Thursday, December 31, 2015

2016 Goals & January Goals

I knew that my goals for 2016 were going to be different. In the obvious way that we will bring home our sweet baby this year, but also because I wanted to make some serious stuff happen.

Then these showed up on my doorstep, thank you AMAZING Lara Casey Shop & Team!!!


I added the shoes for the photo. :) I am so grateful for the opportunity that I've had to really dig into the Lara Casey power sheets. You may think.. how the stink could I fill a whole book full of stuff about goals? The power sheets are created so intentionally to help you self evaluate from an honest and deep place. I had the added bonus of getting to have a lengthy FaceTime date with my online bestie Nicole, to talk through the process and our goals. I can't recommend these two things highly enough- power sheets are so worth the investment, and community really helps things get worked through, and hopefully done! I could never have gotten to my goals, and to the ways I'm going to execute them, without this combination.

It was really cool for Nicole and I to realize that at the end of the day, as followers of Jesus, our goals should be the same. They were all "different" but pointed to the same overall goal. While we were talking I found myself suggesting things to Nicole that were actually about my goals- ha!

2016 Goals: 

Below I've listed my 7 goals for the year. I'm obviously going to continue to focus on other things outside of these, but they're things I want to accomplish this year. In italics are some of the action steps I will complete to work towards these goals. Some are small (ex: make a bucket list) and some are HUGE (ex: buy an investment property).. I'm praying that the Lord will bless these, or change my path if it is what He has planned! 

1. Intentionally parent from the very start.

Read Moms On Call & Babywise, maintain sweet friendships and a strong marriage as a priority in this new season, reach out to moms I admire and respect to visit about the journey ahead

2. I want to reach out to 52 old friends this year.

Make a list of 52 people, divide that list into months, go go go!

3. Create a legacy of faith and sweet memories for our family.

make a list of fun bucket list items for the year ahead, plan for + schedule professional photos, work on Sweet Baby Strader's Emily Ley baby book, continue making yearly photo books

4. Save Money & accumulate less clutter.

Rework our 2016 budget, declutter all areas in January, identify what things need a "home" and what things need to be purged, purchase an investment property.

5. Cultivate Prayer.

Create a list of specific prayers we have for Sweet Baby Strader for Ben and I to pour over + share with friends and family, do a month of prayer for our marriage (from some kind of guideline), pray in the car with no radio or podcasts 

6. Be strong & healthy, and create that environment for our family.

Create a list of new, healthy recipes to try in the new year (share on the blog!), fight to do some kind of activity 3-4 times a week throughout the rest of pregnancy.. fight the sickness, more meals at home

7. Establish a morning routine.

Make a list of what is important for me to accomplish each morning, etc. 

And, my monthly goals. These kind of go with my big yearly goals, but sometimes will be independent. This month is pretty "year prep" heavy. :)

But first, my goals from last month.

December Goals: 

mail out our Christmas cards + party invitations
host a scarf party for the rest of our home group with my bestie Polly this just wasn't meant to be :) 
Have several big crafting sessions with my kind friends to make gender reveal decorations
finalize all party details by the middle of the month: order cakes, chat with relatives about making their signature dishes, check in with photographer, choose outfits for Ben and I, etc. Can you tell I'm excited about this party? :) 
Go on a special Christmas date with Ben, I've got my eye on the Dallas Arboretum I've still stayed pretty sick & tired through the second trimester.. we close to opt for making a palette in the living room under the tree and watching the holiday this year. :) 
Attend a Phil Wickham, Shane & Shane Christmas worship concert with Ben and my in laws 
two doctors visits this month- one on the 3rd, and our GENDER SONOGRAM on New Year's Eve
share our Christmas Home Tour  you can find that here 
bake a new Christmas sweet treat recipe 
bake Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls for us, friends, & family


January Goals
This looks like so much.. but it's really not! Haha!

host our gender reveal party on the 2nd to celebrate the life of our Sweet Baby Strader 
Make my list of 52 people I want to reach out to this year 
Begin reading Babywise
Have a date night with Ben where we make our bucket list & rework our budget
Schedule our maternity photos for March with Dyan Kethely 
Make a list of prayers for Sweet Baby Strader 
Purchase nursery bedding 
Work on picking a scripture that we want to display in the nursery 
Declutter all areas
Register for birth class + nursing class at our hospital (how is it possibly time to think about this?!)
Take our stockings to get monogrammed (gotta be ready for next year.. one less thing to do in the fall!)
Register for #SweetBabyStrader, go on a date night to actually look at strollers and carseats 

What do y'all have planned for January & this brand new year ahead? 


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

Recently I've been really enjoying taking part in some new linkups. It's helped me find a few new blogs to read. :) But.. sure enough, today isn't the right day. But whatever. Enjoy it anyways! :) 



What we're eating this week...
It's our anniversary week so we had a fun dinner out last night to celebrate. :) We're having another special dining experience tomorrow at PF Chang's after our gender sonogram.

What I'm reminiscing about...
This week three years ago we were getting married and honeymooning in Charleston!



Wedding photos by Caroline Joy photography
What I'm loving...
Taking down our Christmas decorations- haha! Having everything clean and without any major seasonal decor is making me so happy this week! Below is a terrible quality iPhone photo of our sitting room.. all clean and happy! One of our Christmas gifts is also shown.. the ottoman is a new toy box to keep some of the inevitable baby clutter headed our way stored away!


What we've been up to...
It's been so incredibly nice having Ben off of work for two whole glorious weeks. He's been doing a ton of hunting which he loves, and we've been doing lots of cooking at home, lots of holiday/anniversary/baby celebrating, and getting ready for our big party this weekend!

What I'm dreading...
Honestly not really dreading anything, haha! But Ben going back to school will be hard after having him home so much. AND next weekend he's going skiing with his dad and brother for 5 days so I'll be a lonely gal. Well. I'll be as lonely as a gal can be knowing her baby's gender and being on etsy for hours.. ha!

What I'm working on...
Y'all are going to be so relieved when my gender reveal party is over with and I have other things to talk about. :) Haha!! But this week is crunch time for party planning! The majority of the decor is already made, I need to figure out our fun little way for people to vote on their guess, get prizes, and pick up a few more last minute things. We are so excited to have everyone we love in our home.. and the weather is looking awesome. Partly cloudy and 55! YAY!

What I'm excited about...
GENDER SONOGRAM TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!! It is going to be so fun for Ben and I to be the only people who know for a few days. :)

What I'm watching/reading...
Fixer Upper & Pioneer Woman marathons on repeat! The holiday plus my love for sleep during this pregnancy mean lots of logged couch time

What I'm listening to...
the sound of the washing machine and the dishwasher running.. I love you, productivity!

What I'm wearing...
Luluemon wonder under leggings (my same pair I've had for years) on repeat. The high waist is awesome and comfy for this baby belly. I also purchased a "blardigan" and am obsessed. It is so cozy and worth it!

What I'm doing this weekend...
YAY for finally hosting our Gender Reveal Party on Saturday. I'll start the day at my first ever Drybar appointment with my besties, and then we'll pick up some last minute goodies, and do last minute prep to set up for the party at 4. I'm hoping to announce on social media shortly after the reveal at 4:30.. so follow me on instagram to be the first to know- @victoriastrader.

What I'm looking forward to next month...
Being able to think about our baby by name (hopefully we'll decide on a boy name soon!) & work on decorating the nursery.

What else is new...
Once we finish up our current stock of cleaning supplies (wet mop pads, dishwasher tablets, detergent, etc.) I'm thinking about signing up to do the Honest company bundles. We've been using Honest's multipurpose spray & dryer sheets and love them.. and I'm wondering if the bundle would be a great way to simplify when baby comes. Has anyone else done this or thought about it? For 5 things it's $35 "a month".. you can delay your shipping to when you need new things. This seems reasonable. I'd love to hear from you if you've done this! I just love ordering practical home things online... getting them delivered and not worrying about remembering to get them at the store is just awesome.

PS I really am sorry for mostly talking about pregnancy related things if that's not interesting to you.. More than ever this week is kind of centered around our changes ahead! :) 


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 Recap: Part One

I can't believe it's time to recap the year.. Yikes! First, let me say Happy Anniversary to my sweet husband. We celebrate three years of marriage today. :) 

January:


At the beginning of the month, we had our home group's Baby Dedication. It was so fun to celebrate all of the sweet little lives in our community! 


Our dining room had some fun changes.. a new chandelier & gallery wall! 


After a full year of no french fries, I indulged at Chick Fil A. I think I ate them maybe one more time in 2015 that wasn't in my crazy nauseous, first trimester of pregnancy, haha! 


Our great friend Collin came to visit from Nashville!


We completed our bathroom renovation! We are still so pleased with all the colors and fixtures we chose. 



Kassidy & I (along with a few other ladies) hosted a baby shower for our sweet friend Katy's little boy. 

Favorite Posts:
A Healthier Life

February:


We enjoyed a fun family trip to the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo! It was our niece's first trip!



Ben & I enjoyed a sweet Valentine's Day weekend trip to New York City. We just love traveling together! 


We practiced shooting out at the farm with some close friends. Ben thought this attire was appropriate. :) This same day I got the honor of teaching to a group of high school girls at the FBC Paradise Disciple Now. 


It wouldn't be a Texas winter without some snow/ice days! We spent one of them at Ben's parent's house playing Monopoly. 



Real snowflakes falling in Texas!



The ice spoiled Ben's goal of running a full marathon. Half of the course was iced over, so they only offered the half. He went ahead and ran the half.. and I think we've now decided that the marathon isn't a great idea for his tired knees. Just wasn't meant to be! :) 


We enjoyed a fun fellowship with our home group at Top Golf. We love these people!

Favorite Posts:
Friday No. One
New York, New York 

March:


We took a fun day trip to Austin to meet our friends at Southern Weddings & model for the Texas Sweethearts shoot. 



I realized that I didn't blog about this.. but back in high school I told one of our good friends that I knew for sure his first born child would be a boy. I've always had strong gut feelings about genders in the past.. except for ours! Haha! :) We signed a contract (complete with a witness- who had a sweet baby girl in the Spring of the year, too!) to make this bet official. I got my $25 and Aaron + Sarita brought home their sweet baby boy in August! Haha!

Favorite Posts:
Bathroom Renovation- Complete!

April:



We celebrated a rainy Easter. The dress I wore is such a favorite!


We got chickens and kept them in our backyard until we left for Italy. It's crazy that until I found some photos I forgot this happened. Ben would let them out of their coop for a few hours each day and let them roam our yard... haha! 



We traveled to Oklahoma to celebrate the engagement of our dear friends Kristen and Micah! 


We celebrated the end of our first Bachelor bracket with a cookie cake!


I got sucked into the absolute mayhem of Lilly for Target. Ridiculous! Haha. :) I only ended up liking one item, and it was overall just a huge waste of time. Yikes! I'll stick with my great quality real Lilly splurges on occasion! I actually just got a gift card for Christmas! Thank you brother in law!


We had a family reunion down on the Ragsdale slab.. and dressed alike. :)

Favorite Posts:
Oklahoma Weekend

May:


This photo is absolutely awful, but celebrates the sweet day we met our newest cousin, Ashlyn! 

We celebrated the 30th birthday of our friend & home group leader Chris at his awesome 20's themed  casino party. Seriously SUCH a fun event!
On kind of a whim, we booked a trip to Italy for the next month! 

I modeled in the Fort Worth Anthropologie's spring fashion show. Got a stellar discount as a thank you! :) 


Our cherry tree produced some fruit! :) 

We cheered on Liz as she graduated with her masters!


We braved a muddy, rainy day with Susannah and attended the Colonial golf tournament. 


We soaked up some last bits of Texas before a month of travel by picking blackberries at Ben's parent's house!


Meanwhile, our garden did quite well too! Beautiful hydrangeas and a less than impressed bulldog. :) 


I got to visit with two out of town besties.. and later that afternoon we celebrated our Aunt Cathy's retirement from teaching!


Our home group had a murder mystery dinner.. and we all had to dress in costume. This was such a blast and we can't wait for the next one!

Favorite Posts:
Things I would Keep & Change about Our Wedding
Planning Kristen's Bridal Shower

June:


We traveled to Commanche, Texas for Ben, his dad, and his brother Zac to order some custom boots.


We celebrated Ben's last day of school with friends and food trucks!


I took a day trip to Oklahoma with Susan to celebrate Kristen's bridal shower.. and for her to say yes to the dress! 


We started Family Sundays with our amazing friends.. and practiced using our selfie stick!










We spent 17 beautiful days exploring our new favorite county, Italy. I truly cannot express how much we loved this place. The people, the food, the culture.. amazing!



Upon returning to the US.. We hosted Kristen's fiesta themed bridal shower! 

Also incredibly notable is that June was the month where our first baby was conceived. We lost our precious one at the beginning of the next month, but are so grateful for that sweet little life. They are so loved. All of the smiles in the photos from June celebrate the joy of that life. (read more about our story, here.)

Favorite Posts:
Thoughts on Friendship
Savannah Travel Guide Guest Post from Sarah
Rome 

Coming soon... the rest of the year! :)