Happy New Year! Before we settle in, today I’m sharing my 2021 Top 5 Moments from life, motherhood, and Caitlin Houston Blog.
At the end of every year I like to write a recap of our adventures from January to December. However newborn life is difficult, so I am only now sitting down to recap 2021 on the first day of the new year. I never thought it would be possible to top the events of 2020, but 2021 takes the cake. For a number of reasons, 2021 was our best year yet (as a family!).
Let’s take a peek at our 2021 Top 5 Moments
1. Remember that time we said WE ARE HAVING A BABY! ?
During the summer of 2020, Brandon and I decided we wanted to try to grow our family. It was a BIG decision to make, going backwards from a comfortable life as parents of two school aged girls to parents of a newborn. But ultimately the positives outweighed the negatives of having a third child. It took us a lot longer than we thought, with quite a few hiccups once we saw the positive test. But test results came back clear and in May 2021 we announced to the world we were expecting a third.
Before our big announcement, Brandon and I were invited on a mini baby moon to Spruce Point Inn in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. This trip was one of the best we have been on alone in years – it was filled with laughs, relaxation, and adventure in a new beautiful place.
2. The Birth of Arbor Brynley Houston
If you asked me to predict whether or not we would have a baby on New Years Day of 2022, I would have told you, “No.” Our desire to have a third was high on our list of new year hopes and dreams. Arbor Brynley Houston was born on December 6, 2021 at 8:34pm, weighing 8lbs 13 oz and measuring 20 1/4 inches long. Today she naps quietly on Brandon’s chest while I finish this post and I can’t help but stare at her sweet chubby cheeks. I’m still in shock we have a third little girl!
Want to read her birth story? Stay tuned this week when I finally hit publish on her story.
3. Recognizing Mental Health is a necessary piece of my every day life that needs to be nourished.
This acknowledgement, prioritizing my mental health, is one of my top moments of 2021. Despite the baby blues and newborn fog I’m currently floating in, I am in a much better place today than I have been in a very long time. Weekly therapy changed my life for a number of reasons. It teaches me how to stay grounded in the hardest times (especially when our family experienced the sudden loss of a very important person in February). Therapy has taught me to take time to respond instead of reacting in a moment too. There is much to be learned in 2022 – but I can confidently call 2021 the year I really started caring about my mental health.
4. My third top moment is two-part: In 2021 I hit a personal goal for CHB and accepted a part time job in our town.
Over the last few years CHB has been a small source of income for our family. However, my health and the pandemic affected my personal business during 2020. Thankfully, in 2021 I was able to revive CHB AND take on a part time job as an Executive Assistant Director for a non-profit. I also started contributing as a Lifestyle Freelance journalist for our local newspaper! Now, for the first time since I was an elementary school teacher, I feel like I’m making a substantial financial contribution to our family.
5. Learning to let go, to feel it all, and to be present in every moment during 2021.
I’ve always been good at hiding my true feelings during tough times in other ways – like angry cleaning the playroom or organizing a linen closet. While camouflaging anxiety and stress may seem like a great way to avoid confrontation, it’s a pretty terrible way to live. Once I started letting go of my need to control my emotions and FEELING whatever I’m feeling, I’ve noticed a huge improvement in my relationships with loved ones. I’ve also felt a deeper connection to life as I can be present in a moment (instead of floating above it). I’m still working on my personal growth as it’s a never ending journey – but I consider 2021 my best attempt at being my best self yet.
Looking back before I look forward…
I really don’t like celebrating the end of a year – saying goodbye to 12 months with champagne and confetti isn’t appealing. Instead I prefer to look back on the happy moments in reverence and gratitude for all I have learned and accomplished (even if it’s primarily personal growth). Life is a gift – even if some parts are messy and wrapped in ugly paper, I’m thankful to be able to experience it all.