Lessons from 2023

2023 was a big year for our family. A few things stand out including hosting two exchange students, being laid off, and educating myself on ADHD more than ever before. 

We weren't planning on hosting at the beginning of 2023 but in January a student needed a new host family and we volunteered. Vivien was from Germany and was a great addition to the fam. She was very involved in church, and participated in swim, theatre and dance. She left in June and Whitney took it the hardest as she looked up to her as a big sis. We welcomed Lavinia from Italy in August and she just went home at the end of December. Both of our students slept in Whitney's room, but after a year of sharing a room with Walt I think they were both ready to have their own space. Alex and I learned that we really do enjoy having an international student living with our family, but it does come with sacrifices. When we traveled we needed an extra room, we tried to eat at home more to save $, and we had to be in constant communication with each other and our student to know their schedules because they didn't drive. I'm not sure when we'll host again, and maybe next time we'll get a boy. I know Turner would love that.

Being laid off wasn't in my vision board for 2023 but life happens. I was definitely caught off-guard and did not see it coming. I allowed myself to be sad for the day, but quickly moved on to think positively about the next opportunity. Alex panicked of course and cancelled almost every membership we had. It's amazing how it all worked out because a few months before I was laid off I had been going through coaching/therapy through work and I learned all about Fear vs. Love Based Thinking. I wrote an entire blog post about it here. That mindset and my faith really helped me not freak out. I was blessed with an amazing opportunity at my current company, AMD, and I am whole heartedly enjoying my role. The tech market is a wild ride right now, and I don't know what the future holds but I do know that whatever happens it will work out. 

Photos: Amy Wilborn | Location: Wish Well House

If you're new here you might not know one of my younger children was diagnosed with ADHD in 2022. 2023 was the most challenging year of parenting I've ever experienced. Many days and nights I felt hopeless and cried many tears not knowing what to do. We made major changes like eliminating all artificial fragrances from our home (RIP candles), changed the food we bought (no artificial dyes), and I spent hours and hours learning about ADHD. My child started occupational therapy, and I booked a pediatric psychiatrist appointment (finally meeting this January....it was a 6 month wait list). I learned my child needed less activities, less nights out and more 1x1 time. We've eliminated iPads at home and deleted YouTube off every TV. I have to practice patience daily and control myself so my child can have a positive view of self regulation. That in itself might be the greatest lesson of 2023 and one I'm still working on. I wrote a detailed blog post about our ADHD journey here

I love the start of a new year. A time to stop and reevaluate what is working and what is not. Years ago I set monthly goals, and I've decided to do the same this year. I have so many things I want to accomplish and setting monthly goals is much more attainable than setting lofty yearly goals. Stay tuned for a monthly goals blog post! 

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