January 11, 2017

Special thanks to Amanda (The Lady Okie) for the inspiration for this post, who got inspired by Erin.

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Married Life
2016: Married life was constantly changing. It was easy and it was hard. It was exciting and it was ordinary. When we lived in Connecticut, married life was easy because Nick and I spent a lot of time together. We were gym buddies, cooking buddies, and road trip buddies. We also were mentally preparing for the job that Nick has now in Hawaii. Knowing that we wouldn’t have a lot of time together, we went on as many dates as we could and spent as much time together as possible. We went to Vermont, Boston, New York City, Chicago, Yosemite, and Harry Potter World! We really filled up our marriage bucket and it made the world of difference once we got here.

Two moves across the ocean and dealing with the mold disaster was very stressful for us. I think it made us closer ultimately, but there were hard moments.  It seems like every aspect of our life had to change once we got to Hawaii, right down to our eating habits. It was confusing at first, but we figured it out, had some great times, and ended the year on a high note. I feel like we both can easily adapt to new situations which made this year a little easier on our marriage. Carving out time together for just the two of us was essential, too.

2017: We started out the year with a 3-day vacation. My parents and Nick’s mom gave us a two-nights at a resort and it was the best gift we ever could have gotten. The funny thing is that they didn’t even realize that they gave us each the same gift! We really needed that time together to reset. As far as the rest of the year goes, I think that military life has made us really cherish every second we have together. So I think that in a way, military life has helped our marriage become even stronger. I’ve learned that marriage really is work and I want to be able to put that work in this year, not be lazy. The military has some resources for married couples designed to help them strengthen their marriage and after 3 years of talking about it, I want us to finally take advantage of those this year.

Blog Life
2016: I changed my blog from The Two Year Honeymoon to Finding Ithaka. I’ve never loved blogging or my blog more. I feel like I have so much more room to grow, to write about things that are important to me, and to try out new things on here. I decided to stop worrying about spending hours pushing my blog, finding perfect hashtags and a million linkups, and just tried to grow my blog organically, as myself. But there were definitely weeks that went by with me not posting at all and I don’t want to make that a habit.

2017: I want to keep writing 2x/week. I might not have the biggest or most popular blog but I love writing and connecting with you on here. I’d love to make some money off this blog but I’m still not sure the best way to do it while remaining 100% myself.

Writer Life
2016: I felt like I was getting into my stride as a writer and making a lot of progress in Connecticut. Once we moved, I completely lost my routine and my energy for writing. We spent so much time looking for a place to live, waiting on our household goods, and then unpacking and setting up our house. And by we I mean me, since Nick hit the ground running with his new job as soon as we got here.

2017: Now that we are more settled, I’ve made writing a higher priority. I feel like I never have confidence in what I write. I feel like I always write what I think I should write because I’m afraid of offending people or afraid that people won’t like it. This year I need to learn to be less critical of myself and just go for it.

Military Spouse Life
2016: I was a military spouse hermit. I knew that things were going to get busy for Nick once we moved to our next place so I really wanted to focus on our marriage and build that up. Once we got here in Hawaii about mid-year I decided to get out there, make some new friends, and try to get involved in the military spouse community after 3 years of being a military spouse. It was scary because I am not very extroverted. But I’m so glad that I did because having friends around who get it, who can give you awesome advice because they are going through it or have already been through it, has made a world of difference.

 2017: I hope to get more involved in some of the military spouse activities so that I can meet more people and do some good things for the community here.

Social Life

2016: It made me feel so good that most of the people who visited us in Hawaii also visited us in Connecticut. Obviously, not everyone was able to do that, especially since we were only there for 6 months. But it made me feel really good to know that my friends will make time to visit me whether I live in Hawaii or Connecticut or the middle of nowhere. I was able to go to my hometown a lot, too, so I was able to see a lot of my old friends pretty much whenever I wanted.

2017: The hardest part of having military friends is saying goodbye. I’m not looking forward to saying goodbye to some people in Hawaii this year, but I am so thankful for the time I had with them. I’m also excited for some friends from home to visit.

Fit Life

2016: I felt like I was in the best shape of my life. Nick and I were in a great workout routine together that made me feel so strong and confident. But we lost our momentum when we moved. I started doing yoga but aside from that and the occasional hike, that’s all I did. I have really bad knees as a result of two surgeries I had when I was younger which makes a lot of workouts difficult for me, but I can’t let that be my excuse anymore.

2017: I want to get back to my old self. I made a workout schedule for us that Nick kind of knows about but is also kind of pretending he doesn’t know about. It’s January 11 and we haven’t done it yet, but that’s okay, I think we still can get back to it.

Family Life

2016: Nick and I got a lot of family time in. We spent Christmas with my family and rang in the new year by falling asleep around 9pm in my parents’ house, which was pretty awesome. When we lived in Connecticut, we were able to go to New York probably twice per month and we got in a couple of trips to California to see his family, too. I felt so grateful to have so much great quality time with everyone. What are the chances that we would be stationed just a few hours away from my parents for a little while?!

It’s pretty much impossible for Nick to take off of work, so I decided to make more trips home by myself whenever I can to see my family. I think that it’s important to try to maintain those relationships and it’s a lot easier for me to go home than for all of them to come here, rent a car, get hotels, etc. I have flown back and forth so much that I got a free flight, which I’m going to use in the spring, because why not?

Budget Life

2016: A hard year for our budget. We moved twice which was expensive and threw our budget off. Yes, the military pays for moves and gives you some money but we always end up spending more than we get. Whenever you move you end up getting rid of stuff you don’t need but then you always end up buying things to make your new place work. We never fully got the amount of money we believed we were owed from our insurance company from our disaster move. Thankfully, though, we were able to dip into our emergency fund to pay for what wasn’t covered.

2017: I think that it will be easier to manage our finances. We don’t have any moves scheduled and I have more of a handle on all of our accounts and budgets. I know that finances is a thing that can cause a lot of issues in a marriage, but the best way for us to avoid that is by having a budget that we create and talk about every single month. We use You Need a Budget (not an affiliate link, I just really love them), which I highly recommend.

What are your hopes for this year?
What do you do to strengthen your marriage when you feel like you have no time?

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Photo by Basia Ambroziak
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14 responses to “That’s Life. 2016 Reflections & Hopes for 2017.”

  1. I love this format! We have such similar lives in regards to our marriage-I honestly feel like Chris and I are able to survive intern year because during 4th year of med school (the end was very light work-wise) we did as much as possible together. There’s a lot to be said for filling up your marriage bucket!

    • Carolann says:

      We really do! I think it’s one of the many reasons why I feel drawn to your blog. Even though our husbands work a lot, I think that we can still have great marriages. It might take a little but more work but I do think that we appreciate them in ways we couldn’t have otherwise.

  2. 2016 was a tough year for us, so I’m looking forward to 2017 being less stressful and full of special times together as we make the most of time with just the two of us before we have kids.

    • Carolann says:

      I hope that your 2017 turns out to be better than your 2016. We’re not planning to have kids for a few years, but we are also trying to do the same. We want kids, but first we want to enjoy our time together as a family of 2 for a while.

  3. Audrey says:

    Great reflections. Obviously I’m a fan of your blog so I’m looking forward to the things you write this year!
    I thought your parents went in together on the resort- Too funny that they thought of it separately!!
    Good luck with the fit category. I’m terrible about working out.
    Sounds like 2017 is going to be a great year for you guys!!

    • Carolann says:

      I love that they knew it’s what we really needed. We’ve been to that resort a couple of times whenever we need a quick getaway and it’s just so awesome. And thank you so much for the compliments!!! Looking forward to following along your 2017 adventures too!

  4. I think a gift of a few nights in a resort is such a great idea! I might suggest that to my parents for next Christmas/birthdays. Love it! It sounds like this year will be one where you settle a bit and tackle some fit, financial, etc., goals for the year. Exciting! I hope 2017 is a great one for you guys, with wayyyyy less mold 🙂

    • Carolann says:

      It was such a great gift. It was probably the best gift we’ve ever got. We haven’t been able to spend a lot of time together lately and it was really great for us. I made sure to tell our parents just how much I appreciated it and I definitely think you should ask for it for your birthday/Christmas! I would ask or it again. I’m excited for things to settle down in 2017 after a year of too much craziness. Here’s to 2017!

  5. This is such a great idea to see how you did during 2016 and then to see what you expect from yourself in the coming year. I’ve loved getting to know you through your blog over the last year, and I always look forward to reading your posts! Some of our closest friends are in the Air Force, and we’ve managed to visit them everywhere that they’ve been stationed. While some of the locations don’t seem like they could be fun (Minot, North Dakota), we just love being able to visit them and find out some random things about the place that they’re calling home! I hope that 2017 is fantastic for you!

    • Carolann says:

      I am so glad that we became blog friends this year! I love reading your blog and you are just so sweet and fun. You are an awesome friend to visit them everywhere they’ve been stationed. Plus, you get to see different places that you normally wouldn’t get to go. I think that’s one reason why people loved coming to Hawaii and even to Connecticut, plus we all get to spend time together! No matter where you live there are always hidden gems to find. Here’s to more traveling for both of us in 2017!

  6. Jen says:

    I love this! I am so glad that you are getting more comfortable where you are and are getting involved!

    • Carolann says:

      Thank you Jen! That’s been one of the hardest things for me, getting out there and finding new friends and new things to do. I’m such an introvert but I’m learning that it’s so much better once you just get over that initial fear.

  7. Personally I love your writing so please keep on exactly the same! I just wrote about how I don’t want to monetise, because I know I’m not smart enough to do it in a way that doesn’t annoy everyone (myself included).

    Oh and I’m super into budgeting with our upcoming move. I think, like you said, it’ll end up costing a lot more than it should but I’m very keen to watch the pennies. Going to check out YNAB…

    • Carolann says:

      Thank you so much!! I really appreciate that. I agree with you about the monetizing. I would love to make some extra money but I don’t think that I could do it in a way that I would still love to blog. Or people would just stop reading. I totally understand when people want or need to make money off of their blog but sometimes people do it in a way that just really puts me off. I would love to use my blog to get some opportunities to write for other places. I feel like you learn a lot of useful skills through blogging and you are constantly practicing your writing, so maybe I could try to do something away from the blog with that?!

      Moving is so expensive! Have you decided what you’re going to do about all your stuff? Luckily for us the military will move all of our furniture and everything we own so as long as we are under a certain weight that is free for us. I have no idea how much it costs to move stuff that far but I’m sure it’s a lot.

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