And we're back! Woo-hoo! I love the new year. Although I love reflection and rejuvenation throughout the year, it feels so refreshing at the start of the year.
Our two-week break was split into two components. The first week we traveled to Florida to see my family (Tampa area), and then the second week we returned to Austin and spent time with Matt's family who flew in from Bloomington (his parents) and San Francisco (his youngest brother). His middle brother already lives in Austin (and works for an awesome company called Favor).
This post is specifically about the first half of our break. Matt and I were so fortunate to receive an overnight date night from my parents and my aunt. We got to head out in the afternoon and return around 1pm the following day. Heavenly! We haven't had that kind of time together since Henry was about 1.5 years-old and Matt's parents watched him while we took a weekend trip to Michigan (which was amazing, but it was also the start of my miscarriage, so it was simultaneously difficult).
Anyway, it was so fun to have uninterrupted time to just talk to each other. We went out to dinner, watched a movie (Wild with Reece Witherspoon--I also read the book, which I recommend), got ice-cream, walked on the beach, and just hung out together.
During dinner, I asked Matt what his hopes were for the new year. Most of his hopes had to do with us restoring some balance in our lives, since my crazy job has put our whole family and life into a tailspin. Fortunately, his goal for balance is aligned with my own goals, and I'm optimistic that the second half of my first year at this job will be slightly easier than the first half (did I just jinx myself?).
Part of what he hoped for was more downtime together. My goal is to reduce the work that I'm doing each evening after the boys go to bed from 3-4 hours to one hour. That will leave me with about two hours of free time each night. Matt hopes that we'll use some of that time to watch movies together and play more games. When we first started dating, we played Scrabble or Boggle nearly every night!
Another goal we set for ourselves as a family was to reevaluate the breakdown of our chores. I'll write all about it in another post!
We also set a goal to submit pictures of our house to Dwell Magazine to see if they are interested in featuring it. It's a little embarrassing to admit that goal, since it sounds so vain, but it's more related to showcasing that modern design can be affordable. The total price of our house (land + construction) cost about the same as purchasing a renovated 1960s home in our neighborhood.
Another one of our goals connects to a Christmas present I gave Matt. I gave him this tripod for the iPhone (which he combines with this clicker that my mom gave him), and I also gave him a year of dates. We're committing to going on a date at least once a month. It's so important to carve out that time together, and we've been terrible about it so far.
I'd also like to build more service into our lives. I signed up to receive updates from Little Helping Hands, which is a non-profit organization in Austin that helps families with young children connect with volunteering opportunities.
And we also want to be intentional about inviting people over more regularly. At the beginning of every month, I want to sit down, look at the calendar, and extend an invitation to someone. Of course we'll still spontaneously hang out with people, but it's crazy how quickly a month can go by without us making any attempts to connect with people. Our time as a family already feels so limited, and it can be easy just to retreat inward (especially because Matt and I are both introverts).
I get a little overwhelmed when I read over this list because it contains several items, but I actually think they'll be quite manageable as long as we return to them each month and keep them at the forefront of our lives.
I'm looking forward to it!