As 2016 draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on everything that has happened and surprisingly, everything that I've managed to accomplish. Many days this year were little more than a struggle through sleep deprivation. If I could make it to bedtime without bursting into tears, I considered the day a success. Other days felt like I was totally winning at life. Happy baby. Crocheting. Even pattern writing and filming and editing classes to publish. Needless to say, it's been a bit of a roller coaster ride! But all in all, I'd have to say it's been a pretty darn good year. Maybe the best yet, in fact.
Let's take a look.
It all started in January. With a bang! Or with lots of noise anyhow. Carson James made his appearance early on a Thursday morning. Weighing in at 7 lbs 2 oz and measuring 20..5" long, he instantly changed my whole world. Some days it still doesn't feel real! But when I think back about that day, it was pretty amazing. And I'm so glad I took the time to write down my birth story then, when the memories were still vivid and raw, before they became muddled with time and sleep. Or the lack thereof...
The next few months of course were almost completely devoted to the new baby. It was exhausting and scary and overwhelming and messy and emotional and frustrating. And then he'd be asleep in my arms and I'd wish I could just hold him like that forever. <3 Of course, then I'd have to pee. Or my arm would fall asleep. Or I'd get a leg cramp. Or oh my god I forgot about the charley horses in my arms! That damn football hold just about did me in. Whew. So glad I got past that! I'd definitely have to say that learning how to breastfeed was an accomplishment. I knew it wouldn't be a cakewalk, but I didn't have any idea just how much of a challenge it would be and how much commitment it would require. In the beginning I would literally spend eight hours of my day feeding my baby. It was literally like a full time job! But we eventually got it all sorted out and he is now a very healthy and happy little boy, for which I am indescribably thankful.
As summer approached, the end of my husband's command and a move across country loomed. But before we left, I was able to return to teach a few more crochet classes at Michaels and some of my wonderful students helped me found a crochet guild chapter to keep our get togethers going! I've been talking about starting a local chapter every time we've moved, but I was delighted to actually be able to do it in Texas. I miss those ladies dearly!
In June it was time to move. Cat, dog, baby, and many, many boxes of yarn slowly made their way from Texas to Virginia. We took five days driving, with a stop to visit my family in Arkansas along the way. With a six month old, it was quite the road trip! But we all survived it and despite some difficulties getting our household goods, we finally started to get settled into our new place by the end of July. Williamsburg is definitely a change of pace for me, but I like it! We can walk to get groceries, to the movies, to trails through the woods, and we even take the little guy out with us to dinner a couple times a month. It's fun. We still haven't figured out what to do with all of our STUFF yet... but we're getting there.
Before we packed everything up, though, I decided to try filming another class for Skillshare. Husband took the baby out, I put on some makeup and did my hair, and a few hours later, just as I was trying to decide if I wanted to do one last take, I saw the neighbor walking the dog back to our house across the front lawn (she'd escaped under the fence in the back into their backyard). Not long after that the baby was back, too, so I reckon the timing worked out pretty well. I was satisfied enough.
Unfortunately, editing my footage was just too much of a challenge at that time. I didn't get back to it until October. But once I finally committed to a program and invested in it, it was actually much easier than I had feared! It's amazing what the right tools will do, huh? So after five months of procrastination, I finally learned enough to edit my zillion video clips into 25 minutes of instruction on how to make this scarf. I was pretty excited!
And that's when the creative floodgate opened. The baby had started taking naps in his crib, which was huge. I was able to crochet regularly again, which was so good for me. And suddenly I was designing again. I was planning again. I had goals again. So I ran with it. Well, there have been spurts of running, ha ha. There have been setbacks, but my passion for my craft has never been stronger and I am so excited about what 2017 may bring!
I'm getting a bit ahead of myself, though! I published three new patterns this year (Simple Textures Scarf, Gemma Blanket, and Persiennes Scarf) and saw a huge surge in downloads on one of my designs from 2015 (Chameleon Scarf) because of the Caron Cakes trend. I changed the way I offer my patterns up a bit, with some of them being available for free only on my website and I have seen a significant uptick in my website traffic as well as an astounding increase in pattern sales, which is super exciting to see!
I also took the plunge and set up my own YouTube Channel, which was kind of anticlimactic in all honesty! Of course, right now I only have my two Skillshare classes' intro videos posted there, but I've filmed my first crochet tutorial and I'm ready to dip my toe in that little pond as well. I was always hesitant to do tutorials because there are already so many great ones out there, but I took my camera outside for my first one and I'm kinda digging it!
So yeah, I've got lots of plans for this next year. But hey, I have almost survived the first year of parenthood, which is kind of making me feel like I can do anything! The baby may still stink at sleeping but some day he'll let me sleep for six hours straight and it'll be amazing. Maybe he'll even do it two days in a row! Until then I'll just keep squeezing in what accomplishments I can here and there, remembering that even if I feel like an overwhelmed, caffeine craving, sleep deprived zombie mommy one day, the next day I might feel like I'm on top of the world.
Here's to an even better year to come. Cheers!