2013 has been an interesting year to say the least! I spent much of the year in “we could move at any time” mode. My husband was in the process of getting medically retired from the Army. We expected it to be over in March. Long story short, we moved at the end of September! The problem with the “we could move at any time” mentality is that I put off a lot of things with the thought that “we’ll be moving soon.” I didn’t join activities, groups, etc., and I didn’t complete projects that I knew would have to be taken down or taken apart for the move. As the months went on I started to regret that decision, but I still didn’t know when we were moving, so I still just stayed in that mentality.
It definitely didn’t mean I didn’t do anything, though! 2013 was one of my busiest years!
One of the most exciting highlights of 2013 was joining the Schoolhouse Review Crew! It was a blessing in so many ways! I have met and become “virtual friends” with so many wonderful homeschooling moms and bloggers. Plus I got to review some amazing curriculum and share our experiences with you. I loved the feedback I got on products from parents that just needed to know more or how it would work for their family who may have a special needs child like ours. I have a heart for helping others, and I was so blessed by the feedback I received!
In 2013 I also focused on branching out and establish my voice in the homeschooling community, and it’s been a blessing to know I have helped others through my reviews and other homeschooling posts. Although homeschooling was always a topic I covered on Pea of Sweetness, it was really just a “part of our every day” subject, and I love that it’s become more of a focus. I’ve particularly felt called to share my heart and posts pertaining to Special Needs Homeschooling as well, which has also been a tremendous blessing!
In fact, Pea of Sweetness went through a lot of changes in 2013. Some of the changes were intentional, but others weren’t. I loved the direction I was taking, but as I continued to grow I got more and more offers for reviews and giveaways. I discovered I absolutely LOVE doing them. I really do. Closer to the end of the year, though, I felt like I strayed from my focus, though, which is why I opted to create Deals of Sweetness so I can still offer family-friendly and eco-friendly reviews and giveaways, and make sure those that are shared on Pea of Sweetness stay within the niches of homeschooling, homemaking, parenting, and natural/eco-friendly living (though many eco-friendly reviews and giveaways will migrate to Deals of Sweetness as well).
In reflecting upon why I strayed, though, the answer wasn’t solely because I got too busy or had too many products to review. The answer was I was hurting. 2013 was really, really hard for me, and I was trying to put on a brave face. Our “baby” was growing up (and we aren’t able to have anymore children), I didn’t have many friends and felt a disconnect with the military spouse community, and the stress of the “we could move at any time” mentality really was hard for me. I had some health issues that had gotten pretty bad as well and had multiple trips to the Emergency Room myself. My husband’s health problems were becoming more severe, and he was getting diagnosed with a new medical condition (as a result of the chemotherapy he had for his cancer treatment 3 years ago) almost every couple of months. It was overwhelming.
So I would come on here wanting to share inspiration, but I didn’t have any. I felt defeated. I wanted to share some wonderful parenting posts, but I didn’t know what to say because I was feeling so emotional about the fact that our youngest was moving on from what I had enjoyed sharing all along. I felt like I didn’t measure up to all the wonderful bloggers I had met, and I felt like most of them had no interest in my blog because of that. I felt like I had very little to offer. So, I fell back on what I could offer, and I “lost my voice.”
I also reflected more on what I do offer and realized I’m NOT like everybody else, and that’s OK because if we were all the same, it would be boring! God doesn’t call us all for the same purpose. I realized I kept losing focus on Him because I cared so much what everybody else thought. This is one of the lessons that will refine me as I noted in my Word for 2014.
So you could definitely say I had an emotional (and busy) 2013. Even so, I stepped out of my comfort zone, and we got to do some amazing things as well! We got to enjoy a mini vacation to Houston for the 4th of July and the LEGO® KidsFest Texas. When we moved to Houston in October we also enjoyed the Wings Over Houston Air Show and the Haute Wheels Food Truck Festival.
I did also miss out on a few things like The Declare Conference (that’s when I was really sick), and the Bloggy Conference (because we were packing up for our move). So that was a bummer, but I’m excited I still got to connect with many of the great bloggers and hope to meet them this year! I hope to attend some homeschooling conventions as well as some other blogging conferences! I’m putting my lists together soon!
Other Highlights from 2013
- All three children were in Occupational Therapy and came a long way with both fine motor and gross motor skills! Our boys were also in speech, and our oldest son is now completely caught up! Our youngest son is even talking in sentences! It’s awesome!
- I admitted I’m not Supermom and shared a look into a day in our life.
- My blog got hacked a couple of times, then it got fixed, moved hosts, and it even got a makeover!
- We changed our homeschooling year. I discovered following the calendar year would be much better for us as it doesn’t have the holiday break interrupting the school year we just started. So we plan to school straight through – knowing we’re going to take breaks. Sometimes it’s a couple of days. Sometimes it’s a full week. The new schedule allows us to do that.
- I found out I have Sensory Processing Disorder like our younger two children.
- I started my Etsy Shop.
- We celebrated Earth Day
- The kids had their first dentist appointment. We unfortunately discovered our oldest is prone to infections. He had to have a couple of teeth pulled. Between that and just losing his baby teeth, he was missing quite a few teeth for a while!
- Our little man had his adenoids removed.
- I received some awards for Pea of Sweetness!
- I started my Grammar 101 Series and hope to come back to it soon! I think it definitely needs more!
- My husband did finally get medically retired from the Army, and we moved back to the Houston area at the end of September.
- Not only did I get to host some great giveaways, but I won some great giveaways as well – like an iPhone 5S!
- I started Deals of Sweetness near the end of November.
For more 2013 Highlights from my blog be sure to check out my Top 13 Posts of 2013!
A lot of bloggers from the Schoolhouse Review Crew have been looking back on 2013 as well. Check out all the great posts by clicking on the banner below!