2015 in Review

I hesitated to write this year-in-review post because looking back at 2015, I kept saying to myself, “Not that much happened, really.” I think that’s the thing with mothering and adulting- the days are long, but time flies. And the older I get, the shorter the years feel. So it makes sense that the past year didn’t immediately stick out as remarkable. Sort of.

I spent the early part of this week going through old emails and Outlook calendar appointments. I also deleted a ton of old emails. That was liberating! Taking the time to look back is important. It’s a reminder of the growth that happened and milestones achieved. It’s also totally OK to look back with a sense of pride and feel good about your time.

Turns out my family and I did a lot in 2015. I had a big milestone birthday- 40! Funny that I glossed over that initially. I started a business and a book. These are not small things.

In my experience, women do this a lot. We downplay things for fear of sounding braggy. It’s also a parenting survival strategy; if you dwell too long on the “stuff,” you’ll spin your wheels and get overwhelmed. As 2016 revs up, I vow to not downplay things. I will speak with confidence. I will give myself credit. I have earned it (and so have you!).

Turns out, 2015 was remarkable. In big and small ways. Here are the highlights:

  • February- First annual winter family trip. In Christmas 2014, Santa brought fewer gifts and a little cash for us to go somewhere. We voted for Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City and had a blast! This tradition will definitely continue in 2016.
Collage 2015-02-16 18_56_16

Great Wolf Lodge, Feb 2015


Legit small business owner in Michigan- Sheldrake Consulting!

  • March 15- L reached 5 years off-treatment and is now officially in remission.
  • April 13- L went to his first Long-Term Survivor Follow-Up clinic appointment. He also officially graduated to one appointment/year!
  • April 19- I am godmother to my nephew, Patrick and spent an early birthday with my entire family and best friend back in Jersey.
  • April 21- The BIG 4-0!

Lulu Buttercup- My pink beach cruiser bike!


Celebrating with my boys. Nothin’ better.

  • Late June- As a birthday present to myself, I rented Hilltop Cottage for (and from) myself and my girlfriends and I went away for a kid-free week in the sun. This was one of the best weeks of my life.

PTW with the girls! Fun. Life-giving.

  • Professionally, my colleagues and I survived the summer while down two full-time staff people. We were supervisor-less from August until December. This honestly was one of the more challenging times of my professional life. I learned a big lesson, too. If more responsibilities are forced on you, ask for more money. I didn’t. I should have.
  • June/July- I created a blog series called #SAMid, designed to highlight the joys, struggles, and realities of being a mid-career professional in higher education. Colleagues contribute heartfelt and thought-provoking pieces. Search #SAMid on the blog to find the awesome-ness.
  • Labor Day weekend my mom, Grandmom Jersey, came out to PTW and we all swam in Lake Michigan! In September!
  • In September I was diagnosed with tennis and golfer’s elbow- despite not playing either of those- and began PT. Apparently you can get a “sports” injury from too much typing. Ah, 40.

Physical Therapy ain’t no place for sissies!

  • September is childhood cancer awareness month. I was invited to speak to the Nursing Student Association about our journey. It was a packed house. What an honor!

Thank you, MSU NSA for going #gold!

  • Fall- C’s soccer team, the Okemos Fireants, went undefeated!
  • Fall- I conquered my fear of home improvement and: 1) stained an old desk that is now in my writing corner and 2) painted our coastal living room.
  • November- I participated in #NaNoWriMo and began our family memoir, Dear Boys. I’m 30K words in! Stay tuned for official release in 2016.
  • December brought L’s tenth birthday and our annual trek to Jersey (Joisey!) to visit family and friends.

Whew! What a wonderful year. Looking back on it, we did do a lot. I highly recommend this year-in-review exercise.

Cheers to you. I hope 2015 was a good one for you and yours and that 2016 is even better.

I am lucky and grateful to be here and looking forward, with confidence, to 2016.

Lessons learned from girls’ week at the beach

I spent all of last week in Pentwater, Michigan, at Hilltop Cottage. I rented it from myself to celebrate my 40th birthday with my girlfriends. I spent a lot of time thinking and not thinking about stuff. I have to confess I didn’t miss Twitter, or Facebook, and I sure as heck didn’t miss my job. Girlfriends came in and out all week and then families joined us on July 3 for beach, s’mores, and fireworks. It was one of the best weeks of my life.

The rules were simple: There were no rules and no judgments.

In no particular order, here are some things I realized last week:

  1. Midwestern friendship circles are hard to break into. People grew up here and raise their families here, so many of their friendships are already established. This isn’t personal in the sense that it isn’t about me. But it is personal to me. Took me awhile to figure that out.
  2. I found my tribe. Now I need to nurture it.

    My Tribe.

    Find your tribe. It’s ok if it takes longer than you thought. Once found, hold on tight.

  3. I’m lucky that my job does not require me to check-in while I am on vacation. I didn’t check my work email or voicemail once. I don’t think that I want a job that would require me to do so.
  4. Be generous. If you have something fun- a cottage, boat, convertible, whatever-, share it with others. “Stuff” is just stuff unless you share it. Make memories together.
  5. Be grateful. Never walk into a party empty-handed. My girls came bearing gifts- drinks, dinners ready to go, and tons of snacks! And then, when they had to go home, they left the goodies with those who remained.
  6. Be gracious. Spend time with those who feed your soul. Spend real time with them. Look into their eyes. Say thank you for the gift that they are to you.
  7. Empty the dishwasher.
  8. Reload the dishwasher. And the ice trays.
  9. I deserve to be pampered. We can only give what is inside our own tanks. I am worth every ounce of luxury this week provided me and so are ALL OF YOU- especially my fellow mommas. As moms we are quick to celebrate others but not ourselves. This needs to stop.
  10. I will continue to resist mom-guilt. I will not allow myself to feel guilty for taking care of myself and I will continue to resist anyone else who tries to make feel guilty. I missed my boys while I was away. But I deserved this week. The end.
  11. 40 is no joke. It is a privilege denied to many. I made it this far. I’m going to work smarter to make the most of it. I’m content, satisfied, and no longer willing to play politics or games.
Content. Satisfied.

Content. Satisfied. 40th Birthday Bash. PTW. July 2015

(P.S. 40 is no joke….detoxing from all the sugar and booze was a little painful come Monday 😉 )