10 Things That Changed Our Life in 2023
I think there’s something really meaningful when we take the time to reflect and doing this at the end of each year has become one of my favorite things to do. It's almost like sitting down for a movie to re-watch the year play out in front of me and be reminded of all the things we’ve been through. So as I went through photos and videos of the year I wrote down some of takeaways, big and small, that have brought us to where we are today, changed for the better and more ready to step into bigger and better things in the new year.
I'm sharing them below (in no particular order) hoping this can be a way to inspire you to do the same with your year and see how when you step back to see the big picture of it all you’ll see the beauty you were creating all along the way.
How 2023 changed us...
1. Norah’s first birthday:
The last of the firsts in our home and this mama heart is trying to soak in and squeeze out every ounce of it that I can hold onto. Norah turned one in the spring and in complete honesty I don’t think a year has ever gone by faster in my life. I can’t fully wrap my head and heart around how we’re slowly growing out of the baby stages around here when it’s been my life the last decade. Somehow I’m equally at peace and wishing it wasn’t over all at the same time. Something I may never come to terms with, but where we’re at with our little family feels right where we should be.
2. Our Summer bus trip in Birdie:
A memory and gift that I’ll never get over or take for granted. Our journey to getting to this part of our story was one unlike any other and probably changed me more than the trip itself (I’ll have a post coming all about that soon), but boy am I deeply grateful that we can stand on this side of it now saying it was all worth it to get here. Renovating a school bus is not for the faint of heart, but focusing on the big picture to give our family experiences and memories like this is what got us through. And I’m convinced everyone needs to visit the Redwoods at least once (if not 7 times!) in their lifetime!
3. Five kids in school:
Well we officially have 5 kids out of 7 in school full time and it’s changed our daytime routines up for sure. I remember the days of feeling like every day was one continuous long never ending day with no real routine or structure because we were just getting through diaper changes and feedings and repeating it all over again. Somehow we’re here and although there are other parts of parenting that are hard, the kids having a place they can grow and thrive and learn feels like it’s given our whole family a breath of fresh air. Yes, we have chaotic mornings here and there, but the few hours of quiet during the day sure makes up for it!
4. Starting sports:
Shane and I both grew up playing sports and always knew it was something we’d want to do with our kids someday. With 7 kids within 9 years of each other we weren't quite sure how sports would fit into our schedule and wanted to tread lightly when it came to putting them in all the things. We value our home life and family time so much and knew that without intention we could easily get swept away in the sports schedules and carting kids all over the place which would end up taking away from what we value most– being together. The beauty of having our four oldest within two years of each other is that in most things they end up being in the same age group, so when they were old enough this year to start playing in golf tournaments this is how we chose to enter into the sports world and it’s honestly been the perfect fit for our family lifestyle so far. When the kids are playing, we’re all outside, each of them gets to play at the same time and we can watch (most of the time) all of them playing together. It’s been a sweet part of our year and I’m excited to see how this continues to be a part of filling our days.
5. New business adventures for Coley Kuyper Art:
2023 brought a lot of growth for me, personally, relationally, spiritually and mentally which has led to a lot of clarity in a lot of things and where I hope to take Coley Kuyper Art into the world. This year I launched something that had been on my heart for a while– The Creative Haven: a printable art membership for the creative, playful mama and child. I soft launched this earlier this year and I was encouraged to have so many join. It has been a gift to see others adding more creativity into their homes with their families and kiddos and left me feeling like this is exactly where my heart's passions are colliding (motherhood and creativity) and I can’t wait to share more of what’s to come with that. (PS. If you’re interested in finding out more click here and join the waitlist!)
6. Our oldest turning 10:
A decade of motherhood!! For lack of sounding cliche, how did that go by so fast!?! It’s just not fair. I wrote a letter to my email community earlier in the fall on what 10 years of being a mama has taught me. You can read it here too and I hope it will resonate and give you some encouragement wherever you find yourself along in the journey too.
7. Becoming an avid reader:
I can’t believe I actually read these in a year, let alone finished most of them! I feel pretty proud that I can say that too. These books were the ones that I couldn’t put down this year and have changed a part of my heart, mindset, parenting, and life in ways I’m so grateful for and I highly recommend them aaaalll.
Atomic Habits, Big Magic, You’re a BadA at Making Money, Create Anyways (still reading through but I’ll probably read it 10x over again), Every Moment Sacred (A seasonal book and so beautiful, reading through this all year).
I’ll share the list I’ll be working on reading through this year below in case any resonate with you too.
8. Being a part of Mark Makers:
I joined Bonnie Christine’s mastermind group in 2022 and it has changed me in more ways in the last year than anything else in a long time. I can’t say enough about how being with a group of creative women who has challenged and inspired and encouraged me has changed me in ways I’m not sure I can quite articulate yet. There is something pretty powerful when you get in a room of other women who are actually cheering and rooting for you and are willing to share everything they’ve ever learned with such openness and ease. And the biggest thing I think I’ve taken from being a part of this group is how much I want to live and create so that others may benefit and live more freely and beautifully because of it. It’s a deep honor that I get to do this and that I have a husband that encourages me to keep showing up for it (even on days when I feel imposter syndrome taking over!). This group has been one of the most life giving and freeing and inspirational places I’ve been a part of.
9. Starting pickle-ball:
Ok, so maybe this one hasn't been “life-changing” but it certainly has taken over our lives! Shane’s love for this sport has me wanting to get better myself and do something more active that I’d actually look forward to, so this has become a date night regular for us. Granted, I’m still nowhere near being anything remotely called “competition” when I’m playing with Shane, but it’s been fun to find something else we can connect on and hopefully keep playing together until we’re old and gray. The kids have even gown a love for it too and there are regular nights when we there is a makeshift pickle-ball court in our living room. It has become quite the family affair and I'm not complaining! :)
10. Setting limits on my phone:
This is something I certainly haven’t mastered, but putting a time limit on apps on my phone is a no-brainer to a life changing habit. I hate how much it so easily sucks me in and that my kids watch me so often with my nose to the phone. This small but mighty hack has helped give me more time and honestly has left me feeling less on edge too. Some limits I’ve done are bedtime mode on at 8pm so the phone is put away and doesn’t turn back on until 8:30 am, limited time on most used apps like IG, email, and google. One thing I’ve never done but I think could be helpful if you haven't tried it is never turning on notifications, so I don’t get notified for anything unless I’m intentionally picking up my phone to look. I think I’ve done it for so long that it doesn’t even occur to me that people actually use notifications! Ha! I’ve also never had games on my phone which I think is also helpful. So if you’re wanting less screen time I’d recommend starting there and seeing how that little shift might help in your days.
10 intetnions for new year:
- Reading 5 more books, these ones: The Good Inside, 10x is easier than 2x, Hunt Gather Parent, High Performance Habits, Altogether You, Dare to Lead
- Making a garden in our backyard…I dream in flowers!
- Launching new products in CK art shop (join my email list to stay in the loop)
- Consistent date nights with Shane! (If you have any fun and new ideas, I’m all ears! Tell me below).
- Getting better at pickleball– so that Shane may actually have some competition with me someday (a girl can dream, right!?).
- More exercise: Daily workouts (Penny and Norah have been my best yoga partners lately).
- More one on one dates with kids.
- Areas I want to grow in: gentleness, curiosity, and openness.
- Launching The Creative Haven printable art membership in the Spring 2024! (You heard it here first! eek!)
- More trips in Birdie: Colorado and Montana we’re looking at you!
I hope this inspires you to sit down and look back on your year and see all the ways you were changed through it too. I guarantee it will bring a sense of gratitude for what you’ve accomplished and how far you’ve come.
I’d love to hear from you! Tell me in the comments below what the biggest takeaway from you in 2023 was–it could be just one word or a whole story you want to share!
Cheers to 2024, friends! It’s going to be beautiful.