Happy new year friend! It’s officially 2024 and I’ve spent the last couple of weeks taking it slow, savoring the time off with kids and reflecting on 2023. When I was writing in my journal, taking note of how the year went, I couldn’t believe everything the year held.
I’m most grateful that I prioritized time and energy with my family and relationships. Early in the year I read a quote that said, “Children are not a distraction from more important work, they are the most important work.” That hit home with me, and with a job that can be all-consuming, I set boundaries around my work hours and my mom/friend/girlfriend time.
I didn’t hustle as hard at work as I have in years past, and I definitely felt more at peace, more content and less stressed. I feel like my relationships are better for it and they really blossomed this year.
The new year started off with finally catching the rat that had been living here for weeks. It was the end of a too-long saga that I’d be very happy to forget about and I think I still have some PTSD from it.
While that rat made our home his home, he chewed my stove cord that I had to hustle to replace right before hosting Christmas dinner. He left feces under my dishwasher, couch and I finally realized, he was also eating my dog’s food right out of his bowl! And stealing his stuffed toys to create nests under the stove.
Then, on Christmas 2022, when I turned on my convection oven, a fire erupted. We’re talking huge fiery flames inside the oven and black smoke coming out. In a flash, I envisioned my wooden range and kitchen cabinets going up in flames. Luckily, we turned off the heat and the fire extinguished itself. Turns out, the rat had been nesting in there and all the stuffing from Luke’s toys and feces had caught fire. So gross!
In January, I also kicked off a fitness challenge where I was meal prepping healthy food, working out hard, and starting to feel really good after the holidays.
I also entered 2023 as a single woman. I’d been on some dates, but nothing spectacular.
On February 4, all that changed when Elliott and I had our first date. We met on Bumble and our first date was at an outdoor restaurant/bar. We talked in depth for so long that we never even ordered food. We’re still having awesome conversations and it’s the most fulfilling relationship. I’m so grateful for him in my life. I already pinned him down for 2024;)
Valentine’s Day, Jordan’s birthday, and my birthday are all in the same week!
For my birthday this year, we had a girls dinner that Ali-Shaun arranged at Lymbar. Such a cool and unique place with fantastic food.
My son turned 13 in March and we celebrated with a small family party at home. He’ll be in high school next year!
For the first time in my life, I went one whole week without sugar. I still can’t believe I did that. We’re talking no sweetened creamer in my coffee (just half & half and Nutpods), no ice cream or desserts, no fruit or sugary sauces, no sweetener in my tea, no ketchup or bread (I found Sola bread though that I still eat).
Even my BCAA powder had sugar in it so I switched to Naked BCAA.
I did this challenge after stumbling upon this video which gave me the motivation. It would probably be a good idea for me to watch it again.
I had headaches for the first three days. I also had mad chocolate cravings on Day 6.
One tip to help with not eating sugar is to have satisfying meals with fat. The less sweetness you taste, the less you crave.
After one week sugar free, I lost 3 pounds and 2% body fat! That is amazing for just one week!
The other main benefit was that I didn’t have those daily energy fluctuations. My energy was staying stable throughout the day and that felt great. No afternoon crashes or feeling like I needed a nap.
I wrote a detailed blog post about my experience here.
We joined my brother and his family for a trip to San Antonio for Spring Break. We went to Sea World and celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on the San Antonio Riverwalk.
And I had ice cream. Then, I tried to go sugar free for 30 days, but only made it to day 12 I think. I still feel like I’m addicted to sugar or at least still have a big sweet tooth that’s hard to control. I pretty much always indulge in whatever sweets I want in December, but try to slow it down come January.
One thing that stuck is I reduced the sugar I put in my coffee. I used to add 3 tablespoons of vanilla caramel creamer. Now I only add 1 and 1 tablespoon of half and half and I love it that way. The other way tastes too sweet to me now.
This pic was from a date with no sugar cocktails – it’s a Ranch Water with just tequila, Topo Chico, lime, and a Tajin rim.
One of my best friends and her husband (Karen & Russell) were here visiting and got to stay with me. I loved seeing them and now that they live in Wimberley, our visits are few and far between, so this was a real treat.
We went to an Astros game and James and I went to one of the World Series games. Our beloved Astros lost that game, but it was still super fun to experience that with him.
In April, my son’s track team also won their track championship. That was a huge win and something we’re very proud to be a part of.
Those track meets are all day long and I give a shout out to all the coaches and volunteers and parents and family that are out there to support! In the blazing heat!
We celebrated Ali-Shaun’s birthday with an intimate lunch at Alice Blue.
I bought a cruiser bike and LOVE IT!! I’ve cruised all around my neighborhood even to a coffee shop or local grocery store. It’s so cute and fun to ride! My kids and I have ridden our bikes together too- such a great outdoor activity we can all do together!
My son and I took our second annual mother/son trip and this time, we went to Miami. We took in a baseball game, went to the beach, rented bikes and rode around town, did a double decker bus tour and enjoyed room service in our robes! I LOVE this one-on-one alone time with him. I hope we do another trip this year, maybe to Chicago.
I also got to go to NYC for an Amazon Live creator event. The best part of those trips is always meeting and getting to see other creators in person. This job can be very isolating and many of our relationships are online, so being face to face is a real treasure.
Beth Grace & Me
For Elliott’s 53rd birthday, we went to San Miguel. It was one of my most favorite trips ever. The place is incredibly beautiful, rich in architecture and history and it’s the place where he first told me he loved me. It will forever be a special trip in my heart.
At the end of June, and after slacking on my workouts since the kids were out of school, I started a 10,000 steps a day for 30 days challenge. I loved this challenge and completed it! I highly recommend trying it if you’re interested.
Since James and I have been doing a mother/son trip, Jordan asked if we could do a trip with just me and her – Just The G’s (girls). We went to The Woodland’s Resort for two days and had the best time! It’s only a 45 minute drive from Houston, so it was pretty convenient.
I also cut my hair short in July and have been loving it! It’s so much easier to care for and style, although, I do have to go more frequently for haircuts because my hair grows fast.
My whole family (mom, two brothers and their wives, plus the kids) all got a beach house in Galveston for 4 nights and it was fantastic all being together. We hope to do it again this year, but this time with Elliott and his daughter.
I started running again and committed to running a second half marathon. And even better, I convinced my little brother, Austin, to do it with me.
With my grandparents advancing in age, we wanted to take a trip to visit them in Indiana. I took my mom and kids for a visit and it was so good for the kids to get to spend time with their great grandparents.
The half marathon came quick! It was a great race, but really hot, and even James participated and ran the 10k. I’m so proud of us!
Austin and I are planning to run a marathon on March 2, 2024!
We took our annual family day trip to Dewberry Farms. That’s always a good time and there’s so much to do and see.
I’d also been getting bids for building a pool and finally settled on a company – Trahan Pools – and signed the contract in October! The pool should be finished in just a few weeks and I’ll be sure to share it all with you!
For Halloween, I went to my first ever Murder Mystery Dinner Party, a fun experience for sure!
For Marianna’s birthday, our friend group and significant others went on a Royal Caribbean Cruise. I’m so glad we all got that time together and it was also a great way to get Elliott to know my close friends on a deeper level. I did a recap of the trip here and what I packed here.
My sister and I take turns hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas, and this year Thanksgiving was at my house and Christmas at hers. We always keep it casual, and the best part is being together and how the cousins get to bond and hang out together.
At my daughter’s request, we took family photos again. We hadn’t done that since 2019, so we did the same thing/same place and I’m so glad we did! We have several framers and I got some of my biggest laughs looking at these pics!
I’m forever grateful that I get to be their mom.
I made a short video of our year and it’s so fun to look back and see it all in action!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me someone to share this all with. I appreciate you so much and all of your kind comments, emails and messages.
I really hope that 2024 is a good year for you! I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on 2024 with you soon! I’d love to hear what your favorite part of 2023 was.
Have a fantastic day friend!