Finish This #52 // 2014 Review


I’ve waited 364 days to publish this post! This is the third year I’ve completed the annual YEAR IN REVIEW questionnaire ( 2012 and 2013 ) and I get so excited when other bloggers participate too. If this is the first time you’re joining us, welcome. If you’ve done this questionnaire before, glad to see you again. Don’t forget to add the graphic (thank you, Jenny, for your creative awesomeness!) and join the link up. Share on social media too, the more the merrier. Let’s get this party started!

What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?
Breastfed and pumped exclusively. Donated in excess of 3,000 ounces to the milk bank.

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions?
Will you make more for next year?
Yes and yes. I’m sharing my 2015 goals on the blog tomorrow!

Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, there are babies and pregnant mamas everywhere!!!!

Did anyone close to you die?
Humans, no. But my parents had to put their two cats down due to cancer and their Red Heeler pup, Sofie, was recently killed by a motor vehicle. This might seem frivolous to some, but I was raised where our animals were part of the family and treated like beloved humans. It hurts when a family member dies.

What countries did you visit?
Just parts of this one: Texas and Kentucky.

What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
a new camera body and lens
a crew cab truck or large SUV, thought I’d prefer a truck
more self confidence

What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory?
May 11, 2014 — my first mother’s day
(to celebrate, Kamden and I had a Mommy+Me photo shoot)


What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Breast feeding (pumping exclusively) a year and donating to the Mother’s Milk Bank of North Texas.

What was your biggest failure?
I did not lose as much weight as I wanted (or thought I would), but I have no one to blame except myself. I’ve exercised more this year than I have my entire life, but my pitfall is food. I really, really love to eat and I don’t always make the best choices or stop eating when I’m full. And I’m an emotional eater, so I eat when I’m stressed or bored. It’s a tragic thing to publicly acknowledge this truth, but you can look at me and see that I enjoy a good meal way more than I enjoy a good workout session. Aye ei ei. I’m also disappointed in myself for not having a difficult conversation with a loved one. I’ve avoided the situation my entire life, so what’s the point? The point is, I need to grow a pair and say what I need to say. I have a son now and I don’t want him to be a coward like his mother. Aye ei ei.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
No, but I had surgery in March to remove my gallbladder. I also had my tubes tied. In May, I was diagnosed with acute eczema that shows up on my left wrist and ring finger. I haven’t worn my wedding band on a daily basis in over two years, which makes me very sad. Actually, it sucks. The ring is beautiful and I’d like to eventually design a custom ring that incorporates the diamonds in my band with the loose stone I inherited from my paternal grandmother. But the eczema makes wearing jewelry very uncomfortable and nearly impossible.

What was the best thing you bought?
Baltic Amber teething necklace from
Call me crazy, I know it sounds ridiculous, I’m a believer in these natural stones. Even though Kamden has just one tooth at 12 months, he’s had ZERO teething symptoms. However, as of post time, Husband and I are in agreement that Kamden might be getting more teeth or possibly his molars. In the last week or two, his eating habits have been fluctuating from great to nonexistent, he’s drooling more often, chewing on anything and everything he can, and there have been some nights where he has not slept as peacefully. These are all tell-tell signs of teething, so we shall see.

Whose behavior merited celebration?
Husband for being the best man, husband, and father in the history of ever. I could not have done this first year of parenthood without him. We both get frustrated because we love and care for Kamden so much, but Husband’s always available to wrap his arms around me and calm my fears, ease my worries, and make me laugh.

Where did most of your money go?
Amazon, Target, HEB, Aldi, Which Wich, Sushi Axiom, and Lightroom presets.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I made some new friends this year but they are not all moms or wives, and I’m totally fine with that. I’m planning our first family vacation to Lake Ouachita in Arkansas, and hopefully Husband’s parents and brother will join us too. One of my favorite persons in the whole wide world gave me one hell of a birthday present: her pregnancy announcement! Yes, Rev L is PREGNANT, she’s due in July, and my level of excitement is off the charts. I could not be more excited for a new human to arrive. This baby girl is already awesome in my book.

What song will always remind you of 2014?
“Happy” — Pharrel

Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder?
Thinner or fatter?
About the same (unfortunately)
Richer or poorer?
Both? Financially, if it weren’t for Husband, I’d be broke-ass. Thankfully, he’s an incredible provider. We are richly blessed in all aspects of our life, I am not complaining!

What do you wish you’d done more of?
Read the Bible. Taken more pictures, especially as a family and Kamden with Husband.

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Eat. Compared myself to others.

How will you be spending Christmas?
Perhaps my favorite part of Christmas is going to the Christmas Eve candlelight service at church. Kamden got to attend his first candlelight service this year and I think he enjoyed it as much as I did. The worship space is full of people and filled with the joy that is Christmas. I love the decorations, listening to Jesus’s birth story, and singing Silent Night by candlelight. It truly is a magical experience and a tradition I want to continue with Kamden.


After the Christmas Eve church service, we had dinner with friends. The night before Christmas Eve I made, for the first time EVER, homemade yeast rolls that were edible. Scratch that. They were DAMN DELICIOUS! Seriously, y’all, these rolls are the bomb-dot-com. In the past, when I’ve tried yeast-based breads, the end result is hard as a rock, dense, and extra heavy. I made a batch of dinner rolls several weeks ago that could have been used as baseballs in the next World Series … chalk another one in the ‘fail’ column! But not to be discouraged, I found this recipe and decided to give it a try. While I was grocery shopping for Christmas Eve dinner, I also picked up pre-packaged dinner rolls as my back-up plan in case the homemade ones didn’t turn out … I’m always prepared! I followed the recipe exactly, with three exceptions: 1) I used soy milk instead of whole milk; 2) soy butter instead of regular butter; and 3) bread flour instead of all-purpose flour. There was not a crumb leftover after dinner! To accompany the roasted pork tenderloin that LA made and mashed potatoes prepared by C, I brought the rolls, green beans (seasoned with smoked ham hock) and cut-off corn from Kentucky (seasoned with a little bit of bacon grease). The moral of the story: pork fat makes everything taste better and, at Christmas, calories don’t count. Kamden and I had a blast at dinner and I’m incredibly thankful for friends. We all ate until I thought we might explode, but Kamden and I left before dessert because it was getting late and it was time for his bath and bottle. Kamden woke up Christmas morning to find Santa had brought him more goodies and placed them under the tree and in his stocking. We decided to delay our road trip to East Texas so we could spend our first “official” Christmas as a family of three at home. Plus, there were LOTS of presents to unwrap – even though Kamden was NOT interested in opening anything. He grabbed a few pieces of ribbon but that was about it. He did, however, like the lighted musical rock guitar his cousins from Kentucky sent him. It has all kinds of bells and whistles and buttons to push, plus strings and a whammy bar for him to play and create his own tunes. In addition to volume control, it also has an ON/OFF button. (Praise Jesus!)


After opening all of our gifts, Husband kept Kamden corralled while I packed for our overnight trip to East Texas. Even thought we were away from home less than 36 hours, packing is a chore and there’s a lot of gear for two adults and a toddler. We at lunch, loaded the car, and I pumped right before leaving. I put a bottle in the diaper bag to feed Kamden as we were pulling out of the driveway (knowing it was close to his naptime and he’d sleep in the car) and five bottles of milk in a cooler bag. We were about 50 miles along when I realized I had left the cooler bag of bottles on the kitchen counter. ULTIMATE MOM FAIL. I put the Medela pump and lactating ta-tas to the test, and they prevailed: I pumped more than enough milk to sustain Kamden during our time away from home, but that doesn’t discount the fact that I was stressed during our East Texas visit. I drank water like crazy and pumped every 3-4 hours, around the clock, to make sure I had enough milk. The in-laws were ecstatic to host us and we had more presents to unwrap once we unloaded the car. PawPaw and Uncle Chad took Kamden to the corral and fed the steers, I’m not sure who had more fun. Kamden was also impressed with PawPaw’s musical train setup in the family room. Besides my forgotten milk fiasco, our Christmas was spectacular. I never ask for anything from my family because I don’t really NEED anything, but I’m grateful for their generosity and anxious to spend my Amazon gift cards on a new study bible (I have my eye on this one.), getting a mani/pedi, and wearing my new favorite hoodie sweatshirt.

Did you fall in love in 2014?
I fall in love with Husband more every day and Kamden captured my heart the day he was born. I love my real, true, and genuine friends and appreciate them more than words could describe.

How many one-night stands?
Wait, if nipple stimulation from a breast pump counts then I’m off the charts. The Medela Pump In Style and I have become quite close, if you know what I mean.

Who were your best friends?
Husband. Heather. Lara. Alan. Celeste. Leigh Anne. David. Jenny. Lisa. Becky. Jen. Ruthie.

What thing did you do that was meaningful to others?
I donated my wedding dress to NICU Helping Hands Foundation for their Angel Gown program. I’m a registered donor at Mother’s Milk Bank of North Texas.

What were your favorite TV programs?
Wheel of Fortune, Real Housewives, Top Chef, Master Chef, Chopped and Judge Judy

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I don’t hate anyone, but I am very disappointed in one particular individual who I thought was my friend. I finally realized that the friendship was one-sided and she did not value me. I decided to part ways because trying to be a friend to someone who doesn’t reciprocate your effort is exhausting, physically and emotionally.

What was the best book you read in 2014?
10 Gifts of Grace by Sally Clarkson
I’d like to read this book with other parents, in a small group setting, and discuss the 10 gifts we can give to our children in order to raise more mature, more grateful, more kind, and more Spirit-filled adults in a wicked, self-centered world.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
Newsboys — We Believe

What did you want and get?
A mother’s day card from Husband and Kamden. I will cherish it forever! My two favorite boys surprised me again the morning of my birthday when I found a card tucked inside the drawer where we keep Kamden’s diapers. I was not expecting to find a treasure when Kamden woke up and I changed his diaper. These two cards are more precious than gold.

What did you want but did NOT get?
MacBook Pro. This lens. Family portraits for Christmas cards did NOT happen because of 1) a schedule conflict, 2) my friend and our photographer got sick, and 3) bad weather. I don’t care how much Husband hates taking pictures, a family portrait session WILL happen and a framed print WILL adorn our mantel in the very near future.

What were your favorite films this year?
Home Alone and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation — Yes, these movies are a hundred years old but I watch them throughout Christmastime and I honestly don’t remember the last movie I saw in the theater or rented from Red Box. I’ve been a little busy!

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 30 (the second time) on December 17. Because I was quite busy on my “first” 30th birthday having just given birth to Kamden, and because I have amazing and thoughtful friends, C and LA planned a party at my favorite sushi restaurant. They surprised me with their families attending our dinner and made gifts with Kamden’s hand and footprints. C even baked a homemade (vegan) chocolate cake for us to devour after dinner and it was DELICIOUS. We spent the evening eating and laughing and it was the perfect way to celebrate my 31st year. Or, as LA likes to say, I’m 21 with 10 years experience!

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
To have sold my car and found an incredible deal on a Tundra CrewMax truck.

What kept you sane?
Faith and family …. and food.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
The medical staff at Texas Health Resources during the Ebola outbreak in Dallas. I think they did remarkably well under the circumstances and constant eye of national and international media. I applaud their selflessness during a trying time. I also believe, with every fiber of my being, that Thomas Duncan knew he was ill with Ebola when he arrived on U.S. soil. I’m glad the City of Dallas stepped up and took care of Bentley, the dog of nurse Nina Pham, while she was hospitalized and treated for Ebola. There were talks of putting the dog down because of possible exposure but he tested negative during his time in quarantine and it was nice to see elected officials take care of a public service member and her pet during their time of great need.

What political issue sstirred you the most?
Ebola. Political ads during election. Immigration. Ferguson.

Who do you miss?
Friends and family in Kentucky. It’s time for a trip home.

Who are the best new persons you met this year?
Parents and children in Kamden’s class at The Little Gym. Texas Women Bloggers. Individuals and families at church. The staff at the milk bank.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.
There comes a time when you must stop crossing oceans for people who wouldn’t jump puddles for you.
Parenting and being a mom is hard.

Quote that sums up your year:
When you’re done pumping, you should bronze that hands-free bra and mount it like a deer.

“Finish This” Link Up
(PROMPTS FOR WEEK 53– Wednesday, January 6)
My new year’s resolutions or goals are …


By | 2014-12-31T03:25:59+00:00 December 31st, 2014|Finish This, Link-Up, Year in Review|34 Comments

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  1. Aubrey Zaruba December 31, 2014 at 4:13 am - Reply

    I loved reading all your responses. Thanks for emailing me about the link up.

    • Nicole December 31, 2014 at 11:02 am - Reply

      You are so welcome, Aubrey, thanks for joining the link up! If you are looking for a link up to join in 2015, please consider “Finish This” every Wednesday. A new prompt or set of prompts every week, it’s easy and always fun!

      On Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 4:13 AM, Three 31 wrote:


  2. Hannah Diane December 31, 2014 at 7:12 am - Reply

    This is a great post- thank you for sharing!

    • Nicole December 31, 2014 at 11:03 am - Reply

      Awww, thank you, Hannah! If you are looking for a link up to join in 2015, please consider “Finish This” every Wednesday. A new prompt or set of prompts every week, it’s easy and always fun.

      On Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 7:12 AM, Three 31 wrote:


  3. Celeste Zachry December 31, 2014 at 7:16 am - Reply

    This is a really beautiful summation of your year. It’s been so nice to be a part of it! Cheers to 2015!

    • Nicole December 31, 2014 at 11:04 am - Reply

      Ohhh Mama C, I could not have survived this year without YOU and your amazing, wonderful, hilarious, a little bit insane, and beautiful family!!!!!!!!!!

      On Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 7:16 AM, Three 31 wrote:


  4. Elizabeth December 31, 2014 at 7:32 am - Reply

    Thanks for all your work with Finish This… I think it’s my favorite post each week (and I had the exact same answer to the Thinner/Fatter question!)

    • Nicole December 31, 2014 at 11:05 am - Reply

      Oh my stars, Elizabeth, thank you so much for being a regular visitor and participant of Finish This. Cheers to 2015, may it be wonderful and full of blessings to you!

      On Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 7:32 AM, Three 31 wrote:


  5. Mama Day December 31, 2014 at 8:22 am - Reply

    That was awesome, I almost feel like I know you! Congratulations on becoming a mommy this year! I’m a mom of two very young ones. (the circles under my eyes are a clear sign of that – lol).

    • Nicole December 31, 2014 at 11:07 am - Reply

      I am so amazed at moms of multiples, I have one and will only have one …. you other mamas are heros and possess super powers in my opinion! I think I have some of those circles under my eyes, last night was our first sleepless night since Kamden was a newborn. I think more teeth are making their appearance. Aye ei ei. Thank you so much for your sweet words and I hope you’ll visit my blog again soon. If you are looking for a link up to join in 2015, please consider “Finish This” every Wednesday. A new prompt or set of prompts every week, it’s easy and always fun!

      On Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 8:22 AM, Three 31 wrote:


  6. Rebekah December 31, 2014 at 10:14 am - Reply

    Thank you for all your work doing this link up! I really think it is beyond awesome that you’ve been able to pump and donate so much milk! We swear by Cora’s Amber Teething Necklace too! My hubby calls it her voodoo necklace, but even he agrees it works! I love that God has designed things in this world to be helpful to us like this. Happy New Year!!

    • Nicole December 31, 2014 at 11:10 am - Reply

      LAUGHING SO HARD ….. my Husband calls Kamden necklace his “voodoo fru fru hocus pocus” beads. Do all men think we’re crazy?! Because all of my guy friends have similar comments about the necklace. HILARIOUS. Thank you so much for participating in the Finish This link up. I hope you’ll join me again in 2015. Blessings to you and your family this new year. 🙂

      On Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 10:14 AM, Three 31 wrote:


  7. ashley December 31, 2014 at 10:14 am - Reply

    awesome link up! It is so interesting reading about everyone’s year & how it went for them!

    • Nicole December 31, 2014 at 11:11 am - Reply

      Thanks Ashley, this review post is one of my favorite and most popular annual traditions. I love reading all about everyone’s year, it’s so insightful too! If you are looking for a link up to join in 2015, please consider “Finish This” every Wednesday. A new prompt or set of prompts every week, it’s easy and always fun!

      On Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 10:14 AM, Three 31 wrote:


  8. Jenny Dewey Rohrich December 31, 2014 at 10:34 am - Reply

    I LOVE THIS! I love your honesty and your humor! It’s a perfect combination! Here’s to a new year with new blessings and new possibilities! Glad to call you a friend! <3

    • Nicole December 31, 2014 at 11:12 am - Reply

      My precious soul sister, I know for a fact that I could not survive this crazy ride called LIFE without you. Thank YOU for being part of my craziness and putting up with my shenanigans AND sharing my wicked sense of ‘boob’ humor too. I love you to the moon and back. Big hugs!!!!!!

      On Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 10:34 AM, Three 31 wrote:


  9. […] friend Nicole of Three 31 does an annual year end review link up. I love the idea of looking back on what you’ve done, accomplished, didn’t do, memories… I […]

  10. Jess December 31, 2014 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    Wow! That’s a busy year 🙂 Thanks for sharing so much. Ps. glad i’m not the only spending all of my money at target!

    • Nicole December 31, 2014 at 2:56 pm - Reply

      Oh Jess, money spent at Target hardly compares to the grocery store, sushi, and Which Wich. I love food, what can I say?!??!!?!

      On Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 12:59 PM, Three 31 wrote:


  11. Lisa D. December 31, 2014 at 1:38 pm - Reply

    This makes me so happy that you are still doing this, too. 🙂 I miss chatting with you as often over FB, blogging and email. (I hope I wasn’t the one particular individual you were disappointed in for not holding up my end of our virtual friendship!) Even though I haven’t quite kept up with all of it, it sounds like you’ve had an amazing year and done some extremely memorable and generous things! Kamden is adorable, and you should have all the self confidence in the world! Eating is better than being skinnier any day of the week. Can we have a phone date some time? I think I will put that on my 2015 resolutions. And I think I am carrying over enough time into next year that I’ll have almost six weeks of vacation, so maybe I’ll actually make it to Texas this year…if I can ever tear myself away from my office. 🙂 xoxo and happy new year! ~L

    • Nicole December 31, 2014 at 2:55 pm - Reply

      You, my dear, are already on my 2015 resolution list – which will be posted tomorrow – for a regular phone or email chat. You’re always on my mind, no matter how far apart we live or how long it’s been since we’ve chatted. You and your awesome self are welcome to Texas ANYTIME, standing invitation is open and the porch light is always on. Big hugs to you, my virtual friend, and blessings for a wonderful 2015 too. 🙂

      On Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 1:38 PM, Three 31 wrote:


  12. Nina Beana December 31, 2014 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    You had a wonderful year and I wish you and your family the best in 2015! I hope the boob juice keeps flowing to help those NICU babies, but if not, you’ve donated a massive amount and that makes you all sorts of awesome.

    • Nicole December 31, 2014 at 10:27 pm - Reply

      Boob Juice …. Best. Phrase. Ever. I totally used this tonight when Husband was walking around the house looking for me. I yelled out, “I’m pumping boob juice!” He was like, “Say whaaaa?!” HILARIOUS!!!!!! I think you are all sorts of awesome, love you woman!

      On Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 5:27 PM, Three 31 wrote:


  13. Justine Y December 31, 2014 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    Amen to spending a lot of your money at Target, that place is dangerous. 🙂 Good for you for donating so much milk, that is awesome! And I would also like a new car this year, although I’m hoping for a minivan (as lame as it sounds to say that).

    • Nicole December 31, 2014 at 10:26 pm - Reply

      Oh gosh, watch out for the mom in the minivan!!!!!!! Hey, whatever floats your boat, right?! I can’t say ALL of my money went to Target, but I sure spent a pretty penny on breast milk storage bags (Up and Up brand are THE BEST available). I’d say at least 90% of my money went to purchase food. I really – REALLY – love to eat. (sigh) CHEERS AND BLESSINGS FOR 2015!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      On Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 5:31 PM, Three 31 wrote:


  14. The Year in Review | COASTLINED December 31, 2014 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    […] every year from now on. I’ll mark those with an *asterisk.  Also, my very good friend Nicole has turned this annual year in review questionnaire into a really cool link-up! So go visit her blog to read hers and link yours up if you’d […]

  15. […] up with another group here curiosity of A Girl and Merle. Nicole over at Three 31 has a yearly review that I liked so I thought that I would give it a […]

  16. Sara December 31, 2014 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    As the mother of an Angel, I truly appreciate the fact that you donated Angel Gowns. I am new to your blog. Referred by Casey over at I can’t wait to do some Finish This on Wednesdays!

    • Nicole December 31, 2014 at 10:11 pm - Reply

      Sara, thank you so much for visiting and bless you and your Angel. It is an honor to be a part of the Angel Gown program, as well as the milk bank. It is my heart’s desire to one day meet a baby (or family with a NICU baby) who’s receiving my donor milk. I know with privacy laws it’s a bit tricky and complicated, and I don’t want to seem “weird” in any way, but I think it would be an amazing experience to see he milk come full circle. We are so blessed to have Kamden and my milk supply is more than abundant, so I’m happy to share! I’m so glad you’re here and I certainly hope you’ll join us every Wednesday for Finish This too. Blessings and warm wishes for 2015!!!!

      On Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 9:45 PM, Three 31 wrote:


      • Sara December 31, 2014 at 10:27 pm - Reply

        My daughter was an organ donor so I know the feeling of wanting to know more! I can write to them, and they can write to me. I just am still at such a loss for words! Thank you again. Those dresses made from your dress will be treasured!

  17. emusyt January 2, 2015 at 11:52 am - Reply

    That Pharrell song will forever be ingrained in my brain!

  18. […] in with Nicole from Three 31 and others on their Year in Review linky party.  You can go here to play along too!   Nicole was great enough to provide the prompts, so all we have to do is […]

  19. 2015: Year in Review | Three 31 December 30, 2015 at 7:06 am - Reply

    […] is the fourth year for this review ( 2012 and 2013 and 2014 ) and I forget how much I actually do and accomplish until I finish this post. Cheers to […]

  20. Review of 2016 | Three 31 December 31, 2016 at 11:16 am - Reply

    […] not post a Year in Review as it’s become quite the tradition (  2012 and 2013 and 2014 and 2015 ). To make sure things don’t get stale, I’ve revised the questionnaire […]

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