Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Letter

Dear family and friends,

2013 has been an amazing year for the McQuades! We've strengthened our marriage and had a record year in our business! We had our share of challenges, but each one served to make us stronger and better as people and we have had so much fun in the process. We've been abundantly blessed to donate over $10,000 to charity and we've set the wheels in motion to update our website and photos. Overall, it's been an amazing year.

Which brings us to 2014. I'm really excited about 2014!

2014 brings us great things from the start, kicking off with an amazing 90-day fitness challenge. I'm excited about this challenge because Nutrilite and BodyKey have really kicked it up a notch with this one! They've improved the starter kit, adding new and better products and even more amazing prizes and incentives. Plus, my awesome husband will be doing the challenge with me this time and in my opinion that makes every activity better!

We're improving our social lives by working to schedule at least one activity (but preferably more) for at least one of us (but preferably both) on every single day of the new year. I'm already off to an excellent start, scheduled all the way through next Wednesday! I'm excited about this because I always love the opportunity to meet new people. This also has the additional challenge and benefit of finding new things to do and enjoy, which is always super exciting.

I have a personal goal of reading 34 books in 2014. I've got the plan all mapped out, and I'm really excited about everything I'm going to learn! From leadership to marriage, self awareness and improvement to how to uplift and encourage others, there's lots of topics and I'm looking forward to it. I'm also starting a journaling project. The plan is to write in the journal every day (partially inspired by Brad Paisley's quote about the next year being a 365-page book). I don't know what I'll write or what it will be used for, but I'm excited to see how it will turn out.

And that's not even the half of it!

2014 is going to be so amazing, and we're both looking forward to it!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas 2013

Usually this is the time of year when I do my Christmas post about how much I love Christmas and my favorite Christmas traditions and so on. I spend a lot of time reflecting on the past, on Christmas with my parents and how different it is now. In fact, this is the time of year where I start really feeling like the point of the whole year is about to be accomplished! But this year, for the first year ever, I'm at this time of year and I feel like life is so much more than Christmas.

Maybe that's weird to say.

Growing up, Christmas was what it was about. Life was life...and then there was Christmas. We all tried harder at Christmas; we were more organized, more patient, more kind. It's like the magic of Christmas swept into the house and straightened us up. The rest of the year was just stuff, and Christmas was special.

This year has been amazing. I'll post more about that later. But all of the year-round amazingness has changed my perspective on Christmas. It's not really the highlight of the year anymore. It's kindof just another day. We get to hang out with family and take a few extra days off, but that's the only real difference. Part of me is sad about losing the magic feeling, but I'm way happier to have such an amazing life that Christmas dims in comparison!

This year we've been fortunate in that we've gotten to just relax for most of the Christmas season. While others have hosted large parties for family and friends we've sat back and spent time with each other, talking about our goals and plans for next year and how wonderful this year has been. Our Christmas season actually doesn't even start until the 21st, and I think I like it that way!

We're kicking everything off with a gorgeous black tie optional party one of our clients has invited us to. We were invited last year as well and it was a truly spectacular night, so I'm really looking forward to it! Plus, I get to wear one of my fancy dresses for the first time since last Christmas, and I've lost about half a dress size since then!

The next day we're joining my husband's side of the family for a movie and dinner to celebrate his grandmother's birthday, which I'm pretty excited about not only because it's his grandma's birthday but also because we're going to see a movie I've been wanting to see and the restaurant they picked is one of my favorites....it's like a Christmas present to me from the whole family (haha). Then on Monday we're going over to my mother in law's house to help her with my favorite part of Christmas preparations - wrapping presents! And after that we're driving down to Longview to see my father in law and his awesome wife. After that it's Christmas Eve and we don't have any plans solidified for that yet but we'll probably just chill with all the corny Christmas movies on Netflix. Then it's Christmas!

Christmas is crazy for us as a couple in a way that it never was for me growing up. You see, my husband's other grandma had nine kids (his dad's generation), and all of those kids had kids (his generation), and most of those kids have had kids as well (our kids' generation). And almost all of them pack into Grandma's house for Christmas! There's only enough seats for everyone because there's a floor and I'm sure some of the aunts spend the whole time standing up and working (cooking, cleaning, etc). We're all crammed in like sardines and it's noisy and disorganized ... and yet, somehow, we all have an excellent time.

After Christmas we take a day to recover. It's just got to happen. With that much food, there's no way around it. We sleep for most of the day and it's amazing.

Then we start in on New Year stuff. We write out our goals and plans, get things organized, make more plans, and post our goals and affirmations around the house. We conference with our mentors to share our goals and plans with them, and to get input from them on where things may need to be adjusted. We get all of our accounting things in order so we can send them off to our awesome accountant at the beginning of the year, and before we know it December 31st has arrived!

It's a whirlwind, to be sure, but it's so much fun.

I'm especially excited for the new year. There's so much happening! But that's another post. Merry Christmas everyone.