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A Review of 2019 + What To Expect in 2020!

1/6/2020

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! Welcome back!! I hope everyone had a good holiday. We had such a wonderful break, seeing family, laying low and getting things done around the house.

I wanted to kick off 2020 with my annual recap post of the previous year! I’ll link some past ones here too, in case you’re new. We have… 2015: “The Year of Growing Pains,” 2016: “The Year of Failure” and 2017: “The Best Year of My Life.” 2018 got the title of “The Year I Realized I Was Building A Life I Didn’t Want” and 2019? I’ve been calling it “The Year of Resistance.”

It’s funny because I’d been thinking about that word as my summation of the year for a few weeks, and then I saw this post from Kate about 2019 and she said something quite similar. And I had planned on writing a whole long post about how conflicted this year was, how every decision I made or tried to make was met with resistance, from others and from myself. How everything I thought I ever knew was kind of stomped on and thrown in the trash. But then I read the final line of Kate’s post and it helped me shift my perspective on the year. So I thought I’d start with that instead:

“2019 taught me I can do hard things.”

Blue and Terra Cotta Animal Themed Kids Bathroom

In 2018, I threw my planned-life trajectory out the window and in 2019 I started fresh. Excited, ready for change. But I don’t think I gave weight to how hard that would be on me, a person who thrives on a long-term goal and plan who now had neither. Previously I had a team of people that I was responsible for showing up for, and there’s something to be said for the accountability that gives someone, especially someone like me.

I’ve stumbled a lot this year, some publicly and some privately. Hitting the reset button on life while turning 30, raising a trauma-exposed toddler, renovating a home, relocating a business and living far from family is hard. Doing it while your job is to share your life with people is even harder.

A Review of 2019 and What To Expect in 2020

On top of that, we mourned the loss of four future siblings for Arlo this year. I can’t talk about most of them, because the story isn’t mine to tell. But one of them was another miscarriage, my third since we started our journey to grow our family. It started with an unexpected pregnancy this summer (we weren’t trying, as we were and are happily in the adoption process) and it was the first time I ever heard the words “Your numbers look good!” or that I saw anything besides an empty sac on an ultrasound. We rode the familiar rollercoaster for a few weeks but unfortunately, it still ended the same as my past pregnancies have. No heartbeat. And this ended up being my hardest miscarriage yet, with the physical effects and traumatic procedures lasting nearly three months.

We were set to match with an expectant mother the day I found out I was pregnant, so we had to pull out of the match. We essentially lost two babies at once. It was brutal.

Pink Bridesmaid Dress

That only scratches the surface of what 2019 was for our family. I haven’t been able to talk about about a lot of the things that happened this year, and I won’t be able to, as it’s not entirely my story to share. That’s hard too, as I find a lot of healing in talking and sharing.

Outside of myself, I spent the year watching people around me do hard things, too. And being so consumed with my own hard things, I didn’t feel like I could support them properly with theirs. Sudden losses, devastating diagnoses, blatant racism, toxic workplaces, and the list goes on. Nevermind the political climate and global destruction. This year felt so heavy, for almost everyone I know. My struggles don’t even compare to what I watched so many face. Every bit of bad news we would hear from friends, family or the country at large, Jeff and I would turn to each other and say “Really, 2019? Haven’t we all had enough?”

Our 2019 Family Holiday Cards

As I take a step back, I’ve never grown so much in a year as I have in 2019. I have learned an incredible amount about myself, the world around me, the changes I need to make so that there is a world around the next generation some day, about the adoption community, communication in business and in my marriage, parenting, my priorities and about the help I need.

I feel incredibly grateful that I made the big changes to my business and life before 2019 threw all it’s curve balls my way, because there is absolutely no way I would have survived if I hadn’t. And my biggest priority was to spend more time with Arlo, which I did. I am incredibly grateful for that privilege. I have no regrets about the changes I made in 2018, which is a question I’m often asked!

2019 was supposed to be a year of transition and of “figuring things out” and it was. And while I don’t have things quite as figured out as I had hoped I would, I am continuing to learn that life doesn’t always follow the timeline you try to set for it. Can I get an amen?

I’m entering 2020 grateful for the lessons I learned in 2019. I am focused on making SMALL changes in my business and my life to help me keep my priorities straight. Changes that I know I can make, “slow and steady wins the race” style. I’m entering 2020 feeling confident about the boundaries I’ve put in place for my family, the people I’ve surrounded myself with and the new awareness I have for the world around me and what it needs from me.

Happy Weekend!

I had some real moments of clarity as 2019 came to a close, and I have some really fun things planned to share with you all. In 2020, I just want to share what inspires me, whether it makes sense or not. Baby names, moroccan rugs, Disneyland, dream homes, small businesses, eco-friendly swaps, kids rooms, family memory making, traditions and more. I want to explore my style and how it’s evolving.

I’ve been quite focused on building a “brand” in the past. But now I’m quite focused on letting myself break out of that box, instead of resisting that urge to do so, and seeing where it takes me. They’ll never teach you that in business school. But I never liked school anyway. 😉

Family Photo

Small goals, small changes, small shifts. Big impact. That’s my 2020 motto.

I am grateful to have each and every one of you as a part of this community, that you stuck with me through that year of figuring things out, and for your encouragement and positivity as I did. I’ve been especially floored by your kind comments lately.

Cheers to a new year! We can do hard things and get through it. I’m so happy you’re here.

21 comments

  • Kaitlin

    Kelly, it is so inspiring to see you take all the hardships that were thrown at you in 2019 and make them into beautiful lessons. I have no doubt that 2020 will be your year, and I will be right here rooting you all on along the way! Thank you for the constant inspiration- not only in business, home design, or family- but for inspiring all of us to take what is thrown in front of us with stride and creating something beautiful from something so seemingly ugly. Cheers!

  • Mia

    Hi Kelly, I’ve followed your blog and family since 2015 and I am constantly inspired by your brave outlook on hardships and growing pains. Thank you for always being a point of inspiration and sharing what you do with the world. Wishing you and your family love and brightness for 2020, we’re all here cheering you on. xoxo!

  • Stephanie Mishler

    Oh Kelly what a year! I’m sorry you’ve gone through those struggles silently. I hope 2020 is an amazing year for you guys

  • Mia G

    Kelly, wow. I had no idea 2019 was such a rough year for you/y’all — you really put on such a brave face through it all. I truly hope 2020 is kinder and smoother. I will say that I loved the direction the blog took this year. I know it was a huge jump to go from the pure Studio DIY posts (what you’d been founded on) and transitioning more to lifestyle posts, but I have loved them all!! Keep doing what you have been – it’s been wonderful to see.
    Happy 2020 to you, Jeff, and Arlo. I wish y’all the best and can’t wait to see what the year brings.

  • elsie larson

    crying! love you Kelly!

  • Thai

    I am so sorry that you have endured such a tough year. I ended 2018 with 2 miscarriages and thought for sure it could’t get any worse. I went into 2019 hopeful that things would be so much better when we found out I was pregnant in March. Unfortunately, that one too ended up in a miscarriage…one that didn’t fully complete until the end of July. Your ability to put on a happy face and power thru is truly inspiring. I spent the last half of the year not wanting to see anyone or do anything and found myself spiraling down a dark whole. I’d like to say I’m hopeful that 2020 will be better as we are done “trying” (which means no more miscarriages, right?) but I’m not really confident.

  • Amanda

    You have already made such a big impact, and I know you will continue to do so. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  • Patricia Newman

    Wow you are 1 tough cookie bless you for encouraging others with these blogs

  • cassie bustamante

    I just started reading your blog over my Christmas break so this is the first time I am commenting. 🙂 I just had to say, I loved this post and totally felt what you are saying and also feel all of the hope that 2020, a new year and a new decade (and maybe a new president…) holds. I also wanted to tell you that I have 3 kids… we had 2 and anticipated being done. However, 40 started creeping in and realized I was not done and after much discussion we decided to go for one more. I never in my wildest dreams imagined how hard it would be, how much grief I would face over 4 lost pregnancies. I decided to let that dream go, and be satisfied with things as they were because I did have two wonderful kids and they were almost to high school and we almost had freedom back, so that was pretty special, too. I decided that on a Monday, got a new job to fire myself up, ran 6 miles to get back into running, and made lots of life choices to just get back to me. That Friday I felt funny, and I think you know how this is going to end. Fast forward to today, where I just dropped my 20 month old off to his very first day of “school.” Gosh, I am crying writing this… my point is that the universe is listening for sure, you just have to be patient and give yourself and it grace. By the way, I HATED all the people who said to me, “maybe it’s just not meant to be,” or “try this.” I just wanted people to listen to me, and say, “I am sorry you are hurting, that must really suck.” I just wanted my grief and hopeless feelings acknowledged. So I am not at all trying to tell you to try anything, just letting you know I believe your wishes will be answered, just maybe not on your own time. Well, how is that for my first comment here. 😉 Wishing you all the best in 2020. I think you may be rewriting your “My best year ever” post at this time next year.

    • Kelly

      Hi Cassie!! So happy you found your way to this corner of the internet! Welcome! And thank you so much for sharing your story!! So amazing. And totally the best advice, things never do happen on our timeline do they!? 😉 Cheers to 2020!

  • Kim Stoegbauer

    Cheers to 2020, Kelly! You’ve been through so much and I think it’s amazing that you can share it here so others can relate and be encouraged by your strength! Wishing you all the best for the new year! xoxo Kim

  • brianne

    oh, kelly. my best friend and I have gone through both those things, miscarriage (me) and adoption struggles (her), and I absolutely cannot imagine going through both simultaneously. You and Jeff and Arlo are so strong and we so appreciate you keeping this bright corner of the internet through it all. xoxo

  • Caitlin

    Even though I just know you through the internet, watching you go through similar struggles to mine has been helpful for me! I just want you to know that you’re not alone. Miscarriages and infertility sucks, racism sucks too, and I feel like you’re learning how much you don’t know too, just like I am. Just wanted to say I still love your content, and following along has been a balm for me. I hope it has been for you too!

  • at home with Ashley

    I’m really sorry to hear about losing your babies, Kelly. On the other hand, I’m excited to watch as you share all the things that inspire you in 2020! Here’s to a new start.

  • Leah R Esturas-Pierson

    I’m so sorry this year was so rough. We had a similar year: Lost 3 houses we tried to buy, both of our dogs died during the summer, and we lost a baby at 17 weeks after discovering she had severe birth defects. I look back and still can’t believe how intensely difficult it was. At the same time, loss and tragedy ignites something inside of us that helps us grow. I hope you guys are finding your stride this year and taking that growth into the next phases of life! Here’s to a more joyful 2020!

  • Katie

    Kelly, thank you so much for opening your heart and family story to us all. I found your little corner of the internet just before you and Jeff got engaged, and have loved being along on the Studio DIY ride ever since.
    Life is so bumpy, and I appreciate your bravery in sharing your trials (and amazing successes) so that we might all realize no one has it all together, everyone struggles, and that being kind really does matter.
    There are so many of us here, cheering you and your beautiful little family along. May 2020 bring tears of joy to you and yours!

  • Michelle

    Hello. I have never commented before but I found your website when looking for adoption resources. We are also in the process of adopting our first and we lost 3 pregnancies this year. I was not sure I could make it through the holidays knowing there were 3 different babies we should have had in our arms during that time. I am feeling better now that the holidays are over but really hoping 2020 is our year.

    Thank you for sharing the information in your own way and your own time. Just hearing someone validate adoption losses as losses is healing in itself. I hope you get a successful match soon. I’m rooting for you.

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