I am officially 25 years old. I know that is still pretty young but it feels so much older than 24. When I was 18, I thought 25 was so old and yet here I am! A few months ago I was really starting to feel nervous because I felt like by 25 I should have a lot more accomplished in my life (what I really mean is I always imagined I’d have a baby by 25). Back when we first started trying to get pregnant, I would always say in my mind “As long as I’m pregnant by the time I’m 25, I’ll be good”. As my birthday started getting close I realized that wasn’t going to be the case and then I started to think about all the great things I have accomplished in the past 24 years.
Sometimes you just need to focus on what you have done and less on what you haven’t.
So today I am going to focus on the amazing things that has happened in year 24! After writing all 24 I feel like I’m boasting about myself too much but I hope you know I write these with as much humility as I can muster.
1. We got to travel across the globe, visiting my husband’s mission, and meeting the kindest people.
Probably the coolest accomplishment in my 24th year was planning a trip to Thailand and Cambodia. Ryan, his parents’, and I got to finally visit his mission! I didn’t think I would get to actually go back for another 5-10 years, so I feel so grateful to have got to go so quickly after him coming home (4 years). I met some of his investigators and although I couldn’t understand what they were saying you could tell how much it meant to see Ryan again. I also got to experience authentic Thai food and now I can say without a doubt that it is my favorite type of food. Definitely a highlight of year 24!
2. I quit a job that wasn’t fulfilling me and became a full-time freelancer!
This was another pretty huge thing this year. After moving to Iowa, I worked remotely with a company in Utah. The core of my career today started with them and I am so grateful for that! As time went by I outgrew the company (I don’t mean that in a snarky way, I mostly just wanted to be my own boss haha) and decided it was time to risk it all and work for myself. I soon realized I could make a butt load more of money and never looked back!
3. I started working in the GADABOUT Creative team as a developer.
Well I shouldn’t say I never looked back, since I don’t actually work completely alone. I do part-time freelance (my business McKenzie Sue Makes), and part-time I am a freelance contractor with Gadabout Creative. Now all my previous clients would always mention a site they wanted theirs to look like and 20% of the time it was a Gadabout site. I knew about this agency and envied over their flawless sites. I was feeling overly ambitious one day, around the time I was deciding to leave the old company, and wrote out an email to Hanna the founder to make connections and see if they were interested in expanding their team. I made the email sound super professional although I was pretty nervous about making myself sound like a fool. I must have been subconsciously listening to the Spirit that day because miraculously Hanna was thinking about adding another member that exact week! I was floored and after a few weeks I was officially part of the team. My dream team if you ask me! I am so so grateful to be part of the Gadabout team and it is mind-blowing the amount of knowledge I’ve gained since working with them in August.
4. I became a better photographer.
I always had a thing for photography and in the past have taken photos of families in the ward, but particularly in my 24th year, I started to take photography a bit more seriously. I started shooting in RAW, purchased Lightroom, and learned about JPEGmini (all life savers!!). I also got a brand new camera body and am so happy with the progress I have made. Ryan has started learning about photography and although I am not the most patient teacher, I am glad I now have an official #instagramhusband who’s got my back ;).
5. Lots of some pretty awesome bucket list items were checked off.
Including: riding an elephant and holding a snake! All thanks to Thailand! Obviously going to Thailand and Cambodia were also on my bucket list as well. I never thought I’d actually get to hold a snake but it came true in year 24!
6. Ryan and I grew closer than we ever had been before.
My 24th year was the first whole year Ryan and I have been trying to get pregnant and so the entire year was full of ups and downs and monthly disappointments. Ryan was always there and understanding. Because it was just us two, we spent a lot of time on little date. Whether it was going out to see a movie spontaneously, driving down to south Iowa City to play some disc golf and grab a Taco Bell quesadilla, or just going to the mall for some Panda Express (talk about romantic haha) it was always full of laughs. He is my rock and I am so glad he is part of my story for the rest of eternity!
7. I stuck to a year long project.
I am pretty short-minded when it comes to projects. I’ll pick up something and then get bored with it after two weeks. But in my 24th year, I did the 1 Second Every Day Project and although I missed a couple days I stuck with it for an entire year! I am pretty proud of that accomplishment.
8. I worked with over 50 clients and personally launched over 40 websites!
Man, when I look back over an entire year and count out the number of sites/people I have worked with and the number of sites I have personally launched, it amazes me. I forget how much I work and how (somewhat) quickly it takes to get a site up and so it’s pretty fun to see the full number of people I worked with in the year 24.
9. I launched my first physical product!
I always have some side project up my sleeve but I feel like my very first physical product happened this year: The Happy Habits book! I went out and researched the price of printing, found the best local printing shop who would give me the best deal, researched for hours on binding costs, and designed out a little planner book! It really wasn’t a huge success and I doubt anything will really come of it but I think I made around $600 from it and it was exciting to see people buying a real physical product in my store.
10. I helped give Grandma Jean the spotlight she deserves with a cookbook of her best recipes!
This might be one of my favorite accomplishments in year 24. I came to my wonderful Grandma with the idea of creating a cookbook of her most loved foods (she’s an amazing cook). That happened in Christmas 2015 and exactly a year later it was finally done! It took probably around 100 hours of gathering recipes with her and my mom, creating or finding photos, designing the book, researching the best options for printed books and binding options, and then proofing and re-proofing every page to make sure it was all correct and good to go. I am so proud of the book and I was amazed that over 140 books were sold! I was able to make a little profit from the books as well (around $700 I think) and I will treasure my book forever.
11. I finally finished some projects I had thought about for a long time.
In my 24th year, I finished two projects I have had in my mind for the longest time. One is my travel map canvas. I always wanted a map that I could pin the places we have traveled to. Although I love the maps of the world, I didn’t know if I really wanted one hung in our house and came up with the idea of using an abstract dot map and stickers. The stickers evolved into pins and finally after finding a cheap canvas shop, I ordered it and am one happy girl! I would love to sell these as a living (not sure it would actually make a living but I just love this idea so much). I haven’t really explore more about that but hopefully I can spend more time on this wonderful idea in the future. The second project is a Christmas nativity count-down. I have pinned and looked and dozens of Christmas count-downs but I always wanted one that involved more of the Christmas story than just a tree with cute ornaments or Santa and his sleigh. I saw many online but they just didn’t match up to my style and so I created my own! I actually did it (mostly because I was the activity chair and needed a December activity) and was able to create a template for lots of other people to create it as well!
12. I was able to take a few fun classes.
I took a glass ornament class which was very cool and something I had no idea about! I also took a 3 hour ceramics class which was a blast. It was very hard and I would love to go back and work on mastering that skill although I learned that will take hours and hours of practice. Definitely sometime in the future!
13. I started The Crafter’s Box.
I am obsessed. The beginning of 2016, I started the subscription to ‘The Crafter’s Box’. This box was created for me. I was only meant to do the first three months but I just can’t stop! Each month a box is sent with all the supplies I need to learn a new creative skill. From yarn dying, to jewelry making, to cyanotype, and crochet. It came at such perfect timing to help keep me distracted and busy while we were continuing to try for a baby. The perfect addition to my 24th year!
14. I learned how to watercolor.
Just recently I started exploring watercolor. I wouldn’t say I mastered it in any way, but it is a medium I have always wanted to try and I have finally started the process! So excited to see how much I improve in the next year!
15. I started weaving.
In my 24th year, I bought a loom and took a weaving class from the talented Hello Hydrangea! I am so excited to explore more on the loom (I can never find more free time gosh dang it!).
16. I opened a new Instagram Business account.
Which is a scary thing to do. I thought over it for weeks: Should I start a new personal account and keep the followers I have on my own, should I keep them combined and make my business account more of a lifestyle more than business? I still am figuring things out and figuring out what this blog is about (right now: EVERYTHING!) but this was a big step towards creating my dream business!
17. I didn’t send out a Christmas card.
This may not sound like an accomplishment but it is to me. I am the type of person who feels like everyone is looking at me, and catching all of my faults. That is a bit of an exaggeration but I was stressing out too much about creating the most beautiful Christmas card with the most beautiful photo and most beautiful written paragraph about how wonderful we were doing. But at the time I didn’t feel like I was doing so great and so I decided to not send out a Christmas card. Saved a lot of time and money on that and it was nice to figuratively say ‘I don’t always have it together!
18. I got to babysit my niece and nephew for 2 days in New York.
I have babysat hundreds of hours and even spent the night babysitting in high school, but this was the first time I babysat my nieces/nephews overnight. Also include in the middle of New York City in the middle of winter. It was really not that bad since I only had them alone for about 48 hours but it was a great practice run for being a full-time mom.
19. I read over 10 books.
This is a total guess, I wish I knew how many books I actually read. Here are a few I remember: Wonder (excited for the movie!), One Thousand Gifts, First They Killed my Father, Grace Filled Marriage, half of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and History of Love
20. I learned to crochet and mastered my knitting skills.
I learned how to knit winter of 2015, right before I turned 24, and so all of year 24 was practicing and doing little knitting projects. One of my Crafter’s Box was crochet baskets and I was so excited since I’ve always wanted to learn crochet as well. I have a million projects I want to make, cute little baby clothes, a big rug, a soft blanket, and I have many more years to perfect both skills! If only I could finish one.
21. I refashioned around 5 dresses.
I’ve mentioned before that I started a ritual of buying a dress every month after I found out I was not pregnant. I knew I shouldn’t spend the money since I already have so many but getting the dress in the mail made me so happy that I just couldn’t stop! I had a few dresses I had stopped wearing because it didn’t fit, wasn’t modest, or it wasn’t flattering – so I decided to refashion it! I took a sewing class while I was at BYU and so that gives me the confidence to go and cut into these beautiful dresses to make them fit more to me!
22. I learned how to make jewelry.
Another skill learned through The Crafter’s Box. Another skill that’s been on my list of to-do’s in the far future and I was able to learn a lot sooner than I expected! I definitely know the bare minimum but I love having all the tools I need and make sure pretty necklaces for friends and family!
23. Ryan and I moved into our first official home.
Right before my birthday, we moved into our new home and the whole year we’ve been adding more furniture and pieces to make it more our home. One of my favorite furniture pieces is our beverage fridge in the basement for our water and Diet Coke! We made a dining table and coffee table for the main level, and recently went through the whole house and cleaned out anything that wasn’t necessary. We love our little home and we’re excited to be here for another 2 years.
24. Ryan and I hit our 3 year anniversary!
I knew Ryan almost 4 years before we got married, so it’s weird to think we still have known each other longer not being married.
Year 24 was a pretty great one after all.