2016 was one of those years that a lot of us will remember for the rest of our lives. But while it was punctuated by national and world events many of us wish we could unsee and forget, it’s hard to deny that on a personal level, 2016 was a good year for us. A very good year, in fact.
It was the year that I realized that we can make it through life’s downs and disappointments. We are stronger than we give ourselves credit for.
We have the choice to find meaning, happiness, and fulfillment in times of the greatest overwhelm, uncertainty, and fear. I’ll be completely honest here: there are many, many days when I feel like I’m somehow inadequate professionally, as a mother, as a wife, as a daughter, as a worker. But for each day that I feel beaten, I have days when I feel powerful, confident, strong, inspired, and completely unafraid.
I started doing yoga again after having the twins, and here and there, I’ll be in a class when the instructor will tell us to ‘play.’ Try a side crow, or a headstand, or a hurdler. Just try.
In the beginning, I’d never try, clinging to my childhood fear of handstands. The ‘what ifs’ filling my brain with anxiety. But slowly, I started trying on the positions. Sometimes, my arms would give out and my cheek would land harshly on my mat. But then, I’d have a breakthrough: my legs would lift up, my back would tighten, and as if pulled by a million little strings, I’d hover, a rush of adrenaline coursing through my body.
For the first time in several years, I felt mentally strong. It wasn’t that my arms got stronger, or my legs were lighter — it was that I finally began to believe that I could damn well do it, if I wanted to.
In 2016, I:
- Celebrated my twins’ 1st birthday
- Worked for myself, full time, on my terms
- Wasn’t afraid to say yes
- Wasn’t afraid to say no
- Traveled solo
- Traveled with my husband
- Traveled with my friends
- Traveled with my family
- Made new friends
- Strengthened relationships with old friends
- Helped my husband realize his dream project
- Learned to garden
- Finished the book I’d started reading before I had my babies (and a couple more)
- Hosted family and friends at our house in Seattle
- Had an ice cream social in my backyard
- Collaborated with some really cool people, on some really cool projects
- Enjoyed being a mom (for the most part)
- Stayed up til 2:30 am on NYE (winning!)
- Got sick and then an ear infection immediately after (old!)
- Moved on
- Said sorry
- Said I love you, I love you, I love you
Let’s drink hot chocolate with marshmallows and kick 2017’s ass, guys.
Hawaij Hot Chocolate
adapted, barely, from Molly on the Range
makes two big cups or four small
This recipe is super flexible: the hot chocolate will be delicious without marshmallows and whipped cream, but will benefit from both or either. I love adding tahini to it but you can omit it, if you must. The hawaij is pretty magical but does make this drink a little on the spicy side, so it might not be as kid-friendly as it would be if you omitted it. You can also skip the espresso powder but I find that it plays up the chocolate flavor.
1 can of light coconut milk
3 tablespoons of sugar
1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons of tahini (well-stirred)
1 1/2 teaspoons of Hawaij for Coffee (recipe below)
1/2 teaspoon of instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon of bourbon vanilla extract
pinch of kosher salt
Homemade marshmallows, for serving (and/or whipped cream)
1. Combine the coconut milk, sugar, cocoa powder, tahini, hawaij, espresso powder, vanilla extract, and kosher salt. Whisk together until smooth and heat over medium heat until warm.
2. Divide hot chocolate among cups and top with homemade marshmallows and whipped cream, if using.
For the Hawaij for Coffee
1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons of ground cardamom
2 tablespoons of ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
Combine all of the spices together. Stir into coffee, baked goods, and hot chocolate, to taste. A little goes a long way!
For the homemade marshmallows