What I Gave Up in 2014

This year was filled with a lot of successes.

The YouTube channel I co-own broke 100,000 subscribers.

We put everything we own in storage to travel and live abroad, and I haven’t gone crying home yet.

I pitched, wrote, and shot a marketing series with Jay P Morgan for photographers and videographers, and it was sponsored by Squarespace.

I guest lectured at Brigham Young University on marketing for photographers and videographers.

I took care of my mentally ill sister and helped saved her from human trafficking 3 times.

I taught the marketing lessons in the Slanted Lens’ Business Coaching Class for photographers and videographers.

The acting studio I direct the marketing for was voted top 5 Acting Studio for Kids in Los Angeles.

I shot a series of funny baby sign videos with my boys and husband.

I made a collection of over 700 baby sign instructional videos.

My baby sign Instagram has 1,500 followers.

I finished my notanexactscience.com website, and I love how beautiful it is.

I was in a hilarious, international commercial where I drove the action.

I homeschooled my boys from northern Brazil to southern Brazil.

We started learning Portuguese. (We still have a lot to learn.)

Nolan signed over 50 signs this year. He is almost 16 months old.

We started making travel videos. (We are also still working our way through that one.)

Hector got a raise at work.

We helped a high school student apply to BYU’s SOAR program and took him to there after he was accepted.

We were in Oregon, Utah, Washington, California, Texas, Aracaju, Salvador, Sao Paulo, Curitiba, and Maceio this year.

But what you don’t see is what I gave up.

My Baby Sleeping

First, I gave up my baby sleeping through the night. At 6 months, I checked into a hotel and stayed the night by myself to get some sleep. A couple of 14-year-old cheerleaders woke me up in the middle of the night, and I promise you they will never be loud in a hotel hallway ever again. You are all welcome. I stayed one more night, and I slept. That was the last night I slept without being woken up. It was only TENNNNNNN MONTHS AGO.

Besides being terrible at getting my baby to sleep through the night, once it starts working, we move or travel. And if he does sleep, without fail, Darian get scared or just want to show me how much he loves me by putting his feet on my face in the middle of the night. So by traveling and moving often, I have given up my baby sleeping through the night. He wakes up, and I nurse him. He doesn’t care; in fact he loves it! But it’s killing me.


Second, I gave up sleeping all together. The first month in Brazil was extremely hard. Besides being away from all of the American food I’m addicted to, I couldn’t find someone to help watch the kids for 4 hours a day for that first month. So after I put the kids to bed, I worked for 7 hours, getting my lessons ready for the Slanted Lens’ Business Coaching Class, editing baby sign videos, working on travel videos, and doing other marketing work.

I really like to work 4 of the 12/13 hours my kids are awake and work the last 3 or 4 while they are sleeping. This did not work out at all. I’m still having trouble with having my work routine work. If you are wondering, I LOVE sleep. So, so, so much. So much I would marry it. I hope that happens.

Doing Things All by Myself

Third, I finally gave up doing things by myself. This was actually a really good thing to give up. I really like to make sure things are done well, and sometimes I will work on things that I can definitely outsource just to make sure they are done right.

To have more time with my kids, something I’m not willing to give up even though sometimes I want to ship Darian away, I got a personal assistant for 30 hours a week. That’s 30 hours I didn’t work but got work done. It also happened at night while I was sleeping, so I literally work up to projects being completed thanks to a hardworking, single mom in a developing country. We also had a great marketing coordinator at the Slanted Lens who is now leaving to have a beautiful baby. I’m so jealous of that baby. Many, many other people helped me get things done this year because I grew up and let them.

TV Shows

Fifth, I gave up TV shows. This past week, I have been sick and couldn’t work at night. I think it’s my body forcing a slow down. So we’ve been watching one or maybe 2 TV shows at night. This is more TV than I’ve watched this entire year. It took us 5 months to finish one season of the BBC’s Sherlock, which only has 3 or 4 episodes.

Our Home

Sixth, we gave up our home. I loved our house in Texas. I loved our Church, our gym, and the Sonic drive-thru across the street from the gym. Also, the libraries, parks, Darian’s preschool, our babysitter, my friends at church, delicious BBQ, Target and Walmart right across the street form each other… also next to Chick-fil-A, where I liked to buy a lemonade and chocolate chip cookie, which are both hard to find or make here.

We gave it all up to travel. All of our comfort and a couple extra pounds. However, my butt is jiggly as Darian pointed out last night while I lied on my stomach feeling sick and he hit my butt with a book as he said, “Jiggly, jiggly!” There’s a cross fit opening up next week near our current apartment in Curitiba…

I think what we gained this year could only come from what we sacrificed. My point of view has shifted forever. The answers to questions I so desperately asked have been answered. Nothing will ever be the same, and right now won’t stay the same for very long. I know I must give up even more this next year to reach my goals. Here’s to 52 weeks of hard work, fun, service, growth, and a little more sleep.