2017 in Review

It’s hard to believe that we’re already at the end of another year. It seems that each year to pass brings more surprises and challenges… Maybe that’s just growing up.

This year was certainly no exception.


At the beginning of the year, we had an almost two-year-old and a four-month-old. It’s crazy to me that Colm was still basically a newborn potato – he’s grown so much this year!

My little monkeys at the beginning of 2017!

Our first five months of Colm were some of the hardest of my life. He didn’t sleep at all, which made working and momming challenging on the best of days.

We would get maybe six hours of sleep from him in a day (naps plus overnight), and I finally got to a point where I took him to the doctor and begged him to find something wrong that we could fix so we could get some sleep. Our doctor looked him over, laughed and said “there are some kids who just don’t sleep… Colm’s just one of them”. Lucky us.

We didn’t give him coffee… But it sure felt like we did 😛

(Thankfully, we were able to implement a solid sleep training routine around five to six months and now happily have two kids who sleep 12 hours through the night. Score!)

Paisley turned two in January, and we were in Florida a few weeks before so we took her to Disney Springs for a special birthday lunch and pictures with Pooh (AKA, the frugal parents’ way of doing Disney).

Here are some highlights from our winter:

Paisley loves the snow.
Hanging with the kiddos at Disney Springs.
Time on the beach in Florida.


Colm’s sleep aversions and Josh’s work schedule made it exceptionally difficult for me to continue on at my part time job. Even though I was only working four hours a day, I’d easily spend twice that amount of time getting us ready to go. Josh left at six every morning, and I wasn’t sleeping, so dragging two tiny people out of the house each morning was utter torture.

This is how we felt each morning before Mommy quit her job.

In March, Josh and I made the decision for me to quit my job to focus on my writing. We put the balls in motion, and I started working from home with the kiddos, which is what I’ve been wanting to do since Paisley was born.

And how we felt about changing our routine.

After the kids and I established a comfortable little working routine and I rounded out my writing portfolio, I ended up in a better place financially, as well. I feel so blessed to be able to focus on the career of my dreams while hanging out with my little ones!

Wearing a baby at a DIY standing desk… All in a day’s work!

Here are some highlights of our spring, including Colm’s first Easter!


The year really took off in June of this year. Josh and I celebrated our fourth (!!) wedding anniversary at the end of the month.

Before that, we took a look at our finances and my success with working from home and decided that Josh would be better suited to work from home on his web development, rather than in the corporate accounting job he was working at the time. Thus, our small business – Rystedt Creative – was born.

Of course, between deciding to quit his job and actually coming home, Josh managed to wreck his car on the beltway. Thankfully no one was hurt and all of the damage was covered by our insurance.

In case you were wondering an “I’m glad you didn’t die in that car wreck” baby is totally a thing. (Ask me how I know.)

We also discovered that we had a baby on board… Baby Rystedt v3 will be joining us in February 2018!

We certainly weren’t planning two huge changes in a single month – Josh actually sat down with his boss to quit at the exact same hour that I went to my first midwife appointment of the pregnancy – but we’re very excited to meet our new addition (and learn whether it’s a boy or girl)!

July and August were spent focusing on the business and working our fingers off. Actually, we’re still in the trenches to some degree, but working on our own venture is so much more fulfilling than any office job ever was.

Hard at work!

Here are some highlights of our summer:

Strawberry picking with the babies.


In September, Colm turned one. He’s such a happy and cuddly little guy! He started walking right around his birthday and has been teething like a little shark for the entire second half of the year.

We also welcomed our little niece, and second godchild, in September. We got to travel to North Carolina to meet her and celebrate her baptism over a long weekend in October.

Colm twinning with his cousin.

In October, we also made a somewhat drastic decision to switch prenatal care from a local practice at our hospital to a freestanding birth center in Annapolis (there is unfortunately very little support for moms who desire natural birth in this area). So now I know what it’s like to switch care at 28 weeks… It’s pretty crazy, but it can be done! But I’m looking forward to a water birth and being allowed to pretty much have the baby and go back home to my older babies 🙂

Me at 20 weeks with each baby.

November was a month of insanity. It started when Paisley broke her nose and Colm had a super high fever scare that sent us to the ER. Then we were dealing with some tight deadlines for work and a cold that just wouldn’t stop sweeping through the family.

The day after Thanksgiving, my grandfather passed away. This came as a bit of a shock and certainly was a horrible way to close out such a rough month for our family.

December began with a surprise trip to Florida for the funeral, which was both a happy and sad time for us. Sad, of course, for the reason we were traveling. Happy because we got to see all of our family together in one place – certainly not something that happens very often.

Here are some highlights from our crazy fall of traveling:

We celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Winter (Again)

After our trip, December was a whirlwind of activity with preparing for Christmas and attending to work stuff. Josh finished up another semester of school and we’re getting ready to make some post-school decisions after his graduation in 2019.

Our Christmas was fairly low-key, with four church services and our annual trip to the National Cathedral on the 26th. This year was the first that Paisley was really aware of the Christmas celebrations, decorations and gifts, which made it by far the most fun Christmas that Josh and I have ever had.

Here are some highlights from Christmas 2017!

Christmas with the cousins.

Our kids got new beds for Christmas.
Even the baby!

Mommy got a fancy pants food processor!
Which Colm promptly claimed.

Paisley in the Children’s Chapel at the National Cathedral (our day after Christmas tradition).
Colm also enjoyed the Cathedral.
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Gabrielle Rystedt
Gabrielle Rystedt
Gabrielle Rystedt is a writer by day and a writer by night (because writers never sleep), who spends time balancing client orders, a couple of books and her blog at Raising Rystedts. She’s a business school grad who’s dabbled in management, both at the project and company level. She loves coffee and crafting, and enjoys settling down with a good book. Though as mom to three kiddos in three years, she realistically spends most of her time reheating her coffee and typing away like a crazy person on a laptop keyboard while surrounded by (clean) cloth diapers and cheddar bunnies.

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