2023 Year in Review

Sometimes it’s really hard to know where to start when it comes to re-capping an entire year. I recently looked through all of my 2023 highlights on my Instagram account and it was sooo fun and cool to see all that happened in 2023. There were a ton of high points, and a fair amount of low points, and lots of in-between! These posts are fun for me too, to have a record of some of the cool things we did over the year all in one place! Without further ado, here is my 2023 Year In Review.

The stats:

  • We spent 277.5 hours outside as a family of three this year. Each child got way more than that because of time spent outside at school and with their dad, but it’s fun to track just the three of us. We had a goal of 300 hours, but the first 7 weeks of school we spent 3 hours a day commuting, on top of 7.5 hours at school, so we rarely got outside during that time.
  • Lily graduated from Kindergarten and moved on to 1st grade and she’s totally thriving.
  • James started at a new pre-k program after he turned 3 and we are absolutely loving it! I’m so grateful to my friends Emily, Nick, and Emily’s mom, and my mom for watching James for me during the first 7 weeks of school until he was able to transition to his new spot.
  • Since August 30th, we put 11k miles on my vehicle. I wish I had a starting odometer reading for the year, haha.
  • The kids and I took two road trips this year – one to North Carolina and one to Maryland!
  • I took three solo trips, two trips to Nashville with Brittany and one trip to Maui to visit my friends Rachel and Ryan.
  • Here’s a fun, random stat – I saved just shy of $300 on groceries using Hannaford Rewards.
  • I read 56 books!
  • Lily turned 7 and James turned 3! I don’t know how it’s possible I have two little humans who are getting so big!
  • I added 2 more tattoos to my body, one fairly large and one fairly small. I love them both!

The highlights:

  • In May, Lily accepted Jesus as her Savior and decided to get baptized, and it was so incredible to see her come to this decision entirely on her own. She and I were both baptized together by our dear friends Nick + Amanda. They walked with me through one of the lowest and hardest seasons of my life, and it was such an honor that they agreed to do this for us!
  • We invested in rain gear in the spring, and I’m SO glad we did because it rained practically all summer. We definitely got our money’s worth and am so glad we’ll have them again this summer!
  • I started a new business – Single Mom Meal Prep – and that’s been a really cool experience.
  • Traveling as much as we did was so amazing. We made so many memories together that we still talk about, and we are so excited about our travel plans in 2024!
  • Steven and I really hit our stride in co-parenting this past year, which has been really awesome. It was a long road to get there, but for our living situation, we are operating at peak performance, in my opinion.
  • Our friendship with our friends Brittany, Callie, Cayden + Olivia truly deepened over the last year, and they’re basically a part of the family now. We call our kids the Baranilo Squad.
  • We went camping with our friends Meg + Ava! It was my first time camping with both kids and it was the best!! We had a great time!
  • I’ve seen a lot of progress and growth in Lily surrounding her tantrums, which was a huge struggle for a long time.
  • James is fully potty trained and I just moved him over to a “big boy” bed a few weeks ago. It’s been so bittersweet watching him grow! His language is exploding and it’s so fun to have little conversations with him!
  • Lily hosted a science party in the spring and I loved every second of it. She had this idea and did all the planning, I just helped execute it! I love how creative she is and how smart she is!
  • We started doing longer bike rides as a family to the playground and I’m longing for warmer days for us to do that again!
  • The 4th of July was a fun-filled day with a parade, fireworks, and food trucks! James + Lily are still talking about this day. It was for sure a highlight 🙂
  • We did lots of exploring all over southern Maine!
  • I got to meet my therapist in person for the first time over the summer and I’m so glad to have had the opportunity for that! I absolutely adore her, and it was great to be able to give her a big hug!
  • I attended Lady Camp in October with my church – The Refuge. It was a wonderful weekend and I absolutely love being a part of this community. They truly are like a second family to me and my kids now, and I’m so grateful we landed there!
  • We went fishing with Nana + Papa over the summer, and James was SO into it for the first time. Lily was so good with it too! It was so fun and adorable and I love that we get to do this with them!
  • Our friends Missi, Lukas + Hayden came for a visit for a few days and we got to go see animals and go to the beach and hang in the backyard for the most heart + soul filling visit!
  • We had a really incredible day in York, visiting the zoo with Auntie + friends, followed by Short Sands beach, dinner at a local restaurant and checking out Nubble Light! I think this was one of my absolute favorite days from this summer.
  • Brittany and I discovered a new favorite place in Boothbay Harbor for finding sea glass!
  • I had a custom book nook built into my basement and we LOVE it!!
  • I got new windows this past winter and a new washing machine this winter and I adulted so hard and geeked out over them both.
  • We went to the drive-in and saw The Polar Express! We loaded up picnic dinners, hot chocolate and all kinds of blankets and pillows and chilled in the trunk of my vehicle with the tailgate up!

The “lowlights”:

  • It’s hard growing a new business, haha.
  • My financial situation changed the last half of the year and that’s been really tough, but it’s also been wild to see how the Lord has provided in the most surprising ways!
  • Our gardens really struggled this year – probably because of all the rain and gray days!

Overall, I’m so grateful for all the experiences we’ve had over the course of 2023. I also am sooo grateful my sweet little home. Our backyard and inside spaces are so well suited for our lifestyle and it brings us so much joy! I love how much time we spent just chilling in the backyard and playing, or hanging out inside. This life is far from easy, but it’s absolutely beautiful. I can’t wait to see what 2024 has in store for my sweet family! If you made it this far, here are some photos from our year 🙂

Linda is a Portland-based photographer specializing in weddings and creating family legacies from Portland to Boston and across New England. You can see more of her work online at lindabarryphotography.com, on Instagram, or on Facebook. If you want to reach out directly: linda@lindabarryphotography.com.

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You can usually find me adding books to my never-ending “to read” list; challenging myself to do things like not shop for a year; sneaking crispy m+ms from my secret hiding spot so I don’t have to share them with my daughter; and melting over seeing my children smiling at each other.

Oh and I guess I should mention - I’m a seasoned Portland wedding photographer who provides not only kick-ass wedding photos, but also a meaningful and laid-back experience from the time you book to the delivery of your final images. 

I share all things personal, business, tips, and life as a mom and business owner here on the blog!

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