Heading into a New Year: Reflections & Change

Wonderful, terrifying, hilarious, exhausting, adventurous, trying, exciting, painful- all of these words describe this past year for me. In 2018 I got to spend the year from start to finish watching my son Leo grow, gain a crazy personality and experience so many things for the first time. The amount of joy that comes from being a mom is something I simply can not put into words. Our home was full of laughter and lots of clapping celebrating every little milestone and accomplishment. 

It’s really easy to let a few negative things cloud all the positive things in your life and that’s not how I want to remember this year. It has been hard for me lately and I do think it is important to reflect on these moments as well, but before I do let me share a few super incredible things that happened this past year, because I won’t allow myself to be defined by my low points. 

2018 started off with a snow day in GEORGIA! As a girl who lived in florida most of my life this was so exciting and fun to experience with my son! 

If you’ve followed me on my social media for awhile you know it is no secret that pregnancy is not easy on my body. I was in a lot of pain while I was pregnant with Leo (later finding out that I have degenerative disc disease and spurs on my spine), but oh my gosh was it all worth it. Leo is such a happy little man and seeing the joy on his face was always a constant reminder that all of those challenges I went through led me to the greatest joy I’ve ever known. And I would do it all over again a million times over just to be his mommy!

I was pushed outside my comfort zone (thanks to my friend Kate) in the best way and started doing a little modeling for Fab’rik Savannah where I became lifetime friends with the owner Ashley. My days at Fab’rik were my girl time and something fun to do for myself- something I so often neglect. 

My husband and I realized that we needed a little getaway so we booked a stay at a Disney Resort. Everyone says it but it is so true, when you have kids it becomes harder to make time for just the two of you and I 100% believe I’m the best mom when I’m being the best wife and partner to my husband. 

We later decided to take a trip to Peru and see the Amazon Rainforest (a dream we’ve had for years). This was the first time that we really left Leo and it was hard for me, but also SO GOOD! My husband and I love to travel but between the military and pregnancy we can’t explore as much as we’d like so this was so exciting that it worked out. We both realized that Peru was our 30th country that we’ve been to which is pretty cool! 

Leo turned 1 and we had a big peppa pig party for him which was amazing and just mind blowing that a full year happened so fast! 

I found out I was pregnant with our second baby and got to surprise my husband! 

My grandma passed away, which was definitely a low point, but it also meant that my family all came together and we finally got Leo Baptized which was such a special moment. 

We moved to Washington D.C.!

We finally launched our foundation Earls Fam Foundation to give back to our community on youtube. This has been my dream from the beginning so for it to finally happen was such a blessing! God really brought the perfect people together to make it happen. 

We also finally launched our baby brand Little Leo after working on it for so dang long! Our first product is a 5 pack of baby bandana drool bibs which you can buy on amazon here and we have more in the works! 

We ended the year getting to see the joy on Leo’s face on Christmas morning (which actually lasts all day long when you have a toddler haha) and we also had our gender reveal and found out Leo is going to have a baby brother! 

When I look back on those memories I think wow what an incredible year and honestly I’m glad I decided to take the time to share those moments because it really puts things into perspective. What we choose to focus on really has so much power and I always try to see the good in things.

I think it’s also important to share the raw struggles because the thing is we all go through seasons. I had all of these wonderful moments this past year but in the middle of it I was also falling apart at times. In the beginning of the year I went to physical therapy trying to relieve some of my back pain that often left me in tears. My husband and I struggled at times to nurture our own relationship as we tried to juggle everything else. I broke my hand while in Peru due to having a mass in my hand, which made working full time and being a stay at home mom full time of a toddler extremely challenging. I was so frustrated that I couldn’t do things by myself anymore. I had to have help and that was a hard pill to swallow. Followed by the joy of finding out I was pregnant, again I was hit with another tough pregnancy. With my hormones a mess and physically hurting, my emotions felt out of control at times. I started to feel like I couldn’t keep any of it together. I had so many exciting things going on, yet I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. We had a scare that our second baby had a neural tube defect (thankfully it was all a big mistake), which really shook me up. As a naturally happy person I started to not even feel like myself during these times which is so discouraging. I reached a breaking point. I knew it and my husband knew it. 

I’m by no means out of this season, and to be honest my pain is only getting worse with the second half of my pregnancy, but I’m making changes to hopefully help alleviate some of the stress. These aren’t really goals for the New Year, but more like necessary changes for a healthier and happier life while navigating a difficult season.

  1. We are hiring help to clean the house. It is nearly impossibly to have a clear mind when your space is a mess. A lot of the cleaning puts major stress on my back right now so it’s time to swallow my pride and finally accept that it’s okay if I can’t do it all by myself. 
  2. We are hiring a babysitter to help watch Leo a few hours during the week. We had a babysitter back in Georgia that I LOVED (I also didn’t take advantage of her as much as I should have) and we just haven’t made it a priority to find one here, but it’s time. This is definitly the hardest for me because I don’t want to give up any of my time with Leo, but I know I can’t be the best mom or wife if I’m pouring everything I have into everyone else. I’ve never been very good at making time for myself and I’m realizing I need to if I want to really thrive instead of just survive. I need time and space to think creatively on my own, rest if need be, and just be Rachel at times. 
  3. We are making date nights a priority. We love doing things as a family, but there is definitely a difference when you can be fully focused on your spouse and that time is really the glue that holds everything else together. Another reason why we need a babysitter! 

I’m excited for healthy change and no matter what challenges I face this year I already can see the joyous moments and for those I can not wait! Bring it on baby! Together we can get through anything!

Captured by Katherine Ilona Photography

Love God, Love People, Make A Difference & Be Thankful,

Rachel Earls

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11 Comments

  1. Rika
    January 3, 2019 / 9:42 pm

    You are the most amazing person! And i agree on everything that you wrote. You need time for yourself and i know it’s hard but sometimes you just need like girls nights or spa day or just some naps 🙂
    I love watching Leo grow and he’s an amazing little young man, he’s sweet and caring and really so cute. I love the fact that there is soo much love in your house and i wish and just hope that i will have that with my hubby.
    You really are an amazing mom and wife. Thank you for being so amazing!

    Lots of love from Slovenia.

    • Ema
      January 4, 2019 / 9:25 am

      I couldn’t agree more. Rachel you are truly a role model for me, you make my day everytime I watch your YouTube videos or read your blog. You really inspire me.

      Lots of love from Slovenia! ❤️

  2. Marie
    January 3, 2019 / 10:51 pm

    You guys are great. I wish you all the best. You did so many things last year. It is ok to struggle.
    P.S.
    It is so nice to see my old “hometown” Washington D. C. I spend there one year as an Au Pair. Maybe that could be a helper for you too. 😉 I would love to be your au pair. And I think everybody else would love it to be a part of your family.

  3. Courtney
    January 3, 2019 / 11:16 pm

    You are an rockstar mama, amazing wife, total boss babe, and inspiration to so many. Thank you for sharing your ups and downs with us and it is so nice to see and feel that I am not alone with struggles.
    You can pour from an empty cup so keep filling yours up! Keep rocking it mama!

  4. Zenda
    January 4, 2019 / 12:10 am

    Rachel, I wish you all the best and all good thing for this New Year and always. God bless your family ❤️❤️💙💙

  5. Staci
    January 4, 2019 / 1:01 am

    Thanks for sharing..Good for you Rachel..
    We all need help at times.. and we should not feel bad to ask for it..

  6. Sam
    January 4, 2019 / 2:09 am

    This is great! I know you’re going to get negativity from others, but you need to take care of yourself and when we watch your vlogs we only see 13 minutes or so of your day we have no idea really what goes on behind the scenes. I’m so happy you shared this and I believe everything you share even when you are super vulnerable and isn’t easy to talk about will help someone. I think someone can always relate and it’s amazing that even though it may be tough you still choose to share with everyone. Thank you!

  7. Angie S
    January 4, 2019 / 9:23 pm

    I’ve just started following YOUTUBE families and I think I binged watched your little family channel in just a few days! It was so exciting going back and seeing familiar areas as I’m from Georgia. All I can say is I think you guys are amazing! I don’t have any idea how you or anyone else with a military spouse does it! My hubby has always worked many hours but I was blessed to have him home every day at some time. As a Mom of grown children I kind of grew up thinking I could never ask for help and honestly I do regret that some days now because I lost myself along the way. I was a Mom and a Wife but wasn’t sure of much of anything else. I lost touch with my friends and a lot of family and now I’ve had to try to restart things years later. ALWAYS make time for yourself and your spouse! The life you guys try to represent and do it amazingly is such an inspiration for other couples! When I finish watching every vlog there is one thought I always have and that is “there is NO DOUBT they love each other and their little family so much” and by God’s grace, you are blessed and blessing others as well. You do YOU and just remember no one else is living your life, take advantage of those times when you have a little help and most importantly take care of yourself!!! You are a beautiful family inside and out! I wish only the best for you guys for 2019 and can’t wait to follow along!
    *From a GA Peach Wife, Mom & Mimi :)*

  8. January 4, 2019 / 9:26 pm

    Wow Rachel reading your makes me want to resurrect mine. I to love writing . I have the same isssues with my spine as you except I’m 55 (56 on Monday) my advice to you is get as much help as you can find a great chiropractor and don’t get fat and I don’t mean baby weight. I basically gained to much weight partly because I was in pain all the time. And also I was and sadly naturally am a greedy person . Hard to admit.
    Six years ago I had major spinal surgery which has my parts of spine fused it went wrong and now I’m in more pain can’t work . I’m sure if I’d looked after myself and not gained weight I’d have been better off now.
    Anyway I’m not telling you this as a sob story but as a warning. You only have one spine.

    As a Christian I try to pray for you daily. More so when like today’s vlogg it’s obvious you need it.

    Anyway I’m off to sleep now but some time over this weekend I’m gonna add to my blog and put a new post up God Bless have a great weekend

  9. Theresa
    January 5, 2019 / 2:53 am

    Hi Rachel from England Regarding your back problems Could you explore with your Antenatal Midwife about Physiotherapy and or Chiropractitioner to advise you about treatment for your spine ….. I know during pregnancy the hormones relax the ligaments of the body so perhaps seek advice about best way forward .
    God always gives us challenges that we can cope with so Trusting all will be well ……..
    Theresa

  10. Tandi Caldwell
    January 6, 2019 / 11:23 pm

    Wow! What a wonderful, beautiful year! I have laughed, prayed and cried along with you through so many of these moments. I know it hasn’t been easy, but you sure made it look it! I am so happy to hear that you will be getting help. The women C.E.O’s of companies have 10 assistants, but for some reason we disparage the women C.E.O’s of their home get even one! Enjoy the beautiful, crazy, painful and wonderful times coming and know the Earls Fam is in your corner!