My official Instagram top 9! Guess you guys like pics of cute babies 🙂

At the end of each year, I like to take a look back at all the posts I’ve published and do a fun little analysis of the results. I also like to do a separate round-up of my own personal favorite posts (because as experience has told me, the lists rarely overlap).

Blogging regularly got distinctly harder for me this year after the birth of our son Mathias in June. For awhile, when he still slept the majority of each day, I was about right on track for publishing around 10 posts a month (which has been my unofficial goal this year), but as he’s gotten older, it’s just gotten harder and harder. If I’m able to publish the other post I have planned before the end of the year, I will have published 103 posts this year–one of my lowest numbers ever (with the exception of the year Raven was born, when I published just 102).

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Welp, the whole household gets sick with our first cold/plague of the season (yaaaaaay), and I don't post for two weeks. #soundsaboutright But, before I get even more behind, I figured I'd better post that this little (and I mean LITTLE—we're still going strong in the 2nd percentile for weight, baby!) guy turned 5 months old yesterday. He's finally learned to be okay with bathtime, he's digging on the whole "eat solids" thing, and other than the past week when he's been sick, he's started to sleep through the night from about 10:30 to 7:30. (We'll take it!) Oh, and he's started doing the giggle/squeal thing, which just slays me every time. We love our sweet little Thias boy! . . . #mathiasmunchkin #meidellkidlins #babystats #monthlyupdate #cutebaby #babybear #babychubs #5monthsold #5months #fivemonthsold

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Lately, I’ve done a lot of soul-searching about WHY I still blog, and the reasons are varied and have definitely changed over time (you’ll notice that I overall do a LOT fewer “personal” posts now, like weekend recaps or vacation wrap-ups). There have been many times I’ve thought about just quitting, but there’s so much about blogging that I love, and I adore the support and comments and feedback and love that come from all of YOU, which is what keeps me in the game.

Anyway, I do plan to be around next year plugging away on here is basically what I’m saying. So you’re not rid of me yet!

As for my Instagram game this year, well…it was distinctly up and down. There were times when I posted there 4-5 times a week consistently, and then there were long stretches (such as this month) when I hardly published at all…and didn’t miss it in the slightest. So I have distinctly mixed feelings about Instagram, too. However, it’s always fun to look back and see the top 9 pics of the year and to also include some of my own personal favorites that didn’t make the top slots.

Now, on to the top posts (according to Google Analytics). Note: These aren’t actually the top posts viewed on the blog this year (as those are actually this post and this post from 2017), but the posts that were PUBLISHED this year that got the most views.

  • What Your Photographer REALLY Wishes You Knew Before Taking Family Pictures
    • This post published during my “busy season” as a photographer this year ended up getting pinned quite a bit on Pinterest, which made it easily snag the top spot. This was a post that literally took me several hours to write (as there is a LOT of information in it), so it made me happy that it did pretty well.
  • Secret Family Recipe: My Boys’ Favorite Cookies
    • I was glad Pinterest helped spread the love of these because these babies are our FAVORITE. I literally just made them (yet again) this week. Mmmmmm….
  • My 101 in 1001 List
    • Considering how often I refer to this list (especially in my monthly goal posts), it makes sense that it would eventually break the top 10. Spoiler alert: I’ll actually be tweaking about 10 of the goals on this, so stay tuned for a post on which goals got the axe.
  • Things I’m Doing Differently This Pregnancy
    • I love posting about my goals online because it definitely helps me to stay accountable. I’m sure that’s one of the reasons I did so well with these particular pregnancy goals!

This year, perhaps because there were fewer posts in general (?), I was surprised to see that some of my favorite posts did, in fact, make it to the top 10 (like Mathias’s birth story and the one about the 5-star novels).

But every year, there’s always some posts that I just LOVE that don’t, for whatever reason, perform as well stats-wise.

And that’s okay.

But just in case you missed them, here are some of my personal favorites:

  • Open Heart Surgery
    • Every once in awhile, I will read a book that will change me FOREVER. And when that happens, that book sometimes will even get its own post. This personal favorite from this year is all about how I realized that I’m often unintentionally closed-off in a lot of my social interactions, and what I changed to try and be better. This is something that I’ll be working on my whole life, but this self-realization was a BIG revelation for me!
  • My Personal History with Money
    • For this post, I sat down and wrote out everything I could think of from my past that has affected my current attitudes about money and all things finance-related. In the end, it turned out to be pretty eye-opening for ME as I noticed patterns and things I hadn’t really paid attention to before.
  • What Do I Do First When it ALL Seems Important? {Thoughts on Priorities}
    • If I had to pick a very favorite post from this year, this one might be it. Plus, it’s got some of my favorite pics from the year. (And since I take daily pictures, that’s saying something!)
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Man, you guys, the past week or so has really kicked my butt. It's like every time I walk through our house, I see the million and one things I should be getting to but haven't had a chance to, and every time I think I have a solid break, one of the kids starts crying or needs me. It's largely for this reason that I've been teeeeerrible at posting on here, though I know it's just for a season. So this is to say that we're surviving, that I'm still somehow forcing myself to shower and get ready every day even though I feel like the baby is sleeping LESS now than he did as a brand-new newborn, and that the kids have been regularly fed and watered and taken to the bathroom (and/or had their diapers changed). And we're pressing on. #lifewithtwolittles #lifewithanewborn #newbornbaby #tiredmom #tiredmama #newfamilyoffour #newbaby #siblinglove #siblingcuddles #cuddles #newbornsnuggles #beanies #beanielove #endlesstodolist #surviving #carryon

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  • The Ups and Downs of Becoming a Parent for the Second Time
    • Ah, these super honest posts written within the first week or two of adding a new child to the family (I wrote a similar one after I had Raven) are just gold to me, mostly because they serve as a reminder of how hard that postpartum period really is, but also as a testament to how short (and how sweet) it really is, too.
  • Why My New Morning Routine Might Just Change My Life Forever
    • I’d never done a true “morning routine” before this year before, and it was totally, completely life-altering. I’m still longing for when I can pick it back up again (though it’s been continually put off by sickness and the baby only sometimes sleeping through the night).
  • 17 Things I Learned in 2017
    • I haven’t decided if I’ll do this again for 2018 (if I do, it won’t be until January), but this was my very first post for this year, and it is so fun having three years of doing this kind of year-end up wrap-up. Just looking over this again now is definitely making me want to do it again, though!
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I've been taking pictures of my kids basically every day since they were born (with very few forgotten days), and it's been the #1 secret to almost all the improvement I can claim in my photography over the past few years. Every now and then, when I feel like I get stuck in a rut, I try and push myself in a slightly different direction, and the one that's calling to me lately? The idea of #thedailygrind – in other words, the daily routines and imperfections and just life exactly as it is, without the special angles that crop out the clutter (though that's getting harder and harder to achieve anyway, ha ha) or the only smiling and posed shots. I've also been trying to actually zoom out more—I'm much more comfortable with very close-up shots, but forcing myself to take several steps back is helping me to push my work in a whole new way, and I'm liking it. So here we were the other morning, just taking pictures of Raven scrambling her own eggs (she tends to get upset if I mix the eggs for it for her) with our counter cluttered full of broken egg shells and the #bbg workout I was doing that day and a million other things I needed to put away. This is #reallife, and I like it that way. #clickinmoms_dailygrind #everydaylife #morningroutine #makingbreakfast #lifewithatoddler #momtog #momphotog #everymorning #morninglight #embracethemess #slowmorning #thinkingoutsideofthebox #photo365 #photoaday #photochallenge #personalphotoproject

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And, in case you’ve got time to kill in this slow after-Christmas time, here’s a few recaps from years past:

Hope you’re enjoying your last week of 2018, and that you have a happy new year! Thank you so much for spending some time with me here on this little corner of the Internet. It means more than you know!