2018 in Review

2018 will go down in history as one of the most difficult and rewarding years in my life. I’ve been stretched, tested and swung to extremes so far beyond what I every thought possible. I’m beginning to realize that it’s in those extremes where the best stuff emerges. The pain and suffering stings, but it’s taught me to appreciate and show gratitude for all the good in my life.

In the first six months of the year, I gave birth to our second baby. Six weeks later, I returned to work and ran the most successful fundraising gala in its 25-year history for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I wrote a book (are you sick of hearing me say that yet?), I helped my husband launch a renovated event space and of course, kept my two beautiful babies healthy and thriving. On top of it all, my chronic migraines reached an all-time high, dealing with pain about half the month.

Looking back, I have no idea how I managed to keep it together. There were some days where all I could think about was making it through the day. Some days when the migraines were really bad, I just tried to make it to the kids’ nap time. If I was lucky, I could get both kids down to nap at the same time so I could regain a bit of composure or try to do a little bit of writing, cleaning or cooking.

As humans, we all have varying capacities for how we deal with challenges. Quite honestly, sometimes I feel a sense of guilt and disappointment that I can’t do as much or achieve at a level of others. And some of us (like me) hate to succumb to weakness, even if it’s just a perceived weakness. Although my right brain-dominance would suggest my gut is guided by intuition, my ambition silences that nagging and keeps me pushing through until I just physically can’t.

It got to the point that I couldn’t ignore my chronic migraines and nausea were telling me that it was time to give my emotions some attention. Because I have always been prone to head and stomachaches for other reasons, I had been ignoring the role that my emotions play in how these systems operate. But I had seen dozens of doctors and tried a dizzying array of treatment options. I made some pretty big lifestyle changes in an effort to heal physically and emotionally (and figure out how these two work together). These words keep me focused on putting my health first:


Let’s end on a rosy note. My health is improving and The Ivy House is booked through 2019. Other exciting events in 2018: Cash started preschool and is already the class clown, Ruby popped her first tooth, says “Hi” and crawls like lightening (though that’s an oxymoron). The last week of the year is always the best – my birthday, our anniversary and Christmas. My heart is so overflowing with joy and am I am so grateful for the wonderful family, friends, career and life that I have. I’m ready to close the books on this year, but it will always be one to remember.

Here’s me at 37 and 30. Still smiling just as big despite my long list of new responsibilities.

Jenna L. Kashou