December 31, 2016

2016 Year In Review

When I think back to January of this year, it feels like a lifetime ago. So much happened in 2016.

I remember simplifying birthday parties. I didn't send invites. I didn't book a party room. I didn't make treat bags. We did a simple outing with friends complete with cupcakes. The end. Easy peasy.

I remember finally taking the plunge to get my handgun permit. I scored a 100% on both the written and shooting portions of the test, which was a big deal for me.

I remember attending another Ted Cruz rally with my girl and voting together several times this year. I was more politically outspoken than ever before. I remember becoming increasingly frustrated with the Republican party. I am a conservative through and through but I proudly voted 3rd party for the first time ever. I don't want there to be any question about where I stood in the 2016 Presidential election. It wasn't with Trump or Clinton, that's for sure! In a way, this political season also made me more patriotic and it saddens me to see some of the things happening in our culture and our country.

I remember Baron. That dog made my life, my home, and my marriage absolutely miserable. I tried mind over matter more times than I can count. We also spent an obscene amount of dollars for training and other recommendations. In the end, plain and simple, he was not a good fit for our family. We made the very difficult decision to return him to the breeder. My only regret is that we didn't do it sooner.

I remember our monthly Lego dates, which usually include Starbucks. My girl is so big, she can now order on her own and pay with the app. Like she's grown or something. Sigh.

I remember creating the "new" urban garden. It was so much prettier than the redneck garden but got off to a rough start #BecauseBaron. I tried cucumbers for the first time this year and made my own pickles for the win! The best part was how hard Mike & Skylar helped me work to put it in. After replanting THREE TIMES, I did finally get a red tomato.... in September. Bless.

I remember seeing the Lord continue to provide for us. There were some months where I almost had more work than I could handle and Mike received 2 promotions this year. His provision is just amazing!

I remember sending Skylar to Bama. I'm so thankful for my friends & family who love on her while she's with them. My favorite project was a quilt she worked on with her Aunt Sheila. She also has a special bond with my cousin Angie and her dog Sheldon. I also remember trips to Big Lots with Aunt Nita & Uncle Bill and all the "treasures" she brought back.

I remember being a part of 11 births this year and working with 3 postpartum families including a set of twins. I literally think of at least one of my doula clients/babies every single day. They are always with me.

I remember working on some really cool VA projects this year including several books, product labels, web design, and graphic design. I really do enjoy helping my clients grow their dreams. Brainstorming, project management, and execution are my best assets and I love that I've created this job for myself.

I remember this is the year I lost 35 pounds with Trim Healthy Mama. It changed everything I ever thought I knew about food and nourishing my body. I will take what I learned and keep it with me forever!

I remember prom. Somehow I got tricked into doing hair for two of my favorite grown girlies. They both looked beautiful and I was honored to be a part of such a memorable event.

I remember afternoons on the lake and new friendships that were formed this year. This is one of the things I'm most looking forward to next year.

I remember sending tLG to summer camp for the first time. I woke up every morning and stalked Facebook for glimpses of my girl. She had a blast and immediately asked to sign up for next year.

I remember spending 4th of July in Bham. We were welcomed home with a gigantic bonfire and made countless trips to the creek while we were there. One of my favorite memories of the year was K-Diddy with all his girls (+ Colton) on the 4-wheeler.
I remember me and my bestie carting our children (plus a few) around town for an epic Nashville mural tour on one of the hottest days of the year. We are awesome and our kiddos were troopers!

I remember a family field trip to Foster Falls and another to Roan Mountain at the end of summer. Both were just the relaxation and time away that I needed before the start of school.

I remember the Summer Olympics. We celebrated with both an Opening and Closing Ceremony Party. We moved all the TVs to the living room and dubbed it "Olympic Central." We even brought a mattress down to the living room so we could watch 24/7 if desired. Being an Olympic Fan is exhausting but I love it so much! We also studied the Olympics and the athletes as a part of our homeschool kickoff.

I remember Skylar starting swim classes. She had been asking since the summer. Between the Olympic Trials then Rio, she was relentless. She made the Jr. Swim Team after just 4 classes. Two months later they asked her to try out for the competitive swim team. I will always remember how hard she worked and how far she came in such a short time.

I remember donating my hair for the 4th time (11 inches) and finally getting a short hairstyle that I liked (shout out to Lindsey at Hair By Design).

I remember our annual beach trip with mom. We look forward to this tradition every year. I think we found our largest shell collection to date including a few crabs and a gigantic clam. Traveling with Skylar is still one of my most favorite activities.

I remember that Skylar's favorite country we studied was Australia. I also remember how excited she was for the 1st day of Co-Op. Unfortunately, I was at a birth but her second mommy, Victoria, had it under control. So thankful for my village.

I remember our week-long vacation to Orlando and finally getting to visit Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The private wand-choosing ceremony was definitely a highlight, as was our poolside dinner at Shamu Stadium. Unfortunately, our trip was cut short due to Hurricane Matthew. After the hotel debacle (no rooms except for a gross smoking one) we ended up having a sweet day in Chattanooga before heading home.

I remember Halloween when our tribe showed up and our kiddos had the best time sorting and trading all of their candy in my living room.

I remember purging our home for #tinyhouseprep. We had a floor plan picked out but, after traipsing through the tick-infested woods of Middle TN for almost a year, we still couldn't find the right piece of land.  Instead, the Lord led us to a little house and 6 acres near Providence in Hermitage. I remember doing the happy dance when our contract was accepted and then holding my breath for 2 months until I was 110% sure we would actually close.

I remember a family vacation to Gatlinburg where we had no set agenda. It was so relaxing and we even worked 3 big puzzles together. Turns out it was the calm before the storm of us packing up and moving in with our in-laws as we started our remodel, both of which have gone surprisingly well.

I remember buying our new house on my birthday! Best present ever. Mike bought me a chevron hammock and Skylar got me a chevron key, which was like icing on the cake. I remember uncovering beautiful hardwood floors and a lot of hard demo and cleanup, but we are ready to enter the new year by putting it all back together.
Overall, 2016 has been good. I tried to simplify as much as I could. My lifesavers have been Shipt, Any.Do, and Amazon Subscribe & Save. As I approached the end of the year my new motto has been #iCanDoHardThings bracing for the adventure of buying and remodeling our new home. I've realized that dreams take work, and I'm willing to do what it takes to make this one happen. As much as I'm a planner, I've also learned to just let things play out the way that God wants and to be content during the waiting.

I'm super excited for what 2017 will hold. It's going to be a rebuilding year for sure!

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