Saturday, December 29, 2018

2018: A Year in Review

As I reflect on the year, I love looking back at the word I chose for 2018: cultivate. This word has been far more applicable than I could have ever dreamed in the last 365 days. It has been a year of immense joy: traveling, laughing, and watching in wonder as our sweet baby grew into a little boy. It has also been a year of new challenges to face together, and big dreams to patiently dream and march towards, step by step. Some of you may stop by this corner of the web more often than others, so whether you're new here or read regularly, here's a recap of the year: complete with highlights, posts, and fun photos and videos. Here's to you, 2018.


In January, this blog marked its third birthday! It has been so much fun seeing how this space has grown and changed over the years, and I honestly couldn't do any of it without you all. Just when I think it's time to throw in the towel, another awesome reader sends me a sweet email about a post, or I get a little blogging gig that's a huge blessing. So I'm still here, sharing stories and tips and hopefully a little bit of meaningful content! In January, I set off in hopes of cultivating, wrote about the struggle to find "me time" as a working mom, and did my best to handle the emotions that come along with balancing work and motherhood. We also started work on our bedroom remodel!

Chaos: We've got doors and toilets and tiles everywhere they shouldn't be. It's uncomfortable. It's ugly. But I'm realizing that out of chaos comes order and beauty. I have a vision for our room, and I know it will be amazing in the end. It has to be a mess before it can be made beautiful and new. And isn't that so true of us all? Let's be real- I'm a hot mess about 80% of the time. I cried today while taking ornaments off the tree. I let people down. I say things I shouldn't. But in all of my mess and my chaos, I'm constantly being made new. I'm being refined and remodeled into something beautiful, someone that the Lord wants me to be. And isn't it beautiful that he loves me and you just as we are, broken tiles, misplaced doors, and all? Im so thankful that, in the midst of my chaos, He is making me new.
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February brought lots of snow days and sweet days off where we enjoyed hosting folks who filled our home with laughter. I continued my monthly recaps, and the biggest excitement of the month was throwing our little man his first birthday party. We had a "onesie" party complete with a time capsule, cook-Es, jammies, and breakfast for dinner, and it was a BLAST. I loved making his one second everyday video of his first year (and you can view it below- his whole year in six minutes!). It's crazy how big he seemed to me at the time, and how little he looks now when I look back at the photos. I can't believe he'll be two in less than two months!!


March came and we stayed home for Spring Break, instead of doing our usual adventuring all over. It was relaxing to stay in town and just rest a little. I enjoyed taking some really fun one year pics of little man (see below). I can distinctly remember him trying to crawl across the sidewalk while I was taking pictures, so I finally succeeded once I put him in the swing ha. That face when he saw a doggie though: I can't even ha! I ran my second half marathon (the first of four in 2018), and I shared my heart in a post about "What I'm Clinging To".


April is typically the slowest month for us teacher folk (no days off!), but it wasn't so bad this year. I trained for and ran my third half marathon- Rock the Parkway. I set a new personal record and wrote about my experience in "The Pacer". We also spent lots of time with our little man and I learned how to be way more intentional in resting and spending time with my boys. Work life balance is no joke people! We also took a bit of a leap of faith in April, and I'm excited to share more about the Lord has been doing in our life here soon.


In May, I finished up my 7th year of teaching, and Aaron finished his 5th! I had many of my kiddos three years in a row at school, so it was weird saying goodbye for the summer and knowing I wouldn't see them in the fall. On the blog, I shared 5 Secrets to Being a Happy Mom. Our biggest highlight came when my youngest brother, Kirk, married his gorgeous bride, Anna! Eli had a fabulous time staying up all the way until 10 pm and dancing the night away with his little walker. We also enjoyed taking Eli on his first swim of the summer, hitting up the park, and settling into the slower rhythm of summer. Eli also turned 15 months old, and I shared alllll the fun things about what he was up to in this post


In June, I ran my fourth half marathon, the Hospital Hill Half. Waiting out the mugginess and a rain delay was worth it, as I set another new PR. The next day, Aaron and I jetted off for a kid-free trip to Puerto Vallarta for our fifth Anniversary! Eli stayed home and hung out with Grandma and Grandpa, and "Mom and Dad" had a much needed, relaxing time away. We also had lots of pool time, storytime visits, ice cream, and sweet summertime moments swinging and just enjoying time off as a family. June and July were definitely my favorite months of the year- (and how could they not be with summers off and lots of traveling?). 


In July, we enjoyed a free visit to the zoo, had a wonderful Fourth of July (Eli loved the fireworks), and helped out at our church Breakaway summer camp. Eli ran around and was very confused as to why he couldn't play with the big kids. We enjoyed a weekend on the lake with the pontoon and good friends, and then headed off on our family vacation to Southeastern North Carolina (read all about it here). Eli was a natural beach bum who could have shoveled sand for hours! I read a bunch of great books, and shared my top ten summer reads in this post. I also celebrated my 29th birthday, and reflected on what year 28 meant to me. I can't believe I'll be THIRTY next July- what!?! I wish July could have never ended. 


In August, Aaron and I squeezed in one more kid-free trip before we headed back to work (and reality). We enjoyed a quick, nearly-free getaway to Missouri wine country in Hermann. If you've never been before, you can read all about it here! We also took E to the Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead in Overland Park, and settled back into the reality of school. I started year eight, and Aaron started year six (tenured)! 


In September, I picked up my training for the Kansas City Half Marathon (second time around), settled into school, and enjoyed my first girls' trip away since college. We stayed up until four am chatting about life, shared tears and laughter, and made it out of an escape room (my first)! As a family, we celebrated our fifth House-iversary and I finally got around to finishing up and sharing our modern farmhouse bedroom reveal! We also took a good step forward towards a new adventure.


October came, and Aaron and I kicked off the month with a super fun styled shoot where we got to dress up as a bride and groom. I ran my fifth and final half marathon of the year. I set a new personal record of 1:44, which I was very excited for! I actually ran the 2018 KC Half Marathon 11 minutes fast than I ran the 2017 race on the same course. We enjoyed the fall fest at church, visited Eli's first pumpkin patch, and celebrated Halloween with our slightly bigger cow this year. E even did a little trick or treating, and he continued to say "trick or treat" to ask for candy for the next couple of months. On the blog, I shared "On Stories" and "My Baby You'll Be". 


In November, we celebrated Aaron's 28th birthday, and also helped lead music for a weekend trip at Clearwater Cove YoungLife Camp. Eli even made it into the skit and helped sing worship songs, puppy in hand. I waited an hour to vote in the mid-term elections, and got a fat lip during our 50th annual Thanksgiving Day family football game. On the blog, I shared a bit about finding strength in your current season.

When I think back on this weekend, I'll never forget the sound of hundreds of kids belting Reckless Love at the top of their lungs. I'll never forget the presence of the Lord as we sang Praise the King with a room full of YoungLife leaders. I'll never forget when our sweet baby helped Dawn find her camp bae while holding his puppy, or when he suddenly decided he needed to be held during club songs. I'll never forget the laughs that my hilarious friends @michellejank @thamericandream and @mcspaddzee brought to us all, or the songs our talented friend @laurenscottmusic sang that gave me chills. But more than anything, I'll never forget the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God that continues to chase me down- that I'll never deserve or earn- and I pray that our High School friends who were there this weekend won't ever forget that either. 💕
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And here it is, the last week of December- I can hardly believe it! I shared a story about Eli's first snowstorm in "In His Eyes", and squeezed in a quick 2018 Holiday Home Tour. We enjoyed some fun Christmas parties with friends, Aaron finished his Master's Degree, and we had the best Christmas with a very enthusiastic Eli. He was older and more involved this year, opening his Paw Patrol wrapped presents, squealing in glee at seeing trains, and singing and dancing with Mama to Christmas music. He wasn't so sure about Santa though- as his photo shows. This year, our Christmas Break started later than normal, but it means that we don't go back until January 7th, so I'm pumped about that! We're excited to celebrate the new year, and then Aaron and I will head off on a little kid-free getaway for a few days the first week of January.

Cheers to 2019 and all that it will bring! I pray that it finds you healthy, happy, and oh so loved. Thanks for sticking around this year and loving on us through all of the ups and downs. We hope you'll join us next year for all of our new adventures! 



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