Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hopes for 2016!

Hopes for 2016

As great as 2015 has been, I am looking forward to the year ahead. There is always a lot going on in life and we have some great plans for next year! For the last couple years, I have composed a post using this format. Sometimes it feels a bit too "honest" but I love being able to look back and see what all we've hoped for and accomplished.  I highly encourage all you readers to think through the same areas, it's fun and helpful to have hopes!  

What a wonderful year we've had this year! Probably the best year so far actually! We've grown so much closer and really worked on communicating needs and feelings and pushed ourselves to vulnerable places.  Vulnerability doesn't come easy for either one of us so this hasn't been easy to accomplish. But these two areas I think have been key to some serious growth this year.  It still amazes me that year after year we can continue to fall more in love!  I feel fortunate that marriage has always felt easy for us but there's always room to make things even a little better.  Pouring into our marriage has been paying off big time for us. I hope to just continue to grow closer together this year and maybe get a bit better at letting the little things slide off my back.  I cannot wait to celebrate our 10th anniversary together!  It feels like our first real milestone anniversary and we're gonna celebrate all year long! 

   The kids are great, but busy. Not gonna lie, it has been a tough year with the kids.  I have failed with them many times.  Most importantly, I want them to feel loved this year.  We're still homeschooling and that feels like a full time job most days.  I'm working hard to understand each kids unique needs and what I can do to help them reach their fullest potential but also most importantly, end each day where they know they've been loved.  I'm also working hard on figuring out what stresses me out and making changes to my day to keep the stress down.     

We made more great progress, mostly on the outside of the house this year.  We still have a few indoor projects that have needed finished since we bought this place almost 3 years ago and those are winter priority!  We also want to put some money into minor work in the master bathroom and paint the kids bathroom before spring.  When summer projects peak this year, we have a little driveway project, a fence project, and the big one this year is going to be a playground for the kids!  

We've made some great steps forward with health this year. I am happy to be 15 pounds lighter than I was a year ago.  Even more important though, I am much stronger!   I was doing amazing with working out and running until I tripped and fell and got a severe ankle sprain in the fall.  That has set me back for way longer than I ever anticipated and while I am getting back into the groove of running, I still deal with quite a bit of ankle pain on a daily basis.  This year for Christmas, we got each other Fitbits and that is proving to be quite motivating to get up and move!  I am keeping myself motivated to run by signing up for races so I always have a goal to meet. I want to focus on longer runs over the summer so that I can really start prepping to run a half marathon!  I am turning 30 this year and my gift to myself is better health,  and a smokin beach body (kidding... kind of) by the time we hit the Hawaiian sand for our 10th anniversary celebration in the fall! 

  Last year was a great year for travel as we went to some fun places and got to tour Ireland for 10 days!  This year we have some fun trips coming up.  I hope to tag along with Peter to New Orleans this spring when he goes there for business.  We're hoping to get another week at Eagle Crest with the kids this summer, as that was just a blast!  And the highlight I can't wait for is our anniversary trip to Hawaii to just relax together in the fall!  

   We've been on the Total Money Makeover for most of our marriage.  We did need to take some steps back for our last adoption but I am pleased to say we are almost back on track!  Huge sigh of relief after a few very difficult years!  This year was big for us as we were able to pay off our adoption debt, catch back up on some things that we were falling behind on, and get our savings rolling again after we depleted it for the adoption too. We knew we would never regret taking those steps to bring LB home, but it has taken a lot of hard work to get back on track!  We love Dave Ramsey and all his advice, but we've also felt like we need to change things up a little bit as we get going again here. So we're kind of working on several steps all at once.  We're building our savings to that 6 months expenses range which remains first priority.  We're also building retirement a bit more each year and have a plan to see that get fully funded (meaning 15% a month).  And a new goal that we are going to start working towards in the coming year, is getting ourselves to a place where we can get our home on a 15 year mortgage within the next few years.  Hopefully all these things will continue to come together and we will be well on our way when I look back on this in a year!  

       This is one area of our year that took a drastically different turn than we were planning.  The job Peter had a year ago just wasn't the right fit and we are happy to say now he is back on a track that he enjoys. He's no longer working 55 hour weeks and is home a little after 4 every day!  His reduction in stress has been well worth the change, even if we're gonna miss those trips to Ireland!  He is still in International tax, just more provision and less planning.  He was also able to get his promotion to manager with the job change, which was exciting!  This year we hope will be calm and he can kind of get things figured out at a new place and get comfortable for awhile.  He is working hard to get to the next level of senior manager and we hope that promotion isn't too many years away!

It feels like the year ahead is a bit calmer than we're used to but who really knows. We thrive in chaos.  I feel like this year is full of celebration as we both are set to celebrate 30th birthday's and our 10th Anniversary!  Come on 2016, let the party begin!  

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 In Review

Each new year starts as a blank slate. We have hopes and dreams for the year ahead but we truly have no idea what is going to happen.  I am very grateful today for another year to look back on that held so many more joys and exciting moments than hard or sad moments.  So here's to a review of another amazing year with my family!

               This is where we started in January of 2015! a tad bit busy and in over our heads!

Soon after, Eli turned 4 years old!  

Then a busy Valentine's Day with this bunch! 

And piled on another holiday with Easter! 

Then Birthday City with Malachi turning 5

And Sabrina turning 3 a couple days later! 

Then came June, when Peter and I got to take off on the most amazing business/pleasure trip to Ireland for 10 days!  We saw some pretty amazing places! 

Then we came back to start a new year of school!  

                                              And summer projects kicked in to high gear!

The kids have kept us quite busy as they've gotten into their activities, starting with swim lessons!

Peter finally said goodbye to his car he had since he started driving! 

Awana wrapped up for my cubbies! 

We had a great 4th of July at the coast! 

LB all too soon turned 1 year old! 

And we celebrated Malachi's 5th year home with us! 

We had a fun filled trip to Eagle Crest for a week! 

The kids found a new hobby they love in Taekwondo!

Peter went with the guys in my family out fishing!  

The boys completed another soccer season! 

In addition to a quick overnight away to celebrate our 9th anniversary, we also got away in the fall down the gorge for a beautiful weekend away to celebrate Peter's new job! 

Then it was on to Halloween!

Peter got his second tattoo, this one for Eli! 

The boys ran their first ever race! 

And December had to outdo all the months with an amazing trip to Disneyland! 

The start of Malachi's first basketball season! 

Peter's brother getting married over a weekend in Seattle!

And of course a wonderful Christmas! 

Yep, another full year behind us!  I hope 2016 is as full of love, joy, and happiness as this past year has brought!  Happy New Year friends!  

Saturday, December 26, 2015


We had a very wonderful and low key Christmas this year!  The kids had a wonderful time just hanging out at home and playing with their toys all day!  Here's a few pictures of the occasion. Having little kids at Christmas is just perfect. We are usually pretty conservative at Christmas but for some reason we went a bit overboard this year.  But the most important part of the day was playing and spending time together and seeing our kids so happy!  We are blessed parents!