2016: A Look Back

I’m sitting in my quiet living room, a little sad at how empty it feels with all of the Christmas stuff taken down and packed away. It’s always a little surreal, another year. It goes by so fast that I hardly know it’s come and gone until my living room feels empty and dark. I don’t always think much about the passing of a year. I tend to live in the moment, not worrying much about yesterday or tomorrow. When New Years rolls around I typically have to make myself sit down and really think about what actually happened in the year that’s now over. Is that sad or horrible? When you really stop to think about it, so much happens in a year. And our year was full. It was full of blessings and good. Full of heartache and sadness. Full of relationships and laughter. Full of activity and constant motion. We made some big decisions and big changes. We tackled some giant goals. We failed. We succeeded. We cried and mourned, laughed and celebrated. We can’t take credit for one single thing that happened in our lives this past year. God orchestrated it all, the good and the seemingly not so good, to shape and mold us to look more like Him. And we’re a work in progress.

So, here is a look back at some of my favorite moments from 2016. Gosh time flies doesn’t it?

Colorado

Last January we took the kids on their(and really our) first ski trip. Rob grew up skiing, I didn’t. But I could have. The mountains are my happy place. So much so that I cried when we left. Ya’ll. It’s so ridiculous. I just saw us living there and breaking the mold. Leaving the Jones’s so to speak and buying a little cabin in the woods up in the mountains. Now, is this practical with 3 kids and a husband with a career? Not even a little bit. But a girl can dream.

The boys learned to snowboard and were just as devastated to leave knowing they’d have to wait another year so they could come back. We had the best time. So much so that we really did begin to talk about moving to Colorado. For reals.

Moving

We had been talking about moving away for a while, depending on work for Rob. We had gotten to a point that he could consider working remotely, so it became a real possibility. I was ready to roll. The thought of leaving our friends and family in Texas made me sad, but this sense of restlessness and need for a new adventure seemed to be winning out. I’m a dreamer. I sometimes live in dream land, feet very much not planted in reality. It’s something Rob has to help me reign in at times. This past Spring, Rob and I went to lunch while the kids were in school one random Tuesday. We sat down, and having not given this one thought until I was sitting across from him, I said I felt like we needed to stay in McKinney. He agreed. It can only be the workings of the Holy Spirit because a day before my Zillow was blowing up with houses all over Denver. All of a sudden, my heart changed.  I still love Colorado and the mountains, and maybe we’ll have that little cabin one day, but staying here made sense. My dad is sick and within driving distance, Rob’s family is here, the kids are happy and settled and Rob’s job really is here. So, we decided sort of on a whim to throw our house on the market and find a “for the long haul” house. It was a crazy ride that was anything but smooth, but it was sweet, and we ended up in this home that we love and are so thankful for.


Ironman

Last January Rob sat at his computer in our office, contemplating a full Ironman. I still remember the look on his face. Sheer terror. I knew it was coming, but wasn’t sure on the timing. I felt strangely at peace, even though I had no idea how crazy our Spring and Summer would turn out to be. Robs travel schedule got a little nuts even by our standards, and along with training and packing/selling the house, we were deliriously tired. But, he set a goal and he accomplished it with flying colors. And I scored a kid free trip to California. #winning. 

We tackled this trip right after our move, while we were undergoing major renovations in the new house. Did I mention we had lost our minds?

We had the best time and I was so proud of Rob and his hard work. An Ironman is grueling, but the training is honestly the hardest part on everyone. 9 months is a long time to prepare for something, and we were all exhaling a bit when it was over. And no, I’m not next. Not on this one anyway.

Kiddo’s

This year was sort of big for us. It continues really until June, but this is my last year with kids at home. In 2017 I will enter my first phase of empty nesting with all of my kids in school. How is that even possible??

2016 was a great year for the kids, as they all grew, stayed healthy(for the most part) and experienced new things. They learned to be more flexible, to adapt to change and hopefully to love each other more.

Both boys played baseball, Josh played flag football for the first time, Lila started gymnastics and soccer, and they all turned another year older. Jake hit double digits, Josh turned 8 and Lila 4. Don’t blink.


We ended 4th and 1st grade this year. How is that even a thing? They need to stop growing up.

The stomping grounds of our old house. I have fewer bikes in my new driveway because of our location(a little further from the crew) but they still come around. I like the house to be a revolving door for the kids friends. Welcome and ready for all the crazy, because I’d rather it happen here.

We summered, hard. Days packing to move and taking a million of “my” kids to the pool. Eating mini corn dogs and baking away in the sun until we were all nice and crisp. It was a good Summer.

Us

Rob had the opportunity to take me to California for an award he had won at work. We stayed at the Ritz and lived it up for two whole days. I’m telling you, we adore our kids, but a trip or two without them will make you feel like a new person.

It was such a fun trip. We explored and got fancy and dressed up.  I got a spray tan(nevermind that it bled all over my shirt when I went for a run in the humid ocean air). The whole trip was a welcome change for sure.

Fall rolled around and the boys started 5th and 2nd grade and Lila started her last year of pre-school. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Cartwheels or tears? Time will tell. But for the first time in 10 years, as Christmas rolled around, I did not get a re-enrollment packet for preschool. Holy moses.

Friends

God has put some amazing gifts in our lives this year in the form of friendships.  Our kids have a great army surrounding them of great kids and parents that we are so blessed to do life with. I love our school and teams/neighborhood/community. It has bloomed for us these amazing people that we can count on and who love us and our kids. I am so thankful we chose to stay.

We are richly blessed. My cup overflows.

Fitness and running

I decided once school started back that I needed to step away from teaching boot camp. My dad is progressing and I needed the flexibility to be able to travel and pick up and go when necessary. It paid off, as I’ve been able to visit 3 times this Fall. I also just wanted to be more available to my family. Work can wait. Jake will be in middle school next year and I don’t want to miss what’s happening right in front of me. I blogged a lot less, raced zero, and just enjoyed a break. Everything became less. I was missing racing and having something on the calendar, so I have started training for a half in the Spring and would like to do some other things this year, but I’m leaving it flexible. I plan to do what I can, and hopefully be ok if life just doesn’t allow for it just yet. I’m trying to enjoy the season I’m in, even if it doesn’t involve millions of miles and races. Home is where I want to be. It’s where I need to be. The rest can wait.

A year can bring so much change, but so can a morning at home.

Jake was hit by a car the day after Christmas while riding his bike to a friend’s house. He’s ok, but has a few broken bones in his wrist. A phone call you never expect can change your world and perspective in an instant. We are so thankful he’s ok and that it wasn’t worse, but it will make you think and ponder how precious and short life is. In an instant his world could have changed and the outcome could have been much different. We are so thankful for God’s protection over him that day.

I would say my theme for 2016 was to be present. There were moments I felt I had it, and moments where I completely missed it. I made some changes to allow me to be more present, things I gave up because I knew it was right. But it wasn’t easy. I miss teaching, I miss racing, and I miss having little ones running around my house. Mine are all growing up and getting big. But, at the same time, God had a place and purpose for me this year. I learned so much about saying no, building boundaries around my time and relationships, and allowing God to be the ever-present center of it all. I fail. Every hour of every day of the year. But it’s ok, because there is grace. Grace in my messes and falls, grace to pick me up and allow me to continue to be Rob’s wife and the mom to Jake, Josh and Lila, even though I feel absolutely ill-equipped and undeserving of these rolls. These are my people, and this is my place.

I’m thankful. Thankful for another year of life, healthy and alive and breathing it all in. I saw so much tragedy this year, as I’m sure you did too. Maybe it touched you, your family or those you are close to. Maybe you are thrilled to say goodbye to 2016. Maybe it brought hard lessons or great joys. Triumphs and victories, lessons in defeat. Maybe it brought great moments or goal crushing successes. Tears of laughter more than sorrow. Or maybe it was a little bit of everything. So many things can happen in a year.

So, as we look ahead to a new year, may be ever present in the now, and may we have grace for ourselves for the things we will walk through, and extend that same grace to other’s. May we love people and hold tight the ones who mean the most to us. Happy New Year friends. May you have a blessed 2017.