With Love & Happiness

Just mom & I in matching PJs.  I don't have much pictures with my mom and 2018 will be the year we make that happen!

Seriously, is it really 2 days until Christmas?  That snuck upon us pretty damn quickly.  I mean, I just finished my Christmas shopping two days ago and in all honesty I could use more time.  T didn't pass his list on to me so I got him things I knew he wanted but I feel pretty crappy about them.  I didn't get him anything jaw dropping, super cool, or possibly even surprising.  I got him practical things he has asked for over the year.  He's a tough guy to buy for especially when he's a guy that just goes out and buys the things he wants as he wants them (ahem SX200 right around Fathers Day!)  However, I do know the things I did pick up for him he will enjoy.  I would much rather create a tradition, while the kids are still young, that he and I just buy each other one, maybe 2, gifts but rather allocate gift giving to the kids, a giving tree and things for the home.

But that's not the point of this post.

My point is, December....it's almost over.  Which also means we'll be closing the door on another year, very soon.  2017 has been a good year, a rather transitional year but still good.  We walked into 2017 while in Seattle but knowing that half way through the year we'd end up in the country living in our dream home.  And our dream home is where we are ending the year.  2017 has been a very full year:

-Travelled to England for 14 days
-Travelled to Hawaii for 20 days
-Travelled to Washington DC for 14 days
-My middle graduated from elementary school
-Big Red had a great first year of middle school and possibly the best school imaginable
-Crash surprised us all and wound up in the advanced literacy & math groups at school
-My middle travelled to Hawaii for a month, and while there survived a week of sleep away camp in Hawaii
-My middle started middle school
-My middle joined the track team, a sport he has never tried before, and he really liked it
-Big Red started public school (in the 7th grade) and he enjoys it
-Crash started a new elementary school and is thriving
-T is really, really commuting to work doesn't love it but is doing a few times/week
-I am still grappling with running a gigantic house but at the close of 2017 I feel like I have it under control
-As a family we volunteered at a food bank for the very first time and we all enjoyed it and loved the feeling it gave all of us
-We adopted the most patient and beautiful black cat

There's been more things that filled up our 2017.  But I can honestly say my heart is filled at the close of the year.  My kids continued to surprise me, in both positive and maddening ways.  They make me proud to be their mom and this year I have seen so much growth in each of them, physically and emotionally.  

I really turned inward this year and took a look at myself.  And I stood firm in the change I wanted to see in me.  I kept those around me who made me a better person, thus making me a better person.  I really kept my promise to myself to make sure I only do the things I really wanted to do because it made me feel good.  Learning to say no to things and people is hard, y'all!  My wellness/health/fitness remained a priority making me feel better on the inside made me a better person to everyone around me.  I made a point to remain present to my friends and family; I probably could have been better about this one and it is actually one of my areas of focus for 2018.  As I wife I did my best to be a great listener to my partner.  I may not have been able to provide much advice or in depth insight at times but I know just being a listener was helpful for T.  In fact I've become a great listener for most of my friends.  I understand the value of venting and not really seeing validation from others but just to get the words, thoughts, or frustration out in the world is a big help (it is for me.)

2017 was bigger then I expected.  That's good.  I feel like I'm ending another year fulfilled and satisfied.  That's all you can really achieve.  There's no reason for a larger then life year, life's not a competition.  Right?  We do us.  I do me.  That's all we can hope for and nobody should expect any more then that.  There are goals I have laid out for 2018 and they are realistic and fulfilling but I'm not going to stress over them.  Like this year, I entered 2017 with few expectations and am ending it happy and content.  

2017 has made me grateful for many things, some of which are:
-My husband.  He is an amazing, hardworking man whom none of this would be possible.  He buckles up and does what he needs to do to keep the gears running smoothly.  All while also making it possible that our kiddos get to have the little extras that they dream about. 
-My kids.  They are bigger these days, more self aware and with age comes great conversations with them.  And I love 'em.
-My Family.  I'm so grateful that my parent's are able to visit often.  I miss much of my Hawaii Ohana and although I don't get to see most my parents coming to visit really helps to heal that feeling.  Same with my brother-in-law.  We got to see him twice this year, I love that he commits to his annual trip west and we go east annually.  We've set up a great tradition.  
-Being able to give my kids the ability to see new places.  The fact that my kids get to experience Washington DC every year is awesome.  The history of that city is wonderful and I'm super happy to share that with them.
-Brand new family member.  My BIL getting married is AMAZING FOR HIM.  He found his person and this new woman is now part of our family and we love her!
-Our home.  When we bought this amazing house it was just that an amazing house.  Over the last few months we have made it our home.  We all love it and that love is filling the house.  Over the next few years we will make it feel more and more homey and feel like us.  Welcoming all who passes through our doors.  We fully intend to make this beautiful place our forever home.  I will be forever grateful to T for making our dreams come true!

But 2017 I do bid you adieu with a big hug.  Although the doors will be closing I will keep a little crack open because I don't want to forget about all the good things, I want them to linger and stew and build upon all that we have created this past year.  It was a good year and I know 2018 will be just as fulfilling.

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