Monday, December 31, 2018


As I look back on 2018, I realized that I personally have walked some dark roads this year.  I've battled low-level depression and freaked out about the future.  As a family, we've faced some challenges and uncovered some hardships along the way, and there are a lot of things that feel out of our control.

But, in the nature of my personality, it took a bit of soul searching to remember that stuff.  I look back and mostly remember the good stuff and the highlights.  Certainly, there are pros and cons to the rose-colored glasses that I often live in, but honestly, it is nice to have to look hard to remember the hard.  (Also, that is indicative that the hard didn't take all the way over this year, and for that I am grateful.  I have had years like that, and this wasn't one of those.)


This year I dove all the way into the Enneagram and still talk about it daily with friends, family and John.  It has been immensely helpful to understand the ways that I approach life and how that often differs vastly from those around me.  Apparently not everyone views life as one party after another?!?  But in all seriousness, it has given John and I a new framework to see our strengths and weaknesses, and we look forward to learning more.  (I'm a 7w8, and John's a 2w1 for those in the know.)


In January, Lily turned nine on the 9th, and we celebrated with a Golden Party.


We had a theme during the year of getting more help, and that happened in a lot of ways that have been invaluable for our family.  As it turns out, we still need a lot of help to make this merry-go-round of our life spin.


In February, we went to Disney World for the first time as a family of six.  Since I am *slighty* Disney obsessed, this was a dream come true, and we had a mostly great trip with plenty of Highs and Lows.
{Part 1} {Part 2} {Part 3}


For Spring Break, we got to see some dear friends who live in Southeast Asia and visit Dallas and Great Wolf Lodge with them - such an amazing treat!


In April, Violet and William turned five, and we celebrated at our favorite ice cream shop that has plenty of dairy free options.


I had the opportunity to teach cookies at Camp Create which was a magical dream come true!


I hosted a Royal Wedding watch party and required everyone to wear their wedding dresses.  Since mine didn't *exactly* fit, John tried to zip tie me in and cut his hand badly in the process spraying blood all over our bathroom, but miraculously, not the dress.  What a life!


We visited Texas a second time in late May with our college besties and got to hit up Magnolia and spend time on the Ranch - all in all, it was a great trip! (except for all of the snakes that we saw...)


Our in-town friends are one of our favorite things in life, and we managed to get almost every last one of us to the lake for a day in June!


John and I planned a very last minute trip to Chicago where we got to see the Dodgers play the Cubs and see Hamilton all in one day.  That whole day was surreal and incredible all the way through, and we enjoyed being tourists the next day before heading back to reality.


The twins graduated preschool in June, which was beyond precious.


We took a gorgeous road trip to North Carolina in the late summer to see John's sister and family.  We enjoyed the beach, visiting Bald Head Island and playing around the area.


While on that trip, we got completely rained on during a family photo session.  Probably a good metaphor for our life.


The kiddos all started at the SAME school in August, which has been a mother's dream come true.  They are having good years, and I am so thankful for each teacher they have!


In September, I went on a beach trip with the girls from our D-group and had a lovely time.  It would be impossible not to with these treasured friends.


Also in September (!!!), John and I went to Napa Valley with good friends.  It was one of the more beautiful and tasty trips that I've ever been on.
{Hot Air Balloon & More} {Tastings ...} {Bonus San Fran Day}


In October, Bella turned eight, and we celebrated with an Amazing Race party, which was really one of the most fun parties I've ever planned!


For Halloween, we dressed as the Spenst Seasons.


We've spent the last part of our year having our kitchen remodeled - which I plan to photograph and share next week when the kids are back in school.  I LOVE IT!!!


We rounded out the holiday season with all kinds of fun and cherished moments.


Even as I write out all that we have done this year, it looks pretty great.  But, believe me, there is a LOT of mess in between everything.  Go back to the first paragraph of this post if you need a reminder.  What I am continuing to learn is that it all happens together for most of us.  There is abundance and hardship all wound together at almost every juncture.  There is rain on the beach.  Every one of these trips and highlights included lowlights because we are all people and things happen.

But - we end 2018 knowing that God is faithful in it all.  He is working in and through us and refining us, even when we don't like it.

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