What a year, friends. I’ve shared along the way, but it has been an interesting one – probably the hardest of our life together. We weathered major change; we had an unprecedented string of large, unexpected expenses; we got yeses when we wanted nos and nos when we wanted yeses; and most bitterly, we lost our beloved cat Jack.
But as I sit here, I can only end the year feeling richly blessed — a daughter of the King who has been given good things in abundance. To start, my husband is healthy, my daughter is healthy, and our families are healthy. I could stop right there, and that would be enough. It really would be.
But there is so much more, and it is one of the delights of my life to share it with you all. So here we go – some of our favorite moments of 2017, in our lives and on the blog.
In January we celebrated June’s birthday with a kitty-themed party for family and friends! Her birthday prompted a post that meant a lot to me, reflections on our first year together. John and I also celebrated our twelfth dativersary. I plowed through books this year and began including what I was reading in my monthly goals posts. On the blog, I shared June’s buffalo check nursery and the first Marvelous Money post of the year, on making trade-offs.
In February I stepped outside my comfort zone and invited ten neighborhood ladies over for a Favorite Things party. It was a success, and kicked off a year of settling into our community and gaining friendships, for which I am so grateful! I shared one of my favorite posts ever this month, as well as 31 ideas for winter meals (I’ll be referring back to this list in the chilly weeks to come!). I turned 30 and shared 10 hopes for the next decade.
We broke ground on our long-awaited backyard renovation in March! We picked berries and enjoyed being outside, including on a beloved hand-me-down set of wheels. I shared about taking ballet again and paying off our mortgage early.
In April I spent my first night away from June, on a work trip to Alabama and Mississippi where I got to hug two familiar faces! We celebrated the resurrection of our Savior as a family and June was a natural at her first egg hunt. I am SO pleased that I finally got it together and posted my first of several Triangle guides: Durham!
Our backyard project wrapped up in May and we have been enjoying it ever since! I know I owe you an official reveal – hopefully coming this spring! :) At the end of the month, June got to travel with me to Charleston for another work trip, and in June, we logged our fifth camping trip with the Rays!
In honor of Mother’s Day, I wrapped up the first installment of my Marvelous Mama series with the best addition yet — my own Mom. We also filmed June in June: Volume 2 (even cuter than Volume 1, somehow!), and I shared our five must-have baby registry items, a simple trick for developing habits, and wisdom from my Dad.
June participated in her first parade – our town’s Fourth of July celebration – the next month, and we of course also celebrated one of our favorite summer holidays, Cow Appreciation Day! I shared seven tips for new college graduates, a post I loved writing.
The highlight of July was without a doubt our trip to Michigan. We visited John’s family cottage near Traverse City along with 25+ other Thomas family members, and it was the most fun. We were on the water all day, and the cousins (young and old) had a blast!
Just three short weeks later, we made another epic road trip, this time to my family’s cottage in Maine! To be honest this trip had its challenges (ahem, someone I won’t name inexplicably waking up for 2-3 hours every night…), but we were so grateful to be with family in such a treasured place! I wrote about a simple but impactful house contentment hack and John’s 30th birthday book.
September was a full month! We rendezvoused with my family again in Asheville over Labor Day weekend, then celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary with a day at the zoo and a dinner out, just the two of us. I made apple cider scones to celebrate the first day of fall, and we flew to Providence to celebrate one of my best friend’s weddings! I wrote another favorite post from the year: five intentions for our next five years of marriage.
Our ray of sunshine completed a successful first round of trick-or-treating in October (and I congratulated myself on my first semi-homemade costume!). In November, we celebrated the tenth anniversary of Southern Weddings, the anniversary of June’s baptism, and John’s Christmas present (early!) by getting away to Charlotte for the night to see Jim Gaffigan! Our first night with both of us away from her, thanks to my parents :) I shared 26 ways to save money, 10 great dinners for new parents, and all of the articles we read in Articles Club this past year.
We returned just yesterday from our Thomas Christmas celebration in California, and now have a few quiet days at home before going back to work in the new year. We’re heading out for our end-of-year celebration dinner soon, and I’m looking forward to finishing up my PowerSheets prep and setting my goals for the year over the next few days. I’ll be sharing more on Monday, so keep an eye out :)
I am so grateful for this year we’ve had, friends, and I am truly so grateful for all of you. I often stop to think how crazy it is that such smart, kind, thoughtful people come hang out here and have stuck around for so long. It is one of the biggest blessings of my life to share with you, and I am SO excited to continue doing so in 2018. I think it’s going to be a good one :) In fact, I know it is, because in the second week of January I’m kicking off a nine-week series with Nancy. It is centered around the most-requested topic from my 2017 blog survey, and I think you will love it!! Can’t wait to share :)