2016 has treated me well...so well in fact that I want to take a deep breath to remember every little piece of it and say thank you for all the beautiful memories, stories, and smiles 2016 has given me.
I am so grateful for everything I've experienced this past year and I'm truly excited for the year to come. I've been given so many gifts to treasure this year and I'm loving life with passion. My favorite photos of this past year are the ones of me, Jeff, and his daughters, but I don't post photos of the girls on the internet.
I did, however, say heartfelt thank yous as I chose each and every one of the following photos to commemorate the closing year.
One year ago, Jeff and I rang in 2016 at the place a mile from our house "where everybody knows our names," the Weaversville Inn. We call it "The Weave" and we have had many a delicious meal there in 2016, getting to know all the staff members even better, and creating lots of laughs.
We went to Aruba in 2016, a surprise Christmas gift to me from Jeff that came to fruition end of March. We spent Easter on "One Happy Island," talking about coming back before we ever left.
I climbed my first rock wall in Aruba, a 30+ foot challenge I wanted and an accomplishment that made me smile for the rest of the day.
The beautiful sunset and sea in Aruba became a backdrop for one of our favorite pictures, which we blew up onto a canvas and now hangs in our living room.
In 2016, the back of my car received an upgrade at the request of the kids. I love seeing it every day. Obviously, this was before Luna (she's added too now). Accuracy is key in this house.
Call me silly, but Jeff making me the spice rack I'd always wanted was a highlight of my year. I love it!
My mom and dad got a beautiful pool this year and succeeded in bringing the family to them all summer long! Jeff, the girls, and I had many fun days (and nights) in the pool.
We went on our first family vacation as a family, Jeff, the girls, and me. Long Beach Island was awesome and that was just the beginning of a fun summer!
Jeff worked tirelessly to build a patio for my parents' backyard oasis. It came out great!
And Jeff took me golfing for the first time on a course. I drove a golf cart (not well, but my golfing attire was very cute).
In May, Jeff's girls and I saw an educational clip about baby elephants who need help. We looked them up online and decided it was time for Jeff and I to adopt a baby elephant together and give Mia and Julia an elephant sister.
So, we adopted/fostered a baby (orphaned) elephant in Kenya via the Internet. This place in Kenya rescues elephant orphans whose moms and dads have been killed. We get a fostering certificate with a profile and photograph of our adopted orphan, info on the conservation project, an interactive map indicating where our orphan was found and a description of the habitat and the plight of the elephants in that particular area, monthly summary highlighting events of the previous month with a direct link to the ‘Keepers Diary’ for our elephant to read his daily entries on caring for our elephant, a collectable monthly watercolor of our elephant, and news of new arrivals and rescues with accompanying photos. We like to watch her grow up.
On our second summer vacation (can't believe we did two!), I finally fulfilled my dream (and something that scared me) of zip lining! It was amazing!
In September, we gained a new member of the family: Luna, the Italian Mastiff who has since stolen our hearts and our bed. She's 120 pounds of awesome.
In October, I did the Great Pumpkin Run! I carried a 12 pound pumpkin the whole way, so I got a medal for finishing the race and a second medal for finishing the race with my pumpkin in tact!
Also in October, I officially became a land owner. Jeff and I are excited to start our future together on just over an acre in Center Valley, PA. It will be a process, but eventually we'll be starting fresh in a home that's new to both of us. We're excited to begin creating our dream house in 2017.
Jennifer and I headed to a Stars Hollow-like town to fulfill our Gilmore Girls themed Pumpkin Weekend.
Jeff helped us end our third annual Pumpkin Weekend on a high note by providing this stuffed pumpkin masterpiece.
My favorite picture of 2016 is probably this one: a work of art by then 7 year old Julia. It hangs on our front door to welcome people to our house. After we got Luna, she added Luna in it.
In November, Jeff and I hosted Thanksgiving. It was something we had both wanted to do, but never had. Teamwork made the dream work. This was the sweetest photo I took on Thanksgiving Day.
Christmas was magical. We had a naughty Elf for the season and I had so much fun baking and shopping with the kids. My second real tree of all time made the house beautiful every day.
And my Christmas Eve present from Jeff is definitely the most beautiful bouquet of flowers I've ever had. I just love looking at this picture.
2016, you've been good to me. The most wonderful thing is that I know 2017 is going to be even better. How that's possible, I'm not sure... but I know. I know it will be. Thank you in advance for an awesome year. I'm the luckiest woman in the world.