2016 was an amazing action-packed year with some surprises and lots of joy, big changes and a few struggles, constant love and lots of real life. I am thankful for all of it, but here are the highlights...
1. HAPPY AND HEALTHY
The best thing I can say about this year is that none of us needed surgery or a visit to the ER. We stayed healthy and that makes me so happy!
2. LOTS OF TEACHING
I spent lots of time teaching this year. I loved every minute of it. Visiting guilds and doing presentations is so much fun for me. I love those moments when I'm teaching and helping others and they have that 'light bulb' moment. It's so gratifying seeing quilters gain skills and confidence to succeed at new techniques.
3. I WROTE A BOOK
After a year and half of writing and quilting and preparing manuscripts and editing, my book was finally published in March. It was such a thrill to hold it in my hands for the first time. It was a long process with SOOO many hours of work, but worth it in the end!
4. BOOK BLOG HOP
I was so honored to have some really amazing quilters (that I'm lucky enough to call friends) show me their overwhelming support by participating in a very special blog hop to celebrate the publication of my book. I am so thankful for the friends that quilting has brought into my life!
5. BEACH TRIP
We spent a week at the beach with the kids and their friends. This may have been our last family beach trip for a while because the kids will be in college next year and schedules won't work. I treasured the long walks on the beach with the girls and watching sunsets from the roof deck. Boating with the kids and eating delicious seafood dinners are memories that will stay with me for a long time.
6. PARIS AND NANTES
Bill and I flew to Paris in April and spent a few days visiting places we hadn't had a chance to see on previous trips to our favorite city. It was magical and amazing. We then boarded a train for the Quilt Show in Nantes, Pour L'Amour du Fil. Words cannot describe how incredible that experience was for me. I was able to take a class with Brigitte Giblin, meet the amazing Linda Collins, Mary Koval, Yoko Saito and so many more quilting rock stars. I met editor of Quiltmania! That may have something to do with how a lovely review of my book ended up in their magazine later this year. 'wink'
7. SPRING QUILT MARKET
In May, I flew to Salt Lake City and attended Spring Quilt Market. I enjoyed presenting my book at schoolhouse, and signing my book in the C&T booth. Again, I got to see some of my new friends that I made in France, and meet everyone who is anyone in the quilt world. It was overwhelming to say the least.
8. KELLY GRADUATED
My sweet daughter graduated from high school on June first. I am so proud of her and how hard she works. She always makes time for her studies first but manages to squeeze in a trip to the barn to ride her favorite horse almost every day as well.
9. AUSSIE FRIENDS CAME TO VISIT
This summer we were thrilled to have our friends from Australia visit us for a few days. I've been a quilting pen pal with Diane for over 20 years and we finally met in person! I knew she was wonderful but it was so fun to discover how amazing her entire family is as well. What a joy to finally hug her in real life!
10. KELLY TURNED 19
My baby girl grew up. I knew this day was coming but it was so bitter sweet this year because she was away at college. Her first birthday away from momma was much harder for me than it was for her thankfully.
11. BERRY COLLEGE
Kelly attends Berry College now and she LOVES it. There is nothing better than seeing your child embrace a new challenge a soar! She's made some wonderful friends, taken some challenging courses for a freshman and done so well, and she is in love with her campus job at the equestrian center. Knowing how happy Kelly is at school really helps this momma's broken heart. It's so hard to let them go!
David and Danny are making the most of their Senior year in high school. They have run cross country and are now in training for spring track and field. All the while they are making great grades in their AP courses and applying to colleges. They've been accepted to all of the ones they've applied to so far, so there will be some big decisions to be made soon!
The boys not only run for the school team, but they run for every race they can sign up for. Running 5K and 10K races are the most common but Danny likes to run a half marathon every once in a while for fun. They really do keep up with their training runs no matter the weather, and the dedication shows.
14. I TURNED 50
Yep, I made it to the big five oh this year. That's pretty much all I have to say about that!
15. A NEW JOB
I started working at a local quilt shop this fall. I didn't go looking for the job but it found me. I wasn't sure I would like the one hour commute, but had a feeling the time at the shop would be worth it. I was right. I love the job and especially love the folks I work with. It's been the best job I never knew I wanted.
16, BOOKS ON TAPE
A one hour commute each way to work has allowed me to discover how much I like books on tape. I can finish a book a week and have really enjoyed discovering some new authors and series.
17. DAVID AND DANNY TURNED 18
How in the heck did my babies turn 18? I remember sitting on the front step sobbing after I walked them to their first day of kindergarten like it was yesterday! They are taller than me and so kind and smart that I can't help but be proud of them. But I know that they will be heading off to college soon and that's going to be really, really, really hard for this momma.
18. FAMILY AND FRIENDS
One of the best things about having teenagers in the house is their friends. I love a house full of friends who are constantly eating, laughing, and having fun. I love seeing a pile of kids in the playroom watching a movie or playing video games. I think it's awesome when they fill the hot tub with loud music and chatter. The general noise and chaos is cherished, as I know it won't last and I'm going to love on all of these crazy kids as long as I can!
19. THE DOGGIES
How can any list of highlights not contain a reference to our three canines? Buddy continues to think he's in charge of the entire household and we're not willing to ruin the illusion for him. Bailey is so patient and sweet and getting to be a bit of an old lady with some gray hairs. And Boomer is still Boomer. Wild and crazy and SO lovable. He adds a whole other level of chaos to the house that is so wonderful. What would we do without his constant antics?
It was a quiet holiday, especially since we celebrated on the 23rd. We enjoyed a sleepy morning with a big breakfast and gift exchange. Lots of relaxing and laughing and telling stories followed by a big dinner complete with ham, sweet potato casserole and homemade cranberry sauce. Yum.
If I could bottle it up or do it all over again, I would! It was a year filled with so much love and that really helped us find the courage to face so many changes. Here's hoping 2017 provides all the love and courage we will need to face whatever lies ahead.
Thanks to each of you for sharing this crazy and wonderful journey with me. I am thankful for all of you!