2015 In Review

 

Since I posted absolutely nothing for 2015…

 

I must’ve been more than a little busy, which is more than a little true.

Homeschooling:

We finished our second and hardest year of homeschooling thus far.  We had a lot of growing pains in our second year of homeschooling.  Curriculum misfits, motivation problems, learning blocks.  Thankfully, my academic advisor set me up with an excellent reading tutor for Selah, which has lead to lots of success in reading for her, as well as a few epiphanies for me as far as curricula and learning styles go for my children.  This has made our third year of schooling go much more smoothly.  I have been able to find and choose much better curricula for my kid’s learning styles.  I’ve also been able to let go of the brick and mortar school model- meaning we don’t spend all day doing school.  We get all our subjects done, and we move on to other projects. This makes for  a much happier me, and thus, happier children too.  We also started doing science and social studies together  which simplifies further.  No point in doing 4 different types of science studies and 4 different years of history.  (Ugh!)  One of the most helpful things I have learned with homeschooling, and this may sound like a no-brainer to some, is that if something is not working, it is absolutely okay for me to change it. In the past, it has been hard for me to let go of things that were just drudging on in the name of seeing things through to the end.  This is not a bad thing all the time, however: if your kid isn’t enjoying it, and neither are you, there probably isn’t any learning happening.  Misery isn’t necessary.

 

Health

I joined a gym this year, which is something I thought I’d never do.  Alas, my sister convinced me to go.  Not just to the gym, to classes at the gym that started at 5:15 in the morning.  Yes, you read that right.  This night owl was getting up at 4:30 a.m. five days a week to go work out.  I stuck it out for about nine months, even through my sister quitting, until I realized it just wasn’t working for me. All that hard work and dedication and not a pound lost to show for, and my pants were feeling a little tight. Which is to say, my weight gain wasn’t muscle I had gained from lifting weights.  (I did enjoy feeling a bit stronger and being able to help lift heavy things with my husband, like couches. So, there’s that.)  In September, I cut down my gym attendance to two days a week, at 6 am, instead of 5 am. I added in extra cardio, and am still weight lifting.  I am also getting a solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night, and no longer stressing out about having to get up at the butt crack of dawn. Lo and behold, pants are no longer feeling tight, and weight has gone down a smidge.  I’ll take it. This year, I resolve to stay active and have as much fun staying active as I can, and see how that works out for the ol’ physique.

 

Travels and Such

In October, I did something I have never done in my life.  I flew alone to visit my sister in Phoenix.  It was one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve had in a very long time.  I hadn’t flown in 13 years, since Kevin and I flew to New York in February of 2002.  I love to fly.  I think I have mentioned before, that I would love to be a flight attendant in another life. I spent four lovely days with my sister, Hannah, and totally let loose.  Which means that I actually drank a Vanilla Coke.  (I can’t remember the last time I had a pop before that!)  We went and saw “The Martian” at a fancy theatre with reclining seats, shopped, ate at a gluten free bakery (I didn’t know what to eat, I had SO MANY CHOICES!) It was a great trip I hope to repeat again in the near future, and this time I want to drag my OTHER sister with me! Sister weekend 2016!

As a family we traveled to visit my Father-in-Law on October 21, 2015,  otherwise known as “Back to the Future Day.”  The theatre in his town was showing a double feature of the first and second movies, so we hopped in the trusty Suburban, in the wee hours of the morning and traveled 6 hours so we could all watch it together.  It was hugely fun, and I am SO glad we did it!  We were also able to see the new house he shares with his girlfriend, and it was really neat to see the masterpiece that she has constructed and decorated there!

 

In November, we drove down to Phoenix to spend Thanksgiving with Hannah and her in-laws and my parents.  It was quite a success, and the dinner was fabulous, as was the trip to the zoo.  It was over too quickly. (Unfortunately, Ariel and Jer weren’t able to join us this year due to some extraneous circumstances. Wah!)  We made a pit stop in Canyonlands, near Moab, Utah on our way down and spent the day gallivanting around with Kevin’s mom and brother and sister.  It was one of those days that was just a beautiful gift, and we all were the better for it.  Incredibly fun and life-giving.

 

 

We also made a few trips up to Telluride this year, as has become a sort of tradition for us.  This year, one trip took place on my 29th birthday.  (What!?  I’ve been 29 for 7 years now.  It’s great!)  My sister and her littles came with us, and we rode the gondola and wandered around Mountain Village, taking in the sights.  We ended up eating dinner at this great place, which I have forgotten the name of.  We all had a great time, of course, and resolved that next year we need to bring our suits so we can float down the river with everyone!

 

Earlier in the summer, we grabbed Kev’s mom and went up I-70 to hike up to Hanging Lake.  I was worried the kids were going to groan about the hiking part of it, so I had bribed each of them with $2 a piece if they could make it up and back without so much as one complaint.  Thankfully, this worked!  Selah and Rory nearly ran up the trail.  We reached the top in record time, and enjoyed our lunch at the top.  After we got back down to the bottom, we decided to go on up to Aspen and trek around there a little.

 

For Kevin’s birthday, we headed up to Aspen again, towing the trailer behind us, filled with all our bikes.  Of course, the main idea was for Kevin to be able to skate at the best skate park in the state up there, but we were thwarted by rain.  Fortunately, the clouds broke just long enough for us to get a few miles in on our bikes.  Rory and Selah did great on their bikes, and only slightly terrified us near the steep parts.

 

In September, Kevin and I headed over the mountains (and through the woods) to Red Rocks, to take in a Duran Duran concert. It was only the second time we have ever left the kids over night.  We decided to avoid all the construction on I-70, and went over Independence Pass, which did not disappoint.  What beauty from the top of the world!  By the time we hit FairPlay, Sunday traffic was backing up.  We were lucky to reach Red Rocks right when the concert was starting.  The opening band was Chic, which was quite fun to dance to, and Duran Duran was amazing. We returned to Red Rocks the next morning to run the stairs, and hike around a little bit, and had an enjoyable trip home via I-70.  The construction wasn’t so bad. 😉

 

New Developments

In 2014, I cut off all of my hair.  It has been one of my most favorite hair cuts to date.  By the end of 2014,  I had dyed it dark brown with purple highlights, which was fun.  Later in the year, I decided it would be even more fun if you could see the purple better, so I went platinum and boy did the purple show up then! Squee!  Then I decided to add some turquoise too.  Then I got tired of having to match my outfits to my hair, and so went just platinum for a while.  Still very much loving my pixie cut, and the creativity it affords me. Next up is pink sort of concoction.  If you’re lucky, I might just post a picture of it.

In September-ish, Kevin began construction on a studio-shed for yours truly.  This has been a long time coming, and a much anticipated event.  At the moment, it is completely built, roofed and has a lovely two panel door with windows.  It is waiting for several windows and some electricity to be added when it warms up a bit around here.  It has a loft, which is especially exciting, because I can put a bunch of pillows up there and make myself a comfy reading nook.  Also a great place to go when I’m mad at Kevin. (HA!  Like that ever happens… snort!)  Needless to say, I am looking forward to many hours of creating out there when it is up and running, and am forever grateful to Kev for all his hard work and support of my endeavors.  What a guy!

Christmas this year was a blur already.  It was especially magical this year though, with almost a foot of snow falling the day of.  We enjoyed Christmas Eve with Kev’s mom and grandparents.  I brought a lasagna, and we all opened presents together and were content to just be in each other’s presence for a while.  Christmas morning I woke up with a nauseating migraine.  Ugh.  Thankfully, coffee and tylenol helped to get rid of it, along with some fresh air and playing in the snow.  We cooked a turkey dinner (one I had reserved for Thanksgiving, before we decided to head down to Phoenix) and my parents and Kev’s mom came up and chilled with us.

A week before Christmas, we decided to take the plunge and buy our little family season passes to the local ski resort.  We have been immensely pleased with this purchase already. After taking lessons in January of 2015, the kids are pretty mobile, and have been chugging right along with us this year.  It has been a lot of fun to see one of our dreams come to fruition.

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This year has also been different from the others for me in that I’ve maintained a list of each and every little thing that I perceive to be a gift from God.  It can be anything.  A quiet moment of solitude, a tiny snowflake, or the cacophony of happy children running through the house together.  It has really altered my daily view of things, and been very helpful in maintaining my joy.  It is something I plan to do for as long as I am able.

 

A Thousand Reasons to Give Thanks