Tuesday, January 9, 2018

2017 Recap: A Year of Firsts

It's hard to believe that ringing in 2018 has come and gone. With all the wrapping up that the holiday held, enjoying time with friends and family, along with taking a little social media hiatus, I am just now getting a chance to recap what 2017 held for our family.  I wish I'd gotten this post written in a more timely manner, but better late then never right?  2017 held a lot of firsts for us!  There was the first time everyone went snow skiing, the first time Ava Jane took dance, the first time I rode in a cycling event, the first time we took the kids over seas, the first year of baseball (for Emerson) and flag football (for Lawson), our first Festival of Trees events with CARTI, our first time to stay at the Peabody, Peyton's first NBA basketball game and his first time to kill a deer.  Looking back, 2017 held a lot of fun and a lot of memories made.  I'll look back on this year of firsts with fondness!

We started the year on a snow skiing trip with the kids.  Peyton and Emerson had been skiing before but we had everyone do ski school the first couple of days-- it didn't take long before they'd all quickly caught on.  We had such a great time and we were thrilled to pass on our love for the ski slopes to our kids.  We hope to go again soon!

The year started off by celebrating Emerson's 6th birthday with a long requested Lego themed party.

In March we celebrated Lawson's eighth birthday in classic Lawson style, with a full on glow in the dark dance party!

We did a quick trip to Branson for Spring Break and enjoyed the new indoor adventure-land called Fritz's Adventure which turned out to be a lot of fun for everyone.

We did a little camping with Grammy and Poppy in the Spring.

There were a lot of firsts that happened this year, from Ava Jane's adorable first dance recital to my very first time to ride in the Heart Hospitals Cardiac Classic, I was quite proud of myself that day!

Lawson and Emerson played spring and fall baseball for the first time at Junior Deputy. We spent many a night out at that ball park and ate our fair share of hotdogs, popcorn and Elephant Shaved Ice.

The highlight of our year was taking the kids and traveling to Rwanda to see some dear friends, the Sengoga's. Our time in Rwanda was eye opening and such an incredibly wonderful experience, getting to meet our sponsored kids and their families, seeing the church plants that we've helped to support, meeting the men and women of this beautiful country and simply getting to spend time with Annie, Joel and their kids--what a pleasure and privilege!

The kids did awesome, they truly were traveling rock stars! We were grateful to have gotten this opportunity! The kids LOVED getting to go on a real African safari---as did I!

We loved spending time at the lake as always!

We started year #2 at Little Rock Christian in 5th, 3rd, 1st and Pre K4.

That fall Lawson wanted to give flag football a try. It was a lot of fun because all his little buddies were on the team which meant the boys had as much fun as the mommas!

August brought a lot of change for our family--particularly Adam.  He was asked to come onboard at CARTI to provide directional leadership and ultimately to turn around the unsustainable trajectory of this amazing cancer center that doesn't just touch the people here in Little Rock but reaches across this great state of Arkansas.  He was (and still is) humbled and honored to have been chosen out of sixteen candidates from across the nation and is excited to see what the future holds as he locks arms with the BEST physicians, nurses and medical staff around.  We enjoyed getting to participate in the week long fundraising event-- Festival of Trees this year.   Getting to know the people who make this organization what it is, has been our great pleasure.

With all the transition and with our Anniversary coming up, we took advantage of getting away together TWICE in the fall!  It was really so wonderful to get away together, once to Big Cedar Lodge and then to celebrate our 14th anniversary in Memphis staying at the Peabody.

In September we celebrated Ava Jane's 5th birthday with a Tea Party.  It was a lot of fun to plan and attend!

For Peyton's 11th birthday, we surprised him with tickets to go see the Golden State Warriors and his favorite player Steph Curry, it was one of the most fun surprises I've pulled off!

My dad took Peyton deer hunting with him several times fall and Peyton shot and killed his first deer! Dad said he was shaking from adrenaline and was smiling ear to ear in pride.  In pure "manly" fashion, when we ate "his deer" Peyton was proud to have been able to provide several meals for our family.

Time with family at Christmas is always a treat and this past December held lots of fun and memories to be made.

There have been some difficult and challenging things this year, things that neither Adam or I could have imagined or anticipated.  Thankfully, with counsel from older, more seasoned mentors, we were able to prayerfully navigate the challenges and see the Lord show up in ways we are still so grateful for.  I've said it before, but its worth saying again, thankfully life is not all hard or all good but usually, the two run parallel--side by side like train tracks.  And isn't that a mercy from God, that its not always all bad or always all good?  I do hope that in 2018 you are able to identify the good and the bad (which isn't so hard to pick out), remember to be grateful for the good and seek help from a trusted friend, mentor, or advisor on the things that hit you blind sided.  Doing things "together" is often times so much easier then going it alone.  We all have blind spots so inviting someone who you trust to speak into your life to help you see what you can't or asking them to pray for you when you need strengthening, is truly a gift!  Happy New Year!

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