Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Review

Here I am, typing at the end of yet another year. This blog only gets dusted off occasionally these days, but this is one tradition I really enjoy keeping.

We don't typically stay up till midnight, we have never been the huge New Years Eve Party type, but I do feel like the year deserves a proper send off in one form or another, and it appears that for me, it is writing a blog.

Plus, for the last several years, not sure how many, I have done the "jar thing." As I accumulate tickets from various events, I am torn between keeping them for the memories or tossing them as trash, and I have found a lot of peace with the jar. They are saved, in a jar, for the year, and then as part of my process of separating from the year ending, I let go of all the tickets, and start the year with an empty jar, full of possibilities.

The biggest stand out of the year is the new life that was welcomed in 2017. My sister-in-law, Jami and my husband's brother, Graeme, welcomed sweet Finley into the world this February, and it was a huge, amazing wonderful start of the year.

I am still blown away that myself, my mother-in-law and Jami's mother were all able to make it in time. Jami was so early, yet Lori had a feeling she was going to go early, convinced me, and so we were sitting in the airport, ready to load our two different planes when we found out that her water had broken and she was in the hospital- it was go time! I am so thankful that I was able to be there in time to help, in little ways, even though it meant taking a taxi straight to the hospital from the airport. That whole week was truly life changing for me, because while it was so hard to be away from my family, and my kids, it was so good to be in a place where I know I was helping, in little ways, this family that means so much to me as well. Also in that stack is the map of the drive that my husband and brother in law did when this family moved back! Yep, Blake flew to St. Louis, and then started the long, few day drive back to CA to get the car and the dogs here, and we back in CA marked their trip on a map as they updated us.

Also this year, our good friends Katy and Damian welcomed their first, little Logan, into the world in August. He is a smiling bundle of joy, and as I look back on the major events of the year, both Logan and Finley are high in my mind.

Highlights of the year as far as major events are that I got to see Hamilton, not once but twice! I love musicals, grew up watching them with my dad, and my friend Erin got me into Hamilton. So once I found out it was coming to our state, my friends and I made the plan to go. Then, before I had a chance to buy tickets, my aunt gave me the opportunity to use her season ticket early buying option to buy a ticket for a performance in August and go with my cousin- which I decided was too good to pass up, especially since I had read that Hamilton is consistently a sell out show. Then, when I could buy tickets like an average person, even though I had to wait on the ticketmaster app for a good half an hour, I was able to get myself and my friends tickets at a very affordable (for Hamilton) price, and I went a second time in October. I have never lost my love for theater, and hope to see at least one musical a year going forward.

Grace's big event this year was the Gymnastics P&G Championships. She has been extremely into gymnastics for a few years now, and is currently at a high level at our local gym, in their (long, several step) competitive program. She isn't competing yet, or even on the team yet, but in a class a few steps before that, starting to learn the fine nuances of the sport- perfect hands, toes, etc., grooming her for the day when judges will take off points for the little stuff. She did miss the December move up time, but after a talk with one of the coaches, we were assured that they still see potential, and her skills were not what held her back, but just her wiggles, and trouble focusing on the coaches instead of everything else in the gym. If she can find it in her to give them the attention they want, she will hopefully be moved up in April (just to the next level... still a few steps from team lol).

In any case, this little girl is a gymnastics fan girl. We were given the opportunity to see the final night of the women's national competition, from a suite, no less. She was totally into it, watching all the different girls, groaning when they fell, giving them her own points score, and not getting bored after doing this for hours! This from my daughter who doesn't even watch a TV show without getting bored. She was initially disappointed that the big names that she learned from the 2016 Olympics weren't competing (taking a break), but got into the new, upcoming girls. THEN, much to my daughter's delight, we found out that the entire USA gymnastics team, men and women, were being honored at this event, and her idol, Simone Biles, was down below us on stage, in the same building. She was practically speechless!

We did a few sporting events this year, though less than some years due to finances, and trips to St. Louis taking some of that budget (worth it!). There are a few Angels tickets that made it in the jar, and a few Ducks tickets that did not- but we have gone to a few (including one today).

This year was more places than some years, a lot because we have discovered our kids are happier when we aren't just at home for the day, so we find things to do. We went to the fair a few times, we went to a Scottish Festival this year (super fun), and we went to Medieval Times, Knotts, and Disneyland (though those tickets didn't make it in the jar, oops).

Different from past years is that we got a pass to Seaworld, and we got a pass to a set of museums in San Diego, and have used both a good amount of times, especially since the kids passes were only 10 dollars for the year thanks to a special program for preschoolers. Not pictured, is that we also got passes to Legoland, and have gone several times in 2017. Actually, we are finding Legoland is a great theme park. It has some fast roller coaster type rides, it has a Ninjago ride, which Remington loves, and it has a lot of great play areas for the kids. Plus, it is much closer to us than San Diego, and cheaper than Disney.

There is a print out of a hotel confirmation for our small family trip to San Diego- one that will go down in the Olsen records books as one of our worst trips ever. Sea World (day 1) was bad because one, Remington literally got bit by a bird when he was trying to feed the sea lions, and then there was a bee swarm on the climbing equipment. Weird, not so fun, but ok, maybe our second day will be better. Ummm no. So we stayed in San Diego for the night so the kids didn't have to do a big drive two days in a row, and we could do more in San Diego- namely those museums I talked about. It should have only taken ten minutes or so. But due to a rediculously bad mistake on my part... we booked this trip for a day that there was a marathon in San Diego. Meaning that many roads were closed, especially around where we needed to go, and the ones that weren't were majorly impacted by traffic. Awful. It literally took us two hours to go a few miles. We did finally get there, see some cool stuff at the museums, but Blake and my nerves were fried from the morning, and we had very little patience left for the kids, eh, just bad.

Not pictured is that we took a second vacation to San Diego this summer with my family, seeing Sea World, museums, and Legoland with them, and that trip, thankfully, was a good one. As my niece Livvie gets bigger, it is fun to see the three cousins interact together, especially when my kids set out to make her laugh (and usually succeed).

Different from years past, there is only one race bib, and it isn't a mistake. I literally only ran one race in 2017, and it wasn't even my best. It was in February, and I was trying to break my 2 hour half marathon goal, or at least the 2:02 that I had pulled off in November of 2016, but part way through the race my trusty Garmin died, even though it was fully charged, and I had to completely guess my pace for the rest. I still finished in 2:07, which is pretty good considering I had nothing to go off of, but was disheartening.

Honestly, I have really let running become a thing of my past, more than my future these days. The exhileration of finishing a hard race is great... but the time it takes to train for a half is too much right now. I want to spend my mornings sleeping in, not waking up before 5 to run. I want to spend my afternoons with my kids, not feeling tired and worn out from my early run. I want to spend my evenings at home relaxing, and getting some me time. In other words, I have decided that for now, I have different priorities in life than invest my time in running.

I do have a race coming up at the end of the month, thankfully not a half, and I have been still going to the gym and being active, just not running, and I think it will go okay. We will see. But I don't think I am going to be signing up for a lot of races in the near future. When I decided that my priorities had changed, I felt great freedom at choosing to let go instead of being stressed, and failing either my training or my family (or me). I miss the girls I was running with, and I can never seem to stay away from running forever (ever since cross country in high school), but I am at peace about not pursuing it right now. My goal oriented personality wonders if that 2 hour half will be what someday brings me back, but for now, I feel satisfied with my speed work getting down to 2:02, and love the extra energy I have in general without the continual soreness or tiredness cycles.

2017 marks the year that I got back into the work force, first as a sub in the beginning of the year, to working at my kids' preschool, to now being a Music and Movement teacher there. It is a fun change, and a good change financially, and significantly less stressful than 2nd or 4th grade, with less lesson plans and no tests, reports or grades to worry about.

2017 had great trips to Big Bear, great trips to the beach house, and had some pretty significant firsts. It had Grace's first day at Kindergarten, and her first time riding her bike without training wheels. This has been the year of Legos for Remington, and he has gotten really good at building sets on his own, even when they are listed as older than him. Both kids are really learning to read, not just know their letters, and are doing well at math too! There are bad days, there are grumpy moments, but overall, they are good kids, and tons of fun to be with when they are in a good mood.

What will 2018 bring?
-Hopefully Grace will progress in her gymnastics class, and see her hard work from 2017 pay off.
-Hopefully Remington will decide to join the Hockey team, since he has been taking lessons forever.
-Remington will finish preschool :-/, how is my baby growing up so fast!?!
-Remington will start school at the local school, leaving me (presumably) at the preschool with none of my kids there.
-More fun trips, more trips to Legoland, and more trips to the museums before those expire.
-Hopefully a year of great family memories.

Happy New Year!

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