2017 Year in Review

Hey friends! I can’t believe we are well into January 2018 already. If I still wrote checks, I would definitely still be writing 2017 on them. Cooper just went back to school yesterday, so in the absence of our normal routine I’m just getting to the point where I really feel I can look back on the 2017 and set some goals for 2018.

I want this blog to be a way for me to look back on family memories as well as a way for you to get to know me and my family better, so I thought I would do a little 2017 recap! Warning: this is a picture heavy post, at least more so than normal.

2017 was a good year for the House family. It was not without its challenges, but it was overall a very rewarding year for us. Jason was promoted and pinned to Chief Petty Officer, we joined a church, Cooper was saved, and both Cooper and Jason were baptized. Those were just a few of our blessings!

JANUARY

{Left} January is a birthday heavy month for our family, as we celebrate Cooper’s birthday, my dad’s, my sister in law’s, my brother’s, and my birthday. Cooper’s 7th birthday was a Pikachu affair and as you can see, he was quite excited.

{Top Right} I hesitated to add this to our review, but as this was a huge learning lesson in 2017 and I’m big on transparency, it makes the list. About a year ago, we found out all three kids had lice. LICE. Yep, it is as horrible as it sounds. I know some moms are very laid back about lice – and we are proof that it can happen to anyone, especially if your child is in public school – but I have to say this totally rocked my January boat. Picture was taken the morning we found out…. at church…. in front of all our friends. I told you it was traumatic.

{Bottom Right} On January 29th, we celebrated my 38th birthday!

FEBRUARY

{Top Left} I started letting Cooper help out in the kitchen more. His specialty is tacos!

{Top Right} Sister was looking extra sassy this day – the day we found out Cooper had the flu. He was out for a week and dropped 5 pounds, which is 10% of his body weight. February was spent working on his eating and increasing his calories so he could gain the weight back.

{Bottom} Valentine’s Day! It’s always a celebration at our house. Jason and I don’t go out to eat or anything like that, but we do like to get a few presents for the kids and have a special dinner at home.

MARCH

{Top Left} My nephew turned 16! If that isn’t enough to make you feel old, I don’t know what is. I remember driving from my college dorm to the hospital to meet him during my sophomore year.

{Top Right} St. Patrick’s Day is always a day my kids look forward to. Our leprechaun visits and plays tricks throughout the day, and he also leaves small presents, like Lucky Charm cereal for breakfast. My kids always have a blast trying to catch him, but he’s a wily fellow.

{Bottom} Our MOPs group (Mothers of Preschoolers – we have since changed the name to Lily Moms) always has Tea & Testimony during our March meeting. It’s such a special time! The table leaders create a gorgeous tablescapes with china, and our leadership team brings in tea party themed food. We have several ladies who come in and share their testimony. It is for sure the most special, emotional, spirit filled meeting of the year.

This year, I was one of the ladies who shared their testimony. I was absolutely terrified and to be honest, I don’t remember much about what I said, but finally speaking out about my struggles with PPD and depression were so freeing. It was SUCH a good day – definitely in my top 10 of 2017.

The picture on the right is my table, Table 7. These ladies were such a blessing to me in 2016-2017 and I’m so very happy God put us in each other’s lives.

APRIL

At this point I started using a collage for my pictures, and they loaded not in order. Bare with me! I’m not going to detail every single picture, but hopefully you can look and link them to the happenings.

Jason worked the outage in March in Votgle, which meant we didn’t get to see him much (he worked 12 hour days, with a 2+ hour commute, 6 days a week). In April we made up for that with lots of quality time! We attended the rodeo and our local children’s museum {middle top and middle}.

We also had lots of fun Easter activities! My dad’s company puts on a breakfast and Easter Egg hunt, we dyed eggs at home, and we had an Easter egg hunt with our Sunday School class.

On Easter, we went to church and then had lunch at my parent’s home with my parents and brother’s family.

My niece turned 12 and we celebrated with dinner at a Hibachi restaurant {top right}.

Cooper had a musical performance at school called Awesome Animals {top left}.

Not pictured: In April was when we found out that Poppy has alopecia.I’ll tell this story in more detail in a future blog post, but this was a challenge as well, and one that God has used to teach me that I am not in control and yet – He still works all things for our good.

MAY

May was filled with more family fun! We celebrated Cinco de Mayo with embroidered dresses (for Poppy) and margaritas (for me). For Memorial Day, we went up to Columbia and my brother rented a boat for the day. The top left picture is of me and Cooper, right before I lost my hat to the wind! We also celebrated Mother’s Day with church, lunch of my choice, and NAPS – every mother’s dream, #amiright? {bottom middle}

May was a bit of a bittersweet month, as it was the last month of MOPs, and it meant saying goodbye to Table 7. Our friend Mo moved way, and we lost two other girls who were unable to return to Lily Moms this year, so this goodbye celebration was extra special {middle left}.

Another top moment of 2017 – THE DAY COOPER WAS SAVED! {Middle right} I had prayed and prayed about this, and I had asked God to let me be the one to have the conversation with Cooper. The is nothing like the feeling of pride and thankfulness of knowing your child has made the most important decision of his or her life. You can see I had been crying (happy tears) – I am blessed beyond measure to know I got to pray that prayer with my son.

We rounded out May with the last day of school, and celebrated our summer days with trips to the lake and to play putt putt.

Not pictured: We joined our church! We had been attending for year, and made the decision as a family that this was where we wanted to make our church home.

JUNE

More summer fun – trips to the zoo, to the movies, eating doughnuts at Dunkin Doughnuts, and play dates with friends.

We also went on a beach trip with my parents and my brother’s family, which was so much fun. My kids love their cousins, and my niece and nephew are absolutely fantastic with my kids. We spent every single day at the beach, tooling around in the golf cart, eating delicious meals, and occasionally going out to eat for dinner. It was low key and utterly glorious.

In June, I decided to cut Poppy’s hair into a little bob {middle right}. Her hair had gotten so thin you could see her scalp, and her hair was scraggly. I decided to cut it off and it instantly added volume! Shortly after I cut it, it started to grow back in and thicken up.

The saddest part of June was that my precious chihuahua George {bottom left, the dog on the left} passed away. He was 14 years old and passed away peacefully in his sleep.

JULY

July was really low key. We didn’t really do anything for the 4th of July besides swim and do some sparklers in our yard. We did go to see Despicable 3 at the movie theater, we visited a snow cone stand that opened down the road, and Sullivan started indoor t-ball!

AUGUST

August is when things really started to get busy! My mom’s birthday is on August 1, and Poppy’s in on August 8th. We knew Jason would be headed out of town for 2 weeks for his Navy Annual Training, so we had Poppy’s birthday on the last Saturday in June. It was low key, just swimming at my parent’s pool with my family, but she had a blast.

On August 3rd, we went to Open House at Cooper’s school. Cooper got to meet his teacher and we got to register for the year. This was the day that we found out Jason had made Chief! We had no idea what they entailed at the time. {Bottom left} Poppy was wearing her anchor dress in honor of the occasion.

Jason left that Saturday to head to Maine for 2 weeks, and my solo parenting gig commenced. That happened to fall during the first day of school, Sunday School promotion, and Poppy’s birthday. We made sure to celebrate big – I did a Back to School decorated table and dinner, and of course there were lots of pictures taken to be shared with Daddy.

The t-ball league that Sullivan participated in requires parent involvement – you basically stand with your child and coach them. This was quite challenging as I also had Poppy, so Cooper stepped in and helped me coach Sully {middle}.

AUGUST, CONTINUED

Poppy loved Trolls, so I used that theme to decorate the table. As you can see, she was THRILLED with her Trolls costume.

While Jason was gone, he was also participating in Chief Season, which is a 6 week period where you go through trials and training of a sort to be accepted by the Chief’s mess. At the end of the season, if you are accepted, you are pinned Chief Petty Officer. Jason came home mid-August and immediately stepped back into work (during the day) and his Chief duties and training (nights and weekends) so we really only saw him in passing. He basically only slept at the house. It was tough, but very much worth it.

Another top moment of 2017: Jason and Cooper were baptized! {Middle right} is Poppy blowing dandelions at the baptismal luncheon, where they explain to the kids what will happen during their baptism and let them put their feet in the baptismal pool (which is outdoors, and is fed by a creek on church property). {Top middle and right} Jason was raised Catholic, and was baptized as an infant. When we joined our church, our church requires that if you are transferring from a different denomination you be baptized. Jason was happy to do it, and it was such an incredibly special day to be able to be baptized with Cooper.

Yet another top moment of 2017: Overcoming my anxiety to co-host a bible study at church! I led the study, Listen Love Repeat by Karen Ehman, with my Lily Moms Mentor Mom, Linda. {Bottom left} This was our first night of the study!

{Top left} Our Women’s Ministry Kickoff Dinner took place in August. We have table hostesses that decorate tables to match a theme of their choice, and the church brings in a speaker, who happened to be Karen Ehman, the author of the bible study I was leading {middle}. It was such an honor to meet her!

{Middle left} I told you August was busy! We had leadership training for Lily Moms, which is always so fun. We kick off with a dinner on Friday night and then train all day on Saturday. This was one of our ice breakers. This year I served as Social Media Facilitator and a Table Leader.

SEPTEMBER

September was less busy than August, hallelujah! Our kickoff meeting for Lily Moms was postponed because of bad weather, but we were able to enjoy a Lily Moms popsicles play date in the park {bottom right}. Jason was working crazy hours, so the kids and I amused ourselves by picking out Halloween costumes {bottom left}, attending the fall carnival at Cooper’s school {top left}, check ups for Sully and Poppy {top middle}, and cheering on on Gamecocks.

We also celebrated Sully’s 4th birthday {middle}.

Jason was finally pinned Chief Petty Officer, and we celebrated by attending the Khaki Ball {bottom middle and middle right}. This was another top moment of 2017!

Since we had to postpone our first Lily Moms meeting, we didn’t kick off until the end of September, but it was a wonderful meeting with tons of faces, old and new {top right}!

OCTOBER

The temps finally began to cool down the slightest bit in October. Jason went right from Chief season into an outage at work, so we didn’t see much of him again until the beginning of October. We celebrated his Chief achievement with a quick trip to Charleston {bottom row} where we ended up bringing home Saylor!

If you’ve followed Saylor’s story, you know we got her from a dishonest breeder, and she got sick just days after we brought her home. When I took her to the vet, she was diagnosed with giardia and parvo. It was very touch and go for a while, and I spent several days getting up every 2 hours to give her food and water by syringe, but she pulled through! My girl is a fighter and we are so happy that she’s part of our family.

We took family pictures in October {middle left} and Poppy had her first dentist appointment {middle}, which she handled wonderfully.

We attended lots of Halloween events in October – a pumpkin painting party with our Table 7 Lily Mom friends {top left}, a Halloween party at my dad’s work {top middle}, and Spiderman Sully even went to get ice cream with us one night at Dairy Queen.

OCTOBER CONTINUED

We continued our yearly tradition of visiting Steed’s Dairy {bottom right}. That same night, we attended our friend Andrew’s birthday party and the kids bobbed for apples for the first time {bottom middle}.

Other fall traditions included our Boo To You Halloween Dinner and carving pumpkins {bottom left and middle right}.

Grandma Mary visited from Illinois and we went to Boo at the Zoo {middle left}, Halloween story time {top right}, our Halloween Lily Moms meeting {top middle}, and the fall festival at our church on Halloween night {middle and top left}.

NOVEMBER

I participated in a Jesse Tree Advent ornament swap at church and had to prep 25 ornaments representing a candle/light {bottom right}. At the actual exchange {middle left} I was blown away by how creative the other ladies at my church were. Everyone really did a phenomenal job!

We had tons of fun at the fair – Cooper was old enough this year to ride some bigger rides, and Sullivan and Poppy thoroughly enjoyed the kid rides {bottom left and middle, middle right}.

Poppy developed quite a fondness for her brother’s too small crocs. She didn’t even care if they matched one another or her outfit – this girl is all “rocks” all the time {middle}.

We were invited to a friend’s birthday party and the kids got to ride horses for the first time {top right}.

We celebrated Thanksgiving with family, and the next day I started putting up Christmas {top left and middle}!

DECEMBER

December was busy! Of course it always is, but with Cooper being in school now I have to add in school commitments and parties to an otherwise packed Christmas schedule.

{Bottom left} Cooper did a presentation on Mexico and Jason and I got to attend. Here he is, giving his presentation to his dad. He was SO funny. The teacher had the rooms set up in stations and the kids had to visit each station and find a fact to add to their “passport.” Cooper spoke SO softly and kept his eyes on his paper the whole time, and kids kept saying “what? what?” I had to have a talk with him about the importance of speaking up in the right circumstances. He is LOUD at home but is so reserved in public.

Our church held a family night in December with a Narnia theme. I had no idea what to expect, but I was blown away! They had photo booths and characters, plenty of crafts, games, bounce houses, food, and even smores. Our children’s ministry has been doing a series on Narnia and its biblical parallels, so this was a great way to wrap up the series {bottom left and middle}.

We visited Santa {middle right}, attended a Christmas party at my dad’s work {bottom middle}, and Jason and I attended our Lily Moms leadership Christmas party {middle left}.

I ended up cutting Poppy’s hair once again into a short bob… she started to lose hair again and it just looks fuller when I lose some of the length {top right}.

We had our Women’s Ministry Christmas party and they always give out prizes for the most festively dressed. I was determined to win! I did some deer makeup with a red glitter nose, and I wore Poppy’s reindeer antlers in my hair and my most sparkly sequin jacket. I did win a prize! {top left and middle}

DECEMBER CONTINUED

We attended a Polar Express event at our local museum! They got to sit on the museum’s train and have a simulated train ride with a conductor. They finished the even with a visit from Santa, milk, and cookies. {bottom middle and right}.

Cooper was part of the children’s Christmas choir this year and sang with the adult choir during our Christmas musical {bottom left}.

We held our Lily Moms Christmas party and it was a blast! We had a tacky Christmas sweater theme, so naturally I wore a Christmas sweater, plaid leggings, and Mickey Mouse crocs. {middle right} What’s more tacky than crocs? Adult sized Mickey Mouse crocs.

Jason and I attended his work Christmas party. We go every year because not only do they host an incredible party, but they also give away some incredible door prizes. This year’s prizes includes Roombas, iPads, grills, and gift cards galore. Sadly, we didn’t win, but maybe next year. We did have fun in the photo booth though! {middle}

Our family Christmas get together also had an ugly Christmas sweater theme but I think most of my family forgot to participate, ha! Poppy dressed up as a gingerbread woman, and I put back on my reindeer getup minus the makeup. {middle left and top left}

We enjoyed our annual How the Grinch Stole Christmas night – I always decorate the table and do some fun food and activities – and we wrote our Christmas lists on special shrinking paper {top middle and right}.

DECEMBER CONTINUED

{Bottom middle and left} These are more pictures from our family Christmas celebration.

{Bottom left} I love little girls in sweet Christmas dresses. Poppy has worn this dress two Christmases in a row.

{Middle left and right} Another one of our traditions is to dress up in Christmas pajamas, go to eat at the Steak and Shake (yep, in Christmas pajamas!), and then drive around drinking hot chocolate and looking at Christmas lights. This year I found matching pajamas for the whole family, and to my surprise Jason was completely on board for Operation Christmas Jammies. We had an absolutely blast and I love sharing this sweet tradition with my kids.

We managed to fit in a few more annual Christmas activities – Lights at the Zoo {top left and middle} and Lights of the South {top middle and right}. Checking out Jason and Poppy in the Cinderella carriage. Daddy will always be your first prince, Poppy Grace!

DECEMBER CONTINUED

We finally made it to Christmas! We attended church that morning, and then headed home for quick naps before returning to church for the Christmas Eve service {bottom right and middle}. My parents spend the night at our house on Christmas Eve, so we returned home to eat dinner, decorate cookies for Santa, and help Santa put together some gifts {bottom left and middle right}.

Christmas Day is always so wonderful when it is experienced through the eyes of a child. The kids had tons of time to enjoy their gifts before my brother’s family arrived in the afternoon. We spent the evening opening presents, eating dinner, and playing Minute to Win It games.

I have no pictures for the time between Christmas and New Years – we laid low and hung out at the house. We took lots of naps, watched movies, played games, and in general just enjoyed our time off school and work! On New Year’s Eve we picked up groceries before returning home to eat our traditional cheese and fruit plate. Jason set off a few fireworks and we talked about our goals for the year. We were all in bed and asleep well before midnight!

If you made it to the end, thanks for sticking around! It was an amazing 2017 and I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings.

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