Year end wrap up-2015 🎉

What a year! Did I do everything on my list for the year? No… but I DID accomplish several things on my bucket list and I did meet some of my personal goals. This is a mark in the positive category for me for sure…

January start of the new year. New goals, new expectations, new resolutions. I set goals to read more, travel more and take more time enjoying my children. This was something important to me since I have one graduating in 2 years. And looking back.. I accomplished these goals and for that I am so proud of myself!

February- no new things accomplished. Surviving winter in Iowa. Made plans for spring break trip to Florida. Planning family trips in the last years with my children is such a huge thing for me. I want to share as much with them as I can before they are gone.

March- Spring brought new opportunities. We let Tyler try out for travelling basketball. A huge step for him. He LOVES the sport. The financial investment and time investment was a big one. Were we ready? Was he? I was so uncertain but wanted my son to have this opportunity. I let him try out… he made it. And this was a GREAT opportunity for him. He grew so much as a player having this opportunity.

We headed to Florida this month. Another longggg road trip for the family. Which is exactly.what.I.wanted. We needed another opportunity to bond over miles. We went to Florida for a week and I accomplished one major thing off my bucket list! I wanted to take my kids parasailing. We went together and it was without a doubt one of these once in a lifetime opportunities. I had a ball. The boys and I will never forget that time together.


 April- basketball ramps up. We start traveling team. Hours of practice and  back and forth drives. Clint starts a new planting season for farm management. He gets busier with work, I get busier with kids.


May- end of school, we start travelling. We head to Wichita, Kansas and Omaha Nebraska, Bellevue and Lincoln following Tyler and the Western Iowa Express Blue team in basketball. What a fun time. I absolutely love being my sons favorite fan.

June- Nate ramps up show season and starts showing cattle. We watch him show in the Junior Angus show on Facetime while sitting in the bleachers in Wichita. He does well. I am so proud of them both. Addie has dance recital and rocked it on stage as a ballerina and tap dancer! We start the summer of Iowa experiences! 


  
July- Lake time after basketball season wrapped up. Spent time boating and enjoying our family cabin at Twin. Nice to have time to hang out and have the boys’ friends to one of their favorite places on earth. This is a place we wish we had more time at. Lake time is where I spent my summers growing up. Tubing, skiing and 4th of July fireworks over the lake are some of my favorite memories. Fair time is here. Nate is busy showing steers. Addie and I are busy with Clover Kids. We camp at the fair all week.


August- super busy month. I head to Ohio with mom. Longaberger experience off her bucket list… and mine. Another new years goal accomplished. We accept and take in a foreign exchange student from Taiwan, football starts and school starts. We welcome Leo into our home just as we finish a full renovation to our bathroom (yes.. we hired someone who gutted and redid the upstairs bathroom- what a project!). Life starts to return to normal and other than a few stray tournaments… we wrap up travelling basketball season. Some camps are attended and I head back to work full time.

September- football season is in full swing and we are back on the road for both boys games. Addie starts up dance and we learn a new normal. September means getting accustomed to being back at work. It means Clint gets busier.. and so do the kids. We head to 8th grade football games for Ty, JV for Leo and Varsity for Nate. 3 nights a week at football.

October- Football wraps up and we have a breather before wrestling and basketball. Birthday season begins with Ty and Addie having parties. Ty had an overnight, Addie had a bowling party. Tyler turns 14 and (sigh) he starts to DRIVE. What a change. Time flies. Harvest is in swing and so Clint is busier. Leo experiences Harvest and rides in a combine.

  
 

November- big family wedding for Clint’s brother Chris. We spend 3 days in Des. Moines over Thanksgiving weekend. Leo starts.. and stops swimming. Nate starts wrestling and Ty starts travelling basketball and school basketball. Addie starts ballet, tap, tumbling and now a new addition… jazz. I head to a girls weekend in Nashville (what fun!).

December- we wrap up the year with a bang. We say goodbye to Leo… we decorate for the holidays and we look toward new year and new goals for the upcoming year.

  
I am wishing you much happiness, health, and love in 2016. Thanks for reading this quick recap of our year. We had such a good one!

~Laura

 

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Beauty of Christmas

I love this time of year! The sights, sounds and smells of Christmas are some of my favorite things ever! I cannot think of anything better than the food, decorations, smells and sights of Christmas.

My church hosts a festival of trees every Christmas season. The trees are decorated by community organizations, youth clubs and churches. It is literally one of my favorite things to go and see every holiday season. My daughter and I have made it a tradition to go together and look at the trees. I think they are beautiful.

This is the tallest tree in the parish center and it is the one decorated by my church. It is one of my favorite 🙂

My other favorite part of the Festival of trees is the cookies and cider at the end of the tour. We are able to sit and look at the trees, listen to the Christmas music and spend time enjoying the season and remembering the true meaning of the holiday together. I LOVE this time with my daughter.

The other favorite thing we see is the memory tree. This is a tree decorated in honor of those that we love and have lost. We fill out an ornament in memory of my grandparents every year, and in turn take a memory ornament that is crocheted by the church women to hang on our tree in honor of those we have lost. In our own special way, it is a way to remember those who are in heaven that we no longer have with us during the holiday.

Addie enjoying the cider and cookies with mom after our tour.

We have lots of other traditions in my home over the holidays. We have a tree upstairs that has my childrens ornaments from over the years. They get one from us every year that signifies something they did over the course of the year. When they move out they will take these ornaments with them. It is covered with everything from the babies first Christmas ornaments they had their first Christmas to Teletubbies, Bob the Builder, and everything in between as they grew up.

Our downstairs tree has the ornaments I had growing up on it. My babies first Christmas and all the ornaments the kids have made me over the years. This is another tradition we have in our home.

Our community is decorated beautifully in our downtown. The whole main street is covered in white lights and it is especially beautiful when it snows. It is gorgeous to take a drive downtown for the Christmas season. The cover photo is my daughter and our foreign exchange student standing downtown for the grand lighting ceremony earlier this month. This too is another tradition in our home along with attending the grand lighting and lighted parade downtown that they have every year.

What traditions do you have? We have many more but these are the first that come to mind. I hope you find the season as beautiful and peaceful as I do. Take time to enjoy the season, it is one of the best times of the year…..

Thanksgiving blessings

I love the holiday season. The time between November to the beginning of January is my favorite time of the year. I truly have so much to be thankful for. 

I am a person of faith however. And I give my thanks to God for EVERY blessing in my life. I am so… sooo… very fortunate. I feel that not thanking God for all things in my life would be such a mistake. SO I want to take this time to post a few things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving season.

  • I am thankful for my children. I am blessed with three of the most perfectly created gifts from God I could ever imagine and I thank God every day for giving me the privilege of being their mother.
  • I am thankful for my health. I work in the healthcare profession and see those with illness battle sickness, pain and depression from illness all the time. I see children deal with lifelong illnesses they will have for the rest of their lives on a daily basis.
  • I am thankful for health insurance and life insurance and auto insurance and ultimately the ability to have insurance. If I need to go to the doctor, I go. I don’t have to think about how to pay for it. If I need to have my car towed (thank you AAA) I get it towed. I am so thankful that I have the ability and funds to have auto insurance, life insurance and health insurance
  • I am thankful for the food I have to eat, and the farmers that provide it. We can afford food and do not stretch to make ends meet and have food on our table. My children do not go to bed hungry and I have plenty of food on hand at all times. Many people do not have this luxury, so for this I am thankful
  • I am thankful for my husband. He is hard-working, honest, dedicated to his family and my best friend. I am so lucky to have found a partner that I can trust fully and know has our best interests at heart. Not many people can say that they have a partnership like that in life.
  • I am thankful for my family. It is large, extensive, and has a lot of personalities. This includes my husband’s family as well. Whatever I am facing I know I will not face it alone and I am so grateful for that. I am blessed beyond words when it comes to my family.
  • I am thankful for my faith. I believe…. that faith gives one hope. My faith is with me every day. I am so grateful for this. I know when I am overwhelmed and need support I can hand whatever I am struggling with over to God and he will ease the burden. Faith is a huge part of who I am and I am ever grateful to have my God to help see me through.
  • I am thankful for my education. I am blessed with a college education which has in turn provided me with a great job. This is my livelihood and I am fortunate that my job and my education are still in an area I love to practice in. I am blessed in that I have a job and it is because of the education I was blessed to receive.
  • I am thankful for friends, they keep me grounded, make me laugh and are a shoulder to cry on when I need one. I don’t know where I would be without them and I am thankful for each individual group I have whether it be high school friends, friends from work, fellow parents from my kiddos, my online friends, or new friends.

I know I am probably leaving some things out… my list of blessings is so extensive and I am sure I have forgotten some things. I want to be sure to take the time today though to say how blessed I am. I think this is one of my favorite times of the year because we take pause and say thank you for all these blessings on this holiday. Those who did not take the time before take it now. Fellowship grows, thankfulness abounds, hope rises and we all are a little kinder when we see what blessings we have.

Here is wishing everyone a warm and blessed Thanksgiving. Enjoy time with family and friends and join me in saying a word of thanks for all God has given us….

~Laura