2016 in Review

I hope your new year is off to a bangin’ start! (I was in bed by 10 pm on New Year’s Eve and I wouldn’t have it any other way.) I’ve been scheming and dreaming of ways to make this new year great and I’m hoping to record most of it here. As per usual though, I’d like to bid farewell to last year (it had some pretty screwy moments, didn’t it?) and review some of the highlights before we get too far into 2017!


 The girls spent last January in style courtesy of my friend Kristina. We’ve loved on these ponchos so hard and they’ve made a world of a difference in how we deal with buckling into car seats! January is definitely the month in Minnesota to stay inside and remain cozy, but between shuttling Cece to preschool, a few play dates (The Children’s Museum at the Mall of America and the Play and Learn Café in Hopkins to name a few), a trip to Wisconsin Dells and Chicago for belated Christmas, and sledding and baking the occasional sweet treat, it was manageable as far as winter in the Midwest goes. Also, this is the month that our house searching began!


We celebrated Valentine’s Day with flowers and chocolate (and a bit of sickness), kept our playdate game strong by going places like Good Times Park in Eagan and Woodlake Nature Center in Richfield. I attended Cece’s Valentine’s Day party at school and had just as much fun as she did.  Cece had her second dance recital (and she got to wear a cowgirl hat!) and I got to meet Kate Hudson in the same weekend. By the time March rolled around, we were hit hard with spring fever and were ready to get out and about again.


In March, we finally stripped away our winter jackets (sometimes) and ventured out to playgrounds again! We also celebrated our spunky Rosie Posie’s 2nd birthday, visited the Easter Bunny, and took our first trip ever to the Science Museum of Minnesota! We also listed our house for sale and had an offer on it within 48 hours. Fortunately, we also found the home in Hudson, Wisconsin that we are currently living in. None of this made it on to the blog because home buying/selling is such a house of cards that can collapse at any minute if you breathe the wrong way. So I spent March filling out a lot of paperwork with my fingers crossed (which made filling out paperwork awkward). I tried to not get too hopeful but at the same time I still felt so much excitement and anticipation because a big dream was about to come true.


April was BUSY! We celebrated both Joe’s and Cece’s birthdays. We got continued getting outdoors, swinging, sliding, collecting nature treasures, etc.  I flew to Chicago for a quick weekend trip to help host my sister’s bridal shower while Joe stayed home with the girls like a rock star dad.  And I also got to meet sweet baby Evie while in Chicago!


If there’s ever a time for new beginnings, it’s May. Cece wrapped up her year at preschool and also had her last dance recital. (I felt wistful about these events as endings make me quite emotional, no matter what.) I made another trip to Chicago for my sister’s bachelorette party and also to shoot my first wedding of the year. We spent Mother’s Day weekend at the cabin, celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary (with a high-five I think, it was a crazy month), also said goodbye to our house (hello more tears). Basically, I was feeling all the feels all month long along with the crazy stress that comes with packing up an entire home.


I apparently only have one blog post from June because we were busy becoming Wisconsinites. That month was filled with move-in chaos, acquiring internet, rearranging furniture, trying to find our underwear, etc. Fortunately, the mayhem gave way to more enjoyable activities like meeting new friends and neighbors, enjoying a glass of wine on our front porch after the kids went to bed, and putting our feet up while feeling disbelief that WE ACTUALLY DID THIS. (Also! My bro graduated from culinary school that month and I couldn’t be more proud!) And Joe completed his first Spartan Race because he’s insane (but still sexy).


This month was a big deal because my sister and Jay got married! We traveled to Chicago once more to celebrate with them and the girls had their big moment as flower girls. (Rosie rejected her shoes, walked down the aisle barefoot, and also refused to put down her chocolate chip cookie during photos. So, she really classed everything up 😉 ) As for the rest of the month, our family spent time exploring Hudson and Stillwater, swimming, hanging out with the girls’ cousins in Woodbury, and hitting up splash pads. So much fun and sun(screen).


August! In August I turned 30 (and did so on a boat). We enjoyed the last weeks of summer by doing some of our favorite things, such as sending Joe and Cece on a race,  livin’ life at the beach, and going to the MN Renaissance Festival. Also this month, Joe’s Grandma Geneva passed away. It was with heavy hearts that we had to say goodbye as she was as wonderful as grandmothers come. We miss her everyday and definitely still feel her love.


I embarked on a big girl adventure and flew out to Massachusetts on Labor Day weekend to shoot another wedding while Joe took the girls to the cabin. After returning, we sent Cece off to her first day of kindergarten. This was one of the most emotional days of the year for me, I absolutely couldn’t stop crying. (Turns out I was pregnant again!). We spent September getting used to having Cece in school full time, managing first trimester pregnancy symptoms, making another trip to Renaissance Festival, and staying very busy taking photos every weekend as family photo season took off.


We embraced October by going to apple orchards and pumpkin patches. We also attended a Science Museum birthday party for the girls’ cousins. I continued to take photos every weekend (and even shot one more wedding in Stillwater), took Rosie on a couple Mommy and Me dates, and accompanied Cece on a couple field trips (all of that is in this blog post). We also (obviously) celebrated Halloween in our new neighborhood with a lovely mermaid and princess and Elena of Avalor. All good things!


In November, we announced that we are expecting our third baby this spring with some family pictures. (May the force be with us because life will be CRAZY next year. Please send your love and coffee this way!) We did some house rearranging and bunked up the girls via bunkbeds. Also, my sister visited which was everything I hoped for. Lastly, we celebrated Thanksgiving with Joe’s family in St. Cloud (most November happenings in this post).


In December, I got back to blogging a little more as the photo sessions began to taper off. (I’ve updated all of my galleries on my photography website and you can see some of my recent work if you are interested.) We did as many festive things as we could manage this month including a lovely date night, two Santa visits, cookie-baking, gingerbread house-making, card-sending, holiday shopping, festooning, watching all the Christmas movies, and sledding. Of course, Christmas was wonderful and so was the road trip I took to Chicago with the girls during the last week of December.

So. Kudos to you-dos if you made it to the bottom of my long narcissistic post! 2016 absolutely had its sad, tragic, and even straight-up weird happenings. But amidst even those things, there were many moments, people, and blessings to be grateful for. I am going in to 2017 with excitement, big plans, and a hopeful heart. As mentioned before, I’m looking forward to documenting the journey here, so stop by again if you want to check in on me, Joe, and the girls! Much love to all in this new year!