My favorite day of 2016

I've never had a favorite day before, but thinking about this past year, I just really, really loved this day.  It was a good one.

July 3rd. 
Didn't feel like the 4th of July weekend I'm used to, but it was perfect. Our day was spent at Yellowstone National Park.






Such a good day.  I'm so glad we went, and would love to go again.

More pictures from the original post here
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Birthday weekend

Last Friday, my actual birthday, I had a babysitter for Shep and Maj, and Breaker and I went to Lex and met Joey for lunch.  Breaker looks so much like baby Shep here!
After lunch, Breaker and I strolled the aisles of Target and Old Navy like he was an only child or something.

That night the 5 of us went to pretty much the only place to eat here ;)

Finally, I wanted to share this picture from my birthday lunch we had over the weekend with all of my friends.  I'm so thankful for these people!!

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Shepherd's First Day of Preschool!

Last week, on very short notice, Shepherd started preschool! 
I had made my mom make some calls to preschools since I could never seem to find a quiet minute.
On Tuesday, I got a call from one I'd really liked and they had an opening...but they started back after Christmas break the very next day!
It was a little stressful to me, he's never been away from me and I think I was more worried than he was.  But it all worked out and we made it!
Joey went into work late and I got a babysitter for Maj and Breaks so we could both take him to his first day.
Wonder if our second and third born will get such special treatment?? ;)

When we took him to his class, I had to fight back tears and resist the urge to turn around and run with him.  I swear just yesterday he was a little tiny baby and I would go back to those days in a HEARTBEAT.
BUT. This gives me some time with my other babies and I feel like I can conquer the world with only two kids! We will run ALL of the errands!

Some pictures from my sweet angel's first day of school:

YESTERDAY:

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Thirty-One

Today is my birthday! 
31. 


30 was a very trying, growing, year for me. Which I wanted it to be. I want to always be growing and learning and getting better. And I think I did over the past year. It's not what I wanted it to look like... But I think it's important to make it count, when you are going through hard things, if you can't change it, at least make it count. Learn from it. 

One thing I learned about myself, and proved to myself over and over the past year...I can do hard things. I can move across the country and not know anyone and make a life that we will look back on and love. I can go through an entire pregnancy in a new place, on my own (with my husband, of course, but you know what I mean!) I can handle anything if I can make it through the multiple cross country flights I went through with three small children. I can do hard things and knowing that means a lot. 

I'm looking forward to my next year and the 30s in general. There is so much more peace here. I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future, and He has proven time and time again that it will all be ok. 

(Photo taken today...I got a babysitter for Shep and Maj so Breaker and I could peruse the aisles of Target and Old Navy in peace ;) What thirty-one year old dreams are made of!
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2016 Year in Review :: September - December

September

Kind of a weird picture to include this month...but I took this picture really quickly as we rushed out of our house to make it to the airport for a last minute flight to Kentucky.  From September through the rest of 2016, I think its kind of obvious through these pictures that we were just surviving day to day.

Napping with a "Nana angel" that was given to us after Rhonda died.

While Joey flew back to Utah for a week to wrap up stuff with work and get our house packed up, the boys and I stayed with my parents.

Breaker's first food!

Spending time with family - the boys cousin, Reece!


I love this picture of Breaker.

Hanging out with Mills and Max.  We did have a lot of friend time in September and October.  We were living in a corporate housing apartment and I hated being there all day, so we would usually find someone to go have a play date with!

We found our house!

October 

On October 1st, Courtney and Brett got married!

We were happy to be back with our friends!

And the boys were, too!

Sleeping in a walk in closet, on a mattress on the floor, in our corporate housing apartment. Glad that is over!

There was a construction site right next to our apartment, so we watched them work everyday.

Celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary.

Back to living with my parents after our month in the apartment was up.

Celebrating Halloween and trick or treating with family!

Breaker was the cutest Elvis.

November

November 1st, we closed and moved into our house!

We voted and stayed up late to see who won the presidency.

We dedicated Breaker at church and our whole family came to be with us.

We rode on the Polar Express!

We hosted Thanksgiving in our new home.

December

Joey was in Seattle for a week for work, so back to my parents house we went.

Celebrating Christmas at Don's house.

Celebrating Christmas at Papaw's house.

Christmas Eve services at church.


Christmas Eve, ready to leave cookies for Santa!

Christmas morning! We hosted everyone on both sides of our family to celebrate.
This holiday season was "off" for us, but I am so thankful for these precious boys who call me Mommy!

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2016 Year in Review :: May - August

May
In the month of May the weather in Utah was finally warming up, and we started back on our walks to the park almost every day. We celebrated Shepherd's 4th birthday with a trip to the train museum, and just adjusted to being a family of 5.

June
June was a big month for travel...we spent half of the month on vacation!
Breaker saw the ocean for the first time when we met friends in Hilton Head.

I cried driving through the beautiful green state of South Carolina and we really just started feeling like we wanted to be back home and have our boys grow up Kentuckians.

While we were in Hilton Head, Major spent the week with my parents and participated in the first annual Pappy and Gigi's Week of Fun.

After Hilton Head, we drove to Kentucky and introduced Breaker to the Bluegrass.

We spent time with our friends.

And family.

It was unknown to us that this would be the last time the boys and I saw Rhonda :(
(Joey luckily spent time with her when he came to Kentucky in August for a job interview.)

More family time at my parents house:

And back to Utah we went, starting to think about returning to Kentucky a lot sooner than we had ever thought.

July
July was another really fun month for travel.  We took advantage of every spare second we had to explore.

Bear World was a pit stop in Idaho.

We stayed the night in Montana.

And visited Yellowstone National Park!

We hung out with friends at home and at the park.


We went to the Grand Canyon and rode on the Grand Canyon Railway.

My best friend, Tara, came to visit us in Utah and went with us.



Beautiful drive home from the Grand Canyon through Arizona and Utah.

Visiting Bryce Canyon...beautiful!


August
In August we were in the thick of Joey interviewing for jobs.  He applied for probably 100 jobs, and interviewed non stop. We had no real idea what we wanted, so he applied for jobs all over the East coast.  We just wanted to at least be within driving distance of Kentucky.  This was a hard month, full of unknowns and questioning ourselves.




I had a new hobby...studying our family history! I went to the Family Research library near our house at night after Joey got home from work and traced both of our families back so far! My side I got back to the 1500s I believe...and Joey's family I traced back to 700 bc! It was so cool. Joey's side had lots of royalty, including a Boleyn sister.

This was the house we (mainly Joey) were obsessed with.  While Joey was in Kentucky for a job interview he went to look at it.  As you know...we didn't end up there.  God has a better plan for us than we can come up with on our own!

While Joey was in Kentucky interviewing, I was having the longest two weeks of my life alone in Utah. Thankful for my friend, Becky, who brought her kids to play and kept us entertained. (2 weeks because after Kentucky, Joey was in Arizona for another week for work.)

Joey was finally home! And Breaker was excited!

My friend, Becky's baby shower.

Weekend with my family in downtown Salt Lake City. 
When I think about that weekend...I can't help but think about it being the last weekend before Rhonda died.  Before our life was turned upside down.  Our life before September 1st is now BEFORE and everything after is now AFTER.  Ever since it happened, everything has been colored with her death.  I don't know...just something I was thinking about.  


At the end of August, Joey did get a job offer bringing us back to Kentucky.  In hindsight, it was above and beyond God taking care of us, giving us exactly what we needed in more ways than I can count.
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