Monday, December 31, 2018

Top 12 of 2018

So it's really Top 24 of 2018 because there were plenty of memories! We had a spectacular year from figuring out (financially) how to make dreams to come true to seeing them come true. I made a big effort to slow down and enjoy just being. Being home, being alone, being together, being content. I do have to laugh though because I really thought I took 2018 slower, but the pictures tell a different story!

Here's the highlights from 2018:

 We toured the Iowa State Capitol for the first time. The view looking down from the gold dome is priceless.
 We toured the giraffe barn at the Blank Park Zoo. We learned all about giraffes and got to hand feed them. The best part of the tour was as we stood talking to the zoo keeper, a giraffe really wanted food and started eating Harrison's hair! Harrison freaked and well....that was the end of the tour. Harrison says he doesn't care to do another giraffe tour any time soon!

 We walked our sleds up to the school yard (at the end of our street, only four houses away) and went sledding. Best sledding fun ever!
 Art became a passion for all three minis. We spent plenty of time at our local art museum and took time to create more. Max took up origami. We have a lot of origami around the house now. We spent an early birthday weekend at the opening of one of my favorite exhibits.

We spent 12 days in Florida. We drove from Des Moines through St. Louis, Tennessee, and Georgia all through Florida right down to Key West (and then back again). We have soooo many spectacular memories, but two memories stick out the most.
As we stood watching the night show in the Magic Kingdom, a group of college kids made room for the minis on a ledge so they could see. They all moved out of their way touching me with their kindness. So I was already feeling mushy, but then, each mini kept giving me hugs and kisses on my cheek telling me, "thank you mom for bringing us here. Thank you so much for an amazing day. We're so lucky!" It was enough to make me cry at the most magical place on earth.
The next week was filled with parasailing, fantastic meals, sightseeing, beaches, alligators, but these few hours at John Pennekamp State Park was unforgettable. We flew kites, ate on the beach, built sandcastles. What I remember the most is being completely at peace and happy. I have never felt such a peaceful feeling in all my life.

 The minis were old enough to understand and participate in April Fools Day. Best pranks ever!

 I created a mud kitchen that was the most played with toys all summer long!

 My mom, sister, and I went to a six hour long concert in Minneapolis. We saw Old Dominion, Thomas Rhett, and Kenny Chesney. It was great, my feet were swollen at the end of the night, and I was thankful to go to bed. Longest concert I've ever been to!
 Memorial Day weekend was unforgettable. We took a day trip to eastern Iowa where we ran across a swinging bridge, saw waterfalls, went to Backbone State Park, crawled through a cave, and ate our typical Iowa Road Trip dinner of Casey's Pizza while we watched the sunset over a field. 

 June kicked off our 50 States theme for daycare. This was the most popular theme I've ever done with the kids. 
 This was one of the scariest nights of my life. We got caught in flash flooding while out for Max's birthday weekend. It was an overly eventful night, which had fearful much of the time. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude to have made it through the night unscathed.

 We went to Yankee Doodle Pops for the first time and watched fireworks over downtown Des Moines. The highlight for me was watching my kids (barefoot) jumping excitedly in the middle of Grand Ave.
I finally went to Winterset Cidery for a night. I went with my sister and listened to a band, drank plenty, and watched fireworks sans kids for the first time in ten years. 
 While touring Jester Park's new Nature Center was fun (and the boys got to go canoeing on the pond), what's more important was this awesome selfie we managed to get. Coolest selfie of the year (for us).

 I had no plans to go to the Iowa State Fair this year. After seeing Kenny Chesney with Thomas Rhett in Minneapolis earlier in the year, I wasn't in a huge rush to see Thomas Rhett again, especially since I only knew one of his songs. BUT, when one of my "oldest" friends says "let's go!" we go. We made a night of it and I'm now a Thomas Rhett fan. After I danced in the Bud tent like I hadn't danced in a long time. It showed and I didn't care one bit.
 The very last weekend in August we spent in northeastern Iowa for Hub's birthday. It was one of my favorite weekend's of the year. I had no idea extreme northeastern Iowa was soooo gorgeous!

 We went on an adventure to Oklahoma Labor Day weekend. We were pleasantly surprised by Oklahoma and will forever have amazing memories. I couldn't decided which was our favorite part of this weekend, so I chose one that has us drinking our flavored sodas from Pops! This will forever bring a smile to face when I think about our day driving on Route 66 and learning all about it (the minis more than anything).
The second picture is of Turner Falls. Remember my feelings of peacefulness I felt on the beach in Florida back in March? I had those same feelings on this day, as we swam in the water, went down a metal water slide, hiked, took in gorgeous views of the Arbuckle Mountains, ate meals in the back of our air conditioned Expedition (it was so darn hot outside!), finding a little hole-in-the-wall gem called Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies, and ending the perfect day in ordering pizza and watching Disney movies in our hotel room. It was an amazing day and one of my top 5 favorite things from the entire year.

 We spent a day at Ledges and took our usual/yearly pictures in the same spot as always. 

 Watching Lil Miss E perform at Festival of Trees was a huge highlight for this proud dance mom.

 Another proud moment the first weekend in December watching Lil Miss perform again, but my favorite thing from December was cookie decorating. Typically the kids don't get into it as much, it's one or two cookies and done while the adults finish the rest of the cookies. This was the first year EVERYONE got into it. We took our time decorating, did designs, chose frosting colors and sprinkles carefully, and we voted for our favorite at the end. It was, overall, one of those afternoons with feelings of happiness and contentment.

2018 was memorable and fun. We've got plenty planned for 2019 and I can't wait to see how it unfolds!