Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Merry Christmas {and 7 big things that happened in 2016}!

Merry Christmas, from our family to yours! I hope you had a special time with loved ones, celebrating the glorious news of Christ's Birth.

I haven't been posting too often around here in recent months, and I can think of a few contributing factors. Here's what we've been up to- 2016 has been a big year in our life!


1. We moved cross country. We spent last Christmas at my parents home in Kansas. Had you told me at that time that within 7 months we would be living in the same state, only two hours away from them, I'd have thought you were nuts. And yet, here we are.

While the change has been great on so many levels {close to grandparents! new home with big back yard! a great homeschool co-op! wonderful new church family!}, in other ways it has been a significant challenge. Both Niall and I and the kids have missed our tight network of friends in Pennsylvania, our old church family, and the comfort of living in familiar surroundings. It's been a big adjustment period.

If you are a Pennsylvania friend reading, please know that we miss you and love you tons! If you are a Kansas City friend, thank you for your warm welcome! We really do love it here.

2. I've entered a new phase in motherhood. I was unprepared for the busyness that comes with "official" homeschool, dance classes, and having a school age child. Gone are the slow days of infants and toddlers. Now I'm struggling to keep baby and toddler along for the ride as our oldest is in this new stage! We don't have as much time for play dates and mama coffee chats, which has made it difficult to get to know other moms in our new area.

3. We heart Classical Conversations! Because we were in a new town and needed to make friends, we made the last minute decision to join a local Classical Conversations group. It is like a co-op; one morning each week we go to "school" and my kids each have a class and parent teacher lead them in learning new memory work and reviewing old. It's a classical model of education, so there is a lot of memorizing. The beautiful thing is that almost all of it is set to music, and we love to sing around here. S has been having a blast, and I'm learning tons right alongside her. A highlight has been memorizing a timeline of world history set to music (check it out here).


4. I've read a ton. This year a few friends invited me to join them in reading through Tim Challies' 2016 Reading Challenge. We each had different goals for how much of it we wanted to accomplish, but we got together periodically to discuss books we loved and what we were reading for each category. Having friends to check in with and bounce ideas off of gave me a huge motivational boost to read more, and to push through reading slumps more quickly. As a result, so far I've completed 75 books this year (compared to 57 last year). I'm still trying to finish up a few titles... so we'll see what my end result is. Bottom line; I'm planning on attempting the 2017 challenge. Want to join me ;)?

5. I quit drinking sugar. Let the record show that 2016 was the year I finally quit drinking sugar in my tea and coffee. This is a major milestone, as I can be known to drink 3 or more cups a day. I still have a lot of health changes that I really should make, but I'm hanging onto this one big accomplishment.

6. The baby is WALKING. That just happened Christmas Eve. She's been taking steps for awhile, but now she officially can walk a room without falling, and is relying on it more and more as her means of transportation. Watch out world!

7. We started regularly reading the Bible to our kids! This was another huge victory for me this year. Last January I began making Bible reading plans that ya'll could print for free and use in your own family worship times. For the first half of the year I was very inconsistent in using the plans in our home. As the year progressed, we got into a more consistent rhythm, and I'm thrilled to say that almost every weekday morning we read the Bible together at breakfast. I've had great conversations with the kids as a result, and its been a good starting place for consistently sowing the Word in their hearts.

If you'd like to start reading the Bible to your kids on a regular basis this year, I'm very excited to announce the ebook I've been working on! Introducing Read the Bible to Your Kids: A Year of Simple Plans to get into the Word Together.


I've edited the 11 plans I posted here in 2016, and added two brand new plans to it. I've also added a few introductory content pages. It's coming out this Friday (December 30th)- perfect timing for your New Year's Resolutions! The old versions of the plans will remain free on the blog, but if you'd like to check out the edited versions and two brand new plans, and have them all in one easily accessible PDF download, you can grab a copy for only $2.99.

I'm so excited about this folks! I hope it is a real blessing to you and your families this year. So be on the lookout for it this Friday.

That's what we've been up to lately. What were some of the highlights of your year?

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