Thursday, December 31, 2015

Farewell, 2015

Here we are again! Another ending to another year that has passed by in the blink of an eye.

This year had a lot of ups for us, and a couple of major downs. This year we said goodbye to both Eric's mother and grandmother, and it is still hard to believe they're both gone. We have also been struggling with some more uncertainty as to what the future holds for us, though we are confident in God's plan and look forward to finding out what He has in store.

As for the more positive parts of the year:
  • We made two trips to Disney World this year, including one that featured Eric's successful completion of the Disney marathon! 
  • After a long battle against solid food, E.J. started eating and now eats constantly (though his nonstop movement keeps him contentedly in the fourth percentile for weight and size 6-9-month pants, the little shrimp!).
  • We celebrated birthdays for all, including a Doc McStuffins-themed third birthday party for Ellie, a Star Wars-themed 33rd birthday party for Eric, a we're-leaving-on-a-two-week-road-trip-in-two-days-themed 33rd birthday mini-celebration for me, and a "Hole in ONE" golf-themed party for E.J.'s very first birthday, which also coincided with a great July Fourth celebration here in Jacksonville. Eric and I also celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary this year! Additionally, we attended celebrations in honor of both my parents' 60th birthdays.
  • The kids racked up their own list of celebrity sightings, including myriad PBS Kids stars and Disney characters ( such as Thomas the Train, Disney princesses, Mickey et al., Sesame Street friends, Daniel Tiger, and Buddy from Dinosaur Train). They loved every second of it!
  • The big summer highlight was our two-week road trip that included stops in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Sesame Place, Pittsburgh, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood at Idlewild, Cleveland for the annual Hesterman reunion, and Pinehurst, NC. The kids were angels and we made some really wonderful family memories!
  • Eric started his third year of teaching (honors students this year!) and Ellie started preschool. She also started ballet lessons after school.
  • We went crazy with Halloween activities and had a blast in this year's family costumes inspired by the Disney movie Tangled!
  • We got to watch Ellie perform in her school Thanksgiving program, and watched her sulk her way through both her ballet recital and Christmas program. At least she has true sulking talent so it was quite a sight to see.
  • We enjoyed very nice holidays in St. Pete, spending both Thanksgiving and Christmas proper with family. We followed that up with our own family Christmas celebration back at home in Jacksonville, which was really special as both kids were very into it this year (Ellie especially). 
  • We wrapped up the year today with the VyStar New Year's Eve Run—my very first 5k! Eric has been helping me train and it went so well.
What a year! 2016 promises to be another filled with potential change and, hopefully, continued progress down the path that will lead us to where we are meant to be. In the meantime, we are enjoying each other, our family, and all that Jacksonville has to offer.

May 2016 bring happiness and good health to you and your loved ones, friends. Wishing you all the best!

VIDEO: A look back at our year in 2015

Signing off for 2015,


Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! Love and peace to you this holiday season!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

I know a couple of kids who are all ready for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Thirty-Three is the Way To Be

Today is Eric's 33rd birthday! We have some Christmas-y fun planned for tonight after work (plus cake and that sort of thing, naturally), but otherwise it's a pretty laid back birthday for him. As for me, I opted to keep with tradition and am spending my day thinking of all the reasons why I love my husband!

In addition to all the reasons previously listed (see: 32, 30, 29, 28, 27, and 26), here are 33 bright, shiny, new reasons why I love Eric!

33 Things I Love About My 33-Year-Old-Husband
(in no particular order)
  1. I love that whenever he sees E.J. looking at/playing with a Mickey Mouse, Eric says "Oh, boy! It's Mickey Mouse!" in full-out Mickey voice.
  2. I love that he always makes the phone calls that I don't want to make.
  3. I love that he is willing to push the jogging stroller for me so that we can all go for family runs together, and I can just focus on running (I'm a newbie!).
  4. I also love that he praises my "fast" running pace even though we all know it's far slower than he would run on his own. I appreciate him slowing down for me.
  5. I love that he is SO EXCITED about the new Star Wars movie.
  6. I love how "Clark Kent" he looks in his new glasses.
  7. I love that he is the type of person that is willing to change his opinion on important topics. He actively seeks out convincing arguments on both sides and when presented with information that contradicts his current stance, he will amend his position according to what he now recognizes as truth.
  8. I love that in his math classes every day, he writes the date as a math equation. So nerdy, but so adorable.
  9. I love that he cares so much about exposing his students to the full range of options before them for college and life after high school.
  10. I love how hard he works in search of the perfect next step for him, his career and our family.
  11. I love the way he calls E.J. "the big guy." (Ellie must love it too, because she has adopted it herself!)
  12. I love that he will always read books to Ellie. Always. I complain about it sometimes, when bedtime has long passed and I'm ready to get her tucked in and get on with our night, but he insists it's important and I know that he's right. I'm glad he doesn't allow that to be brushed aside.
  13. I love that when he reads to the kids he creates different voices for all the characters. And, if there are other people around, instead of toning it down (as I would likely do), he embraces it and asks them to read the part of the narrator so he can better focus on his characters.
  14. I love the way he stirs pasta.
  15. I love the way he stepped up and took care of things when his mother and his grandmother passed away.
  16. I love the beautiful words he wrote and spoke about his mother and his grandmother at their memorial services.
  17. I love that he always sleeps on the couch without complaint when I am sick, so I can cough and sneeze all night without worrying about disturbing him (and still having the comfortable bed).
  18. I love that he is always willing to crack or massage my back at my request.
  19. I love that he always tells me I'm beautiful even when I don't feel it. And by the way he looks at me, I know he's not just saying it; he really means it.
  20. I love that he is constantly in pursuit of knowledge. He is always reading, studying and learning, and enjoying it.
  21. I love that he always drives when we ride in the car together.
  22. I love that he texts me a nice little "good morning, have a good day" message every morning when he leaves for work.
  23. I love that he takes our cars for oil changes for us.
  24. I love that he doesn't think twice about donning a tiara and sitting down for a princess tea party with Ellie.
  25. I love the way he eats Kit-Kats (even though it's wrong).
  26. I love that as soon as he saw I was feeling sad about my sister leaving for another six months (at least) in Japan, he started talking about ways to get me over there for a visit, even if he can't come with me (and of the two of us, he has always been the one who wants to visit Asia). He can really be very selfless like that.
  27. I love that he is always willing to give the kids use of the entire house for their play, while I usually try to contain them (read: contain the mess) to the main living area. He wants them to explore!
  28. I love that he is so amused when our kids do something clever to get their way, that he will likely give in.
  29. I love that he takes Achilles to the vet for his shots for me.
  30. I love that he is willing to give up his holidays in our home this year in favor of being in St. Petersburg while my sister is home this Christmas.
  31. I love that he points out when it has been a while since we've hugged (by "a while" I mean roughly a day) and makes sure to remedy the situation.
  32. I love that he did Japanese cosmetic face masks with Heather and me over Thanksgiving.
  33. I love how much he values our marriage and how steadfastly committed he is to sharing a long, happy life together with me.
Happy birthday to a truly great man!