Thriving: My 2016 Word of the Year

Back in January, I set my intentions. I wanted to focus on thriving, to become a better version of me. There were goals around family, faith, fun, fitness, and food. Now is the time to talk about how that went…right?

The year was pretty eventful in our house and family. Heck. This month has been pretty eventful for us. If you read my list of things I “googled” this year that I didn’t think I would, you know some of these things. At this point, we’ve had almost every appliance that came with the house fail (three remain, one could have been deadly). We watched all four kids grow by leaps and bounds. Greg and I both changed jobs, learning to navigate this new way of life, together. My blog and small business grew, but nowhere near the goals I had set for myself. Through the highs and lows, we’ve stuck together. Sure, there was some yelling and some craziness, but we are stronger together and thriving.

When it comes to faith, I can honestly say I’ve never felt more faithful, even in these recent times of hectic life. We’ve prayed harder than ever and been blessed (in both tests and triumphs). We’ve gained family in our church friends. Evan joined Rangers and we joined a home group, studying relationships. I dug more into my journaling bible and picked up a guitar to try to worship more. This was definitely a plus one in the thriving category.

There was lots of fun to be had, between trips as a family (NYC and Wisconsin) and me for business (San Francisco and Orlando) and the daily routines of imaginative play and Sesame Street watching. The fun factor was definitely a thriving area.

The first parts of the year in the way of fitness were rough to say the least. I was training for the Y’s April 5k, only to wake up the morning of to two inches of snow. My brain said pull the covers back up and I did so for almost six months. Finally, in August I ran my first 5k post-partum and took first place in my age division (cough cough). Next came YFit and the decision to start training for the 2017 Pittsburgh Half (and now my first public admission that I can’t wait to follow me there again). Frankly, I started and ended the year weighing the same, wearing the same clothes (ugh). We’ll go with fitness being a work in progress but thriving nonetheless.

And food. See above, eh? I tried, but even with Greg’s Garden, I just couldn’t get the food thing right. Over the next few days, I plan on reading a book about relationships with food and perhaps following a refresh up with an updated way of eating, too. Other than the awesomeness that was the garden, the thriving could have been better here.

All in all, tests and everything, tonight I look back at 2016 and am glad for the lessons learned and memories made. It was truly a great year of thriving.


Bonus: Here is my 2016 Best Nine from Instagram. Want to get your’s? Go to and connect your Instagram. Be sure to follow me there, too!

2016 best nine

Our Boy is Six


It is your day. Your six day. Six! 

Six years of silly smiles and songs. Six years of guessing games and coloring. Six years of baseball blanket. Six years of those eyes. 

You are a fast learner and are doing awesome at school. You love Ninja Turtles, Star Wars, and Avengers. You love playing soccer and want to be a soccer player when you grow up. You’re fiercely proud of your sisters and are a good helper. 

You have a crazy good love for Jesus and He’s set your soul on fire. You love being part of Rangers and have become good friends with the boys in it, partying with them today even. 

Evan, we hope that you enjoy every day of being six. Keep making us proud, Bubby!

Disney on Ice Presents Dare to Dream

Enter disclaimer text This post, Disney on Ice presents Dare to Dream is one such post.

It’s going to be super hard to switch right back to “normal life” after yesterday’s post, but I am so thankful to you all for the love and support. It’s helping me get back to normal, like celebrating everything with all the kids. We’ll be doing so when we go to the event described below. Thanks and love! 

Disney on Ice Presents Dare to Dream

Coming to Pittsburgh this week is Disney on Ice presents Dare to Dream. It will be a “show of royal proportions” and a great way to get your family in the mood to celebrate.


Information on the show from Feld Entertainment:

Join Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald and Goofy as they follow four of Disney’s most inspirational princesses on their adventures to fulfill their dreams in Feld Entertainment’s newest ice spectacular, Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream. Combining the contemporary stories of two modern-day princesses, Rapunzel and Tiana, with the classic elegance of Cinderella and Snow White, Dare to Dream whisks audiences away on exciting journeys where dreams really do come true.

Audiences begin their magical, musical voyage in New Orleans celebrating the story of The Princess and the Frog with Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen, and then escape into the enchanted forest with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The trip continues to Cinderella’s kingdom in her search for true love and follows Rapunzel as she discovers the world beyond her tower on her quest to see the floating lanterns. The Disney Princesses then come together for the first time on ice during the finale, to welcome Rapunzel into their royal court in the ultimate princess experience.


Not going to lie, I was super excited to meet Rapunzel and Tiana when I was last at Disney, so I’m kinda geeking out over here. (We’ll be going to opening night on Friday – let us know if you’re going, too!)


Friday, December 9: 7 PM
Saturday, December 10:  11 AM, 3 PM, 7PM
Sunday, December 11 – 12 PM, 4 PM

THROUGH TODAY you can save $5 off on select tickets and performances when you use code MOM16 through their ticket site. (Restrictions, exclusions, and additional fees may apply. Tickets will still be available after this offer expires on 12/4, but are going fast!)

Here are some fun PDFs you can download and print to have some of the Disney on Ice presents Dare to Dream fun at home. Enjoy!

Activity Sheet

Minnie Ears

Mickey Ears

If you could be a Disney character, which would you be and why?

The Hats We Wear

​Our church put on an adorable tea party for the ladies and girls of the church. Arianna and I attended, wearing our hats. Afterwards, I headed out for some quick girl time with my cousin before Greg had guy time. The busyness of the day made me grateful for the hats we wear. 

fancy hats

The morning started off with a small bang, the bang of a child at our door at all too early o’clock. Arianna lost her fifth tooth, a bottom left. She had to show us and alert us her mouth was bleeding. Sleeping in is a thing of the past as a parent, but that’s one of the hats we wear.

Soon after, Evan came in while Greg and I were trying to fall back to sleep. He needed good breakfast, but settled for a pop tart because neither of us moved (and it was still crazy early for our first non soccer Saturday). Being a chef is one of the hats we wear.

Clearly, it was time to wake up and face the day. As I showered, Greg got the girls their breakfast and set up the man loft for a day of football. He got Arianna’s hair brushed. Beautician is one of the hats we wear.

Arianna and I headed to the tea, late as we do. We had a very nice time and got to know the ladies at our table better. I told a few the story of our hats – they were my Grandma’s – and I remembered her and my Great Grandma as both would have loved the event with the church, the hats, and the China. Remembering is a hat we wear.

After the tea, I got some girl time. It involved prep for a trip coming up this week which meant trying on gala worthy dresses. It was good to be with my cousin, even if shorter than we would have liked. Being family is another hat we wear.

I was left to shop for family stuff – exchanging too big snow boots and too small jeans, getting gas, banking, and dog food. Caring for the family is another hat we wear.

Trying to rush home to let Greg free, I got all.too upset about the time I took. Being a caring wife who tries to do too much is a hat I wear.

Finally, I ended the evening playing with the kids in the living room. I watched a dance show and tried to take big kid toys off Isla. Ava showed me how to clean up with the 20 or so baby wipes she had pulled from the package when I wasn’t looking. We laughed and hugged lots before bedtime. Being the mama bear is another hat I wear.

The hats I wear are always changing and aren’t the same as the hats Greg wears or you wear. They’re all fancy and beautiful and important, though. For these hats we wear, I am thankful. 

Eight years Old

Wishing our biggest Big a very happy birthday today. I know I can’t believe she is eight years old, can you? 

Daddy’s Biggest Fan

I’d seriously love to know where the time has gone. When I woke Greg up early this morning eight years old, neither of us had a clue how she’d change our lives. 

Our littlest biggest decision is what started this amazing family. We celebrate that with her today and all days. She made time stand still. Greg and I learned true love through her. We both fell in love with this little girl sent to save us both. 

Arianna continues to be my biggest challenge, my biggest blessing, and my mini me. Something tells me this isn’t going to change any time soon…and that is quite alright. 

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl. Can’t wait to celebrate with you when I’m back home. Daddy, spoil our sweetie lots today! Xoxo.