"A (wo)man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of (her)his life in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of beautiful God has implanted in the human soul."- Goethe

Thursday, January 21, 2016

See ya, 2015

So long, 2015. Let's be honest, you were a doozy. Nevertheless, we had some good times too. The Word Of The Year was "DO," and do we did. Here's a little review of the ups and downs of 2015:

The very first day of the year, my brother's roof literally came crashing down from burst water pipes in his ceiling. He and his family stayed at our house for a month or so while his apartment was fixed. We all learned a lot about living with other people, and we enjoyed the company. Plus, I got to cook my first pheasant, compliments of my brother's hunting prowess.

I got to try out my snowshoes, and did some hiking, more hiking, more snowshoeing, and even more hiking!

Taking a leap and turning in a piece of artwork for the LDS International Art Competition was scary! I hadn't focused that hard on a finished piece of artwork in a long time, but it came together with a steady schedule and purpose. That was a lot of work, but I learned a lot about my art process along the way.

I had been really interested in beekeeping and took a class about it. I loved it! Bees are so amazing and I feel like we are kindred spirits. Oh tiny sisters, I love you! Unfortunately, we can't have bees in our current house, so it will need to wait until we have a different home.

I got back into rock climbing! It had been years since I last enjoyed it, but with a trusty friend to show me the ropes again, I took it up again and had some of my best lunch breaks!

For my birthday, we took a trip to Zion National Park with friends and went on some wicked cool hikes. We got to do some light bouldering and also visited the Valley of Fire, which will forever hold a special place in my heart. We stopped by a crazy cool ghost town and of course an old cemetery. We played games and talked without any children interrupting. Yes, it's a thing!

Not too soon after that, Kirk got laid off due to the dip in the oil market. Well, poop. While it was a major bummer, we looked for the silver lining and decided to move forward as a single income family with a stay-at-home parent. What a lucky kid we have! We had to make some major adjustments. It was a palette cleanser and turned out to be the catalyst for many life introspections and realignments in our lifestyle and the direction in which we want our family to go. All good things, but a painful route.

With a clear and free schedule, we were able to attend a wedding in San Diego last minute. The sunshine was just what we needed, the little kid got to go to the beach for the first time, and we got to see family that we hadn't seen in forever. Cousins, guys.

I got up the guts to submit my first piece of art to the Springville Museum of Art's Spring Salon. It was so much work too, but I am proud of the final product and loved the way the piece turned out.

Also, I got up the courage to get my own website up and running. There are a lot of moving parts and every time I would change something, I would discover 10 more things that I needed to do. Gah! So. Much. Work. But also, it's a labor of love that I'm super proud of! And, I got some business cards made, which helped me feel a lot more official. Being a business owner has been so rewarding and I can't believe I waited so long to get started. Once I got through all the worrying in my brain and got things done, it finally came together. I finally found my purpose and style, which was a major win!

I had my first art booth at the Beehive Bazaar last spring! For some reason, it was a super scary step for me to take but I was blown away by all the support from friends and family and was humbled that people liked my art enough to buy it. Thank you, friends! And, I got more comments on my booth than anything else. Kirk made it for me to display my wares. Isn't it amazing?

Our family took part in a fun run.

We were in charge of a large family reunion, and it was full of crazy fun times and crazy fun people. We hiked along a petroglyph ridge, visited our old stomping grounds in Nevada, spent time splashing in the pool, and swapped stories. We also got to spend some time with our little family visiting Zion again, and tricked our daughter into hiking with us there.

Pepper took some swim classes and turned into a little fish and may have proposed to her instructor.

I did some hiking, more hiking, even more hiking, and solo hiking.

Then, there was that one time I had a baby. He arrived a couple hours after one of my favorite woodsy hikes. He just needed a little encouragement but he came with a smile and a sense of humor. We took a couple weeks off of our regular lives while we adjusted and got to learn how we would be as a family of four. We spent those weeks exploring the wilderness, exploring more, and exploring even more.

We planted and cared for and harvested a garden and flower beds this year. We also got some unexpected blessings from our labors and dried, juiced, and froze some of the best food.

Again, we participated in the Beehive Bazaar. Kirk's booth construction was all the rage again, and I added more pieces to the booth. I loved making all the art!

We got to cheer Kirk on in his half marathon through the beautiful fall foliage. He practiced diligently and did a great job!

I submitted my first-ever art piece to the Springville Art Museum's Religious and Spiritual exhibit. Again, it was a ton of work but I love the way the piece turned out. (The post will be up soon!) Plus, I was able to see a vast difference between this piece and my first submission from earlier in the year. Progress, guys!

I read some books.

Pepper's preschool ended, and she said goodbye to her friends there and hello to a full-time life with a great stay-at-home dad. She started a dance class, though, and fell in love with performing on stage!

My brother got married! In a whirlwind of familial excitement we spent loads of time planning, prepping, doling out unsolicited advice, and participating in general merriment. I took photos of our family with all the new additions before we all went our separate ways and started our own roots.

I got in some delicious autumn hiking, more hiking, and even tried mountain yoga hiking!

We partook in some of our favorite holiday traditions during the fall and Christmas seasons. The last quarter of the year is always one of our favorites! We also started new traditions to make our family life more intentional and to encourage one-on-one time and great family times too.

We cheered Kirk on in another race and got to share in the sugary spoils.

I tried a new thing on Instagram where I posted a different art series every month. I did an alphabet bird series, an autumn leaf watercolor series, and a series of requested wildlife sketches. I love being able to share my art with others!

2015 was indeed a doozy. While we are still trying to figure things out, we are managing to make the best of it and enjoy our precious family time while we can. 2015 was a good lesson in reevaluating constantly, making purposeful decisions, and getting up the courage to do things (because waiting through all the thinking is oftentimes more painful and difficult than actually getting things done!) So, there you have a few of our highlights from last year.

After talking with a friend about how I didn't think 2015 was a really good year, and that I felt I hadn't accomplished much, I was encouraged to write about it. Once I started writing, it opened my eyes to the many positive things we experienced last year, even amid the challenges. It was a great exercise in positivity and looking back I was surprised at what we were able to accomplish during crazy times and despite a definite funk.

So, if you've made it this far, first, you're a dedicated soul (thank you!) and second, I'm passing the advice forward. You don't need to post it publicly, but I encourage you to reflect on your past year if you haven't done so already and write down some of the major events. Looking back on your photos and social media accounts might help you out. So what do you say?

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