One of the absolute best things I love about blogging (and the reason I began writing in the first place) is having so many of our favorite moments captured in one place. Not everything makes the blog, but lots of goodness does. And at the end of each year I read every post for the year and am always reminded of how blessed we’ve been despite the hardships we’ve faced. Saying goodbye and celebrating dad has definitely been one of the most difficult and painful parts of our journey, but we’ve also experienced some of our very best moments and memories this year too.
So today I wanted to focus on…my favorite moments, milestones, finds, accomplishments, trips and more from 2019!
Favorite New Recipes
We’ve eaten Greek Chicken Bowls almost once a week this year. It’s our go to family meal that everyone loves and it’s so easy to make. The Skinny Paloma is definitely my absolute favorite cocktail — year round, and the S’mores Dip is our family favorite sweet treat.
Best Date Nights
This year we had a goal to break out of our usual “dinner date night” with some fun activities every now and then. I am really proud of us for not only prioritizing date nights, but we’ve done some REALLY cool stuff this year that was incredibly fun. I golfed for the first time of my life at our 9 & Dine Double Date, we shot guns at the range, visited the Duke Mansion for happy hour in the gardens followed by dinner at Stagioni, went to a comedy show with friends, and I think my favorite date night of the year was going to a magic show! And our favorite date night restaurants this year were Foxcroft Wine (longtime favorite of mine), The Crunkleton for cocktails and the best new places we tried were Bulla and Peppervine.
Best Books I Read
We read Restless in Community Group and it seriously changed my life. I also really loved Hope Heals. And Grandad’s Island is my favorite book to read to the kids — even if it makes me tear up every single time!
Home Improvement Projects
We completed our kitchen renovation in the last few days of 2018 (and photographed it in 2019) but I had to mention it again because we have enjoyed this space in our home so much this year. It truly has been a dream for entertaining and I’m so glad we renovated!
In 2019, we tackled a lot of decorating projects around our home. We moved Caroline to a new, bigger room in the house, finished up Thomas’s room, transitioned the old play room to the circle room, put down new carpet upstairs, remediated and encapsulated our crawlspace (definitely our most painful expense in 2019) and overhauled our garage!
For 2020 we’re hoping to replace our family room furniture (Matt’s dream is to have a couch large enough for everyone to lay on together), finish the guest room and possibly replace our back patio deck.
Each season I usually find one outfit to wear again and again. My favorite outfit for spring was white jeans, leopard tank & cardigan, for work it was a blazer, black pants and white ruffle top, for date night it was a body suit and flare jeans, and for winter it’s been a white peplum top with leggings.
We kicked off 2019 with a Disney Trip, our 2018 Christmas gift for the kids! We went on our first vacation with my sister’s family to 30A Seagrove and had a blast. We celebrated Caroline’s Birthday at Great Wolf Lodge. We went to Jellystone Park twice — Treetop Camping & Thomas’s Birthday Camping. And we completed our Ice Cream Bucket List. I don’t know if we’ll be able to compete with that line up for 2020!
Favorite New Traditions
This year we started Friday family movie night and everyone has loved it so much. Each week we order pizza from a different restaurant, we re-arrange the family room so everyone can snuggle together (see above 2020 home improvement goals) and I surprise everyone with a special desert (sometimes homemade — which is almost always the s’mores dip, and sometimes store-bought). We’ve tried hard to protect this night as “family time” and it’s such a wonderful way to kick-off our weekends.
Another favorite tradition this year has been Soup Sundays during fall and winter! After church and lunch, we come home and I put a pot of soup on the stove to simmer the rest of the afternoon while we relax and catch up on chores.
My Favorite Blog Posts
These were my favorite posts to write!
- 15 Things You May Not Know About Me
- Lessons Learned In Grief
- A Day In Our Life
- Top 5 Family Friendly Charlotte Restaurants
Easter in Winston-Salem // 4th of July at Bald Head Island // Super Mario Brothers family costume for Halloween // Labor Day Weekend // Hosted our families for Thanksgiving in our home!!! // Christmas Day at home (followed by a quick trip to FL)
Elta MD Sunscreen / On Cloud Running Shoes / J.Crew Pumps / Bluelight Blocker Glasses / Amazon Swim Suits / Bytox Patches / Outdoor Dining Table / Fairy Tales Hair Care for the kids / Glass Coffee Mugs
Our Best Parties
Caroline hosted two friends over for the cutest sleepover party. I hosted my Supper Club girls for two fun wine tastings — Sauvignon Blanc Wine Tasting & Rose Wine Tasting (I created my favorite tablescape ever for this party) and Favorite Things Gift Exchange! I also hosted several Community Group dinners that turned into super late nights of deep conversations, tears and laughter.
One of our goals for 2020 is to host more gatherings in our home.
Best New Hack
Recently we started using Walmart grocery delivery and the Express Lane at Harris Teeter. It’s been truly life changing and give us at least an hour back in our weekends.
Thomas went back to sleeping in his own bed (hallelujah), has become more vocal and aware of the importance of his contacts and glasses and has been working hard on learning to write letters.
Things We Did Well (& Want To Carry Into 2020)
We’ve gotten a lot better at saying no to things and protecting our family time.
I started a bible study with a group of women (most of which did not know each other) and it went deeper than I could have ever imagined and was so wonderful.
Even though there were weeks we’d fall off the wagon, Matt and I committed to working out at 9 Round this year and made it to more classes than ever before.
We also prioritized date nights and tried new things together.
And last but not least, we stopped making excuses and began attending church regularly and have loved it so much.
For the first time ever, Matt and I had went out for an end of year celebration dinner and began mapping out what we’d like 2020 to look like for our family. Then few days later we spent a few hours at a coffee shop prioritizing what is important to us this year and set lots of goals — individual, family, work, health, finance and more. From working on golf handicaps to becoming more involved at our church, we really dove in to all areas in our life where we want to grow and how we hope to do it! We also began planning our family trips, getaways as a couple and the holidays. Obviously, we may tweak our goals and plans as the year progresses but we recorded everything on paper and are planning to meet quarterly to check-in throughout the year.
Cheers to 2020!