Year in Review: 2017 Edition

It is easy to look back at 2017 and remember all the ways that this year was weird, hard, and chaotic. But, I started organizing my yearly photo-books (I make a 8×8 Shutterfly photo-book for every three months.  I intended to make a “yearbook” but let’s be real, I take WAY too many pictures of my children), I was reminded that there was far more joy and I am so thankful for it all.

Here is a recap of our year:

January

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Grandma Kimmy visited and went to the Treasure Island Kite festival.  We also had a visit from Laura and Nick. We rooted the Packer into the play-offs…but there is always next year (haha).

February

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We worked like crazy in December and January, so we took an impromptu trip to Orlando.  We stayed in an awesome suite and watched the Superbowl.  We randomly saw Jeff and Kristen since they were also in Orlando! We survived a few days without Daddy while he was at Keller Williams’ Family Reunion in Las Vegas for Valentine’s Day.  Doug got a new car: a black 4Runner.

March

For the big birthday month, we spent a week at the beach in Venice with Doug’s whole family.  They were all there for Camdon’s first birthday.  Doug celebrated his day at a Ray’s spring training game.  And, Donovan turned three with a Dino party.

April

We celebrated the wedding of Matt and Debbie in Gainesville. Andrew returned home from Bahrain.  And, we loved everything about the Easter season.

May

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For Mother’s Day, I got an awesome garden, so we spent lots of try out in the yard.  Donovan really loved the whole process of digging and watering.  We are so thankful for that huge backyard.  We have spent so many hours playing out there!

June

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My childhood bestie got married and I was thrilled to stand by her side!  Doug and I celebrated 7 years of marriage. Our AC died on Father’s Day and we booked a trip of a lifetime to Iceland and Sweden.

July

Obviously, this is the best month of year!  I celebrated my 31st birthday and we spent our annual week on Anna Maria Island.  This year we bought our own timeshare!

August 

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Right after our week at the beach, Doug told me he wanted me to come see a house. Little did we both know that we would move three weeks later. This month was sheer chaos.  Packing, prepping the new house (it needed WORK), renting our house, and moving.  I’m tired thinking about it all.  We love our new home! And, we loved seeing our dear friends, the Motleys, who visited during the chaos.  Y’all, only good friends (who see you at your most stressed) can come visit you during such a crazy season. As if there wasn’t enough change in our lives, Donovan switched to a new house, new room, new bed (Toddler bed instead of the crib) and started a new school.  Homeslice did not know what hit him.

September

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This month is defined by one word: IRMA. Mic Drop.

OK, but really, so stressful.  We boarded up and traveled to South Carolina and stayed with my dear and very pregnant friend, Sarah.  We also ended up in the same town as my ride-or-die momma friend, Jen.  The photo above is us with the kids at a Chick-fila. Shortly after returning home, we all had the plague and were home sick for about two weeks. My baby sister, Rachel moved to Chicago.

October

We took a trip to Kansas to visit the Motley crew and celebrate Evey’s fourth birthday. We loved the Midwest fun at the farm. We literally finished the Whole30 days before the trip.  The 30 days of the Whole30 might have been the quietest part of our year…go figure. For Halloween, we dressed up as the Wizard of Oz. I was very proud that I was able to sew the boy’s costumes.

November

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I took a trip to Chicago for Leah’s rescheduled (Thanks, Irma) Bachelorette. She got married the next weekend.  It was a beautiful day and I was honored to stand by her side and her Matron on Honor. Sidenote…being the MOH is a ton of work. Other sidenote…I OFFICIALLY have a BROTHER!  Grandma Kimmy came back to help and so did Ashley. Thanksgiving was a wonderful season and we started Christmas early as we prepared for our big trip. PSA: check your passports before you book your trip. If you don’t, just know that Miami does same day issuance, which I do not recommend.

December

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Iceland and Sweden was amazing. I wish we could travel the world everyday. We loved sharing this trip with Grandma and Grandpa DeGroot.  We did not see the Norther Lights and we had very little snow (all that we saw was in this picture), but the kids had a blast and we all had so much fun.  Christmas through the eyes of your children is such a blessing and we enjoyed a beautiful and simple holiday. This year, most of our gifts didn’t fit under a tree because we did them (trip to Europe and our annual sister day). Doug also go a new car: a navy blue 4Runner.

For real estate, we helped 42 families buy or sell this year. And, together we reached our highest production ever!  That is called hustle, my friends.  And, we are forever thankful for our amazing customers, family and friends who chose us to help them.

While this year might look awesome and positive, do not let my recap lead you to believe that it was easy.  We were manic and stressed and tired and sick and crabby so much this year. Looking back, I am grateful for all that we did and everyone that we saw, but I do not recommend it. Be sensible people!  This year we will be saying ‘no’ more. We will be taking care of our family’s health (mental, spiritual, and physical) as our primary goal. We will be simplifying and staying still more often. And, I’m sure there will be adventure and fun, just maybe a little less.  And, that is A-OK with us!

WHEW!  What a year!  We can’t wait to see what 2018 brings us!

With Love,

Jenna

Donovan’s First Birthday

Donovan’s birthday arrived quickly and before I was ready.  Of course I had the decorations up and the food ready, but I was not ready for the first year to end. It was a long year and a tough one.  But it was also the year that I became a mom, a role which, I was unsure of at first, but quickly grew to love fiercely.  I was filled with sentimental memories of the week leading up to Donovan’s birth.  The frustration, the lacking patience, the excitement.  Donovan’s birth was one of the most special moments of my life. As I reflected on Donovan’s birthday, I realized that a child’s birthday is all about celebrating their life, while also celebrating the the joy of being their parent and welcoming them into this world.

Donovan woke up happy and excited to enjoy his first birthday. We ate breakfast and headed to the Lowry Park Zoo.

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The day was overcast, which kept the weather nice and cool for our morning outside.  Aunt Allison had flown in from Minneapolis as a surprise to Doug. I am still completely proud of myself for keeping the secret.  Her arrival was perfect and Doug was unsuspecting and caught off-guard! Donovan enjoyed spending so much quality time with his Auntie Al!

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Doug and I decided that Donovan’s birthday gift would be annual passes to the zoo.  Growing up, my family used to go to the zoo once a month.  I have such fond memories of seeing the animals and playing in the water fountains before heading home exhausted.

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Auntie L was also able to join in the fun!

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We had a blast at the zoo.  We saw many animals.  And Donovan enjoyed his first doughnut!

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Donovan went on his first carosel ride.  He only enjoyed the first half and then wanted to get off.

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We went to PDQ for lunch and then to Sports Authority to get a few last minute birthday party items.

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We avoided most of the rain that day, which made for the the perfect nap time!

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We took his measurements for the family measuring stick.

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And we took his last month photos, which were really difficult since he has become super fast!  We were lucky to get the sticker and the bunny in the same picture.

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Donovan’s Birthday Party was on March 28th and it was a baseball theme.  We asked everyone to wear their favorite baseball team apparel or colors.  And naturally, Donovan was the Rookie of the Year.

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We had hamburgers, hot dogs, Cracker Jacks, peanuts, and nachos.  The nachos were served in those plastic dishes that are used at real baseball games (Thank you, Sam’s Club). And they were a special request from Doug.  They were quite a hit and everyone loved them!

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I think everyone would agree that the highlight of the party was the cake smash.  We posted the video on facebook (https://vimeo.com/134027550) and people loved it!  Donovan was not shy when it came to enjoying his cake.  He eventually put his entire face in it.  He was polite and offered to share some with me, as I was attempting to keep the cake on his tray.  And, Donovan decided to have his cake and eat it too, by searing it all over his hair.

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The party was a blast!  We were so thankful for all of our amazing family and friends who came to celebrate our special boy. Donovan was a party animal and almost missed his nap!

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Donovan’s birthday and party were both special days for our little family.  Even though, it wasn’t easy to see Donovan’s first year come to a close, I was comforted by the fact that the best would be yet to come.

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With Love,

From Me to You