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

Back at the Blog

Somehow this little blog is about to turn two! And, it is about time that I get back at it.  I’ve been debating about the direction of this blog.  The original intention was to share photos and stories with family and friends who live far away and want to keep up with our growing boys and our lives.  While I like sharing and love hearing that people enjoy the photos and stories, it does take a bit of time and energy.

Like I said, life has changed a lot since my last post in my second trimester.  Camdon was born and life has been a whirlwind.  We expected life to be more work with two children and we expected that priorities would shift for a bit. I feel incredibly fortunate to have enjoyed a lot of time at home with my new little guy.  I know that many women do not have this luxury and I am deeply grateful for the ability to do so.  I am thankful for my exceptionally supportive husband, who has given me the time and space to focus on my role as a mom.  And, I am always mindful of the flexibility our business has allow us.  Returning to work has been an interesting balancing act. Doug and I talk about work all the time, so while I might not physically be in the office or out in the field everyday, I still know what is going on and can work on projects from home or with clients in  a way that works with our family’s schedule.

Donovan’s first seven months were total chaos.  Looking back, I just laugh to myself as I remember how much we did.  As if becoming new parents was not enough, I job searched and accepted a new job. We traveled to Alaska. we moved to Florida. I started working full-time (and commuting to work for the first time in 3 years…living on campus had its perks!). I was pumping five days a week.  Doug was restarting his real estate business and learning a new area.  We bought and moved into our first home!  We were out of our ever-loving minds.  Only now, as I look back, do I really realize how chaotic it all was!  But, it was what we had to do and we did it.  Life seemed hectic and frenzied at the time but somehow, it really wasn’t all that bad.

Camdon’s first seven months have been the exact opposite.  We had a nursery ready for his arrival. Our house is thoroughly kid-proof and most of our projects and to-do lists were accomplished before he was born.  We knew what to expect.  We had been through the new baby transition before. We knew what to do.  We knew our resources.  Our family was close by and were an amazing support!  We planned for time as a new family and what work would look like.  We only planned one big trip to Wisconsin to celebrate two wonderful women who both turned 90!

With any new baby, life was filled with lots of highs and simultaneously, plenty of lows.  Taking care of two children at one time is no joke!  And nursing is freaking hard at the beginning, even if you have done it before.  Also, nursing a baby and keeping a two-year-old happy and safe is not an easy task.  Amidst the daily struggles and growing pains, so many special moments occur. I knew they would all fly by before my very eyes, so I worked extra hard to just be present.  To be in the moment as much as possible and to remember as many details as I could.  And, even with that mindfulness, I still sit here typing and wondering how seven months has really passed by.

So, I’m going to catch you up on the months that have passed.  I think I left off in October of 2015…so I might shorten some of the stories and there will be fewer pictures.  I think I’ll add a few more blogs about life.  Not just what we do, but some reflections on what is on my mind.  And, you might see more about work on here because work and our life is pretty intertwined.  As always, I’d love to hear what you think.

Here are few pictures of the boys in the cutest shirts from Auntie Yaya!

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With Love,

From Me to You

June 2015

Leaving my job in May was a huge accomplishment for our family.  It opened up more time for us to spend focusing on our priories and allowed for more quality time together.  May was a blur as I adjusted to the reality that I now had time to do everything and anything I had ever wanted.  And I was loving all of the time with my little guy.

I am grateful to work for an amazing company that invests in their agents by providing opportunities for learning and growth.  Ignite is an intense course that allows new agents to learn the nuts and bolts of the job.  I found myself in the classroom three days a week and it was overwhelming at times.  As a new agent you do not always know what you should spend your time on or how to really do anything.  Working with Doug was awesome because he had already paved the way and had systems and leads ready for me.  At the same time, we had to learn how to really work together.  In everyday life you work with your spouse to coordinate schedules, plan meals, take care of the house, and spend time together as a family.  You communicate all the time and share how you feel about different situations.  Yet, when you work together in a professional environment, we found that we had to work through some differing expectations until we were on the same page.

I was hungry to prove myself as a competent part of our team, yet I needed Doug’s insight or input to accomplish the simplest task.  I am thankful that my husband held my hand and was patient with me, because, let’s be real, in life no one can really do that for you in any other work situation.  At the same time, I know I drove him nuts because I needed so much help.  The summer is an especially busy time in the real estate world and I jumped right in.  I worked with two buyers right away and learned so much in the process.  I quickly learned how my schedule would always be changing depending on the needs of my clients and it was nice to work hard one day and be ok with taking some time to relax the next.  I came to realize that working in real estate is all about problem solving and being flexible.

Here are a few of the out-takes from our headshot photo shoot:

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Someone once told me that in life you should really try to avoid making big life changes when you are in the middle of transition.  And, if you must, you should really try to keep it to no more than two big things at once.  Some how I have never really been able to follow that advice.  When I finished grad school, we got married, moved to a new state, started new jobs, and adopted Stella.  Three years later, we moved back to Florida, started new jobs, bought a house, and all of this with a child under one.  You would think that starting a new job was enough excitement for our lives, right?

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Well, Doug and I were lucky enough to celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary on Lido beach.  GiGi and Granddad were more than thrilled to watch the little guy for us so we could enjoy our first weekend away.  Doug and I were sitting at the Charthouse enjoying a bottle of wine and reflecting on life.  The topic of our next child came up.  We had always said that after Donovan turned one that we would at least begin the conversation about LBD 2.  For me, parenthood has been a calling that I never knew I would love as much as I do.  It is no secret that I want to have multiple children now, but I suppose it is best to take it one at a time.  As we talked about the future and our family, Doug made the bold statement that he was ready for LBD 2.  I was stunned.  I was mostly surprised by the certainty with which he made this statement.  And, I was also caught off guard by the fact that I was the one who was hesitating at all.

Of course, we knew that there were no guarantees with getting pregnant.  We were very lucky with how quickly we got pregnant the first time.  And, then you do have nine months of pregnancy before the baby would arrive.  So, really you could be looking at a full year before life would truly turn up-side down.  So, we talked about it more and as we were leaving dinner, we had decided to start trying and see what happened.

Looking back, it is comical how easily we made that decision.  The first time around, we talked about every possible scenario over and over for about a week before we both felt really ready.  This time, we knew what we were in for and we knew we could do it.  We wanted our family to grow.  And, we were pretty lucky again.  Sure enough, I was pregnant by the end of the month!

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First Car Accident

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At the Chadwick Company Picnic

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Teaching Donovan how to be a buyers agent and climb stairs 🙂

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Go Lightning!

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First trip to the library!  Book Worms Rule!

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Magic dust for the win!  Bandanna to save my hair not for fashion 🙂

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Happy Anniversary!!

And we can’t forget Father’s Day!  I have never mowed the lawn before and I knew that Doug would really appreciate it, so I gave it a try and it was really hard!  I don’t think that I will volunteer for that chore ever again 😉

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With Love,

From Me to You