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:



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).



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.


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.


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



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!



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.


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!



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.



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.


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.



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.



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,


Whole30-Week Three

This week the Whole30 was second nature.  We know what we can eat, we plan ahead for busy times, and we enjoy what we are eating.  We don’t miss much.  Wine has been replaced with tea and we both wake up refreshed and full of energy. We have been experiencing so many NSVs and we know that the past few weeks have done great things for our bodies, inside and out.

We do not experience a 3 o’clock slump because our energy is consistent now that it is not tied to sugar.  This is huge for me because the kids need my attention and energy after their naps and I am no longer groggy or crabby, which is good for everyone. I can’t think of a time that I haven’t felt an afternoon lull.  I thought it had to do with digesting lunch, but the reality was that it had to do with what I was eating.  I am not getting more sleep at night, but the quality is way better since I don’t have sugar or alcohol in my system.

Reintroduction is on our minds.  We aren’t totally sure what we should do yet.  From previous experience, we know that we need to limit cheese in our diets.  We like yogurt, so I think that will be one of our first to try.  As for gluten, we’ve been cutting it out since the summer.  There are some things that still have gluten in them, but they aren’t things we eat everyday.  Many gluten free items use rice or corn instead, so we might need to try reintroducing those after dairy.

We are heading to Kansas to visit dear friends just two days after we finish, so we are going to try to make smart food choices and plan ahead. We know that we will be limited and we do plan to enjoy a few treats during the trip. Wine and beer will be reintroduced.  Personally, I know beer only upsets my stomach (gluten?) so that’s a no for me.  Wine has been hard ever since I had the boys.  I literally sneeze after a sip of my favorite Cab Savs.  More investigation to do, but wine will be coming back into my life in a moderate amount.

Soy is officially out of our lives.  Nothing good comes from soy.  We have become pros at reading labels and soy is in everything.  This means we are committed to eating less pre-made or processed foods, which is healthier anyway.  Beans are questionable.  If they don’t bother our stomachs, then they can return, on occasion.  We really only eat them with chili or in burrito bowls.  They have some inflammatory properties so we will be investigating those further as well.

I have been loving It Starts with Food. I am learning so much.  A big lesson for me is that I cannot out run my food choices with working out.  Eating healthy is the secret.  I have always been active and I find exercise to be stress relieving.  In college, I felt like I could just eat whatever I wanted and just work out.  Now, I know that is the wrong way to think.  There is no way to work out enough to undo what I ate.  This Whole30 has taught me that the food you eat will change your body.  Obviously, we need to balance working out with eating right, but I’ve been amazed at the transformation we’ve seen without working out as much as we should.

When I started this I fully expected our weekly food budget to be higher.  However, with no eating out, cooking fresh, and no processed items, our budget has been lower.  Shipt has also been a game changer.  No impulse buying. I get just what we need.  I do two shopping requests each week.  That way we can keep up with the fresh fruits and veggies that we love.

Doug and I are excited to be finished with the Whole30, but a little nervous that we will slide back into our old ways.  We both are committing to certain things and plan to keep many of our meals pretty close to Whole30 compliant.

This is what we ate this week:

Monday: Pork and Apples

This was super easy and had great flavor.  Sauteed red onions are a favorite!

Pork and apples

Tuesday: Chicken Cacciatore from Whole30 Book


Wednesday: Roasted Tomato Soup by the WholeSmiths


Thursday: Lazy Kebabs

We ran out of time while making dinner so we skipped the skewers and just grilled everything instead.  It was perfect!


Friday: Dinner OUT (!!) at the Acropolis

We finally ate at a restaurant! We were not in the mood to cook so we took a risk and went to dinner at the Acropolis.  It was so temping to eat everything that wasn’t compliant, but we did really well.  I had a Greek Salad with chicken (no feta) and Doug had kebabs and grilled veggies.  Whole30 purists might freak out about this because we did not know what type of oil the food was cooked in, but we made the best choices possible and it was amazing!

Saturday: Chili from the Whole30 Book.  Here are a few other options.

Chili is our new staple because it is an easy lunch option or a lazy dinner.  Kid approved!  You can play with your recipe a lot.  This one had a red, yellow, and green pepper and I added sweet potatoes.  I season with cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, onion power, garlic powder, and a few red pepper flakes. Two cans of diced tomatoes and tomato paste and you let it simmer.  So easy!


Sunday: Bacon wrapped scallops and asparagus

Doug came home with scallops and bacon and made the most delicious dinner.  He grilled a ton of chicken so we would have lots of options for lunches during the week.  I also found little drummies and wings so Doug could feel like he was enjoying a football Sunday treat.

LaCroix has been our new obsession.  I had liked them before but Doug though they were too bitter.  He bought coconut and key lime.  I was very skeptical.  Let me tell you, they are both delicious!  Dare I say that they even taste sweet?  I guess your taste buds really change when you only consume naturally occurring sugar.

That’s it!  One more week to go!

With Love,