Happy 2017!

Hey! Look... I'm blogging! Trust me, it's just as shocking to me as it is to you. Life has been a whirlwind of learning to keep a small child alive and keep tabs on a husband who was floating around on the other side of the world.

Good news is Caroline is doing well and the husband is home! Hooray! So lets recap...

My sister got married and we spent a fun weekend in Chicago to celebrate. The wedding was at the beautiful Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. It was perfect! The day after the wedding we all got together on a Wrigley Rooftop and watched the Cubbies. Then, they won the World Series so we all feel like we may have been the lucky charms that they'd be looking for. Hehe.

Caroline and I spent a lot of time with my parents in Indiana where we celebrated many milestones (teeth, crawling, and solid food - to name a few). Above is a photo from her 6 month photo shoot, which we took in the front yard of my parent's property.

While in Indiana, I had the privilege to photograph my cousin for some of her Senior Portraits. She made it easy and I really tried to get her the photos that she was looking for. We had a great time and she was an awesome sport for all of my lackluster, inexperienced direction.

Caroline celebrated Halloween dressed up as the cutest little old lady around. We were at my friend's house so we sat outside and passed out candy to her neighbors. It was fun!

Speaking of my friends... while I was staying at Mary and Al's house, I took some photos for them, too! It's always nice to get the opportunity to get my camera out and play. I'm no professional and I never claim to be - I prefer the title "fauxtographer" - but I do enjoy it!

We traveled to Hawaii and linked up with my BFF Kacey! She's still in Okinawa so we used Hawaii as our "halfway" point. Rough life, huh?! The three of us spent 10 days at a lovely AirBnb on the North Shore where we ate a lot of shrimp, checked out some local attractions, and relaxed. It was delightful and, even though it was only 2 months ago, it seems like a lifetime ago. I'm looking forward to her returning to the states (happening so soon!!).

For Thanksgiving, we went to South Carolina to spend the holiday with Mark's family. It was fun to see Caroline play with her cousins and we consumed enough food to feed an army!

It was a quick turn around after Thanksgiving. We quickly hopped on a plane and headed back to Indiana where my mom and dad surprised me inside the airport! I'd also just found out over the holiday that Mark was going to be home early (read: before Christmas!) so my plans had been turned upside down - in a great way, of course.

The initial plan was for Caroline and I to fly to Indiana and stay through Christmas. Then, my parents were going to drive us and Maylee back to North Carolina with a few days to spare before his return. Since he was going to be home almost a month early, I decided to keep my flight home and just fly back early. Then, my family decided to move the entire Christmas celebration down to North Carolina! They booked a house on Emerald Isle and it was a done deal.

The holidays were wonderful. It was nice to have my entire family together in one place, as it should be. We had the most delicious food - standing rib roast, fresh shrimp, potatoes gratin, chili dogs (my dad's specialty), and lots more! I loved every minute of it.

Adjusting to having Mark home is going pretty well - a work in progress - and I am loving seeing his face regularly. Caroline is getting used to seeing him and is warming up, for sure. Things are going well, but prayers are always welcome!

This year, I hope to bring a little bit of my pre-Caroline life back into the mix. For starters - blogging! I really miss it and, now that I have Mark back, I think I'll be able to incorporate it back into the mix. Also, I've been volunteering to take some photos for people just to keep up on that little hobby. It feels good! So, I guess if there's a "resolution" that I'm aiming for it's to learn how to be a great mom while not losing a grip on what makes me tick. Lets call it balance!

Cheers to balance, friends! (So cheesy, right?!) Happy New Year!

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