2016: A Year in Review

Happy New Year's Eve!

It's become a fun tradition here on the blog to recap our year on New Year’s Eve - our travels, everyday adventures, highlights, memories, and all the little things in between. 

2016 was a wonderful year full of milestones, travel, adventure, and puppy kisses. Here is a look back:

We worked on several house projects: painting, installing new interior doors, updating the shutters, gardening, updating the kitchen hardware, redoing the attic (my office), and having the awning over the front door rebuilt. We bought our first appliance this summer (which made us feel like grown-ups) and learned all about what it means to "break in" an oven.

In March, we adopted our sweet Rory girl - a 1-year-old lab/greyhound mix from Helping Hounds in Syracuse. She keeps us on our toes, for sure, but we have had so much fun with her this year. Long walks on the weekend and "family hugs" are some of my favorite things.

Being from Texas, she’s got a little Southern sass, but can also be sweet when she really wants to. She loves her donut squeaky toy, chicken, watching bunnies in the yard, Frisbees, car rides, slippers, playing in the snow, cardboard boxes, and belly rubs.

I added a few new cards and prints to the shop this year, launched a brand new product over the summer (screen-printed tea towels!), created a printable hymn Advent calendar, and got the chance to work with a local letterpress printer and try my hand at printing - I loved it!

We spent many summer nights out on the patio, grilling and watching Rory play (dig) in the yard. We planted a vegetable garden (tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, basil, parsley, cilantro, zucchini, and peppers) and learned about composting and blossom end rot and how to prune tomato plants. We learned that bunnies like cilantro and worms like zucchini and nothing beats the taste of a fresh-picked pepper. And we made lots of tomato-basil pies. We hosted friends on the 4th of July and celebrated with bocce in the backyard, grilled sausages, strawberry-basil ice cream, and watching the fireworks on Cobbs Hill.

We visited five states this year plus a few short drives to the Finger Lakes (Skaneateles, Geneva) and hosted a dear friend and her three sweet boys and both sets of parents throughout the year. 

We snuck away to Skaneateles for a day, window-shopping, picnicking on the bank, and taking a boat tour around the lake. Later in the summer, we rented a dog-friendly lake house on Seneca Lake and enjoyed swimming, baking blueberry cobbler, canoeing, hiking with Rory, wine-tasting, and watching the sunsets from the deck. A highlight of our summer.

I graduated with my Ph.D. in Music Education from the Eastman School of Music in May, continued teaching piano, and started a new job (same church) as Director of Worship Arts. I also turned 30 this year! Lots of milestones.

SD’s piece Magnolia Star was performed at the Sydney Opera House and on the steps of the U.S. Capitol (among many other places). He also wrote four commissions, attended many performances, and visited several schools for workshops and residencies. I tagged along on his trip to Orlando (UCF residency) in February and spent some time with good friends in Leesburg. It felt like summer!

We built two new websites this year (see here and here), my blog readership grew by over 300%(!), I wrote two guest posts (read here and here), and I got interviewed for my first podcast!

We celebrated our first house-i-versary in July and bought an old screen door for the side entrance (naturally). We also celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary in October (still our favorite day ever).

In honor of the Gilmore Girls' revival, we celebrated Luke’s Diner Day at Ugly Duck Coffee right here in Rochester. Such a fun day! 

We took part in a few time-honored neighborhood traditions (hanging wreaths on the lampposts and stuffing Christmas Eve invitation letters - our own Gilmore Girls moments), went skiing, and enjoyed several snowy hikes with Rory through the woods near our house.

Thanks so much for following along this year, friends. Your support means so much! I Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy, joy-filled New Year. Here's to 2017!