Friday, January 9, 2015

14 Simple Pleasures from 2014

Remember this post?
Well, here are 14 simple pleasures from 2014. I love reflecting back over the year and pulling out some of my favorite things.

In no particular order...

1. Going to dance class with my baby girl.
We did a Mommy & Me class early in the fall and then she joined a big girl dance class (tap & ballet) in December. I love taking her, walking or working out with a friend while she's in dance, and then getting the rest of the afternoon - just the two of us.

2. Being able to support and love my husband through his job changes this year.
He's been through some challenging work moments over the past 5 years. Some have been fantastic, but most - not so much. This year has been fairly challenging. He left one job for another in April and after only 6 months he moved on to another. I know he was torn and hesitant to make these changes, but I'm so proud of him and how he's handled each situation. I am so glad to see him thrive and enjoy his current work environment. I haven't seen him this excited about architecture and going to work each day in a very long time.

3. My small group.
This is definitely the best couples small group I've ever been a part of. I love each of the couples in the group (3 of which have been in groups with us before) and I'm amazed at what each person brings to the table. I like hanging with them each week, whether at group or outside of group in social settings, sitting with them on Sunday mornings, serving alongside them in Waumba, or just anytime really! Such a fun group of people!

4. Quinoa.
I've been eating quinoa for a couple of years now, but more recently have been subbing it for rice in almost all recipes. I love it in soups, stuffed peppers, burrito bowls, salads, even for breakfast. It is a go-to, yummy, delicious and nutritious food.

5. Discovering and becoming more of who I am.
Each year I feel like I "find" myself more and more. I have learned so much about myself through my husband and children - those alone have been the best teachers. But I also just feel like I'm learning what's most important to me - when to let go and when to pursue things, when to be intentional and make the most effort, and when to ignore things or say no. I'm nowhere near completion in this area (and I never will be in this lifetime) but I am so thankful for the things God has taught me about myself in relation to Him.

6. Reading books.
Still a favorite pleasure of mine. It feels like such an accomplishment to me when I finish a novel. I love disappearing into another world for the few minutes or hours I spend reading a book. And I've been able to read some good ones this year.

7. Reading books to/with my kids.
I love watching Xander read.* He can read basic easy readers now, with help. He's doing so well!
I love watching my littlest "read" to herself or haul one of my novels around the house and pretend to read it. I love that she often asks me to read books to her.
And I love, love, love reading aloud to my sweet kiddos. I do it every day at work, and enjoy it immensely there, but it's even more special to put my "skills" to use with my own children. We are all LOVING Mo Willems - mostly the Piggie and Elephant books, but also the Pigeon books and Knuffle Bunny.
*I fully admit that watching a new reader attempt to read is fairly painful. So when I say "I love to watch him read," well, what I mean is that I'm so glad he's learning. :)

8. Watching my boy get baptized, take his first communion and being a witness to his relationship with Jesus.
I wrote a whole post about his baptism. And another about his first communion. Being a part of my child's spiritual journey has been even more of a joy than I expected, and I'm so thankful!

9. Spark.
David and I discovered a new drink through a friend of ours who sells Advocare. Spark has changed my life, man. It is rejuvenating and full of vitamins that make me feel better every morning (and the occasional afternoon). I admit that I still love my coffee and don't plan to give it up completely, especially in the cold months, but Spark is an excellent alternative!

10. Celebrating 10 years of marriage with my husband.
Our trip to Savannah and time alone together for 5 days straight was heaven-sent. This was definitely in my top 5 of favorite events of all-time. :) I love my husband more now than ever and realize every day what a blessing and gift he is.

11. Having inside jokes with my kiddos.
As you probably know, it is extremely difficult to explain inside jokes. So I won't. But I love having little sayings, looks or moments with my kids where we burst out laughing.

12. Being invested at church.
In January I stepped down from my role as Waumba coach and stepped back into the classroom. I taught Xander's class (the 4 & 5 year olds) from January-August. Then I stepped back into my role as coach with the new school year. It's been so fun. I'm renewed, reenergized, and have a better understanding of what my role and purpose is through serving at church. I love investing in the volunteers and seeing the kiddos each Sunday. I also love my church so much - and having had both kids dedicated through Baby D, and now Xander having been baptized and involved in Upstreet while my baby girl enjoys Waumba - these things make my heart smile.

13. The new holiday drink at Starbucks - Chestnut Praline latte or frappucino (made with soy milk - because I like it better, not because I don't do dairy).
This was the bomb! It wasn't as sweet as some of the other drinks at SB. Nice, nutty flavor while being smooth, warm and delicious.

14. Watching that boy of mine go off to kindergarten and seeing him flourish in an academic setting.
I've written enough about this in earlier posts here,  here,  herehere and here. But he still loves it and I am so proud of him.

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