Each year I try to choose a word to live my year by. I like it better than creating a resolution - it's a guiding principle instead of a narrow goal. Last year, for 2015, I chose the word "experiences." I wanted to experience new things, give my kids new experiences, appreciate the experiences I had, etc. Now that it's 2016 I can look back and say that I was VERY successful! We had so many new and exciting things happen in 2015!
I helped the kids participate in a ton of new learning experiences. We played with circuits and electricity, we designed and donated dog clothes, we planted our first container garden and ate some of our own vegetables! One of my favorite memories was doing our first big travel meet. The older kids and I took off for a long weekend in Chicago for IGI on Navy Pier, doing a Chicago style pizza taste test along the way! It was by far the largest meet we'd ever attended, and it was super fun to see gymnasts from all across the nation and take a road trip!
I had the opportunity to travel the country over the summer. I took some really exciting trips with the North Iowa Bloggers in 2015, getting to experience Chicago and Door County Wisconsin with some of the best ladies you'll ever meet. I experienced my first paintball guns, zip line, tour of the Chicago Skydeck, flight in an 8 seat Cessna plane, and of course, as you'd expect, #handstandsacrossamerica continued in fine form!
I visited Philadelphia for the first time (a history teacher's dream), met some of my March Mommy friends, and attended my 3rd ISTE. I gave my first "1 in 3" speech on the big stage (which maybe was not the epic experience I hoped for, but at least I did it!) and presented a poster session with my friend and co-worker, Erin Olson.
I made it to Washington DC twice, once with the kids and husband, once with an incredible group of educators for the ASCD Emerging Leader program. We visited Smithsonians, I walked the monuments at night, I celebrated a birthday at a bar across from the White House, and ran along trails at Burke Lake Park. We mini-golfed and found a movie theater with recliners and tried our hand at a parkour course!
I went back to Chicago to be trained with Code.org as an affiliate, which is DEFINITELY a new experience for me, and helped me lead an agency-wide Hour of Code initiative at work. And of course R and I spent a week in Lincoln, NE with the best group of gymnasts and moms you ask for. I'd never spent time in Lincoln (or Nebraska, except driving through), so that was a new experience in itself. I did my first wine tasting, spent time by the pool, and walked, and walked, and walked. R worked on new skills, we made new friends, and bonded on our car ride.
Football was a big theme for us this year, as usual. We took a family camping trip to Anderson, IN for #ColtsCamp2015 that was full of... well, we'll call them interesting experiences. I went back to Lucas Oil with my sister for a Colts game (one of the few they won this year, thankfully) and got to wear my glittery Colts high heels and new jersey. Husband playing football with the Midwest Rampage was another new experience. I had no idea when he joined the team, while I was barely speaking to him, that I'd love it as much as I did, but here we are, January 2016 and I'm counting down the days til the new season starts! I even got a new lens for my camera for Christmas. We can pretend I'm excited about taking pictures of my kids, but we all know the lens is really exciting because I can't wait to be on the sidelines taking pictures again.
We had a big year. There are so many things I missed - the birth of my first niece, all the different burgers I taste-tested in Ames with Jess, or as I traveled around the country, and then there were the day to day things - new skills, new camps, new games, new friends, and new challenges. Living my life with the word "experiences" as my guiding principle brought so many new and exciting things into our lives, I can't wait to see what 2016 will bring!