Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Look Back at 2015

Walking into our house for the reveal.
2015 has been a little crazy, to say the least!  One of the most interesting parts of the year was getting a home makeover in November!  I'm not even sure how it all happened, it was such a whirlwind, but one moment we were just living our life and all of a sudden, a few days later, we were emptying out our house and letting volunteer crews have free run of the place.  We did several new interviews about the makeover, including one for NBCs Nightly News with Lester Holt!  Our favorite things that were done to our house were getting a new furnace and windows!  How cool is that?  My kids love their bedroom makeovers and the complete overall of our basement, which is their hangout spot.  I'm still amazed it happened!

Another incredible happening in 2015 was taking TWO trips to New York!  My husband is featured in a documentary called, Thank You for Your Service.  In November we were able to attend the world premiere at NYC Doc, the New York City documentary film festival!  The showing sold out and there was a huge after party as well... Attention and crowds are not things my husband necessarily loves or does well in, but I loved it!  We were able to stay in NYC for six days and attend a couple of shows.  We even popped over to New Jersey for a day just so I could mark it off my list of states we've been to together.  I loved New York, my husband hated it, but love it or hate it, we did it!  I even bought a dress at my favorite vintage-style dress shop for the occasion, which was a huge deal to me!   

Two weeks after our NYC trip we were flown to West Point, New York for another showing of the film, this time on the West Point Academy campus!  The atmosphere was totally different but equally amazing.  West Point was so beautiful.  We stayed at the historic Thayer Hotel and were able to take a tour of the campus.  It was a short trip, but I loved it so much!  I really love all the people associated with the documentary.  It's like having another family.  

I had been to New York City before 20 years ago (boy, I'm getting old!), but this was my first time seeing another part of the state.  Travel has always been a huge dream of mine, so being able to visit new places with my husband was a great part of 2015 for me!  He is such a good sport.  He's really not a fan of all the attention he gets with the movie or spending time away from home in unfamiliar places, but he goes because it's important to me.  I really believe in the message of Thank You for Your Service and what they're trying to do to improve the mental health care system of our armed forces!


In September I attended a Wounded Warrior Project retreat for wives of wounded warriors.  It was exactly what I needed to recharge my batteries!  Being a full time caregiver to a disabled vet is something that can be extremely emotionally, physically and mentally draining!  Spending time with other women in similar situations was so amazing and the workshops we participated in were uplifting and positive.  I loved it so much!

In August we were able to attend a Wounded Warrior Project family retreat at the National Ability Center.  There was soaking at the Crater, archery, bike riding, boating and so much more!  We were able to spend four days with other families similar to ours.  I loved seeing my kids step away from electronic devices and participate in activities they wouldn't usually try.  Alyssa is actually amazing at archery!  Who knew?

Nina with her uncle and aunt
2015 brought about some big milestones in our family as well!  Nina graduated both high school and cosmetology school, turned 18 AND moved out of the house!  She's living in Salt Lake City, working two jobs and doing really well!  Having her move out actually improved our relationship a lot too.  

Alyssa got her learner's permit this year and Caleb started 9th grade!  Big milestones for both of them.  It's been a year of growth for all three of my kids.

In just a few years they'll all be out of the house living their own lives!  It's hard to believe that they're all getting so old.

We took several camping trips in 2015.  We visited American Fork Canyon, Hobble Creek Canyon, the Nebo Loop, Yuba Lake and Bear Lake, Idaho!  My husband and I also spent a few days in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for my birthday in April.  It's been a great year for getting out and seeing new things!  Our little camper has gotten a lot of use.

In October we attended a huge masquerade ball at the Utah State Capitol building!  Of course, once again my husband was not a fan, but the rest of us had a ball (get it... a ball... haha).  It was a dream come true for me to dress up and attend a ball!

In early 2015 we started on a new treatment plan for my husband with new doctors, new medications and a new counseling center.  It's been a bumpy, but productive road.  I've been able to be a part of several online vet's wives groups, become part of the national VA Caregiver Program, attend a weekly support group for wives at the Vet Center and our family has been able to participate in several Wounded Warrior Project events!  I've seen many incredible changes in my husband this year.  He had a three week hospital stay in the early summer, which was a big turning point and ever since I've made it a huge priority for me to have a great support team consisting of others who are in similar situations.  I've made a lot of new friends this year!

This year we started going to the movies weekly and love seeing movies in the luxury recliner seats on $5 Tuesdays.  We also feed the missionaries lunch every week, which has been a great experience.   I love having missionaries in my home so often!

I've read several books this year and even started writing a non-fiction book of my own.  After Nina moved out I was able to make myself a craft room again and have gotten back into scrapbooking and crafting.  Creating things is a great stress reliever!

We had a garden this summer and I enjoyed canning the foods I grew.   I have also really loved learning about medicinal herbs this year and have made many tinctures and teas and learned how to use them.  

A year ago I swore that 2015 would be the best year ever... Looking back on it, I have to say that it was!  There were a lot of bumps and bruises throughout the year, but overall it's been amazing!  I look forward to 2016 being even better!  

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