Top 16 of 2016

Holy moly has it been a LONG time since I have logged on to this little here blog.  Phew!  My track record with keeping up to date has gotten worse and worse.  We’re still here, though!  Our little family is doing well, the kids are happy and healthy, and life is busy!  When I logged on this evening, I went through and read the last post that I wrote, and my GOSH my kids were all so little! I see it especially in Fenix. All of the kids have grown, but when I look at that picture I took of Fenix, Ken, and Coen flexing, it’s SUPER obvious how out of date this is and how much has happened in the last year in a half of my lack of blog sharing.

2016 has been good to us. It’s been a busy year for everyone, with lots of milestones.  Fenix started high school! Grace started kindergarten, and we moved! Ken has had an exciting year and learned some new things at his job and I’ve entered my second year in online teaching, which I am enjoying far more than I ever thought I would.  Coen, of course, has hit lots of little milestones that have become second nature to me, since I haven’t been recording them on here.  Poor boy! I promise I love you just as much as your sister! Life just got super busy once you arrived, little man, and so I haven’t been as good at recording things as I had hoped to be! (In truth, I wasn’t very good with Grace either. Neither of my kids have completed baby books…some day, right?) Forgive me! I promise that my lack of documentation is no indication of the depth of my love! πŸ™‚  I used to think if I didn’t work full time, I’d be better at this, but I’m just not so sure.   Now that I spend my time teaching online, I avoid our personal computer like the plague.  Perhaps, I will be better in 2017, maybe not.  πŸ™‚  We will see in a year.

As, I said earlier, this has been a good year. I’m somewhat sad to see it end, and my feelings about 2017 are a mix of apprehension and excitement.  I’m vowing to be more frugal in 2017, to read more, and to eat less junk.  Now that Coen is getting a bit older, we want to do more family “adventuring”, more hiking and exploring our state.  All of those things I’m looking forward to.  The upcoming political changes have me feeling somewhat sad and nervous, but that’s an entirely different issue.  πŸ™‚  Perhaps I will blog more in 2017. Maybe I’ll even get around to printing out pictures for the photo albums.  Before we get too far into 2017,  I thought I’d wrap up my year of not blogging with a quick Dietz 2016 Highlight Reel. So here here is the top 16 of  2016 for our little party of five.

1.)  We MOVED!  It was somewhat impromptu, but not really. We knew we wanted something a little bigger, where we could spread out a bit more, but we weren’t sure if wanted to do it this summer or wait a year. Grace was starting kindergarten, which meant we no longer were paying daycare and had a bit more room in our budget.  We debated waiting a year and saving/updating our house to sell, but were torn because we wanted Grace to be in the same school all the way through if we could.  We decided to sit down with realtor and with things selling as quickly as they were and with interests rates so low, we decided to go for it.  We actually had an offer on our house before listing it, because someone my sister worked with was looking for a house in our neighborhood, so we were able to skip dragging the kids out each time there was a showing.  We were able to find a house relatively quickly, and it’s still within the lines of Fenix’s high school and walking distance to a great elementary school, not to mention it’s connected to some extensive walking paths and a wonderful little park. Our summer was busy with moving, but we were able to spend a lot of time exploring on our bikes and going on walking adventures.  We love our new house.  I have a dedicated space to work (with windows, so I no longer feel like I work in a dungeon) and a dining room and kitchen that make it a bit easier to host, which we do quite a bit.  It’s been fun to settle in and decorate, although the decorating is happening slowly and on a budget.  We’ll get there eventually!

2) Fenix started high school!  He loves it! He is taking drama and quite a few honors classes.  He has a good group of friends, all of which are entertaining in their own right. πŸ™‚  All in all he is doing well! He has always been a school kid and has enjoyed his classes this year. School usually comes pretty naturally him. His biggest hurdle is staying organized and turning things in. My step-son has been plagued with that all too common affliction of completing work but forgetting to turn it in…Something I never understood as a teacher and am still trying to figure out as a parent. It may always baffle me, ha ha!

3) Grace started kindergarten. She loves it!  It was more of an adjustment at first than I anticipated. She loves going and loves to learn and make new friends, but found herself frustrated sometimes in the beginning when she wasn’t able to do things right on the first try. “Practice not perfect,” has become her mantra this year. She is somewhat of a perfectionist, but after a few weeks she settled in.  A few of our her preschool friends attend the same school, and she has also made lots of new friends. She, of course, talks too much, but that was to be expected. With me working from home, I’m able to pick her up from school everyday, which I have loved!

4) Fenix went to homecoming!   He looked very dapper and even learned the Carleton.   He had a lot of fun, and to be honest, we did, too. We met up with his date and his mom to take pictures prior to him going, which he was an awesome sport about. Then he took his date to ice cream and Ken gave the two of them a ride to the dance in the mini van…  πŸ™‚

5) Coen turned 2! How did THAT happen?  We had a birthday brunch for him with family and our friends Hank and Lindsay. (Hank is just a few months younger than Coen and watching them interact is a blast!)  We ate brunch, the kids played, and then Coen opened up gifts and blew out the candles on his cookie cake. It was way too early to being eating cake, but we figured we could break the rules for his birthday! You only turn 2 once, right?

6) Grace danced A LOT in 2016.  She took hip hop and a ballet/tap combo class last year and hip hop and a ballet/jazz combo this year. She hates stretching with a passion, but loves to dance and be on stage. We just had her winter recital recently, and it was a blast and crazy hectic. She had three dances between her hip hop and ballet routine, so I had to run backstage in between and get her changed out of her ballet costume and into her hip hop one. By the time she got back to the dressing room after her ballet routine, her hip hop group was lining up, so it was a scramble, but we made it!

7) We traveled to the Oregon Coast!  In our fantasy future, Ken and I want to live in Waldport. It’s this tiny, quiet ocean town and we are in love with it. I’m sure the gray skies and constant wind, would eventually do me in, but Ken and I have this fantasy of selling everything when the kids are older and moving into a tiny little beach home.  Grace is totally sold on this fantasy and has actually been telling kids at school that we are moving! I have had to reassure her best friend’s mom that we are NOT moving anytime soon. We took my niece with us and made it a two day trip on the way there, so we could travel from Astoria to Waldport and stop at all the touristy places along the way.  Once we got settled in Waldport, we made a trip into Newport for the aquarium and some seafood, and later made it to Lincoln to visit Mo’s and do some whale watching. The rest of our time was spent on the beach exploring, which is always our favorite part. We’re hoping to go again soon, and maybe do less touristy things and more just hanging out on the beach.  I could walk the beach and listen to the ocean for hours.  Just give me a cup of coffee and an ocean view, and I’m set!

8) We camped! We wanted to do more camping this summer than we did, but we managed to fit in one quick two day trip.  Coen is kind of tough to camp with. He naps and sleeps really well in his crib with a routine, but when we break out of that, it gets a little tough.  We enjoyed ourselves nonetheless, though. Our spot was located near some hot springs and an eagle’s nest which was really neat! The kids enjoyed doing the campfire thing and we got to do a little hiking and exploring. Coen and mom did not sleep at all though, so we’re hoping camping in 2017 is a bit more restful.  We will see! πŸ™‚

9) Grace played soccer in the fall and had so much fun! She takes direction surprisingly well when it’s not her parents giving the directions. πŸ™‚  She LOVED it! She didn’t score any goals, but worked really hard on passing and dribbling. She made some awesome assists and was a really good teammate. We have her signed up for the spring and are really looking forward to our soccer Saturdays getting underway in a couple of months.

10) Ken recently had some training to administer immunizations. Idaho is one of the first in the nation to train pharmacy techs to immunize and Ken was in the first wave of training for his company, which he was really excited about.

11) I started my second year of teaching online.  I wasn’t sure what to think when I took this job initially. I was nervous to be leaving the classroom, but I LOVE my job. I still get to teach and connect with students, but have a bit more flexibility to work around being a mom too.  I feel like I’ve learned and been stretched a lot in this last year and a half and that’s been a really good thing. I’ve  grown as a teacher and I really enjoy my job and the group of teachers and administrators who I work with.

12) I’m going to the Dirty Dancing weekend at Kellerman’s in 2017! It’s not actually called Kellerman’s, but that’s okay! A couple of friends and I are meeting up in Charleston and then travelling into the Mountain Lake Lodge in Virginia (hopefully by convertible) for their annual Dirty Dancing Weekend. What started as a conversation on facebook between some friends of my mine in Wisconsin came to fruition when we booked our room a few months ago. I’m equal parts excited and terrified. I don’t fly, at least not anymore.  As an adult I have always been nervous when flying, but once I had kids that terror seems to have multiplied.  I imagine I will be a nervous wreck the week leading up to the flight and out of my mind the day I fly. I’m hoping to get a flight with a layover in Minneapolis so I can meet up with my friends and travel the remainder of the flight there with them.  We’re planning to have the “time of our lives”, if you will! πŸ™‚

13) We had a lot of visitors this year, starting with Ken’s mom and step-dad in July.  We had just moved in to our new house, so I’m sure things were a bit hectic, but we enjoyed a long weekend with them, spending most of our time at our house or in the backyard enjoying each other’s company.  The kids were excited to see their grandparents and it was nice to just have time with them.  We love where we live, but hate the distance between us and family.

14) Ken’s step-mom came to visit in August.  She stayed with Ken’s sister, but we got to spend lots of good grandma time with her, enjoying dinner, trips to the park (where grandma Lou rode Grace’s bike), and breakfast at one of our favorite diners, The Capri.

15) Ken’s dad came for Thanksgiving. We hosted dinner this year, did some Black Friday shopping, and watched the Husker’s game all before Grandpa had to leave.  Grace’s nickname for Ken’s dad is Papa Jay-Bird, and she loves to have him here. It was a good weekend. Again, we just wish we lived a little closer so we could see people more often. Hopefully this summer we can budget in a trip back to the Nebraska/Colorado area so we can see all of the grandparents again as well as Ken’s siblings that are there.

16) Ken and I celebrated 9 years of marriage!  Whoop! Whoop! It’s actually kind of crazy to think about.  We did dinner and spent time at the Village, enjoying some wine and each other’s company. For our 8th anniversary we went rafting and were torn between spending our 9th one doing something more adventurous like the previous year, but low key won out in the end.  With the kids all being a bit older, we have been vigilant about date nights this year, and have some good ones planned for 2017.

Phew! I know so much more happened than what I’ve posted here, but I think I’ve done an  okay job skimming the surface and hitting the highlights.  I had wanted to add pictures, but that’s always the most time consuming part, and I promised myself I would get the kids started on baths at 7 tonight…it’s already 7:08, so I didn’t quite make my goal, but I’m close!

I hope everyone had a wonderful 2016 and that 2017 is filled with lots of good memories!  I’m looking forward to some of the things we have planed and to watching the kids continue to grow!

2017, bring it on! We’re ready for you!











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