The Silver Linings of 2016, a Year that will Live in Infamy

2016 will go down as the year that gave me a swift and hardy kick in every pair of pants I've ever known. And not only personally-- it was the constant barrage of terrible global, national and local news that wouldn't let up. 

I'm not sure I've ever looked forward to January 1st quite so much as I have this time around. However, Tom and I started a tradition of adding the good things that happen to us throughout the year in our "Belle Jar," then reading them as a family on New Year's Eve. 

As we went through all the beautiful things that happened to us in 2016, both big and small, I was humbled out of my indignation and began to appreciate the year I had wished never was. Here are some of the highlights:

-Tom won 20 free meals at the U

-We both got raises

-We were able to sell our condo after showing it for less than two days for a 66% profit

- I was shown overwhelming kindness and empathy by a few wonderful women, whose examples of compassion I'll always cherish and I'll never forget

-We took an amazing 5-year anniversary trip to Bali and Sydney

-The old family piano made its way back into my life and my home

-We got new flooring in our new home for a good price

-We had an amazing trip to Nashville and The Grand Ole Opry

-We were able to spend much more time with my family than we had in the past

-We won a $100 Amazon gift card from my work party

                      -And sometimes, the universe even reached out to let me know that this too shall pass

-Then, even in a year of painful goodbyes, we learned we were about to say hello to another baby girl in spring of 2017

Here's to a new year with new adventures and a brand new life about to begin!

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The Halloween of Feminist Bastions

A couple months ago, Claire and I watched Suffragette for a little girls' night while Tom worked. It helped jolt me into remembering just how much so many women gave for the right to be heard. I decided it would be fun to be suffragettes for Halloween-- that is, until I realized how much would have to go into the costumes. In my search for ideas, I found a site with a few female-power costumes for little girls. It was then that Claire's fate was sealed: she'd be the Notorious RBG and I'd go as Rosie the Riveter. 

Despite Claire absolutely reFUSING to wear the glasses for the photo (but loves wearing all other glasses at every other moment) she did manage to take one very supreme pose.

And if I had thought about it in time, I would have bought Tom the shirt that says, "This is what a feminist looks like" because he is top notch at being a champion for women's causes. 

Let's hear it for the girl. 

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Music City, USA

In the five years Tom and I have been married, we have made exactly zero trips to go see any of my siblings. While my brother was going to school in Boston, we swore we would make a fall break trip out there to see the leaves. But we didn't. Sensing a hint of hurt at our continued broken promises, we made good on one. We went to see my brother's family in their new (gorgeous) home in Nashville.

My mom decided she would come along too, and let me just say I've never been so grateful my brother and sister-in-law decided to swap their ritzy minivan for a 12-passenger beast. 

We made an hours-of-fun visit to Lucky Ladd Farms...

And celebrated the Grand Ole Opry's 91st birthday with Brad Paisley, The Whites, and my new faves The Secret Sisters...

We drove around lots of country roads singing "Rocky Top Tennessee" and let's not forget my man John Denver, and it was just what I wanted out of my first trip to Music City, USA.

We also managed to see some Civil War sites and visit Andrew Jackson's old plantation home (on Columbus Day, so we somehow managed to combine two of my not-so-favorite people with terrible actions toward Native Americans on the same day). 

Claire even survived (more importantly, I survived) her first airplane trip as a toddler, and she loved it! The suckers? They helped. 

However, I think we're all settled in for a long winter's hibernation from travel. 

I sure will miss scenes like this though...

Claire, cousins, and Aunt "Bat"

Peace, love, and John Denver,

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