We're in that weird in-between week when Christmas decorations are still up but the red cups at Starbucks are gone. It seems that half the world is on vacation while the other half is furiously finishing projects before year's end. At our house, Christmas chaos still litters the halls and the bickering of overly-tired children is causing my ears to twitch. We are in play mode and rest mode and clean-up mode all at once.
We had a really special December; full of the best kind of memory making. We started each morning with a candlelight breakfast and advent story, and ended each night with lots and lots (and lots) of Christmas books. There was gingerbread house decorating and cookie making, and a few memorable homegroup dinners. There was a "very scary" visit to Santa at Westmont, several Christmas performances by the kids, the first annual Friends Navidad game night, a girls' outing to Ojai for Christmas wreath making, a family snow night at the mall with dear friends, and a boat parade date night. The month felt full in all the right ways, even if someone was sick for every single week of the month.
I suppose you can see why, despite my best efforts, it's been a slow blog year for me. I continue to battle for pockets of time to chase my writing/entrepreneurial dreams while also being present in the equally important career of child raising. Some months prove easier than others when it comes to how these two passions collide or co-exist. In related news, why do children barf so frequently?
And yet, despite my slower blogging habits, I'd be remiss if I didn't complete my annual "Best of" list, which is is a little shorter than past years. I hope you'll still enjoy some of my favorite links, finds, and memories from 2015, and I wish you lots of love and peace as we welcome 2016.
Best Books of 2015: The Girl on the Train (Fiction) and For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World Full of Impossible Standards (Non-fiction). My full 2015 reading list is here. (Also: Bringing Up Bebe and Raising Your Spirited Child were my two favorite parenting books this last year, and I think are two of my favorites of all time.)
Best Movie of 2015: The Martian (Because it was a date night, and MATT DAMON, and I can't remember what else I saw in theaters this year.)
Best Song of 2015: Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars. (Because, hearing a two year old sing Uptown Funk is hilarious, and because we had an epic moment on the dance floor in Jackson, Mississippi during Matt and Elizabeth's wedding.) My 2015 Spotify playlist.
Best TV of 2015: Did I mention that I don't really like television anymore? Nashville and Scandal are too depressing, The Americans is a good show but a little bit slow for my taste, and Modern Family is funny but doesn't have me hooked. Ideas?
Best Podcast of 2015: Kat Lee's Inspired to Action, especially this episode with Sarah Mae. (Also: currently listening to Serial, Season 2. It's fine, but not nearly as great as last year.)
Best Blog Post of 2015: I Wish Someone Would Have Warned Me About These BIG FEELINGS by Jen Hatmaker
Best Article of 2015: Should Christians Be Encouraged to Arm Themselves? by John Piper
Best Recipe of 2015: Avocado Egg Rolls! (Is there anything better than healthy fats and unhealthy fats mixed into a flavorful explosion in your mouth? I think not.)
What Worked For Me in 2015:
- Jumping into leadership roles at MOPS and church, which has led to meeting some really wonderful, fun, hilarious and God loving people.
- Sending Owen to "preschool" (aka: daycare, two mornings a week.) I'm a better mom when I have a few mornings to pursue non-mom related tasks.
- Family bike rides, beach strolls and a LOT of amazing sunsets. (We set a 2015 goal to watch the sunset at least once a week. It didn't happen during the late evening summer months, but it did happen way more than I thought it would over the last 12 months.)
- Moving to a new blog space
- Joining the Coffee + Crumbs writer team AND flying to Chicago for the Redbud conference. There is nothing better than writing in the community of other passionate, lovely women.
Best Moments of 2015:
- Stuffing our faces with cookies at Sarah & Michael's wedding in San Diego last January. Happy (almost) 1 year, newlyweds!
- Walking the beach with my love, on my 33rd birthday.
- The food at Matt & Elizabeth's southern wedding in Jackson. The final Miller sibling is married off, and we're so happy for them!
- Debuting my dad's 60th birthday video at his June bash.
- Watching my grandpa open his Fitbit for his 90th birthday in Catalina.
- Beach days at Padaro, an epic Labor Day weekend dance party at Jalama Canon Ranch, and regular Saturday donut store dates (despite my hatred for donuts.)
- Every single sunset during our 10th anniversary trip to Hawaii. Also: poke.
- The day Owen stopped crying when I dropped him off at preschool.
- Making hats with my girlfriends in Colorado.
- Seeing a heartbeat at our 8 week ultrasound. Baby (Boy) Miller, debuting in June 2016!
- Half Marathon Relay with some of the hardest working mamas in Santa Barbara.
- Mammoth with my family, and teaching Anna to ski, which is also on my least favorite list for 2015. Funny how that works.
A Few of My Own Favorite Articles in 2015:
Adieu, 2015. You were so good to us!