Looking back, 2014 was a HUGE year for us! Lots of changes, growth, new experiences, and losses as well….

If I had to sum it up on one word, that word would be

GROWTH

In the literal term- each kiddo grew nearly 4″ last year.  That’s HUGE for us!  Normally they only grow about two inches, so …wow!  We are hitting some serious growth spurts!

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Riley grew 3.25″ between birthdays, then another inch in December alone.  She’s now 64.25″ tall.  (I’m 64″ exact, so yes, she’s got me by a quarter inch now).   Trevor grew 3.25″ between birthdays, but then another 2″ before year end, so he’s now 67.75″ tall.  Brooke grew 4″ exactly and is now 55″ tall.  It’s a strange feeling to have two of my kiddos pass me in height this year.

#growingup my boy can carry me!

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#growingup

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GROWTH

We are growing HEALTHY bodies.

I kicked off the year (well, it was February) getting a FitBit (pedometer).

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I realized I was averaging about 6,000 steps a day.   But when Riley made me go out for walks while we were at the beach for a girls’ weekend in April….

Good girl taking her mommy for a walk :-)

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…..I was shocked!  It was so easy to hit 10,000-12,000 steps on those days- just because of a couple short walks.  The rest of that time I was sitting on my arse blogging and scrapbooking.  ALL.  DAY.  ON.  MY.  ARSE.  Seriously?  All it takes is a couple walks to get 10,000 steps?   I was hooked. When we came home I made it my (serious) daily goal to get 10,000 steps.

In March I started attending the Circuit Training (Fitness Class) at the kids’ MMA.  I can usually only make it to one class a week, but some weeks I can do both classes.  (And some weeks, er all of August and September and most of October) I didn’t go at all.  Anyway, moral of this story, the circuit training classes are amaze-balls.  It’s like Curves on crack….or a less-intense Crossfit session.  Most of our workouts incorporate kettle bells and medicine balls and follow a Tabata/HIIT type training schedule.  It’s made a huge difference. I feel stronger, I look stronger, I AM stronger.

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In May I started running.  I used the “Couch to 5K” app to get me started.  Even went running while in Cabo!   Like at 7am when it was already 80-degrees outside.  Yuck.

Yeah, we’d come back soaked in sweat, drenched, gross.

But I did it!!  For a while I was running 3 days a week AND doing the circuit training classes.  But like I said, I ended up taking most of August and September off.

Hit the pavement tonight for the first time in well over a month! It was hard, but I feel great!

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Then winter hit and with the rain, and cold, and darkness…well, that only left DRY weekends when we weren’t busy (lol!).  But we’re on the flipside of winter solstice with dry (but cold) weather and I’m back at it again.

In fact- I got a report from MapMyRun that showed I ran 123.5 miles last year!  For having run ZERO miles the previous 15 years, I’d say that’s FANTASTIC!

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And let me just say…. for running, this is the best invention EVER:

Best invention! #musthave #flipbelt

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Anyway, back to GROWTH and HEALTH.  Jim is on the bandwagon now.  He also got a Fitbit and found out that he was averaging closer to 4,000 steps a day so he also took the 10,000 step goal seriously, and now goes for a walk or run every single day.  Most runs are between 3-5 miles.  He ALWAYS gets his 10,000 steps in.  He even went for a run on Christmas day to ensure he met his goal.

As a result of all this- he’s lost around 15 pounds!  He’s looking GOOOOOOOOD!

So we are both stronger and have improved our cardiovascular health and endurance.

And I can wear a bikini and public and be happy.

How to spend the day on the beach without getting burned. #ka'anapalibeach

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GROWTH

I did something I never thought I’d do before: SURFING.

Yeah baby!

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I went surfing!! Never ever did I ever ever consider going surfing.  There’s no way my 2013 self would do it.  But when my sister brought it up as an activity idea for my visit to Maui, and knowing that I’m stronger and physically able to, I thought, “why not?”  And it was so much fun!

The kids also went surfing this summer!   In Cabo!  More on that in a bit.

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GROWTH

Our “Property Management” business grew last year.  We FINALLY were able to finalize the purchase of my childhood home.  So now that’s two rental properties that we own, in addition to managing Jim’s dad’s place.  Property management has it’s ups and downs…. the downs being a cracked ceramic range top that was quite expensive to replace, a neighbor didn’t like one of our trees and completely pruned whatever he could reach….

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Then a month later the fence blew over during a windstorm….

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One of the other houses had a FIRE at the gate that required us to replace both sides of the gate…..

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We also had a clogged drain pipe that was causing the water from the gutters to backflow under the house and into the neighbor’s yard.

Oh, and we repainted both houses.

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Fotor0801155611OK, OK.  We PAID somebody to paint the houses for us.  We didn’t personally do it.  But anyway- we had some dedicated weekends and a lot of expenses.  Hopefully 2015 will be less intense.

GROWTH

I can hardly believe that I have a son who can DRIVE.

#drivethru

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He got his permit ON his birthday!

He passed! Birthday tradition… Getting his drivers permit!

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He is now our personal chaffeur.  We even bought a car for the kids- each one will learn to drive on it and get to drive it for the 2-3 years before the next kiddo gets their permit!

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I have to admit, I’m looking forward to Trevor getting his license so he can drive himself (or his sisters!) to MMA classes.  Speaking of which….both girls are testing in January to get their RED belts.  They’ve completed two years of training and have about 18 more months to go in order to become BLACK belts.

Go Riley!

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Ponytail!

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Trevor is now a BROWN belt.  He’s behind them by about one year.

GROWTH

Experiencing new places.  We spent a week in Cabo San Lucas in a fantastic luxury villa with our own personal concierge and private pool!  Amazing.  A vacation the kids will never forget.

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We also spent a day at Mt. St. Helens, a couple of hikes- one through the Ape Caves.

Going into the ape caves!

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It was a great day and the kids had no idea what Mt. St. Helens was all about!

437 steps to the top!

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Thankfully, all this was during the summer, before all our ‘losses’ hit.  In a seven day span we had two trips to the E.R. (Trevor with a bit-through lip and ripped off nail (and chipped teeth and a fractured nose and tons of abrasions on his face and hands) and Riley with a broken ankle) and we had to put Kenna down.  Yes, this all happened in a 7-day window.

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And to not leave Brooke out completely…. she DOES have something going on that we haven’t figured out yet.  Hoping a Sleep Deprived EEG study doesn’t come back with anything serious.  I’m assuming not since it’s been almost 2 weeks without any calls from the doctor.

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But back to GROWTH  and traveling to new places…

I got to spend a week in Maui with my sister!

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It was soooooo great to get to have some quality sister time!  Also great was when she came to visit us here in Oregon for a weekend!

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Funny how we are always matchy matchy.

GROWTH

We tried a few new things this year….growing with GIVING.

We signed up to help deliver food and gifts to needy families in our local area.

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Jim and I both drove (split up the kids) so we could double the number of houses we helped….there were 672 families that needed deliveries.  Between the two of us we delivered to 21 houses.  It was a great experience and one we will continue doing year after year.

Jim and I also participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge….

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THAT was cold.

GROWTH

Growing into responsible and respectful individuals.

The kids seem to get along well together the majority of the time…

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Trevor has aspirations to become a lifeguard so he can work at our neighborhood pool this summer.

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He’s been going swimming 1-2x per week to work on his skills.  This will mean a busy April as he’ll have MMA training and lifeguard training and homework…..but the reward will be great!

I enjoy his scooter hobby- despite the aforementioned injuries and ER visit.

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Riley became a “Red Cross Certified Babysitter” and got CPR trained and the whole nine yards!

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She also gets her braces off in January- after just 14 months of wearing them!

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And Riley sounds awesome when she plays the guitar:

So proud of this girl! @rileybuckley_04

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I'm only human @rileybuckley_04

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GROWTH

Growing kids means we need a growing food supply!  We had ordered a side of beef from Jim’s cousin…..which pretty much guaranteed Jim would have a successful elk hunt, because we didn’t NEED the meat.  And of course, Murphy’s Law came through….

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And we had lots of old cedar fence boards to create a unique antler mount….

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And some leftover to make a tabletop for a wire stand that we picked up at a garage sale…

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GROWTH

The endless number of tasks and to-do’s that we need to cram into every day.  Oh my gosh, it just keeps growing and the days are just flying by!  Get up, work, shuttle the kids to/from MMA, get some exercise in somehow, get stuff ready for the next day, go to bed, repeat.

We just finished Christmas Break-  the kids were home, I wasn’t working, Jim had several days off, the MMA school was closed….we had tons of FREE TIME and relished in the ability to relax.  We watched hours and hours and hours of Netflix/Hulu shows.  We cleaned house, we built a table, we finalized year end receipts, we enjoyed sleeping in EVERY DAY.  And it was nice.

But the weird thing is, we are so glad to be back at work, back at school, back to our normal routines and everyday expectations of life.  It’s easier that way, I suppose?  After all, I found time to type this up!