December 31, 2017

Top 17 of 2017

This post has become somewhat of a tradition. I've done one each year since 2011. It's a nice way of looking back on the year, and focusing on the highlights--the things that I may have forgotten if not for writing this post.

Some of the items on the list are obvious, but others are subtle things that had an impact on me in some way. Here are links to my past years' lists:

My Top 11 of 2011
My Top 12 of 2012
My Top 13 of 2013
My Top 14 of 2014
My Top 15 of 2015
My Top 16 of 2016

And here we go... my Top 17 of 2017...

1. Becoming an aunt

This was definitely my most favorite part of 2017! Lucas Charles was born on March 8, 2017. Seeing him grow this year, and seeing my brother as a dad, has warmed my heart in ways I can't even describe. I fell in love with Luke the moment I saw him, and I am able to cherish and enjoy every moment I spend with him, because he grows too fast.

There is something different about being an aunt than a mom. I love both, but there is just something so special about being an aunt! Becky, my sister-in-law, absolutely amazes me as well--with Brian being a pilot, he's gone quite a bit, and Becky has been the best mom to Luke. I think Brian and Becky's parenting style (totally relaxed!) has helped Luke become very chill and happy.

2. Spending some quality time with Noah during the nightmare that was his "splinter"

What we thought was a simple splinter at first seemed to be no big deal. But once we realized just how serious everything was, and we had the whole fiasco with the emergency room experiences, this whole thing was a living nightmare. And when my doctor insisted that we take Noah to yet another ER (in Ann Arbor, a good 45 minutes away), during the biggest snow storm of the year, I was stressed to the max over all of it.

The drive to Ann Arbor with Noah took forever, because we were crawling at 25-35 mph on the expressway due to the snow. There were times where I couldn't see even 10 feet in front of the car. At one point, my car ran out of wiper fluid, and with all the salt from the roads winding up on my windshield, I couldn't see. We had to pull off the expressway to a gas station and buy some wiper fluid.

When we finally got to the ER, we spent all day in an exam room with doctors and nurses popping in and out. This is an odd choice for one item of my "Top 17" list, but the drive to and from the hospital, as well as sitting in the exam room for so long, meant I got to spend alone time with Noah (which is rare--he's "too cool" to hang out with his mom much). I have good feelings with thinking back on that day.

3. Hosting a meet-up for local From Fat to Finish Line members

After meeting some of the FFTFL members in San Diego earlier in the year, I really wanted to get more involved. So, I organized a meet-up to go for a 5K walk at the State Park, followed by breakfast at Cracker Barrel. These people were so kind, and I really enjoyed meeting them!

4. Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder

This is a very odd choice as one of the "top" moments of 2017, but this diagnosis changed my life for the better in so many ways. I finally learned why I am the way I am; and best of all, I learned that there is a medication that can help me to be a stable version of myself. After starting the medication, I felt a million times better. I had just gone through the worst depressive episode of my life, and the change was huge.

While having bipolar disorder is embarrassing sometimes, and there is a huge stigma attached to it, I hope to bring more awareness to it. I have not only accepted the diagnosis, but I've embraced it. There are certain "bipolar parts" of me that I like, and now I know that there is a reason for my quirks. I've chosen to use humor to embrace the diagnosis, and that has made all the difference in how I've handled it.

5. Hosting a blog reader meet-up in Indy

Having decided to do the Indy Mini again this year, I invited readers to come share the weekend with me. I wasn't sure if anyone would be interested, but there was a huge turnout. Some of these women even traveled quite a distance for the meet-up, and I felt honored that they did that. The women I spent the day or weekend with were fantastic--everybody was SO nice!

Jerry came with me, and he enjoyed getting to know some of the other husbands. We both had a very fun weekend getting to know and spend time with new friends.

6. Hiking in several places in Oregon

This was one of my most favorite trips of all time. I went to Oregon to visit my BFF, Thomas, in Portland (which has basically become my "home away from home"). I absolutely LOVE the Pacific Northwest! Considering this was my fifth(?) trip out there in the past few years, Thomas showed me some of Oregon that was very different from Portland. The places we hiked were very dry and desert-like, which was the polar opposite of lush green Portland.

While I definitely prefer the green (the trees are my favorite part of the PNW), it was very cool to see the side of Oregon that I didn't even know existed. The views were stunning.

7. Having the Detroit Zoo to ourselves after closing

Well, not necessarily to "ourselves", but to the company that Jerry works for. We got to have a catered dinner, and then walk around the zoo in the evening hours after they closed. It was so nice not to have to maneuver through crowds of people, and to spend time with the Jerry and the kids.

8. Family vacation over the Fourth of July at my sister's "Camp Fireside"

The whole family went up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to my sister's property for the Fourth of July. We spent several days riding four wheelers, sitting around the campfire, playing Cornhole, and other fun things. I spent about 75% of my time hanging out with Luke ;)

9. Teaching Eli to cook while Noah was at camp

Noah went to church camp in the summer, and Eli chose not to go. I looked at day camp options, and he was interested in a cooking camp. I looked into it, but he would have been one of the oldest kids there, and I thought maybe it would be too easy for him. So, I told him that we would do our own little cooking class at home.

I let him choose several different things to make, each using a different technique so that he could learn a variety of skills. He loved it! And so did I. It was a great way to spend quality time with him, and we had some really yummy food. His favorite was this steak with sautéed summer squash and zucchini. It was probably the most delicious steak I've ever eaten. And I'm not even a fan of steak!

10. Digging out hostas with Jerry

Again, an odd choice for this list. But I have literally never laughed so hard in my entire life. We sucked at splitting the hostas (our first time trying to do it), and we couldn't stop laughing at what a terrible job we were doing. I couldn't even catch my breath, and I thought I was going to pass out. It was one of the funnest moments I've ever had with Jerry.

11. Going to the airshow with the family

Our next door neighbor gave us tickets to the airshow, so we thought it would be a fun family thing to do. While the airshow was just okay, we did share a lot of laughs. Particularly at the hideously ugly sunglasses we bought, because we'd forgotten our own.

12. Finally feeling free from the anxiety caused by social media/blog comments

I wrote a whole post about it (link above), but this was one of the very best parts of the last several years--not just 2017. Worrying about what other people think, and the comments that they make to me or about me was the source of a ton of anxiety that I carried around constantly. Once I had a breakthrough in therapy, as well as started my new bipolar meds, I was finally able to get rid of that anxiety. I no longer care at all what other people think of me, as long as I feel good about myself. This has opened up so many opportunities that I would have missed out on otherwise.

13. Jerry and I visiting Dan and Laurel in Seattle

On my trips to Portland, I've gone up to Seattle a couple of times now. Dan and Laurel are one of the most fun couples I know, and I was so excited for Jerry to meet them. We had a fantastic couple of days (starting with Laurel announcing that she's pregnant!). I'm already looking forward to visiting next year so that I can meet the baby :)

14. Visiting Thomas in Portland

From Seattle, Jerry and I drove back down to Portland to meet up with Thomas for a few days. Thomas planned lots of fun things for us to do, and he managed to choose things that would interest both Jerry and me (not an easy task). I was thrilled that Jerry finally got to see all the things I love about the Pacific Northwest.

15. A visit from Caitlin

I went to Boston in April to visit Caitlin (a blog reader who eventually turned into one of my best friends), which was tough not to include on this list (I had to narrow my list down from 52(!!) to 17.) I had so much fun with her while she was here, and the trip went by way too fast. One of the best parts was that I convinced her to do a boudoir photoshoot, and despite being very nervous and expecting to hate every minute of it, she LOVED it. She loved it so much that she wrote a guest post about it, which I will share soon.

16. Family photos with Santa

My kids had never gotten pictures with Santa before, and Jerry needed some cheering up, so I planned a surprise visit to Somerset Collection (an upscale mall) to have a photo session with Santa. We all had so much fun! We got some great photos out of it, too. We went to dinner afterward, and the whole afternoon/evening was a very fun way to spend time with the family.

17. Getting together with my childhood friends for the holidays

I have been friends with this group for well over 30 years. We try to get together every Christmas, but we missed the last two years. On Friday, they came to my house, and it was so fun getting to catch up with them. I even had photos printed of us from childhood, and it was fun looking through those and reminiscing.

The youngest of the group, Spence (Lance's younger brother--I've mentioned Lance several times on my blog), was diagnosed last month with stage 4 glioblastoma (brain cancer). I don't want to write about that now, because it was one of the biggest punches in the stomach I've ever felt; but spending time with these friends a few days ago meant more to me than ever before. I'm going to his house tonight for a New Year's Eve get together.

Considering the fact that I had to narrow down this list from 52 to 17, this year was clearly a very good year. Although it was off to a rocky start, this year ended up being one of the best ever!

Some fun facts for 2017:

I ran 146.85 miles this year. My lowest ever--by far. In September 2013, I actually ran 205 miles in a MONTH. There were two months this year that I didn't run a single mile. I don't regret any of it, though. I did what felt right for me at the time.

The food I consumed the most of was probably Mott's fruit snacks. I can't get enough of them, and I've been eating them every day for probably 10 months.

My most memorable meal was the Corn in a Cup I had in Indy. Not necessarily my very favorite meal, but certainly the most memorable. I saw a stand at the mall advertising "Corn in a Cup" and they were giving out samples. I was blown away at how good it was (corn with some seasonings). I was craving it all day, and when everyone else had pizza, I got Corn in a Cup, hahahaha.

My current favorite breakfast is some sort of sugar cereal (Cap'n Crunch is my favorite)
My current favorite TV Show is probably "The Good Doctor" or "This Is Us"
My current favorite evening treat is Mott's fruit snacks

What I am most looking forward to in 2018? Our family vacation to Boston!

Tomorrow, I'll write a post about my goals for 2018.


  1. I love your list and end of the year highlights!


  2. I love this list! It makes me smile and warms my heart that you are so happy!

  3. Nice list!!! I am happy to see our Indy meet up made the list!!!��

  4. Great List and a great year. I was surprised that your success with the zero based budget didn't make the cut!

  5. I love love love The Good Doctor!

  6. Ok I just have to ask, how are your teeth after eating the fruit snacks? I swear they caused a lot of the cavities my kids had when they were little.

    1. Well, so far I haven't gotten any cavities since I started eating them. But I tend to eat them before bed, and then brush my teeth within an hour or so; maybe that's why?


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