2017 in review

Here is our year in review! It's been an eventful year with so many big changes for us!

Jack, David, and I rang in 2017 at the Salt Lake City airport sometime before 5 am on our way home to Iowa after a Hall family vacation to Disneyland and then to Utah for Christmas. Spencer went back to work a few days before us, so he enjoyed watching football on January 1st while I survived traveling all day with Jack and David. #thepriceipaytostaylongerwithfamily ;)
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To be honest, January-March-ish in cold climates is always just a time where I have to put in extra effort to get out of the house, enjoy every second that the weather is decent, and hope that the winter blues don't get me too bad! I made a goal to go on a walk before church every Sunday if the temperature was above 20 degrees. We were pretty consistent and I'm happy to report that I didn't have the winter blues nearly as bad this last winter. (Maybe I subconsciously knew that it was my last winter in Iowa ;)
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We made a trip to Nauvoo to visit the temple.
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David turned three! (And I got a short glimpse of what baby and toddler freedom felt like with no nap times or diapers!)
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It was the year of superheroes :)
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We enjoyed mild February weather by spending as much time as we could outside and I tried to soak in every last minute as a mom of two kids :)
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Spencer turned 29! The weather was good enough to have birthday lunch with him outside. (Good February weather in Iowa probably meant high 40s or low 50s! haha)
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We celebrated Spencer's birthday a week later with a day trip to Chicago that Jack totally planned :) Jack said that all Spencer wanted for his birthday was to see Sue the T. Rex at the Field Museum. (Actually that was all JACK wanted for Spencer's birthday ;) To this day, Jack still talks about this so it was a hit for at least one of us! haha
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 We played in the last snow of the season (and probably the last snow for a very long time!) I'm not mad about it.
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Spencer accepted a job offer in Arizona TWO WEEKS before my due date!
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I spent a lot of therapeutic time on our bike trail crying because I didn't know how our move was going to logistically work out, crying because I didn't know how to find a place to live half way across the country, crying because I couldn't get myself to go into labor, and crying because I was so grateful for our wonderful Iowa chapter. I was kind of a hormonal wreck ;)
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Our sweet Kate Elizabeth was born. I was convinced she was going to be a boy so our baby GIRL was a huge surprise!
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We moved! Basically, my mom flew out to Iowa to pick me and the kids up and take us to live with her for a month while Spencer packed, moved across the country, and started a new job. It was insane but surprisingly went as smoothly as possible considering the circumstances. (All thanks to Spencer, my mom, and Kate who was the easiest infant ever!)
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We blessed Kate with our families in Utah.
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We settled into our heaven sent rental in Gilbert, AZ as a family of five!

 It was so fun decorating a GIRL room!

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We celebrated Independence Day at Scottsdale's INDOOR 4th of July celebration!
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We went to Oceanside, CA for a quick weekend to see my family!
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Jack started Kindergarten!
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James, Maddie, and Calvin came to visit and we went to a Diamondbacks game for Maddie's birthday!
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My mom and Elizabeth came to visit for Elizabeth's 16th birthday!
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We enjoyed the monsoons!
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I started working at Lifetime Fitness. (I teach one private swim lesson a week which is perfect since I just got the job for the free membership! haha) We spent a lot of time at the pool over the summer and fall, and I fell in love with their yoga classes.
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 David started preschool!
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Spencer went to visit his mom over Labor Day weekend and my mom made a last minute trip to come visit the same weekend during my birthday.
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We visited James, Maddie and Calvin in Oceanside for another quick weekend trip!IMG 6091
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We went to Utah over our October break to walk the ALS Walk for the Cure with Spencer's family. Fullsizeoutput f16d
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We went to Utah AGAIN for Thanksgiving. We are so grateful for the time we have with Spencer's mom. In October of 2016 when she was diagnosed with ALS, they gave her less than a year to live and she is still with us now, over a year after her diagnosis.  IMG 8380
Jack turned six! He got to celebrate in Utah and Arizona! We went to Dinosaur Park in Ogden for his birthday and he loved it!
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We had a wonderful and green Christmas at home in Arizona. IMG 7793
My family came to visit after Christmas and we went to the Arizona bowl in Tuscon to cheer on the Aggies!
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This is obviously a post of all of our "highs" this year and not our lows, but I love writing these years in review because it helps me remember how blessed we've been and all that God has done for us. Our days are often repetitive, demanding, and exhausting with small kids and an infant and I won't tell you how many times I daydream about escaping real life and going on vacation but I'm sure grateful for this life I've been given and the people I get to share it with :)
Bring it on, 2018!
2016 year in review
2015 year in review


    Christmas weekend

    We had a great Christmas weekend! This was the second Christmas that we haven't been on the road visiting family (the last time was in 2013 right before David was born) and while we missed being with family during the holidays, we were grateful to be home this year creating our own traditions with our little family.
    Jack had a half day on Friday and we went straight to the zoo with friends! We finally did the dinosaurs at the desert exhibit and of course, they loved it!
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    Ran into Santa!
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    Once Spencer got home from work, we drove up to Scottsdale to see the Winter Wonderland lights display. Between that and Christmas on Comstock, we feel like we got quite the Christmas lights experience this year! They've both been featured on the show the Great Christmas Light Fight.
    We roasted marshmallows, played in fake snow and bubbles, and went back to see the Frozen display in their backyard!
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     On the drive home, Jack spotted the craziest thing in the sky! We couldn't decide if it was Santa, a UFO, or something else! We later found out it was the SpaceX rocket that was launched in California! Fullsizeoutput 102d4
    On Saturday we hiked the first part of Flat Iron with our kids and friends. Jack and Kate are happy hikers but David is not a huge fan - poor Spencer packed him the entire way! He better start liking hiking soon because he's almost four and getting way too big for the hiking backpack!
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    Jack is in his element when we hike! He loves it so much and is always up ahead!
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    We saw Santa out on the trail!
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    Jenny married my childhood neighbor and Jenny and I have been Voxer friends for years. We both moved to Arizona this summer and it's been so fun to finally be "real life" friends :)
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    When Spencer and I were dating, he came to visit me in Arizona for New Years in 2010. We hiked Flat Iron together on January 1, 2010 :)
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    Here we are again almost 8 years later :)
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    After our hike, we got Gecko Grill takeout for dinner. Some days I still can't believe that after 10 years of long distance cravings, I now live only three miles away from my favorite meal in the entire world. #shrimpmangoquesadillas #anytimeiwant
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    On Christmas Eve, we went to church and then the Christmas Eve traditions commenced! David had a fever on and off but still managed to have a good day.
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    We each made a Christmas painting and decorated gingerbread houses while Kate was napping.
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    David's painting: (He said it was our elf on the shelf that could transform into a Christmas rocket ;)
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    Jack's cute nativity:
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    My Santa :)
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    And Spencer's Christmas desert landscape :)
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    Christmas Eve biking/walking
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    We had appetizers for dinner, then opened our Christmas ornaments and Christmas jammies.
    Kate didn't like her peas! haha
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    My favorite Christmas tradition growing up was always our Christmas Eve dance party in our new Christmas pajamas! I'm glad my family likes it as much as I do :) When I married Spencer, he wasn't a huge fan of dancing but we've rubbed off on him! hahaha
    After dancing, we read the nativity and a Christmas book then headed to bed. (We usually listen to a recording of my great grandpa telling the story of when he was a little boy and got a pony for Christmas but I couldn't find it this year! Whaaaaa!!!!)
    Jack woke up on Christmas morning at 4:45 am and had to wait patiently until 7 when Kate and David woke up. Santa delivered with a scooter for David and a surprise for Jack (he got a rock polisher). Kate got a few baby toys but she liked eating the wrapping paper the best! haha We got the kids a trampoline too! It was fun to get the kids something that we didn't have to fit in a suitcase and something that they could enjoy right away because the weather is so nice!
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    We had our traditional orange rolls for Christmas breakfast and hung out the rest of the day. Poor David played too hard and his fever caught up with him again :(
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    I took too many pictures of Kate today... I just love her- toes, teeth, snot and all :)
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    This picture kills me! haha
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    My favorite gifts were my rings with my babies names on them :)
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    I checked the weather in Davenport and I wasn't mad that we weren't there ;)
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    Spencer stayed home with napping David while Kate, Jack and I went on a bike ride on the canal and stopped at a park. (One of these days our six-year-old will learn to ride his own bike but today was not that day ;)
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    That cotton candy sky!!!!
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    There is something about biking that gives me the biggest adrenaline/endorphin rush and as I was riding, I felt so grateful for this little life I lead and for my Savior who walks with me through it all. God is good!
    We ordered pizza for dinner! haha Growing up, we always had an Italian dinner for our Christmas Eve dinner since my dad went on his mission to Italy. I decided that pizza counts for that tradition plus it's Jack and David's favorite food plus I don't have to cook anything on Christmas day! Win, win, win!
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    After the kids went to bed, we watched a movie together then hit the sack! We had a wonderful Christmas and are excited for my family to come visit this week!
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