HAPPY NEW YEAR’S EVE and goodbye 2016!!! I think most of us are in agreement that 2016 wasn’t the best year we’ve had. Maybe for some of you it was, but from the beginning, for me, 2016 pretty much sucked. My dad passed away on January 15th, 2016 and that cast a pretty dark shadow on the rest of the year. It’s been a year of “firsts” without him – first Father’s Day without a father, first birthday he wasn’t here to celebrate, first Christmas without seeing his smile as we opened gifts… Every holiday and special event was marked with a grim reminder that he wasn’t here with us. We have also been in a legal battle over his estate that will hopefully be over next week but dealing with that has also been extremely difficult and put significant strain on some of my relationships with people that I deeply love.

With the court case hopefully behind me soon and the ringing in of the New Year, I have hope that 2017 is going to bring me peace, joy, and a lot of love. For starters, we have a lot of weddings coming up! Two of my very best girlfriends since the first grade are getting married and my little sister just got engaged a few weeks ago and will be getting married in 2017 also! Our family also has a lot of travel planned including South America, DisneyWorld (Shh! Its a surprise for the girls’ birthdays!), and Canada. I’m also really excited to see this space grow. I can’t believe there are over eleven thousand of you guys following me and my journey on Instagram! It’s been amazing to connect with so many of you there and I look forward to sharing and growing alongside all of you.

To say goodbye to 2016, I wanted to share a few of my favorite photos and moments from the past year as a way to remember some of the really incredible things that we had the opportunity to experience….

My Dad had the best smile. To know him was to love him, honestly. The proof was in the number of people who showed up in the middle of the worst blizzard last January for his funeral and stood in the middle of the freezing snow storm to say their goodbyes. I miss him every single day.

We spent New Years Day with my Dad last year. It was the last time I was able to see him before he was in hospice just 12 days later. We put up our yearly calendar that I gift him and ate our traditional Chic-Fil-A lunch together. I didn’t take too many pictures that day but I’m really grateful I have this one.

Our trip to the Exumas was definitely a highlight for me! We left Aaron at home because he had to work and we spent our days collecting an endless number of shells and swimming our hearts out on the most beautiful beaches I had ever seen.

We moved into a new apartment and the girls’ room was featured in Domino Magazine! I can finally say that the house is 99.5% finished and I can’t wait to share the rest of the house with you guys soon. It’s been a slow and steady wins the race kind of project but it finally is starting to feel like home (top photos: Julia Elizabeth, bottom photo: Victoria Gloria)

4th of july

I got to spend most of my time in my favorite place in the world – anywhere with my girls. From Charleston, to the Museum of Ice Cream, to the Botanical Gardens in the Spring, to our Upstate adventure….as long as I’m with them, my heart is happy ( bottom four photos by Julia Elizabeth)

I went to Paris….BY MYSELF! It was the first time I had ever traveled alone in my life. It pushed me out of every single comfort zone I had, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Edith started Pre-K! She is doing so incredibly well in school. She’s always been super smart but seeing her in this environment and watching her thrive has been such a joy. I’m so proud of her and cannot wait to see how much she can accomplish this year.

And every day I come home to this. My marriage also grew so much this year. I honestly wasn’t sure if we were going to make it out of 2016 together. Thats the honest truth. There were nights filled with tears and phone calls to friends and fights and hugs and painful conversations that had to be had and here we are, stronger than ever. If I’m going to fight, I’m going to fight for him and us and this family we have and I’d make every decision the same all over again if it ended us up where we are today.

I haven’t really made any goals for this year. I’m too burnt out for all of that and I can’t even begin to imagine what life is going to throw my way. But today I’m hopeful and nervous and excited and ready to meet whatever challenge or success is put in front of me. Do you have any goals? Any resolutions? What was your favorite memory of 2016?

See you in the New Year friends!

2 comments on “GOODBYE 2016!”

  1. I cant tell you how much I enjoy your blog. I appreciate the Christmas card – your cards are always so different and unique – love ’em. As you say, 2016 started off rough – Neil was a very dear friend and I have oh so many wonderful memories of times spent together, conversations and much laughter. My heart hurt when he left us – but knowing he is at peace helps me. I have known you since your birth and would like to say that you have grown into a remarkable young woman, wife and mother. You allow your girls to experience so many different and fun activities. I must say I am very impressed with all you manage to achieve while being a busy mother and wife. I wish for you a fabulous 2017 with new adventures and happy memories. XOXOXO Helen

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