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One Year Ends and Another Begins

Posted on January 3, 2016 by under Life.    

It’s that time of year again when we look back on the previous year, recall what went wrong (or right), and reflect on lessons learned. Before we begin recapping 2015, allow me to briefly recap the past few years.

The year 2014 was a fantastic year for me but it ended pretty rough. I got sick and ended up with pneumonia. Right then I knew that I was in for a rocky year but I remained optimistic. And, despite all of the ups and downs of 2015, I managed to avoid a trip to the ER so I consider that a win. LOL.

So what else happened last year besides not having to go to the ER?

I got to visit one of our partners’ call centers in Saint George, UT. Their office is near Las Vegas so we ended up flying in and out of Vegas for the trip. It was fun and I got to meet some really cool people but it was rough staying in a different hotel room every night.

Brian and I had the opportunity to attend several great fundraising events like the Heart Ball, Celebrity & Chef Cook Off, Labor Run, Zoobilee, Light Your Heart, Brew Ha-Ha, Boo and Brew Ball, and the Second Wave anniversary party at the Wichita Art Museum. We also participated in Cards for the Cure, which our friend Jay masterfully took down.

Brian was laid off from Viega after seven years but we didn’t let that hamper our spirits. We still celebrated Super Pi Day on March 14, 2015. It worked out for the best though because then Brian was able to do some traveling with me when I had to go to Washington, DC for a work conference. We both got to visit Washington for the first time together. During Brian’s brief break from employment, he dabbled in travel agent work and helped our friends Jay and Becca sort out the Travel Junkie CRM before eventually changing careers and joining Edward Jones.

Besides Saint George, UT and Washington, DC, I also had the opportunity to travel to Charlotte, NC when I got a free registration to the annual CS Week conference. While there I got to visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame and had the opportunity to meet NASCAR legend Junior Johnson.

I also got to visit New York while I was in New Jersey for a utilities workshop. Darcy and I traveled together. It was both a fun and productive trip.

I got to help with the 2015 Youth Entrepreneurs Summer Partnership program at my work and also participated in some great team building activities with my coworkers. We learned how to do makeup one time, and we also did community service work at the Kansas Food Bank and the Wichita Art Museum.

I had fun hanging out with my little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters all year. Here are some of the things we did: Starbird-Devlin Cars for Charities, Big Fish at Century II, learning some Zumba, painting at the Big Brothers Big Sisters office, Bartlett Arboretum, bowling (a few times), roller skating, playing at Get Air (the trampoline park downtown), celebrating with other matches at the Big Brothers Big Sisters holiday party at Botanica, etc. It has been a wonderful year and Nickira is growing so fast. Her feet are actually bigger than mine now.

Besides doing more community service this year than I ever have (I actually qualified to request Tier 1 and Tier 2 volunteer time matches at work, which I asked to be donated to the Greater Wichita YMCA both times), I also got to do other enrichment activities such as joining the Andover Rotary Club (thanks to my friends and coworker David for recommending it), and Brian and I both completed Citizen Police Academy.

Brian and I got to see some good concerts from artists we’d never seen perform before: The Avett Brothers, Moreland & Arbuckle, Here Come the Mummies, and John Fullbright. We missed the Avett Brothers the first time they came to town so we vowed not to miss them again this time around. Here Come the Mummies was a complete surprise. We thought they would be hokey but they were actually amazing. The others were at Bartlett Arboretum. That place is completely enchanting. I can’t believe we’d never been there until now.

Besides the disaster of Brian getting laid off from work, I also had a couple of disasters with my phone and my car. UBreakIFix saved my hiney, not once, but twice. Then I wrecked both the front and back ends of my car shortly after paying it off. Isn’t that just the luck? I had to take care of the front end damage, which was actually more expensive, myself because no other car was involved. It was me vs. a parking stop. LOL. The back end damage was a minor fender bender (rear-end collision) in downtown Kansas City. It cost about half as much to fix but it wasn’t my fault so I didn’t have to pay for the repairs that time. What a relief!

Brian wasn’t the only one who had some work changes. I started working on a new project at work. It’s a major one that’s a three-year commitment. It’s so huge that I had to move my office from one end of the building to the other and I’ll be reporting to someone else this year.

We celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary in a low-key way by going on a moonlight horseback ride in the Flint Hills and having a nice quiet dinner in Mulvane. Our anniversary this year was simple but it’s definitely one of the more memorable ones.

We had some friends who turned 50 this year and threw the most amazing parties. We also got to attend Christina and Jake’s wedding at Exploration Place. That was another great party.

Lastly, we added two new family members. Brian got a new car he named Rex because it’s a Lexus RX 350. It’s a 2015 but we got a heck of a deal so we didn’t have to finance. That happened during the week of Thanksgiving so we just called it his Christmas present (for this year and the next few years – LOL).

In December we won a puppy in the live auction of the Light Your Heart event. We named her Saki. Life hasn’t been the same ever since. For all of us.

Saki is very sweet and is an amazing dog but it is an adjustment. Molly is on senior dog food and Saki is on puppy dog food. We now have to buy two of everything so they don’t get jealous of one another. There’s also the additional vet bills. Feeding times are now a two-person effort because we have to make sure they don’t kill each other. Brian and I are fine with the changes, but Molly is taking a long time to adjust. They have good moments but the two still fight a lot. Even though we’d been thinking of getting a companion for Molly for a while (ever since we found out that our favorite neighbors and their two dogs would be moving to Orlando), this is probably the most spontaneous thing we’ve ever done. And, Brian and I are not spontaneous people.

We have sit-down meetings with each other to plan our budget at the end of every year and halfway through. We schedule everything months in advance and have a strict calendar. Heck, we use a spreadsheet to plan our Thanksgiving cooking! We were definitely not as prepared as we usually are for this change.

That’s pretty much our year in a nutshell. It was a rollercoaster with lots of ups and downs but I feel blessed for all the great things that happened. Like I said, I didn’t have to make a trip to the ER so that in itself is a win.

I’m optimistic about the coming year but Brian tells me that I’m optimistic about the new year every year. For one, we are already off to a great start compared to last year. Last year I wanted to teach Zumba on New Year’s Day but couldn’t because I had pneumonia. This year I was able to make it happen. I turned the event into a mini Zumbathon/party complete with gift drawings and two other instructors leading songs. We had such a blast.

I believe that great things will happen for us next year and I look forward to recounting them around this time next year. I’m hoping that going on the first ever Zumba cruise, which is less than a month away, will be only one of many highlights that I’ll be sharing with you this time next year. Brian and I are both super excited (me more so than Brian as can be expected – LOL).

Happy New Year, Everyone!

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