2016 Review

So 2016 seems to have been a tough year for a lot of people.  Whether you had personal heartache, were saddened by the events happening in our country and world or were dismayed and brokenhearted at the election results, I think most of us can say that we are ready for the calendar page to turn.

I’ve tried to re-frame our own year which certainly had it’s hard parts, but also to celebrate all the good that occurred.  And as in last year’s 2015 review, you’ll get to see some of the visual representation of all our goodness from 2016. Thank you Instagram and Google Photos.  And full disclosure (this may go without saying) but a certain someone stole the show in 2016.  So glad you joined our family JPC.

January 2016

One of my favorite pics ever.  From our Babymoon at Butterfly Gap Retreat. So sad to hear they’ve sold the property due to family illness, but hoping that another owner will reopen. This place holds a lot of special memories.  Good thing we settled on a name for Bebe during our time here.  If we’d only known what would transpire two weeks later.

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February 2016

June Parker Cracraft came catapulting into our world on an early Saturday morning, February 13th at 1:57am.  Stay tuned for more of her birth story as we approach her first birthday.  (Seriously…birthday?!?!?!?!) 2 lbs 2 oz and 14. 3 inches of pure sweet and spiciness! Our lives haven’t been the same since! This is one of my favorite pics–3 days old here.

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March 2016

This was one of the biggest milestones for me as a mother.  On her 47th day of life, I got to nurse my sweet JP.  Breastfeeding was something I really wanted to continue for as long as I could, so when our journey didn’t take near the path we had planned, I couldn’t have been more thrilled to be able to nurse June.  And I’m proud to say we’re still going strong 10 months later! We also celebrated Easter together as a family.

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April 2016

April 11th.  Taking our girl home from the NICU.  Zoom in and you can see the look of excitement and fear on the beau’s face. He was terrified of the drive home. Oxygen tank, monitor, and two folks who were oh so excited but oh so scared.  What a mix of emotions.  I’ll never forget that day.

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May 2016

My 35th birthday.  Our first date out after June came home.  Thankful for amazing in-laws who have stepped up in so many ways that I can’t begin counting.  And thankful for an amazing dinner at Distilled that night.  Sweet Sweet Snuggles after we arrived home that night.  Also very thrilled to celebrate my first Mother’s Day although it was somewhat bittersweet.  2016-05-11-22-19-30-1

June 2016

These two. What a bond they have. I cannot imagine this year without this guy by my side. We celebrated his first Father’s Day and also what an incredible support he has been. He worked 4 nights a week while June was in the NICU (because we had decided that him picking up extra shifts was a good idea before the baby came).  I also went back to work 4 days a week in late May and we celebrate and remembered my Mom on her birthday.  Quite an emotional month–he really earned his keep in June. We had our first house guest as my Aunt Ruthie came to visit for a few days and some good friends stopped in from out of town!  Also JP was able to come off oxygen this month! Yay for no more tubes!

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July 2016

July brought our first big road trip as we went to Virginia to see my family.  I will always treasure this sweet picture of my Grandma and June.

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August 2016

June spent a lot of time with Gigi and Pops this summer once I went back to work.  This was her first trip to the Disney Store and can we say someone has her Pops wrapped around her little finger?

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September 2016

Big milestones for June this month–sitting forward in her stroller and sitting up (assisted). We spent a LOT of days getting out of the house when June first arrived home taking walks around our small town and enjoying time with the girls at the coffee shop. The summer was a bit hot, so we got out on the town quite a bit in the fall.  June really enjoyed the ArtWalk, although she was asleep for most of it.  She also started physical therapy this month, but like the rock star she is, only needed two sessions! We do lots of work at home with her and she’s continuing to make big strides! I also got to celebrate my favorite season with my favorite redhead!

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October 2016

We took our first little vacation as a family of three. The beau and JP were able to tag along to a work conference in Atlanta, but first, we hit up June’s first Cincinnati Reds game. Although they lost, they lost to the Chicago Cubs so June got to see the World Series winners! How exciting! We also got to meet Aunt Tammy on the way to Atlanta and try out the pool at our hotel. October also brought starting solid foods, drinking from a sippy cup and enjoying Halloween.

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November 2016

Turkey Turkey Turkey!!! Our little Turkey LOVED Thanksgiving at her Aunt Walene and Uncle Donnie‘s! It was her first big family gathering and she was quite the center of attention.  She enjoyed turkey, sweet potatoes and peas herself! I also went with Mama to vote in this historic election.

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December 2016

Holidays.  How magical through the eyes of a child, right?  June got to meet Santa, enjoyed lots of love from friends and family, tag along on Mama and Daddy’s Christmas date and we had a lot of quality time together–the BEST gift.  June is sitting up on her own, army crawling and into EVERYTHING.  We were grateful to get an overnight in Cincinnati to reflect on our year and set some goals for the upcoming one.

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Truly as the year has come to a close, we are just so grateful for all the wonderful things brought our way through June Parker.  We have a lovely, healthy girl, sweet puppy, wonderful partnership in our marriage, two great jobs and a house over our head.

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2015 in Insta-Review

Hey Hey Hey!!! It’s me again!  Excited about the turning of the calendar page and moving forward with an exciting 2016.

But before I can do that, I have to go back and review all that was 2015. Reflecting back on this year it’s easy to look at the challenging moments and forget the joyous ones. I’m so fortunate to be reminded of just what a fantastic year 2015 was even though there were a fare share of dark moments. I loved Annie’s format of an Instagram review, so here goes my attempt!  My #2015BestNine said I took 292 posts in the past year. That’s a lot to filter through, fyi!

January 2015….

{Our goal of community dinners around the table Friday Night Meatballs style was realized!}

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February 2015…

{Served women in our community by hosting the 2015 IF: Gathering in Georgetown}

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March 2015…

{Technically February/March, but after IF: Gathering took a Sabbatical.  No email or social media and nothing on our calendars. It was amazing!}

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{Except we did have our framily over for Friday Night Meatballs and an amazing Caprese salad}

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SPRING

{Highlight moving into Spring/Summer was starting major renovations on our house!  And this guy. Just say no to all highlight reel posts friends.  I wanna see your messy top-bun silly posts too!}

Spring

April 2015…

{More Friday Night Meatballs.  This was probably my favorite of the few we hosted.  A toddler and a grandmother. A teenage boy and his mom whose husband was on the west coast for a month for business. Friends who were just dating and friends who’ve been married for 10 years. This is true community y’all}

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May 2015…

{My birthday–Friday Night Meatballs in the backyard style with our people and their kiddos. All boys. Dirt. Fire pits. Amazing.}

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{No birthday is complete without a trip to see the Cincinnati Reds with my love}

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June 2015…

{Renovations continued.  Amazing progress.}

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{And when renovations continue so that you’re displaced from your home for 3 weeks and 90% of your belongings are in a POD–you take a long weekend and drive to the Emerald Coast. A quick trip, but two days in the sun, sand and waves did our hearts and souls so much good.}

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SUMMER

{Jennie Allen’s Anything study with these gorgeous gals at my new favorite Coffee Spot in Downtown Lexington. Such a rich summer with these gals.}

Summer

July 2015…

{Experiencing part of the All-Star Game Festivities with the Celebrity Softball Game! So fun!}

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August 2015…

{WAAAAAY too many photos to share here, but check out some from this post.  Cross-country road trip in 10 days took me all the way to Cannon Beach and the pacific ocean for the first time. Life changing trip.}

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September 2015…

{Joining 500 other IF: Local leaders in Orlando to be equipped even more so to share the good news with our communities.  And loved meeting these fellow Kentucky gals!}

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FALL

{How could we get so lucky??? We were blessed with this sweetie.  She came at the perfect time and brought us such joy in what we didn’t realize would be such a tough season.}

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October 2015…

{BABY CRACRAFT ALERT!!!  Remember that life changing trip? Yeah, we found out the night we got home that we were expecting. So excited to welcome our cub in April!}

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November 2015…

{Mama D got sick. Three weeks in the hospital were tough but I truly savored every moment with her. One of my favorite nights ever as we watched Friends on TV and I saw a bit of her sass return.}

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{Bittersweet. Mama D went to be with Jesus–from this life to her eternal home. I miss her so, but can only imagine she’s having a blast–playing piano, walking and running on her own, having lunch with her dad and birthmom who passed when she was 6 months old. So grateful to have been raised by such a wondeful lady.}

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December 2015…

{My favorite views of the year– twinkle lights and Fireplace on Netflix with a pup on my lap–and we flipped our dining and living room!}

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{A scary Christmas day car accident had us all shaken up. Thankfully all of us–including Gracie and the little cub) were all okay. I tear up every time I look at this photo. Just like our little one to be reminding us that they’re okay and to just trust God–he’s got it handled.}

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WINTER

{Advent.  Waiting.  Trusting.  Anticipation.  Expectation.  Learned a lot in this tough season. }

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So that’s 2015 in a nutshell.  We started the year well living into community and hospitality by opening for home for Friday Night Meatballs. Then we realized renovations had to happen ASAP and so things got a little crazy, but that’s life, right?  The fall and winter were tough, but we’ve also had a lot of silver linings and things to celebrate.

I also read 10 books, watched several series on Netflix (Or re-watched) and had lots of coffee dates with people. That’s the day-to-day.  The stuff we don’t always Instagram.  I’m sure there will be more on all this in the weeks to come. I’m excited about all that 2016 will offer and hope to be around these parts much more often sharing about all I’m learning, loving and being.

 

 

February 2015

What I’m learning:

There was so much learned during this sabbatical month. It’s hard to even put into words. I’m actually still in my last week of sabbatical life so I’ll be back to share a bit more of my takeaways at some point later in the month. All I know is that some amazing things can happen when you quiet your mind and calendar and spirit to receive.

I do know that I love how things work out–call it my “connectedness” strength coming into play–we received almost an entire week off of work due to a major snow-storm that had records snow-fall and low temps for our area. Talk about a blessing of a sabbatical within a sabbatical. I also had 2 sick days during this time–definitely not a blessing, but I think sometimes our bodies respond and tell us when we need attention and rest. I have definitely been cashing in on the “good sleep” equation of my February plans.

Overall I would say that it is amazing what you can learn about yourself when you take a step back and quiet yourself, your calendar and even your house (definitely something I’ll be doing in the coming months). I have found some clarity on things I’ve been pondering for some time, passion fueled for things that had been simmering for some time and joy out of simple things like a spontaneous at home date night when the beau opens up the good bourbon. And having a clear schedule to take advantage of UK tickets that become available to you the night before a game isn’t too shabby either! GO CATS! 30-0!

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Books I read in February:

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What I’m loving: 

  • Podcasts in general.  Such a great way to absorb and learn.  I love music, don’t get me wrong, but with a commute, it’s so nice to think and use that time wisely.  I’ve been enjoying some new music at work, which is great but trying to absorb more on my drive.  Some of my favorites:
    • Relevant Podcast.  So hilarious.  Great guests.  Great way for me to get some news (since I’m off social media and don’t watch the news)
    • This Radiolab. The idea of Facebook and social science research and how we share and retrieve and communicate. So fascinating both personally and professionally.
    • That Sounds Fun from Annie Downs. This girl makes me laugh like no other and I just LOVE the episode I linked on Nashville food.
    • The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. Absolutely love hearing this gal talk with a girl friend over things that are really meaningful, fun, real topics–and sometimeshard ones.
    • Catalyst Leader Interview with Shelley Giglio.  Cannot even begin to say how powerful this was for me.  I want a transcript of certain parts of this.  Shelley’s interview starts at the 20 minute mark and ends around the 45 minute mark.
  • Tiny Desk Concerts from NPR.  Have loved these for a while, but really great to discover new music or see a new side of an artist.
  • The Lone Bellow. My love for NYC meets my love for all things southern.  And there’s a mandolin playing red-head.  (You can combine the last two by watching the Tiny Desk Concert of The Lone Bellow).  So very very sad their conert in Louisville sold out literally as I was getting ready to purchase my tickets. Same thing happened with StubHub. Guess it wasn’t meant to be!
  • Behind the Mask–absolutely LOVE this Hulu original —“Behind the Mask” dives into the colorful, unusual side of sports through the eyes of four mascots. (description via Hulu).  It’s a good heartfelt show that’s fun and has had both the beau and I in stitches and on the verge of tears.
  • Feedly. With the lack of social media in my life, I’ve been taking  more time to read not only books but blogs.  Man, oh man, I have been missing out on some great stuff.  I love feedly to manage my subscriptions and easily share via email or social media (which I’ll be doing more of I’m sure!)

What I’m saying YES to in March:

  • Savor –the devotional by my gal Shauna Niequist-releases March 10th and I’m super stoked. Pre-ordered and ready. “Living abundantly where you are, as you are.” Could not be more perfect for me right now.
  • Refit Revolution Live Master class! So super pumped. This way of working out has really been sustaining to me working out while we had snow and freezing temps outside. And I can barely make it through this workout without tears.
  • Real life connections. Coffee dates. People over appointments or things. Hosting dinners in our home.  Voxer (oh my gosh–I love Voxer–if you are on, please connect with me there! I love hearing actual voices and not just reading texts!)
  • More intentional dates with the beau–we’ve come up with a list of restaurants we love and some new ones we want to try and when it’s date night out–we’ll draw from the list–excited to try this out starting this month.
  • Clean eating and fun movement!

What I’m saying NO  to in March:

  • Facebook and Twitter on my phone.
  • Things that put ME in the spotlight. I want to serve and let Jesus be the focus.
  • Time-Wasters. I know that if i start a Gilmore Girls episode, I’ll likely watch 3. I want to make the most of my time especially after work in the evenings.
  • Clutter. Mental and Physical stuff that is in excess and not necessary.
  • Self-doubt, self-judgement and self-criticism. I want to be in the ring of my own life fighting hard even if the outcome isn’t what I wanted.  I don’t want to be my own critic.

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 So what book recommendations do you have for me?

And what will you be saying yes and no to?