Like a lot of people I’m sure, December is a month of reflection for me. It’s a time to review the year and remember things that have happened- to see how much life has changed. At this time last year, we were preparing for a four month separation for D’s military training- the longest separation we had since before the kids came along.
It seems cliché to say that things have changed, but they have. Obviously, we made it through the separation and moved on with our year. Through the rest of the year we saw a lot of local travel. We discovered the Chicago Botanic Garden and have gone back several times this fall. Our yearly trip to the zoo happened in September. We spent the summer at the beach. We plan to do a lot more local travel next year, as well.
Here is a look back to our 2016.
D left for military training the second week of January. He spent January and half of February in Georgia. The kids and I flew to Washington to spend two months with my parents. It was fun exploring my home town. We went to places I haven’t been since I was a kid and discovered the Giggle Jungle in Redmond. This indoor padded play place was our go-to location for many rainy day mornings- we went about once a week.
The kids and I returned home the first week of March. D traveled to Virginia in February for more military training. He stayed in Virginia for the rest of the time.
Our family was reunited just in time for Mother’s Day. We took the kids to their first baseball game at Northwestern University the day after D came home. It was a hit- we’ll be doing a lot more sporting events in the coming year. Most of the month was spent preparing for our yearly Disney trip the next month.
We took our annual Disney trip. It was fun celebrating D and Ladybug’s birthdays at Magic Kingdom at Disney World. The highlight of the trip for everyone- but especially for Ladybug- was meeting all the princesses and Mickey and Minnie. She came home with a whole new level of admiration for the Disney characters which continues today. When we came home, we experienced major Disney withdrawal- which is why we keep going back.
After a lot of thought and conversation with D, I decided to document our family’s travels and Becoming a Traveling Family was born.
We took the kids on a road trip to Tennessee for a wedding. They both did exceptionally well, although it took a lot more time to get there and Buddy screamed the entire last leg. On the way we stopped in Champaign, Illinois and stretched our legs at Curtis Orchard, a charming little family farm and apple orchard. We got hooked on cinnamon doughnuts and apple cider- a treat that we had many times the next few months.
We did a lot of local travel in September. D was in the throes of work and job searching and didn’t have a lot of vacation time left so we had to stay close to home this month. We took trips to Wagner Farm, the children’s museum, and the zoo.
September also saw our very first apple picking experience. We took a day trip to Sturtevant, Wisconsin to visit Apple Holler– a family farm and apple orchard. Although chilly, the kids loved the experience- especially the apple cider doughnuts.
D started a new job. He turned in his notice with his old job early so we could travel a little before he started his new job. We took a last minute trip to Ohio to visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The weather was perfect and we spent almost all week outdoors. The kids were introduced to hiking and both loved it. We hope to do more of that in 2017 as well.
We also took our annual trip to Didier Farms to get our pumpkins. Aside from pumpkins, we also went on a hayride, got lost in a corn maze and rode carnival rides. Didier Farms is one of my favorite yearly traditions and I’m always sad when it’s over.
November was a busy month preparing for Thanksgiving so we weren’t able to get out much. But we did take the kids to Shedd Aquarium where we learned all about marine life- local and worldwide.
We’ve spent the first half of this month doing various Christmas events. I’m still feeling in awe of the Wonderland Express at the Chicago Botanic Garden. It was an amazing, magical experience seeing all of the trains pass by notable Chicago buildings and the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit.
We’ve had a packed year of exploring our home city and the birth of this blog. Although it is still small, I am pleased with where it is going. I’m looking forward to what the new year has in store, both planned and unplanned. It’s going to be a great year. I hope you’ll stick around and share it with me.
What happened in 2016 for you?
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