I’m still eating Christmas dinner leftovers and picking up bits of wrapping paper off the living room floor, but I’m looking forward to the New Year. January 1st holds the promise of a year’s worth of travel, memories to make and experiences to enjoy.  But before I can start planning and looking forward to what 2018 holds, I want to reminisce about 2017, so here is the Year in Review.

Girls wearing Medieval times crown

2017 Year in Review

It was a year of big family vacations, saying goodbye to a beloved pet and saying hello to a new puppy. It was Trey going out on his own with a new band, the end of the first full year at a new school for the kids, and joining a new small group at church.  It was Sunday family dinners,  stand-up paddle boarding, an emergency trip to West Virginia and, at last count, 45 books that I read.

It may feel like we are rushing into 2018 but I recommend that before you start the New Year, take some time to look back on the last 12 months. Make a list of the memorable moments, the milestones, and even the losses. Don’t forget to look back, before you start looking ahead.

“Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.” – James Baldwin

We started  2017 with a 17 hour road trip back from West Virginia.  Road trips can be fun family bonding time… or they can be torture. This trip was a little bit of both.  Besides visiting my family, the best part of the road trip was our stay at The Guest House at Graceland on our way to West Virginia.


two musicians with guitars

After a full month off from music, Trey starting playing solo shows in February. His first was the Foundation Room at the House of Blues and I was so happy/proud to hear him singing again. Little did we know that within a few months, he would have a new booking manager and be playing music full time! 2017 was a huge year for Trey’s music. Now the band plays 3-5 times a week and keeps booking new and larger venues.

One morning towards the end of the February, I woke up so dizzy and off balance that I couldn’t even walk to the bathroom. This went on for several days and I couldn’t drive or go to work.  It went away but a few weeks later, it came back again.  After several days of horrible nausea, a visit to the doctor confirmed that I had Vertigo.  She recommended vestibular therapy which ended up being a life-saver! After just one session of exercises that were designed to dislodge the crystals in my inner ear, my dizziness was gone and I could function again.

Trips and Staycations

Staying in touch with high school friends is easy with Facebook. But liking pictures of their kids and sending them virtual Happy Birthday messages is not the same as spending time together in real life. It had been YEARS since I had visiting my four high school best friends and in April we finally planned to meet for a girls weekend in Nashville.  We rented a townhome off Airbnb in Hillsboro Village for a long weekend and stayed out later than we have since, well high school!

Our weekend was spent shopping, eating our way across Nashville, dancing at the Wildhorse Saloon,  and enjoying a comedy show at the Ryman.  Although I loved Nashville, the best times were spent sitting around the breakfast table in the morning or staying up late at night, sharing stories and memories from growing up together.

Trey and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary in May with a staycation in Dallas. We checked into The Highland Dallas on Saturday afternoon and headed straight to the poolside cabanas. We had lunch and drinks delivered to our cabana, then relaxed in the sun the rest of the afternoon. Later that evening, we grabbed some seats at the bar at Knife and shared a bottle of wine while we reminisced about how much has changed since we got married (house, kids, cars, jobs, waistlines, hair color, etc.).

The next morning, we headed downtown for brunch at Americano. It was Mother’s Day so it felt weird to be brunching without my kids. But weird in a good way. Oh did I mention that Trey dyed his hair blue this year? Well it was blue for several months, then hot pink for Breast Cancer awareness in October and purple for the last two months.  Now Tallen is asking when he can dye his hair hot pink (next summer, buddy).

waffles topped with fruit

Just a few months after my girls trip to Nashville,  I got to visit Norman and Oklahoma City with a group of girls from Dallas Fitness Ambassadors! It was a PACKED weekend and I almost needed a vacation from our vacation when we got home.  The highlights of the trip were all the amazing restaurants we visited, laser tag at Hey Day,  the 21C Museum hotel with its morbid art gallery, the Ferris Wheel and being scared to death of the river rapids at Riversport Adventures.

Work and Family Travel

July brought more travel, starting with a work trip to Italy.  When I found out my work schedule and noticed I had a free day towards the end of the week(my favorite), I asked a few coworkers if they would be interested in a day trip to the Cinque Terre. I’ve never visited the coast of Italy before and the pictures I had seen of Cinque Terre were breathtaking. Early that morning we boarded a coach bus for a 3 hour drive the rain, to the five cliff-side villages along the Ligurian Sea. We hiked down the cliffs to the rocky beach, then took a train to the next village where we had lunch. A boat ride took us along to the coast to La Spezzia, then we boarded the bus back to Milan.

Once I got home, I only had about a week to recover from my jet lag before our big Suire family cruise to the Bahamas.  My husband has a large extended family and about two years ago they started planning a family vacation. A cruise was our best option since it meant we could do our own thing each day, then have dinner together on the boat each night.  All 30 of use boarded the Carnival Dream in New Orleans wearing matching red t-shirts with the outline of Louisiana.

During our week at sea, we sailed to Key West, Nassau and Freeport, Bahamas. The resort day in Freeport was my favorite, we had lounge chairs by the pool and on the beach while the kids played in the ocean.  Tallen  enjoyed eating bacon every morning followed by an ice cream cone, which he attributes to his six pack abs. Sophia loved dressing up for dinner each night and being able to order steak or pasta each night.

Sophia’s birthday is at the beginning of August and we always have a hard time coming up with ideas for a party. It’s near the end of summer so its hot, we are tired of going to the pool and she complains that she has not spent much time with her friends. So this year we invited three of her friends to go to Medieval Times and it was a lot of fun!

Later that month, my mom came to visit and brought my niece Allie and her cousin Laynie.  I dubbed the week “Aunt Camp” and planned something fun for us to do every day during their week long visit. Dallas has so much to offer that I felt like it was a staycation for me and the kids too! We visited the Perot Museum, went stand up paddle boarding at Lake Grapevine, tested how we handle pressure in the Escape Room, burned off energy at Altitude Grapevine trampoline park, and turned the kitchen into our own “Painting with a Twist” art gallery.

Sickness and Sorrow

Less than two weeks later, I got a call that my grandfather was in the hospital with broken ribs and pneumonia. The doctors had given him less than a 10% chance of making it through the weekend.  Three hours later, I was on a plane to West Virginia with a hastily packed suitcase and no idea when I would be back in Dallas.  For four days, I visited my grandfather in the hospital during the day and slept at my grandmother’s house at night.  She had fallen and broken her arm/shoulder a few weeks earlier, so she also needed constant care. My grandfather has continued to have setbacks throughout the last few months, but is still here with us.

September was hard. It started out with Trey being sick on his birthday, so sick that he had to cancel a show!  He pretty much spent the day in bed and we did not really get to celebrate. Two days later, I left for a work trip to Norway.  I had plans for a sunrise hike of Preikestolen (the Pulpit Rock) on my one day off work, but unfortunately it was cancelled by the tour group and I could not reschedule.

pug sleeping in dog bed

The day after I got home from Norway, we said goodbye to our sweet 12 year old pug, Coco Puff. I was not sure if she would even make it until I got home and I was calling to check on her every day.  She was barely eating and didn’t have the energy to even walk around the house.  So that Sunday, we called Trey’s parents to come stay with the kids and we took her to the emergency vet.  We knew it was the right thing to do but it was heart-breaking for our entire family.

Fall is my Favorite

Fall is usually my favorite time of year. Fall means football, cooler weather, booties and sweaters, and a visit to the pumpkin patch. Unfortunately, my family decided to take ALL of the joy out of our annual trip to the pumpkin patch. (read all about it here). Fine. I will let go of this tradition and just take Tallen next year. The rest of October was spent studying for my Professional Engineering (PE) exam in Petroleum Engineering. Which sucked because who wants to work 8+ hours a day, then come home and study 3+ hours each night?

I think the only reason I made it through October is I knew we were going to Disney World a few days after my test.  We flew to Disney the last Sunday in October and stayed for a week.  We met my sister’s family there AND Trey’s cousin Nick stayed with us.  Originally he was going to watch our kids while Trey and I ran the Wine and Dine 5K race. However Trey broke his foot the week before our trip, so I ended up running the 5K with my niece Allie.

Disney World is my happy place. My sister turned me into a Disney fan and I have passed that love on to my family too. This was the third time my sister’s family and my family have gone to Disney together.  We also spent a day at Universal so we can visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Sophia bought an interactive wand, we rode Hogwarts Express and bought chocolate frogs!

I think our dinner at Ohana was one of my favorite nights. The food is served family style and we had a large round table near the window, so we could see the lighted parade out on the lake. Then at 9 PM, the music started playing for the fireworks show at Magic Kingdom and we could see the fireworks above the castle.  Another favorite memory was taking Sophia to character lunch at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom. She was so excited to see Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, and Goofy – she was even willing to take pictures with them!

This was our year to have Thanksgiving at home, so I invited my mom to come visit us from West Virginia. We both love watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.  Since I ran a Turkey Trot with my neighbors that morning, I made my family record the parade and not watch it until I got home. We spent the rest of the long weekend Christmas shopping and decorating the house for Christmas.

Although we had planned to wait a little longer, we ended up getting a new pug puppy the week after Thanksgiving. I joined a Facebook group that connects breeders with hopeful pet owners, which is how we found our sweet Daisy.  She was 8 weeks old and only weighed 2 pounds when we brought her home.  Harley is terrified and acts like we brought a rat into the house, but  we are so happy to have a pug in our house again.

Besides Christmas, December was my least favorite month of the year. I found out I did NOT pass my PE Exam I spent an entire weekend in bed sick and my grandfather went back to the hospital several times. We did celebrate an early Christmas with Trey’s parents, which we always enjoy, since they travel to Louisiana for the holidays.  Christmas Eve and Christmas day was just the four of us, plus Daisy and Harley, which we spent at home in our matching elf pajamas.

The last day of the year, the kids and I will be in Louisiana to ring in the New Year with the Suire family. We will have a big bonfire, cook chili and jambalaya and set off fireworks at midnight.  Trey will be staying in Dallas for a show, so we will miss celebrating without him.  However we have so much to look forward to in 2018!!

1 Comment

  1. Wow Stephanie that was quite a year! Being a stand up paddle board enthusiast I took note of the paddle boarding in Lake Grapevine. I’ve never been to Dallas but now I’m looking forward to exploring the area. Are there waterways in and around the city or is paddle boarding restricted to Lake Grapevine?
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