2016 was full of a lot of really hard moments and a lot of really great ones too. I've been working on my year-in-review book and there is some big-time nostalgia happening around these parts. If I had to choose one word to describe this past year it would be "full."
Full of work.
Full of activity.
Full of fun.
Full of stress and nonsense.
Full of thinking.
Full of new experiences.
Here are some of my favorite parts:
Our Trip to Yosemite
This trip was not without a few hiccups, but there's something about the valley that just does my soul right. The Tenaya Lodge is the perfect place to stay with a family and it was so much fun watching Sawyer experience a completely new sort of environment. My brother and I are contemplating hiking Half Dome (furthest peak on the right, above) this summer, so I may be back soon.
Going to Lake Tahoe Solo
I went to Lake Tahoe for three nights for IB training with a few colleagues, but had a room to myself, flew up alone, and took an awesome six-mile hike around the lake solo. I knew Sawyer was in good hands and coming off of a long school year this time, surrounded by beautiful scenery, was just what I needed to recharge.
Returning Home... to Modesto
Confession: I planned this trip back home to the Central Valley and was not really looking forward to it. The idea of a six-hour car ride with a toddler and then spending three days in Modesto just wasn't appealing. Instead, it ended up being a ton of fun. My friend since elementary school who lives here in Southern California came along, and she was the perfect road trip buddy. We can talk for hours and she's really good with Sawyer. Once we arrived Sawyer and I stayed in a hotel, which was great for me to have some quiet times during his naps and at night. We visited the train museum in Sacramento with my family, was in town for the American Graffiti parade and car show, and visited all my old favorite restaurants (here's looking at you, Taqueria Carolina and The Yogurt Mill). I'm already considering returning during the same weekend this summer.
The Giants vs. Padres Game
In late summer we took Sawyer to San Diego to watch his first MLB game, as well as see our beloved Giants play for the first time in several years. A lot of times I'm the one taking Sawyer to do things, since my husband works a lot and I an the one with teacher vacations throughout the year. But this time it was the three of us and we had a blast cheering our team, eating junk food, and exploring the stadium.
I watched my group of seniors graduate on May 31 and it was extremely emotional for me. I had taught those 120 or so kids for two years, and some three (and a few I had in elementary). I was very close to a few and knowing that they would no longer be in my class when we returned in August was hard for me. You invest so much time and energy and feelings into the kids and then they just... leave. But, lucky for me, I am in close contact with a few of them and many others have checked in more than once. But while there was sadness, there was so, so much pride and excitement for their futures, too.
How lame, right? But seriously, couch cuddles with Sawyer in front of a Pixar movie for a half an hour are some of my happiest moments. It's rare I just simply lay on the couch without doing anything else, and it's even rarer my child isn't a human tornado, so I definitely appreciate these moments.
My Day Trip to Berkeley
In October I flew to the Bay Area to spend the day with one of my favorite students (slash-friend-slash-daughter) who graduated in May. She met me at the airport and we had breakfast (her roommate, who was also my student, came too), walked around the campus, and took the BART into San Francisco to go to the MOMA and the Pier. It was so much fun and so unexpectedly easy.
The Jonathan Saran Foer Reading
This fall my friend from work and I went to see Jonathan Safran Foer. Any reading these days is a treat, but seeing an author I consider one of my all-time favorites was a icing on the cake.
In July Scott and I left Sawyer with my mom and brother and went to Malibu for his cousin's wedding. It was so, so fun to get dressed up, stay in a hotel, have a few drinks, and hang out with my husband. The wedding was beautiful, but I honestly didn't know many people so it was basically one big date night on my end (that was interrupted sporadically by people my husband hasn't seen in years coming up to say hi, haha).
So, yeah, this year was good. Was it all good? No. There were unexpected home repairs, I let a few people unintentionally and intentionally treat me worse than they should be allowed, and I often was overwhelmed by all there was to do at work and home, while still struggling to maintain my own sense of self. I am still upset about things that happened in our country, as well. But as a whole? I stayed busy, positive, and made fun happen.
2017, here we go.