New Year gratitude: Starting 2017 right

Thinking back on 2017, I remember a lot of anxiety, frustration and fear about the direction our country is headed. I was ready to say goodbye to the year with relief—then we spent the final days of the year at the coast. There’s something about the ocean’s rhythms that put me at peace, and apparently the trip gave me a healthy dose of perspective, too. I wanted to welcome 2018, then, with some New Year gratitude.

I pulled together 12 of my favorite moments from 2017 in this recap post. I had such a blast looking through photos and remembering these moments. I kept laughing out loud at my family’s shenanigans.

New Year gratitude exercises are becoming a bit of a tradition around here, apparently. I wrote a post about what I was grateful for in 2016 and listed 50 things I’m grateful for at the end of 2015—it’s wonderful to look back on those posts!

No one can know what the future will bring, but we’ll do our best to make 2018 just as memorable as last year—and to continue New Year gratitude throughout the next 12 months, too.This New Year gratitude exercise primes you for your resolution to be more grateful every day. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

New Year Gratitude


Winter fun and sledding with kids - Ten Thousand Hour MamaWinter fun and sledding with kids - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Kiwi learned to love the snow! Peeper is already mega enthusiastic about winter, but it took Kiwi longer to embrace it. Once she discovered sledding, though, she was all-in!


Meeting her great grandma - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

We moved my grandma from Alabama to an assisted living apartment in our town. The girls immediately fell in love with “Kitty Grandma,” and she is equally enamored with them! Peeper and Kiwi love to visit her and play hide and seek in her apartment, and I feel so fortunate that my grandma is a part of our everyday lives.


Learning to love to read books - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Kiwi started to love books. Reading is a huge part of our family, but Kiwi didn’t immediately take to books. She was too interested in running, climbing and getting into trouble, I guess. She turned the corner, though, and began to love story time. She also began to read to herself.


Meeting astronaut Buzz AldrinWE Day Seattle - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

I met Buzz Aldrin! I attended WE Day in Seattle, the annual event that celebrates kids and teens who make a difference in their communities, and—SNAP—got to meet the astronaut who was one of the first two people to ever walk on the moon. #sciencenerd


visiting host family from Argentina

My host family from Argentina visited. I spent a semester my junior year living in Rosario and have kept in touch with the family I stayed with. 13 years later, they came up to Oregon and got to meet Kiwi and see how much Peeper has grown. The girls call my host parents Abuela and Abuelo, and although the kids don’t know much Spanish yet, we all became even closer.


Last day of preschool sign- Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Peeper finished preschool. I remember being so nervous when she started preschool the previous September, but Peeper flourished. She played with other kids and even made a best friend, painted pictures galore, and came to feel at home in the elementary school that hosts the preschool program. It was a wonderful start to her education—and she definitely deepened her love of learning.


Camping with kids in Oregon - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

We went camping. I started the camping trip with equal parts excitement and dread (mostly over Kiwi not sleeping), but it turned out to be wonderful. The girls loved the tent, the opportunity to run in the dirt barefoot, boating on the river, making friends with other kids in camp, roasting (then not eating) marshmallows and just about everything else about camping. We’re planning on so many more camping trips this year!


Seeing a solar eclipse with kids - Ten THousand Hour Mama

The solar eclipse. We were among the many folks scared off by predictions of gridlock in the path of totality and so stayed in town, but the experience was still unforgettable. The girls loved looking at the eclipse (maybe because they adored the eclipse glasses) and still talk about the eclipse.


Portland murals with kids: exploring street art in Oregon as a family - Ten Thousand Hour MamaPortland murals with kids - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Mural crawls with the girls. I developed a bit of a thing for street art in 2017, and in September Kiwi and Peeper drank the mural Kool-Aid! (It may have been because they got vegan froyo in between murals.) Now they yell out “There’s a mural!” whenever we drive past one, and visiting street art is now a family pastime. (Read my post about a North Portland mural crawl with kids if you’d like to see some of the city’s street art with your nuggets, too!)


Yaquina Head Lighthouse Oregon Coast - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

For our ninth wedding anniversary, Eric and I took a trip to the coast—without the kids! My parents generously offered to watch Peeper and Kiwi for the weekend, so Eric and I had our first nights away without kids since before Peeper was born. We spent the weekend in Astoria, hiked Saddle Mountain and watched an epic display of a humpback whale feeding near Yaquina Head Lighthouse. The weekend was a wonderful chance to connect deeply without distractions and fall even more in love.


Visiting Michigan with kids - family travel. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

We went to Michigan to visit family. The girls rarely get to see their five cousins who live outside Detroit, so spending some time with them was priceless. They colored, learned how to do flips on the furniture, played with the pet lizard and spent every moment they could together. We also got to see Eric’s parents house (and pond) one last time before they sell it this spring and begin their mobile home retirement!


Kids on the Oregon coast - family travel. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

December was full of memorable moments, but the month’s final days were incredible. We spontaneously booked a weekend stay at the Oregon coast with some friends, and we had an unforgettable few days. The kids played together nonstop, learned how to dig for clams, got “rich” by collecting umpteen sand dollars and deepened their love of the ocean. When it came time to leave, Kiwi kept crying, “No leave beach house.” It was hard for all of us to say goodbye to that weekend.

More good in store in 2018

But! There’s more good to come in 2018. Last year was difficult in many respects, and I still fear for the direction our country is headed. But I am determined to continue to make wonderful memories—and make positive change—in the months to come.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Gearhart, Oregon on the coast. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

What are some of your highlights from 2017? I’d love to hear your New Year gratitude!

7 thoughts on “New Year gratitude: Starting 2017 right

    • January 3, 2018 at 10:10 am

      It’s definitely important to reflect on the good, not just bemoan the bad.

  • January 2, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    It looks like you made some cool memories, like meeting Buzz Aldren! And the kid-free trip to the coast looked like fun. I hope your 2018 is a good one!

    • January 3, 2018 at 10:09 am

      The kid-free trip was revelatory. We hope to do another in 2018 for sure.

  • January 2, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    Some great highlights! It is great to look back month by month. You made a lot of coast trips, good for you! I need to do more!

    • January 3, 2018 at 10:09 am

      The coast is basically my favorite place on earth!

  • January 3, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    loved this post and all your beautiful pictures, you have inspired me, 2017 was a big year I really want to document it all now so I don’t forget about any of the moments, the rawness of the emotions and the stages the kiddies have gone through.


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