Travel, travel, travel: Not counting work trips we were really lucky to trek to different places across the US that Liam had never been before and to parts of Europe that we had never explored. We made 8 trips in 2016 (London, Rome, Tuscany, NYC x3, Colorado and San Francisco) and every place except for NY were new places for us to mark on Liam's map.
On each of these trips we were so lucky to experience parts of it with friends or family which leads me to one of my favorite things that happened to us this year....
Reunited with friends and loved ones: This year we were really lucky to see many friends or family that we don't get to see often due to distance. With our travels, we were able to enjoy meals, play dates and even a few days in the hills of Tuscany with some of our favorite people. A few of my favorites were traveling with one of our favorite couples who happen to love international travel as much as we do, introducing Liam to a few of his second cousins, and of course a special surprise trip that one of Matt's best friends from Hawaii made for his birthday. This year has definitely been one for reunions and I hope we can keep up that momentum in 2017.
We bought a house (ok fine a townhouse): On a whim when Matt realized that the market was working in our favor we listed our 2 bed/2 bath condo in one of the most desired neighborhoods in the city. I was emotional about it all because I loved living on Southport, but trying to live in that neighborhood with our price range and what we were looking for would have required a lot out of us. Truthfully, I'd rather live in a box with an opportunity to travel more than have a big home. Big home = more cleaning. No thanks. However, we did need an upgrade so we bought a 4 story townhouse that gave us everything we never knew we needed. Like a 2-car attached garage (which in Chicago attached garages even with a big house is rare), a play/bonus room, a 3rd room that we converted into a mudroom and most importantly, a community. We bought a home that was ideal for us, but our community made it the perfect place.
New friendships: Speaking of community, we made some great new friends this year. Yes a few in our neighborhood, but a others through work, networking and of course Liam. Kids are a perfect matchmaker for friends and as Liam builds relationships with others in his class we get to meet some great people along the way.
As I finish up this post it hit me that 2016 has been a year of contentment. A year of not dwelling on the bad that hit us this year, but instead seeing it as an opportunity. And a year of not wishing what could have been, but more a year of accepting what it is. It's been a great year of learning and while I can't predict what will happen in 2017, I hope that it's just as positive as this year has been.
Cheers to have happy, healthy and beautiful New Year!