2016 was one of those years that kind of slid by really fast, and from December to December here I am thinking to myself, Wait, what happened this year?  The more I think about it, though, I’m realizing that maybe it’s because since November I’ve been over here like Okay 2016…roll on out of here and let’s try this again! 

I’ve been hearing similar sentiments all over the place, and even saw that someone put together a horror movie trailer based on 2016.  Pretty creepy  but also pretty funny. But hey! 2016 wasn’t all terrible!  I compiled a little list for you of all the good/fun/awesome things 2016 brought us:


Just a few things to remind us that 2016 was not so bad!

And really, all-in-all for my family it was a great year!

Here’s a little review for you:

  • At the end of January we had a really wonderful trip to California.  We went to visit Joe’s brother and his wife, and the four of us made our way for the second year in a row to Catalina Island to celebrate my birthday.  Not a bad way to start off the year!14600849_714873676631_7620449564457324180_n
  • One of the most significant events of 2016 for me was graduating from the University of Dallas with my Master of Arts in Theology.  My whole family and I traveled to Dallas, TX for the ceremony, and I’ve got to say, donning that black cap and gown was one of the best moments of my life.  I’ve never felt such a sense of accomplishment, and gratitude for being afforded the opportunity to study what I love and what I am passionate about.   I am so thankful to my parents and my grandfather for supporting me in my studies, and so blessed to have received an awesome education from the University of Dallas.  I look forward to great things to come!
  • Not long after my graduation, our little family joined Joe’s whole family on a vacation in Tulum, Mexico.  We all stayed together in a big beach side house with a pool, so needless to say this was a big highlight of the year.  My favorite memory was getting a free moment away with Joe to kayak across the beach for a little date at a oceanside cantina. 13731034_110711552702118_9138560475956338004_o
  • Right after graduating I got the itch to keep studying, so I began my courses with Catholic Distance University to get certified in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  I made my way through 3 courses, and am really loving it.  I’ve got two more courses and I’ll be done!
  • Joe laughs at me for posting this one, but hey!  I was in a commercial!  I know it is only for like a millisecond (see .18 to find me) but still pretty cool to represent our team, Sporting KC!!!
  • We made the big decision this year to send Eli to “school” (i.e. Mother’s Day Out). I am so glad we did because he is always so excited to go, and he has done so incredibly well.  He just goes one day a week, but he is already developing friendships and having so much fun.  I absolutely love picking him up and hearing about his little friends and about his day.  1473167642857
  • We potty-trained Eli this year! Yay to only 1 kid in diapers!!
  • Joe had an amazing opportunity pop up that took him all the way to Tokyo for work! It was really neat being able to face chat with him as he toured the temples in Japan. joe-in-tokyo
  • We painted our house blue.  house-beforehouse-after           It looks especially pretty in the Fall with all the reds and yellows surrounding it. 
  • The kids and I took a trip to Iowa to meet up with my best friends from Benedictine College.  Our boys were all born within a month of each other and I think they are just as close as we are! We had a great time chatting over mules and going to the Iowa State Fair. (I’m still dreaming of those fried pickles…)
  • We took our very first solo family trip to Colorado this Fall.  We traveled 8 hours by car, and the road trip itself was so much fun.  There’s just something about being alone and secluded with my family, moving somewhere together without any real distraction or noise.  That was the whole Colorado trip.  Just me and my family, in the quiet of the beautiful Rocky Mountains, and it was wonderful.


  • This happened:                                                                       1477806070677And this:


  • This year we had quite the scare with my father getting sick and having to be in the hospital for a while.  I’ve never prayed so hard in my life, and I know he had so many of our friends and family praying for him as well.  I can only contribute his healing to God–it’s really amazing the work he’s done with my dad’s health. We love our dad so much!969499_560105244042195_169366718_n
  • Lucy took her first steps some time back in early September, but it wasn’t until about mid-November that she finally began walking.  She is so dainty about it still, walking around with her hands in the air, ready to block any incoming traffic (i.e. big brother Eli, and the dog Lyla).
  • Joe’s Grandma Marcella turned 100 this year!  I have never been to a 100th birthday party in my life–it was pretty special! img_2266                                                                   Look at all those candles!!
  • Lastly, and probably most significantly, this happened.  We think about Francis everyday, and are comforted knowing a piece of our family is already with the Lord.

Here are some of the most popular posts from the year:

More on Advent and the Domestic Church 

Should I Take My Kids to Mass 

The Immaculate Conception 

Inspired by Greatness 

He Lights the Ways We Do Not Know 

I look forward to what 2017 will bring.  I can’t wait to continue blogging more–I have big plans!

I hope you all have a very happy New Year and that 2017 is a blessing to you and yours!



3 replies on “2016: A Year in Review

  1. I am so sorry to hear that little Francis was with you for a very short time as God wanted His /your baby home with Him. As you have said He wants our Trust in Him to be complete: Total Surrender. I pray a Novena about this often as it is difficult and at the same time a Blessing!

    This past year was indeed exciting
    and memorable for all of you. Your blog is such a beautiful gift to us and a treasure for you and your family to go back and relish the memories !
    Thank you Lauren for sharing your life with us and may you and yours have a “wonder-filled” New Year!
    ❤️ Kathy

  2. The Novena is called:
    A prophet for our time a beautiful Novena of Love by Fr. Dolindo
    Padre Pio once said of this priest from Naples: “the whole of Paradise is in your soul “.
    It was in The Medjugorje Newspaper that I receive.

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