As with any year, there are (hopefully many) ups and there are (hopefully few) downs. In December 2016, we became a family of four so our 2017 started off with cuddles and snuggles with our newborn while playing games with our three-year-old son. We were learning to live and love life as a family of four while being fueled by little sleep and lots of coffee.
Our year was filled with ups and downs as we traveled along the rollercoaster of life. But, I must say, the year was filled with some truly incredible and unforgettable moments. To kickoff the new year on a positive note, I’m looking back on the past year and sharing some of my favorite moments from 2017.
— 2017 FAVORITE MOMENTS —
With a newborn at home and both of us taking time off from work to enjoy life as a family of four, we started to get a bit stir crazy being stowed away in the warmth of our home. We decided to pack up the car and drive south to visit our good friends in North Carolina. She is one of my best friends who is pretty much on the same life path (graduated from MSU at the same time, got married only a few years apart, and were pregnant with our first and second babies at the same time) so I couldn’t wait for her to meet our newest addition and for us to meet their newest addition. The weekend was filled with good times and great memories, including watching my son skate for the first time.
During one of the weekends, we packed up the kids and dogs and headed down to the lake house in Virginia to spend the weekend with my father-in-law and mother-in-law. Watching three generations (my father-in-law, husband, and son) fly a remote control airplane over the lake was a super cute moment, especially as I listened to my son yell with excitement as his Pappa flew the plane over their heads.
March brought the snow and let’s just say that the amount of love our son has for snow is pretty ginormous. Watching him practice his airplane moves while running around in the snowy backyard was such a fun moment.
The month was centered on newness. From getting our gardens in good shape for the upcoming warm weather season to welcoming our newest nephew, we got our hands dirty in the gardens and filled our arms with snuggles.
One of the highlights of May was taking our son to Baltimore to see a real-life Thomas the Train during a Day Out With Thomas event. Watching my son’s eyes light up was such a cute experience.
Our neighbors invited us on a trip to Riviera Maya in Mexico. So, we flew my Mom down to our house to watch the kids. We packed our bags, kissed our kiddos and my Mom goodbye, shed a few tears (totally me, not my husband), and hopped on the plane. As soon as we got off the plane, the trip was filled with sun, relaxation, ocean, pool, cocktails, sand, cuddles, and quality time spent together … the makings of a great beach vacation.
This month was the definition of summer. From trips to our favorite ice cream place to feeding turtles at a nearby park, we tried to squeeze in as many fun summertime activities as possible.
Our home was full of family at the end of August as we celebrated our baby girl’s Baptism. Living far away from family and having a house full of family for a weekend was something truly special. The house was filled with the sounds of kids playing, people laughing.
Our son started preschool and was all smiles as we pulled up to his new school. He couldn’t wait to meet his teachers and make new friends. It was so cute watching him walk into school with his Stormtrooper backpack that was almost the size of him.
After years of studying photography, practicing with a camera, spending endless nights in the dark room developing film, traveling to study photography, doing an occasional small photo shoot, and dreaming that one day I would have my own photography business, I finally opened the doors of Jen Tilley Photography. October 5, 2017 will always have a special place in my heart. Ever since opening the doors to my photography business, I’ve met so many wonderful families. The photo sessions have been filled with laughter and fun times as I capture the cutest smiles and sweetest moments. A huge thank you goes out to all who have supported me and this huge passion of mine over the years and who helped me get to this point, as well as to all who have decided to work with me ever since I opened my business doors.
We celebrated Thanksgiving at my brother-in-law and sister-in-law’s house which was filled with family and friends. Our good friends were visiting from California so it was nice to spend the holiday with them. Before the holiday celebration, we went to a nearby park and I was able to take photos of their family. I loved receiving their Christmas card that was filled with photos from their mini session.
December for us was a monthlong celebration. We kicked off the month celebrating our daughter’s 1st birthday (even though my husband and son were battling strep throat). As part of my mother-in-law’s birthday, she asked for framed photos of our kids. So, I took the photos that are throughout this post, enlarged the photos into prints, and framed the photos. I loved watching her reaction as she opened the gift. Having our son call his cousin’s to wish them a happy birthday was hilarious. For my son’s birthday, since it’s on Christmas Eve, we decided to celebrate a day early and have the house full of kids. We sang him Happy Birthday and watched him blow out the candle on his Stormtrooper cake. On Christmas Eve, my in-laws stayed the night at our house. While we were sitting around enjoying wine, my mother-in-law said, “One year, I want to host Christmas for everyone at my house and give everyone Christmas pajamas.” I said, “What a perfect segway.” I then had our son hand everyone a bag that was filled with Christmas pajamas. Watching her reaction to the pajamas was such a special moment. On Christmas morning, we watched the kids open up their presents and saw my son’s eyes light up when he saw his Stormtrooper bike. I swear he treated that bike like Ralphie from A Christmas Story treated the Red Ryder BB Gun.
What was your favorite part of 2017?