The exclamation point isn’t necessary but I haven’t been doing much writing lately so I’m out of practice on my punctuations.

Last year was a weird one for me personally, but it included some positive changes so overall I’m calling it a win. This year I am looking to build on that progress.

Among the most positive steps forward recently has been my relationship with my children. I’ve been spending more time at home and have tried to be more present in their lives on a daily basis —  physically, mentally and emotionally. Personally I feel a lot better about where things stand with them, and I hope they feel the same way. My writing hobby has taken a backseat, and I’m ok with that. But I’m not retiring yet!

The end of the year brings a lot of family cheer, as all six of our birthdays fall between Sept. 3 and Jan. 9. Add in Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s and it seems like we’re celebrating something every single week.

In addition to those annual celebrations, we’ve done a few new things recently. We took the kids to their first ever Oklahoma City Thunder game. It wore them completely out, and two of the kids were initially a little scared of heights with how high up our seats were. Other than that, however, it was a great time and we created some lasting memories. The Thunder even pulled out a rare victory. My personal favorite moment was ordering a Two Hearted Ale at the beer stand. The woman had never heard of it so I pointed to the tap. She proceeded to pour two because she was confused by the name of the brew. So I got a free beer!

I got to have a special day with just my boys, and another with just the girls. I took the boys swimming indoors and took the girls roller skating. I was very proud of how all four of them interacted with each other and the other kids. They are growing into amazing young people!

One new adventure we’ve dove into recently is purchasing a house for Missy’s parents to live in. It needed some touch-up but hasn’t been a huge project. So far they are really loving it and it’s very close to our house. The kids have all of their grandparents within a half-mile radius of our house! Now if we could just get ONE of their aunts, uncles or cousins to live in Oklahoma…

We had to get rid of this old deck at Mimi and Papa’s new house.

Overall, the kids have been great about getting along with each other and supporting their individual interests. Addison has been helping everyone learn the new Nintendo Switch and beating us all at Mario Kart. Myra has found some great new art projects to do. Maddux is practicing his basketball and guitar skills. Hawk loves doing science activities like digging for treasures.

In the past I hadn’t taken full advantage of these moments that seemingly fly by. I’m still far from perfect, but I have been intentionally trying to create and savor them, and I can tell a big difference. It has certainly helped my mental health. In the not-too-distant future we are hoping to go camping and partake in the usual spring sports/musical activities. It should make for some more cute pictures for me to share on here.

Maddux, Myra and Hawk put on their Sunday best to sing in the Christmas concert at church.

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