My Life Series: The Best of 2016

January 01, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Often on New Year’s Day I look back on the previous year and I think to myself (or say out loud), “Thank God that’s over!” But I can’t really say I’ve ever sat back and really reflected on the past year in depth so I really saw the big picture. Since I’ve been enjoying time off I have done exactly that. So, here’s a look back at the best of my year.

There were low points, for sure. And I’ve reflected and prayed over those. But I find I often get stuck in those negative moments and make them much bigger in my life than they really are. By doing staying stuck in those negative moments, I overlook all of the amazing and wonderful things that have happened over the past 365 days. I’ll share what I learned from my reflections on challenges from 2016 in another post. For now I am loving my trip down memory lane and seeing what a great year we actually had!

My life – the best of 2016

  • We celebrated birthdays!!! I turned 35, Mark turned 36 and my boys turned 11, 10 and 3!
  • Colson and Cayson played their first season ever on a football team
  • Colson scored his first ever touchdown – a 71 yard pass!
  • Colson made the 10U All-Star Football team
  • I learned about football – I really didn’t know anything!
  • Colson and Cayson played another season of Little League Baseball
  • Cayson made the 8/9 year old All-Star team
  • Mark and I started watching sports together with the kids – may seem lame but to my testosterone filled family this is a good thing!
  •  Mark went to work full-time at Luck Stone
  • I celebrated my 8th year as the Communication Specialist at REC
  • Colson graduated 5th grade and started Middle School
  • Cayson finished 4th grade and started 5th grade
  • Mark and I traveled to Portland, Oregon – this was the first time either one of us had been to the West Coast
  • I went to New Orleans in February
  • While in Louisiana I went on an alligator tour in a swamp. I saw alligators and wild pigs!
  • I traveled to Omaha, Nebraska and while I was there I stood on the Nebraska/Iowa state line
  • We took our annual family vacation to the Outer Banks in July
  • We also went to the Outer Banks in June and in September
  • Mark and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary
  • I won the Graznak Award for being an excellent communicator from the Cooperative Communicator’s Association
  • I also won other awards for communication excellence from CCA and NRECA
  • I presented on Cooperative communications at several conferences/workshops
  • We started going to church – although we haven’t been every Sunday – it’s a good start
  • We got Layton a swing set in July
  • Our 3rd dog showed up – Scooter
  • We got 3 cats – Mittens, Doodles and Claire
  • We got 6 chickens in March and since then we only lost 1
  • As expected, our chickens lay eggs!
  • Mark and I built a chicken coop together
  • We planted a garden for the 4th year
  • We found trustworthy babysitters for the boys
  • Colson got a 3DS
  • Cayson got an Xbox
  • We went to see Christmas lights
  • The kids had their photo taken with Santa
  • We picked apples at Carter’s Mountain (their apples are the best!)
  • We went to Crabtree Falls
  • We tried to pick peaches but missed the season, so we got already picked peaches instead from Chiles Peach Orchard
  • Mark and I won a sound bar from my company holiday party last January – it makes for a good house party
  • We delivered meals at Thanksgiving
  • We had our first Thanksgiving and Christmas at home, just us
  • The boys went trick or treating again  - we had a zombie hunter, Darrell from TWD, and Lightning MacQueen
  • We took Layton to see his first movie in a theatre – it went great the first time, the second time – not so good
  • Cayson got an award for being good on the school bus
  • Mark and I decided to focus on us
  • We are grateful for each other, our family, our jobs, and our photography business
  • We still have a wonderful and comfortable home to come to every day
  • We had a very healthy year for ourselves and our kids
  • We started praying together as a family – mostly at meal-time but it’s an amazing start
  • We made a War Room
  • I had portraits taken of me by Debbie Ringle and it was an awesome experience
  • I coached cheerleading
  • I met Angie Scott – what an amazing woman!
  • Cayden helped me coach part of the season of cheerleading
  • We enjoyed several days over the late Spring, Summer and even early fall at Lake Anna
  • I took Layton to the Children’s Museum
  • The boys went bowling
  • We saw more glorious sunrises and sunsets than we can count!
  • We saw 3 waterfalls while in Oregon – even the tallest, Multnomah Falls
  • We drove around Mt. Hood in Oregon
  • We spent the night at Canon Beach on Oregon, saw the Pacific ocean for the first time, walked in the Pacific for the first time, found 7 sand dollars and saw Haystack Rock up close (we felt so small)
  • We saw many rainbows in our front and back yard after rainy spring and summer days
  • Cayden and I saw the sunrise together
  • Cayden and I ran on the beach to take pictures in a lightning storm
  • Carlie did a lip sync of Rumor Has It
  • Panera started selling French Onion Soup again (praise God!)
  • Mark, the boys and I drove to Nags Head through Hurricane Matthew then we explored the damage along the coast
  • Mark and I went on a couple of dates – just us!
  • While walking one day Mark and I saw a bald eagle like 5 feet or so away
  • We went kayaking!
  • We saw the fireworks over Lake Anna
  • We put up a new hammock down by the pond and spent a few days just relaxing down there
  • We celebrated my grannies 99th birthday!
  • We played in the snow
  • We visited Bodie Island Light House
  • My best friend Ashley and I enjoyed lunch together
  • I opened a studio with Staci – then we decided it was best to find a new location
  • I went on field trips with Colson before he finished 5th grade and have been on field trips with Cayson for 4th and 5th grade
  • We had fun at the several fall festivals around town this year
  • We at many, many, many ice cream cones
  • We did our own version of Kid’s Baking Championship at home, and Chopped Junior. Colson made a mean Jamaican Jerk Chicken!!
  • We had our own back-yard movie theatre
  • We enjoyed a movie at the Goochland Drive-In Theatre (Awesome place!)
  • We did fires in the fire pit and roasted marshmallows
  • We had fun fishing in our pond
  • We went to Kings Dominion
  • Layton got a haircut
  • One night Mark and I stayed out there late and fell asleep
  • I photographed 56 client sessions this year!!! All while working a full-time job, being a wife and raising 3 children, 3 cats, 3 dogs and 5 chickens. Pretty damn proud of myself!
  • I revamped my website and I finally feel like it feels like me!


What a great year! I can't wait to see what happens in 2017 and to share that 365 days from now! 

~ Casey


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