2017 total: $12105.73


2017 In Review - Forks in the Road

There's this weird thing that happened in 2017 that I didn't expect as a parent - there were a few events that occurred where I *knew* that what was happening would alter Alexis' path in life. It wasn't that there were a bunch of bad things that happened, it was more that she experienced things that opened her eyes to opportunities.

There were a bunch of them, but two stand out.

The first was in January.


A long time ago, Alexis looked up the word "feminist" in the dictionary. I encouraged her to do so because she was hurt when someone she cared about threw the word around like an insult. I thought it was important that she see for herself what the word actually means. The end result was that the wound cut deeper, but the scar from the wound grew stronger.

She now proudly declares herself a feminist and will challenge anyone who thinks that's a bad thing.

A big part of that scar becoming thick and powerful was the Women's March. Being surrounded by thousands of people who knew that dictionary definition and believed in it was an experience Alexis won't ever forget.

I don't know what she'll do with it, but she definitely chose a path after that day.

The other event that changed the course of things was our quick trip to Las Vegas for a cheer competition.

July17 295

While the competition was a good experience, that's not what presented Alexis with a new path. It was the travel. That was the trip that made Alexis realize that she wants to see All of the Places. She already knew she loved New York City, but now she wants to see every major city everywhere. There was a moment when she realized it's a big world out there and she wants to see it all for herself.

Earlier today, Alexis and Mila were sitting on the couch planning their trip to China. Alexis has decided to learn to speak Chinese (and is using YouTube videos to do it) to prepare. They've got a few decades until they can venture off on their own, but I have no doubt that they will.

Alexis is 20 steps past the fork in the road, well along her path.



2017 In Review - Favorite Photos







July17 067

August 17 194

September17 097-1

October17 007

November17 147



To Grandmother's House the Trees Go

Every once in a while, I hear the words, "I have a lot of Christmas trees" coming out of my mouth and I realize that it's crazypants. It is absolutely crazypants that I can't tell you how many trees I have because it's SO many that I''m not sure what should count. Only trees with lights? Only trees that are more than four feet tall? I don't know what the rules should be. If we throw all rules to the wind and just count everything, it's 26? I think? Alexis generally comes up with a higher number, so let's just go with over 25 and call it a day.

You would think that would be enough, but you would be wrong. In fact, I bought two new ones this weekend. I HAD TO! They were a matching pair of 4 1/2-foot tall white and silver trees. They're delightfully tacky and wonderful and they're going to look great on either side of the fireplace next year. The best part is that between now and then, I'll forget that I have them, so it'll be a fun surprise come November. The second best part was that they were 90% off. See! I had to get them!

It still won't be enough.

For, you see, the littles. The littles are ALL in on this crazy train. Alexis comes up with a higher number because she LOVES telling people how nuts I am and then revelling in their shock. She sees it as perfectly reasonable to have a lot of trees because how would you have less? Which ones would she have to give up? If you say the Harry Potter tree, look out. She will send  Muggle your way.

And Mila. Oh, Mila. Mila is so in love with "the pretties." She spends a whole lot of her time making sure they are all turned on and properly decorated. She has done everything in her power to convince me to buy more trees and lights and ornaments and basically she wants our house to be the Target Christmas section, except with extra decorations at the three foot and below level. That high stuff can be skipped, mostly because it's not as much fun when she can't reach it to touch it.

Soooo ... that brings us to Christmas. We travelled to visit family and that family is not as spirited as I am. Thus, there wasn't a tree where Mila could see it. Long story short, she didn't say anything while we were there, but guess what she has mentioned 235234523059823 times since? Every time we're out and about and come across a tree, be it for sale or a part of the store decorations, she insists that we take it to Indiana to "Fix grandma's house."

Because it's broken.

Because it doesn't have 25+ trees.

Man, I love that kid.