2016 Year in Review

It’s the time of year to reflect, reminisce and blog feelings of nostalgia. Prepare for a brief overview with pictures. I’ll write another post about my resolutions, goals and deep feelings of inadequacy. (Plus the 2017 beast! I don’t even know what creature will shape my destiny this year!)  Each month has a photo or two, my favorite (or your favorite) post, plus my favorite read. 2016 was truly a blur; thank goodness I have at least some of it recorded online to jog my memory.


We got word that Fulton would be featured during the MDA Shamrock campaign. (See the top photo.) I still didn’t fully understand what that meant until readers, friends and family started sharing pictures in March using the hashtag #wheresfulton. He turned out to be a bit of a minor celebrity, especially at this Burger King in Franklin, WI. Fulton’s response? He didn’t want to talk about it and wanted reassurances that I wouldn’t sign him up for it again.

Wrote a total of nine posts.
My favorite: Seven Step Internet Cleanse
Favorite read: Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson


For Lent, Tony and I ate food inspired by 12th century Germanic nun, St. Hildegard. We tried to give up coffee, but by the end, I was drinking decaf because herbal tea tastes awful. I’d rather do another Whole30 than have to drink herbal tea again.

Wrote a total of eight posts.
One of your favorites (via my stats): More Valentines to Lead Your Loved One to Heaven
Favorite read: By The Pricking of My Thumbs, Agatha Christie


A family Easter shot that showcases the personalities of each of my offspring. The weather was colder on Easter 2016 than Christmas 2015.

Published seven posts, two were art based, one was a reminder.
My favorite: Seven Reasons You Should Start a Blog For Fun
Favorite read: Conversations with Flannery O’Connor (I started ‘The Habit of Being’, but I had to return it to library before I finished it. In typing this post, I realized I never re-checked it out! I think I wrongly assumed I would remember to purchase it later.)


April 19, 2016

Addie got confirmed! She’s an adult in the eyes of the Church! Look how tall and knowledgable she looks in this picture! Where does the time go!?!?!? Flashback to a similar moment:

July 2013

She’s such a good sport to continually let me take awkward photos with her.

I wrote eight posts.
Your favorites (four of the top twelve were written this month):

All Your Burning Parenting Questions Answered
The Seven Deadly Sins of Facebook
Encouraging Your Young Musician
Rules and Role of Obedience

Favorite read: Cause et Cure, St. Hildegarde of Bingen


Another major sacramental milestone. Barring a catastrophe, I knew Addie would grow up and make all her sacraments. That was not the case for this guy. On his big day, I was a blubbery mess. This might be my favorite picture of him of all time. Shouldn’t we all be this excited to receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord?!

Wrote six posts.
My favorite: Finally a Fitness Program For Me
Book: This month I started reading The Brothers Karamazov, then restarted reading the unabridged copy. Not much other reading happened for a good long while.


This month, I released my retreat book and spoke at the IHM homeschooling conference in VA. Fulton spent another awesome week at MDA camp. The beach beckoned and schoolwork might have suffered.

I managed to write seven posts.
My favorite: MDA Camp and Life Without a Lift
My, not so favorite read: Ugh, still struggling through Brothers.


We hosted a belated St. John’s party due to my speaking, took more trips to the beach and finally wrapped up school, though some how, things didn’t really slow down.

Blogged six times.
Your favorite read (which actually inspired me to write many of your favorite August posts): A Great Read, Playdough Repairs and Zoo Rants
Non-favorite read: I finally finished Brothers, and ultimately didn’t like it.


We took a family trip to the midwest, started school shortly after, and generally crammed more into August than typical, meaning it flew by. I wrote five posts. For SMA Awareness Month, I focused on being a special needs parent and these three posts were your favorites:
The Sadness we Bring to a Diagnosis Should Not Become Our Child’s
What to do When Your Child Won’t Stop Staring at Person in a Wheelchair
How Can We Keep Our Faith When Bad Things Happen to Our Children

Favorite Reads: I made up for Brothers by devouring  Natural Born Heroes and Born To Run, both by Christopher McDougall, and kept my commitment to Russian literature by reading A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. It was a good month for books.


School! Activities! Online classes! Music lessons!! I barely remember turning 38.

Wrote seven posts.
My favorite: What to do When You’re Outnumbered by Tiny Humans 
Favorite read:I finished Scoop, by Evelyn Waugh, but honestly I found it only so so. I haven’t read anything else by him that I’ve loved nearly as much as Brideshead.


Praise God for big kids who take charge of Halloween costumes and manage to make their own with much less swearing than I ever did. Otherwise, it was the month for follow-up medical appointments, which means 80% of October was spent waiting to discuss no change in anyone’s condition.

However, I managed to publish five posts, including your favorite one of 2016: I Am Not Exceptional and So Can You
Another top 12 post was, Wedding Registry Regrets

Favorite read?: After Brothers, I was hesitant to start reading another huge piece of Russian literature, so although my goal was to read War and Peace in 2016, I instead ordered Dr. Zhivago on a whim not realizing it was also pretty huge. *SIGH*


In scanning my phone, laptop and Instagram feed, I realized I only took about 10 pictures in the entire month of November. Maybe it’s because I was busy planning club meetings, running kids to activities every night, homeschooling, filling out hosting paperwork, caring for two medically fragile children….I don’t know, all I remember was at the beginning of November I was thinking I was glad October was over because it was so crazy and yet…

I did manage to blog six times. One of the year’s top 12: Costumes, Christians and Orphans
Favorite read: How about I take another couple of months to slog through a dense Russian book with so many weird names my eyeballs are bleeding? Sounds great!


And now we’re ending the year doing something that wasn’t even on the radar back in January. Hosting was sitting in the back of my mind, but didn’t figure into any of my resolutions or goals for 2016. December has been crazy busy, even more so than the rest of the year, but at least it was of my own doing, so I feel somewhat more in control, or at least under the illusion of control.

This will be my sixth post of the month and final of the year.
Favorite read: I took a break from Dr. Zhivago and probably won’t finish it in 2016. I decided to binge a bit on pop psychology and really enjoyed How Children Succeed by Paul Tough.

Thanks to you my wonderful readers for coming back time and again to read my words and tolerate my poor grammar! Catch y’all in 2017!


  1. I’m just finishing War and Peace after nearly 9 months reading (not straight–I took breaks and read other things). A couple of notes if you do tackle it. Read the Edwards translation (available on Kindle) and not the Pevear/Volkonsky translation unless you really have a good grasp of French and German (yeah, me neither). They elected to leave the (very very large amount) of original French and German in the text and footnote the translations. Which means you are reading pages upon pages of tiny text in translation while trying to make sure you’ve not missed when it switches back to English. I also found Edwards easier going. That said, if you want to hit Tolstoy, I’d recommend starting with Anna Karenina. It is a shorter, and you still get plenty of Tolstoy flavor. The themes are similar (although, it must be said, I did hit a point about 2/3rds through the book where Anna’s whining really got to me). I will say that War and Peace has some truly transcendent and profound parts to it, but there is a lot of slogging through Tolstoy’s rambling essays on the Napoleonic wars (advice: give those a skim; they are the first couple of chapters of every section).

    good for you for reading all those books this year!

  2. I’m reading Dr. Zhivago as well…continued from last year. Glad to know I’m not the only one!!! I’m halfway through, and feel I should finish it after leaving poor Yuri and the various ovnas and chenkos and viches waiting on the train platform after shoveling all that snow. Sadly, I’ve forgotten most of what I read, and really, are 50 haphazardly intertwined characters really necessary?? I’m like, ‘who’s Pasha again?’

  3. I’m sort of sad you didn’t like Brothers K, but that’s OK. 🙂 Good on you for finishing it!
    The issue with the Russian novels is that yes, the names are similar, and they’re so BIG. You need flow charts! Of course that’s also an issue with “100 Years of Solitude”, which, apparently, I’m a terrible person for not liking. :-p

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