I didn’t think it was possible, but 2019 topped the previous year in many ways – most notably with what we were able to pull off for travel experiences. It exceeded all of our hopes and dreams. We have so, so much to be thankful for – and we wake up with gratitude every day. After a year like that I find it hard to wish or want for anything. I’ll be satisfied for life!
We still have time left here in Hungary and adventures on the horizon, but I am SO FILLED UP by what we have already accomplished in such a short time that whatever comes next feels like icing on the cake. Of course no year is perfect, and we had our share of hurdles to leap, but it felt great to be navigating things together. There were no deployments, so the hubby was here more regularly, and it was wonderful so many friends and family were able to come to us and keep us connected to back home in the states.
Besides travel, it was another year full of new experiences, firsts, new friends, great food, and manifesting plans for the future.
2019 Random Numbers
Countries visited: 17
Speeding Tickets: 3
T-boned in a fender bender: 1
Lost packages: 6
Tooth fairy visits: 3
Purple scars from barnacle scrapes: 1
Visitors/Meet-ups (including unplanned!): 8
Broken windows repaired: 1
Laser hair removal treatments: 5
$10 gel manicures: 23
Most miles walked in a travel day: 10.2
Times anyone got sick all year: 1
Lost prescription Ray Bans: 1
Skinny dipping friends in the Adriatic: 2
Combined shoe size increase in kids: 6+ sizes!
Dianna decided to try a new sport – aerial ballet! She wasn’t a big fan of ballet last year, so instead she thought she’d try her hand at this more acrobatic sport. She’s very flexible and strong, so she picked up on it quickly! She did an intro class at school and just began the Hungarian class so she can learn the hoop, silks and more! She absolutely loves it. I hope it’s something she can continue when we move back to the states.
Beau is so funny. He’s quiet compared to the girls, and spends hours working on little projects like legos, making his own comics, or creating power point presentations to show the family. He often comes out with something and it surprises us – and this was no exception! We have been listening to some great learning songs to help the kids learn states and their capitals in a fun way, presidents, the periodic table, and some other topics made fun by music including a song all about “Pi.” Well, that song came on one day and Beau proceeded to sing all FIFTY numbers correctly of pi! This kid really is a numbers guy! It blew me away – and when his sisters followed suit (they nearly have it, too!) it solidified my belief in music as a learning tool. Amazing!
This also runs into another “new” thing for Beau, which is joining chorus at school. He has been really enjoying learning all the new songs and performing in the concerts – it’s really bringing out his personality! I love how he sings the songs so much that Willow is picking up on them, too. I think Didi wants to join next year!
Also new at school in 2019 was the Scouts program. Beau and Didi both joined and have been enjoying themselves so far! At our international school the program is for boys and girls and has kids from over 12 nations involved. Willow wants to be a part of it next year when she’s old enough, too.
The kids took a crash course in break dancing early in 2019 and loved it!
One year ago I decided to start personal strength training with my friend and professional strength and conditioning coach, Meryl. It has been a great experience! I have, for the first time in my life, learned proper form for lifting. As a former athlete I was “trained” all my life – but never from someone who knew what she was talking about! I feel lucky to have Meryl to teach and critique my movement and help me stay strong as I age. Thanks, Meryl! #wickedironstrength
A new family came to Pápa last summer and their four children were all the perfect ages for our kids and we were all fast friends! As military families, it its one of the greatest gifts to find families that “get it” and you fall in sync like you’ve known each other for ages. These guys felt like family right away! They moved in as neighbors and jumped right into Papa life. It was so memorable to spend New Years together in Sweden on one of the hubby’s missions. They’re extra special to us! I love how I many hugs I get from these four kiddos! (And I spy a Boston Red Sox hat!)
The kids all got to go ski in the Alps for the first time in 2019 and it was positively epic! We had the BEST time. We were able to go a few times and can’t wait to go back in February with family!
The two big kids got to go to their first ever week-long sleepover summer camp! Funside Balaton was so much fun – what a great experience for them! Didi got to ride horses every day, Beau went swimming every day, they made great friends and can’t wait to go back this summer!
The girls got their wish and both of them had their ears pierced together just before Christmas this year. They were SO excited to go, and I had been preparing them for what to expect for months. This is a really big deal – one of those “big girl” moments – and I was so proud of how they braved the whole thing!
Didi and I took our first ever hot air balloon flight as part of her birthday celebration. We flew all over western Hungary, launching on Lake Balaton. It was a peaceful, beautiful ride! She was the only kid in the basket – brave indeed!
I got to go cliff jumping – twice! – in the Adriatic off the coast of Croatia, once with Meryl and once with the family. It was a dream come true! And definitely a first. Big fears were faced there!
We had so much wonderful food throughout the year, but by far the most memorable culinary experience was at Hiša Franko, the world-renowned restaurant operated by the acclaimed Ana Roš. I was able to have two delectable meals there in 2019 and I’ll be raving about that experience for a long, long time to come!
We visited 16 countries as a family and I visited one country solo for a whopping 17 countries this year! (Six countries marked with an asterix are “firsts” for us!) What an incredible, educational, and exciting tour around Europe and the tip of Africa!
Hungary photo below courtesy of my friend David Myers!
A very special thank-you to my partner in crime for holding down the fort so I could enjoy time away with some great friends who visited, as well as an epic week in France with my mom and sister! It amounted to nearly two and a half weeks total – practically my annual “time off” that I’ve never really had before as a mom. It really matters, and so does the unwavering support he gives me with all these wild ideas. Thanks, honey!
2019 turned into a year I was able to practice in my field (counseling) more than I expected, and it was very rewarding. I saw 15 clients for individual or couples therapy and 7 clients for hypnotherapy. I continued to run monthly Women’s Therapy Group, which has been such a gift to have, and organized two day-long IMAGO couples workshops for people in the community, most of which was offered pro-bono. I also have an arrangement to be an on-call school counselor at the kids’ international school as needed. It feels great to be of service!
Derek learned of his end date (spring, 2021) so we have begun planning for what comes next. It is exciting to think about transitioning out of military life and finally settling down permanently – but also extremely daunting. There are moments when we feel thrilled and confident and other times when it is completely overwhelming. Life will be very different, and we know it, so we are doing everything we can to savor our time here and prepare for the future at the same time.