2017 has reminded me just how grateful I should be, how thankful I am for the amazing people in my life and how blessed I am to live this life I have!
I’m not going to lie, 2017 started out as a rough year. 40 days in, my life changed forever. Dealing with my mom’s passing was rough, and I really thought it was going to define the year. While I am sure I will always remember that as the most influential part of my 2017, I have been blessed with a multitude of other experiences to make this year enjoyable in the days since. Here are my top 17 highlights from 2017:
- Monroe got a new yoga studio – Blue Lotus Yoga, opened by a dear friend of mine who has entrusted me with help her with her social media and website, and all the while it has only made Elaina and me better friends.
- My friend Mary came to visit from down south just to keep me company and be with me for a tough weekend. While it was a short visit, it is one I will always remember as she but her own life on hold for the weekend to be there for me at the drop of a hat.
- I got my 3rd tattoo – it’s my mom’s handwriting and says “Love, Mom”, taken off the Christmas card she wrote me last year.
- Tom and I went to see Jake Owen in concert! (I have to get at least one country concert in each year.)
- Once I finally had a chance to leave home for a bit, I visited Jenna and saw Oregon and Washington for my first time! We went beer tasting around Portland (along with whiskey and wine tasting) and even had a flight across the gorge in Washington! I was also able to see Mulnomah Falls and the Columbia River Gorge before they were hit with a devastating wild fire. Also, while in Portland, Jenna took me to my very first professional soccer game – and I will admit that I loved it!
- I spent Mother’s Day weekend in DC with Emily – wine tasting around Virginia and taking in another Nationals game.
- I completed my 2nd Warrior Dash with some awesome ladies from my softball team.
- I got a dirt bike!!!
- Spent Labor Day up on Cape Cod with Tom, Jenna and her family to wish her farewell before her next chapter of life and adventures in Cambodia! And since it was me and Jenna, rum, gin and wine tasting were all on the menu! Along with a 20+ mile bike ride on the rail trail. And we even caught a sight of seals off the coast in Provincetown.
- Finally took in a Bridgeport Bluefish game at Harbor Yard before they left town for good.
- And even though Hurricane Irma rained out the Tampa 2017 installment of #ktomandlamargotimlbtour, we booked a last minute trip to Cleveland where we saw the Indians win 21 straight games (and then break their win streak two days later). Plus we saw the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and cruised on the Great Lake to see a different side of Cleveland.
- I finally made it to Canada thanks to a work trip to Montreal. And though I didn’t have time for sightseeing, there was time to pick up pure Canadian maple syrup to bring home! Work also sent me to Atlanta, so I finally stepped foot outside the airport. And was able to experience some southern BBQ while we dined. My final work trip sent me to Torino, Italy for a week. And included a 7 hour layover in Frankfurt, which gave me ample time to go walk around the city instead of just hanging out in the airport.
- After wanting to learn for a long time, I dove in and took a calligraphy class at Joyful Noise Paper and have been enjoying practicing my new hobby ever since.
- I spent November writing my 30 Days of Thanks and looking back on all of the blessings I have in my life.
- I was elected chair of Monroe Youth Commission.
- I survived 3 straight days of Christmas baking – making 100 raspberry thumprints + 121 chocolate chip cookies + 3 Irish soda breads + 81 meringues + 45 chocolate covered pretzels…all for the weekend before Christmas. And that doesn’t include anything I made for Christmas itself, which we hosted for the 1st time this year.
- The Gotimer family grew again as Lizzie and Brian got married!
I am thankful to now be in Italy, experiencing a new city; Torino. While I am spending most of my time here in meetings, I have a chance to see new sights and eat new foods. After arriving yesterday, we took a short walk in the nearby area and went to a mall that is inside the old Fiat factory! (And speaking of Fiat, I was in a factory next to the current Fiat factory today.) Last night we had fresh ravioli for dinner, tonight we had risotto and crepes and are going to have pizza tomorrow! And I learned tonight that the area around Torino/Milano is full of rice fields. And in addition to factories and food, we have a beautiful view of the Alps from down the street, and especially when we drive towards them for our meetings…
I am thankful for a 7 hour layover in Frankfurt. While 7 hours is normally considered a long layover and most peacocks wouldn’t want it, I was pleased to have a long enough layover to leave the airport and explore the city of Frankfurt. Now, I didn’t have enough time to fully explore, but I had enough time to explore an area around Hauptwache. The reviews I read before going told me there would be new and old architecture and lots of stores, so I figured a great place for a tourist. Now I know starting my layover at 5:30AM was a bit early for shops, I didn’t want to go shopping, rather walk around and take in the sights (plus put my camera to good use), but what I didn’t expect was the entire area to be quiet, nothing open, but the alleys filled with Christmas markets (though they were closed, I was able to experience the decorations all over the area). While I would love to make it back to Germany again, I’m glad I finally made it, even if for a brief visit!
Today, one the one year anniversary of starting my job, I am thankful I for my job and the company I work for. I started at an interesting time in my personal life, but my coworkers showed support from the very beginning. I have not worked on a better team in my whole career. I am extremely thankful to work for a company who understands there is more to live than our jobs and values time with your family. I live a balanced life, my work time is work time and personal time is for me, my friends and family. I am blessed to have the opportunity to work remotely half the time, which also saves me time from commuting, plus saves on gas and wear and tear too! This job comes with some wonderful benefits and a decent amount of time off too. In addition to having ample time to travel for myself, I’ve been given the opportunity to see four new places this year, Montreal, Atlanta, Frankfurt and Torino, all as a part of my job (granted Frankfurt is only a short trip as it’s whatever I can squeeze in tomorrow on my long layover). I’m in a job at a company that wants to know where I want to go next; there is plenty of room for growth in the future and I don’t fret about the stability of my job or company. Finally being at a company that values its employees as people, not just as another chip in their pile, is a wonderful feeling.
I am thankful for the education I have received, and still have yet to complete. I was blessed to grow up in a town whose schools were constantly ranked best in the state. When I went to college, I was able to attend Bentley; a school that was just right for me. Going there afforded me many opportunities that have allowed me to get to where I am today. I am also thankful I went back for my masters a few years ago – it pushed me harder and helped open some new doors. And now I am thankful that I have the opportunity to complete my MBA, on top of my masters, to ensure other doors will be open for me in my future. I’ll be headed back to New England College mid-January to begin my MBA program, and am thankful some of my classes from my MSM carry over so at least my MBA will be completed quickly. And I’m even more thankful that all of my school debt has been paid off and is behind me!
I am thankful for the opportunity to host holidays at our house. And at the same time, thankful we didn’t host Thanksgiving this year. It’s been a hectic year and this has been a very hectic week with it being mom’s birthday, squeezing a week worth of work into two days, getting ready for Italy and other family plans this weekend; so I was relieved that I also didn’t have to cook a Thanksgiving dinner this year. But I am looking forward to Christmas, where we will be hosting. It’s the first time we’ve hosted Christmas Day, over the past four years, we’ve done Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas Eve, but never Christmas Day. I’m excited for something new. I’m excited to spend the day not leaving my house. I’m excited for everyone to see our house decorated for the holidays!! I love the feeling of getting prepared and seeing our family relax while we do the work. It’s a blessing being able to have our families and friends over, and an extra blessing when it happens for a holiday.
Today I am thankful for my favorite Black Friday tradition – coming to Long Island to put up Grandma’s Christmas tree! While many people are out shopping, I take my day to spend time with my grandmother and help her decorate her house for Christmas, and get the tree up and ready. I’ve been doing this every year since 2002 (with the only exception being 2006 when I was in Ireland) and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon. It is a wonderful way to spend time with my grandmother and to start celebrating the holidays.
I am thankful for the Christmas season! I know it is still technically Thanksgiving, but I promise I’m not getting ahead of myself. Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, now Christmas can begin! And it truly is my most favorite time of the year 🎄
I firmly believe in waiting until after Thanksgiving to begin the Christmas season. And I don’t participate in Black Friday shopping. We now have a month to celebrate Christmas and all that goes with it – especially acts of charity and love. Plus I can now listen to my favorite Christmas music!
I am thankful for traditions. Growing up we had a number of them, but over the years they changed – Sarah and I outgrew them, or they disappeared when our parents got divorced and now a number are gonna without Mom. But just because most of the traditions from my childhood are gone, doesn’t mean I don’t have new ones. Tom and I started some traditions before moving to our home, but since then even more have come about. We go strawberry and blueberry picking in the summer. And in the fall we go apple picking, and even try to make time to go apple picking upstate where I used to go with my parents – and then go pumpkin picking too. And the tradition I’m most looking forward to is buying our Christmas tree 🎄! We go to Jones Farms on our anniversary every year to buy our tree – this has double meaning. First, we go on our anniversary so we always spend they day together and second, it’s where I used to get a tree as a little kid, before my parents got an artificial one. These traditions may seem simple, but I am thankful for them every year!