What a year! One for the books.
January: We ended the year with our annual Toddler NYE party and then jumped into our normal January with Kyle gone most of the month, first to Denver and then to Tampa. I also took a trip, to Austin for Noonday’s annual conference, and had a blast connecting with other ambassadors and meeting artisans. My mom got really sick early in the month and towards the end of the month proposed the idea of moving somewhere warmer. Kyle had just gotten back from Tampa so I gave him a full 24 hours of being home before I sprung the idea on him. He had committed to sending his resume out for a local (Elkhart, IN) position and did that a few days later on a Sunday morning, within 30 minutes of emailing his resume the owner of the company called and offered him a job in sunny Las Vegas!
February: This was a month of big decisions, big changes and watching the Lord work in mighty ways. Kyle resigned from his job at Phoenix Cruiser where he had been the Business Manager for over four years and accepted the position of Finance Director at Van City RV, a chain of RV dealerships with locations in Las Vegas, Colorado Springs, Kalispell (Montana) and St. Louis. We were so blessed by my cousins in Las Vegas who gave Kyle a place to live during this transition. Me and the kids started purging, packing and getting the house ready to sell.
March: Easily the most difficult month of the year as we found out my mom had cancer and I continued to get the house ready to sell while solo parenting. We listed the house on March 19th and within 48 hours had two over asking price offers and signed papers. Simon had a fun last month at preschool with special days like “Green Eggs & Ham” day and his 100th day of preschool. He loved helping me pack and sort stuff! I got sick at the end of the month (after pushing way too hard for too long) but we survived even if I had to phone in the kids bedtime songs from anyone who would answer after I lost my voice.
April: We made the big move on April 6th! Saying goodbye was bittersweet, I was incredibly sad to leave the house we had made a home and the community we were so blessed with. I was also so excited to start our new life and mostly to be reunited as a family again. My cousins, Paul and Kathy, were so gracious to let all of us move in with them while we found a house and the kids fell in love with “Uncle Paul and Aunt Kathy”. We settled into life in Las Vegas and had a blast exploring the city and finding a new park to play at every day. At the end of the month Kyle flew back to Indiana and loaded up our moving pods.
May: My mom and dad continued with their plans to move here despite the cancer diagnosis but mom did have to start chemo before the move which left her very sick and weak for her flight here. We were so excited to get them both here at the beginning of May and quickly got them settled into their condo. We closed on our house mid-month and were thrilled to move in and make it our home! Our community has a pool that is conveniently right around the corner from our house and was sadly closed all summer, but my parents’ community has several pools that we enjoyed all summer!
June: Simon started his grand tour of Las Vegas churches with his first of five VBS programs and me and Betsy started our grand tour of shopping the city. We especially liked the selection of stores on Stephanie St. in Henderson (but Betsy was sure I was saying it wrong and preferred calling it “Sesame Street”). My brother and his family came out for a visit and the cousins had a blast together, especially swimming in Nina and Papa’s pool. Mom soaked up all the baby snuggles, enjoying the newest addition to the family, my niece Eisley.
July: We finished up two more VBS programs for Simon and celebrated our first 4th of July in our new city. We continued to explore Vegas and picked up memberships at the aquarium at Mandalay Bay and Springs Preserve, and enjoyed the weekly farmers market and mermaid show at Silverton Casino. Mom continued through chemo with a host of awful side effects that left her exhausted and virtually home bound but a visit from her sister (my Aunt Beth) was a happy time this month. Kyle and I did Whole 30 and got back into the groove of cooking at home.
August: Kyle’s mom came to visit and we had a great time showing her our new city, including morning walks to the putting green with the kids and going to The Beatles LOVE Cirque du Soleil show. For Kyle’s 36th birthday we went up to Mt. Charleston (sans kids), did some hiking and enjoyed the 30 degree temperature difference and the first cool breeze we had felt in months. I got connected with a Las Vegas bloggers group and attended my first blogger event out here.
September: For Labor Day weekend we took turns having special days with each kid. Kyle took both kids to Mt. Charleston for their dates and I took the kids out for donuts and the activity of their choosing (plus Betsy’s first haircut!). I turned 32 and we had a fun date on the Strip. Later in the month I co-hosted an event with a few other bloggers at a high-end shoe store in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. The kiddos went to the dentist for the first time and did great! My friend Jenny came for a weekend, I second shot a wedding with her and we got to swim in our pool that finally opened. Simon got a special surprise visit from his preschool teacher, Mrs. Bahr!
October: We started the month with a visit from Kyle’s dad! We covered a lot of ground with him, taking him to Springs Preserve, out for donuts, to Container Park, hiking, the Neon Museum, and up to Mt. Charleston where the aspens were changing colors. Kyle took a work trip to Colorado Springs and I took a work/pleasure trip to Indiana and did 13 photoshoots and saw tons of friends in 4 short days. We enjoyed our first Halloween in Vegas where you don’t have to wear long johns under your costume! After months and months of church shopping we finally found the one.
November: My friend Laura came to visit and convinced me to zipline down Fremont St. with her. I am TERRIFIED of heights but ended up loving it so much I’ve ziplined at the Rio with Kyle and Bootleg Canyon with my brother and sister-in-law since then! Betsy turned three and her birthday request was to go to the South Point (a casino) to see the games. She also had a pufferfish mermaid princess party and got her first pair of dress-up heels. My Aunt Beth, Uncle Mike and cousins Kitty and Emily came for Thanksgiving week and we had a wonderful time hosting Thanksgiving for the first time. Kyle made Alton Brown’s classic turkey recipe with a bacon weave on top. I started booking more photoshoots and had three family sessions this month.
December: MY MOM TURNED 60!!! My brother and his family came to visit and we had a great time celebrating my mom (who, by the way, went from stage 3b to stage 0 after chemo and a double mastectomy, and she will start radiation before the end of the year). Kyle put in notice at his work and will start a new job after the new year. We are excited to have the holidays together as a family, celebrate Simon’s 5th birthday (which will be a LEGO party) and have Kyle’s family visit for five days starting NYE.
Kyle had never moved cross country before, but adding in the excitement of a new job, selling a home and buying a new one really made the year fly by. He has thoroughly enjoyed both the summer (despite the heat) for the lack of seasonal allergies that he has lived with for so long, and the winter which has been mild and sunny. Kyle’s favorite part of Las Vegas: the sun! He enjoys hiking at our local park “Exploration Peak” – it’s a quick 17 story climb that overlooks the city and is great for watching the air traffic at McCarran airport. Kyle is excited to be starting a different track in the RV world – He will be going back into sales for the first time in a few years! Goals for the New Year include: 1. Climb Mt. Charleston – He would like to work on his physical health and has set this climb as a goal. 2. Continue to connect with others at City Light Church – he’s been inviting co-workers and set up a donation for the Christmas drive for the homeless, but will be taking a more active role connecting with a small group and looking to serve others. 3. Try to keep up with his wife who remains stunningly beautiful and extremely lovable (his words, not mine).
This year has been surprisingly hard for me. You don’t know how full of good stuff your life is until you move to a new place and dump it all out! I absolutely love our new city, and now, at the end of the year, I can look back and see that, little by little, we’re building a life here, but there was some time in the middle where I was wavering between angry and sad all the time. So I started going to therapy! That has helped, and the support of Kyle and my parents has been incredible. I love the sunshine, the endless things to do – both with the kids and for date nights, our church, being close to my parents, and so much more about this city that seems to have it all! Blogging has had its ups and downs with algorithm changes, but I’ve continued to enjoy it, grown my following to 8,000, and connected with a group of bloggers in Vegas who regularly have events in partnership with different brands and retailers. I’m taking it slow with my photography business, the kids are at ages where they take up most of my time! Speaking of the kids, they bring me so much joy in the midst of making me absolutely crazy. They are so sweet and I’m a lucky mama.
Simon has enjoyed this new adventure and is very good at articulating the difference between life in Elkhart and life in Las Vegas. He loves going to new parks, the aquarium, the Children’s Museum, Mt. Charleston, Springs Preserve and riding the monorail on the Strip. We have slowly started at-home reading lessons and will find out in January if we get picked in the lottery for him to attend a charter school that is opening up a few miles from our house. His obsession is Legos, he loves getting new sets and following the directions to put them together and he gets very creative building with his collection (that includes Kyle’s childhood legos). Some of our favorite creations by Simon have been the Dutch Bros drive through (mama’s favorite coffee shop), the Neon Museum, and a donut shop.
Betsy loves to eat and loves to dress up. She desperately wants to be like Simon and will lie and make up stories about going to school and camp. Mama is the only one she wants to put her to bed but daddy had better give her a hug before he leaves for work every morning. Her first haircut was a result of her long hair constantly getting stuck in her armpit and her not understanding she just needed to lift her arm to get it out! She developed quite a crush on “Uncle Paul” when we lived with my cousins and it cracks us up how she makes eyes at him. After she met her new cousin Eisley she named all her babies “baby Eisley”, which was an upgrade from them all being named “Two”.