Dear 2016,

Every year I write a letter reflecting the past year.
I usually write it on December 31, but we have been in Lake Tahoe for the past week and I haven't even opened my laptop since the day after Christmas! No blogging in over 2 weeks, just soaking up Christmas, New Years & Family time.....the BEST!
To read the other yearly letters, click HERE.

Dear 2016, 
I know that you have gotten a bad rap for being a tough year (especially when it comes to celebrities passing away) but when I look back on 2016,  I will think of you as a good year for our family.
There were good times & bad times. Laughter & tears, but overall I will look back at 2016 and smile. 
Here are some highlights:

My highlight of January is always Kate's birthday!
She turned 9 and we celebrated with a Roller Skating Disco Party!
We went to a Roller Skating Rink and then came back to our house for pizza & cake!
And a dance party....It was fun & easy celebration!
 Check out the entire party post {HERE}

My highlight of February was that the Super Bowl was being hosted in San Francisco, so my older sister and I went to Super Bowl city one afternoon.
 It was  so fun having Super Bowl 50 in our "backyard"
I'm really glad we went to the city to check out all the fun & we ran into Brett Favre, Steve Mariucci & Terrell Davis. Such a fun day in the city!

Kevin and I went away for the weekend to Pismo Beach for a wedding.
At the end of March, I ran my 3rd Half Marathon & got a PR:
My sister Elyse & brother in law Jason also ran it!
I also hosted Easter at our house (for the first time) at the end of March.

I started off April with Spring Break & we went to Pebble Beach for 3 days.
The weather was amazing!

May is always a fun month because it's both mine & Kevin's birthday months!
My highlight of May might have been the Mothers Day weekend. The Saturday of Mothers Day weekend we had both our parents over for dinner to celebrate Mother's Day (and watch the Kentucky Derby) After dinner, both our parents stayed out our house until 2 am playing Mexican Train Dominoes!!!!! It was epic...I can't believe we all stayed up so late. I love that my parents & Kevin's parents get along so well. 
In the middle of May, I earned a free Level 5 retreat to Lake Tahoe & it was a blast! 
View from the house....
For Kevin's birthday we went to one of the Warriors playoff games. Such a blast!
We headed to Chico for my nieces college graduation.
My birthday is Memorial Day weekend and we had a court block party that Kevin organized.

 May was a fun month!

I was SOOOOOOOO thankful when June arrived. That meant that it was summer & then end of the school year. The 2015-2016 was my hardest year of teaching. It was rough, rough, rough.
I literally cried tears of relief on the first day of Summer.
The first day of summer is when our backyard re-do started:

We were under construction during most of the summer!
My R+F team leader earned her Free Lexus in June & she had a fun party to celebrate.
Several girls from my team were able to come...such a fun night!

One of my highlights is always the 4th of July!
The kids and I headed up to Tahoe for a week, Kevin had to work, but my mom came with us...lots of fun in the sun!
 We went to Tahoe again for another week, this time Kevin came with us.
We had a blast at our new favorite beach...Sand Harbor!
 Luke turned 4 right after we got back from Tahoe & we had a fun Construction Party for him!

You can see the rest of the party post {HERE}

I started my 13th year of teaching:
So far it's been a great school year! Lucky 13!

Kevin and I celebrated 14 years of marriage & had a weekend away in Half Moon Bay:

The highlight of September was Claire turning 8 and throwing her a Flamingo Pool Party!

This was one of my favorite parties!
You can see the rest of the party {HERE}

October can be summed up in one word...EPIC.
It was full of FUN!
The first weekend of October, I headed to Vegas for the Rodan + Fields Convention.
We saw O, I met Gordon Ramsay & we we went to a Chainsmokers concert that started at 1am.
You can read more about our Vegas adventures {HERE}

A few days after I got back from Vegas, Kevin and I headed to Colorado for my college soccer reunion.
We got to see Soccer & Football play.
 I just love Colorado!
You can read more about our Colorado trip {HERE}

My Grammy turned 105 at the end of October.
Pretty incredible to be living at 105! 

For Halloween, I had one of my favorite costumes yet...straight from the 80's:
 It was an October that was so busy, but so fun!

 November was mellow! We needed that after a busy October!
 The highlight, like usual is Thanksgiving at the Horse Races. 
I just love Kevin's family tradition.

December flew by WAY too fast. 
It started with Kevin and I going to the Pac 12 Championship Football game.
It was the 3rd CU football game that I got to see in person this season. What a treat, since we have had such a great season!

I love my house in December.....I love how cozy it feels.
I watched a ridiculous amount of Hallmark Christmas movies this December.
We had a wonderful Christmas & then headed to my happy place for 7 days to end the year & ring in 2017.
 We skied 3 days in a row:
Rang in the New Year with one of our favorite families with a deck view of a fireworks show:
 It was the perfect way to end 2016:

2016, you were good to us.
Also, in 2016 I added 36 new recipes & 5 new free printables to the blog!
You can check those out in the Recipe Box tab and the Free Printables tab.
 2016, you have memorable.
There was good, there was bad, there was ugly.
There were tears & laughter.
Thanks for all the memories.

I am thankful to God for the ways he worked in our family this year and for the ways that He will continue to work in us and through us.
Happy New Year, friends.
Thanks for reading my blog!
I appreciate all of you!
May your 2017 be filled with joy & hope no matter your circumstances!


  1. What a great year! Happy 2017 Larson family!

  2. Your parties and recipes are always so fun! Love reading your blog- happy weekend!

  3. Love the yearly letter! Happy 2017!
    -Jenn in Chicago

  4. Dear Mel

    I sit here in the UK and each week I read your blog with joy. I love the joy and happiness you radiate. I too am in education and can feel the quicksand sensation you can get with teaching and I read your thoughts and feel lifted.

    I hope 2017 is just as good to you and your family.

    Thank you for sharing

  5. Happy New Year Mel! I love when you write these letters; It is a great way to look back and remember our blessings right? Hope 2017 is fantastic for you and your family!

  6. I would love to go to Lake Tahoe for a little vacation. Any tips or suggestions for a trip there?

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