Dear 2018,

Every year I write a letter reflecting the past year.
I try to write it around December 31, but we are in Lake Tahoe and today was the first time I opened my laptop in over a week. No blogging in the past week just soaking up Christmas, New Years & Family time.....the BEST!
To read the other yearly letters, click HERE.
Dear 2018,    
You have been a year filled with good times & some hard times.
Here are some highlights:
My highlight of January is always Kate's birthday!
 She turned 11 and we celebrated with a painting party.
After painting at the warehouse we came back to our house for pizza & cake:
 See the rest of the party HERE

We also got ski passes for the 2nd year in a row and spent a few weekends in January & February skiing.  
 We went wine tasting in Sonoma:
We also visited more Missions.
 We also spent the last weekend in February in San Francisco celebrating my mother in laws birthday.
We had dinner at the Tonga Room, so good!
More Skiing
School Auction...Boots, Buckles & Bling!
Always a fun night with our friends.
 Luke lost his first tooth:
Kevin and I headed to Giants Spring Training in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

 You can read all about our trip HERE.

We celebrated Easter:
The kids and I went on a Road Trip to San Diego over Spring Break
Kevin had to work, but my mother in law came with us! We went to Legoland.....
 San Diego Zoo Safari Park (my niece lived in San Diego so she met up with us also)
 San Diego Mission:
  And of course spent time at the beach!
You can read about our trip Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE
 Luke started baseball. So cute:
We took a family trip to Yosemite
At the end of April Kevin and I went to Cancun. 
This was a free trip I earned with R+F and I was able to bring a guest, so Kevin was really excited to come!
We went on ATV, ziplined over the jungle & swam in caves
We went on a Catamaran & went snorkling
We had a blast on our trip.
Ran a Half Marathon & turned 39
Decided to run a race every month until May 2019 when I turn 40 :)
We went to Universal Studios because my kids have been dying to go to Harry Potter World & their cousin was graduating from college in So Cal, so we made a long weekend out of it:
 Read about our trip HERE
And a few days at  Disney:
 We surprised the kids about Disney...it was so fun.
Read about our Disney Trip HERE
The highlight of June was the Oregon Road Trip we took to the Oregon Coast for a Larson Family Reunion.
On our way to the Oregon Coast we stopped in Ashland, Eugene & Tillamook.
The Oregon Coast is just gorgeous.
After a few days on the Oregon Coast, we dropped Kevin off at the Portland airport because he had to get back for work and then the kids and I road tripped throughout Oregon as we made our way home.

We headed to Vancouver, Washington and then explored Portland, Sun River, Crater Lake & Grants Pass.

 It was one of the highlights of my year!
Read Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE

At the end of June I had Skin Cancer Surgery...definitely the low light of my entire 2018.
Read more about my surgery HERE
We hosted a 4th of July Party (I rocked a bandaid on my nose all summer!)
Kate went to overnight camp for a week in the Santa Cruz Mountains & had a blast.
We went to the Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco:
The kids and I took a Road Trip to Santa Barbara to visit one of my best friends.
 We checked off a few more missions while we were in the Santa Barbara area.
On the way home we made a slight detour and went to the final mission...the Carmel Mission!
All 21 Missions!!!
 I Finished 40 bags in 40 days!
Every single drawer, cabinet, closet & bedrooms were purged, cleaned and organized. 
The CRAP is out of my house & it feels so, so, so good. 
Everything in my house has a place now, so it makes keeping it clean so much easier.
I highly recommend doing a clean out like this....I have so much peace when I am home!  
I have kept it up since the Summer and 6 months later everything is still organized.
We went to Tahoe & enjoyed time on the lake.

Luke turned 6 and we had a Lumberjack Party
The cake my mother in law made was amazing!
 See the party post HERE
Back to School....Luke in Kinder, Claire in 4th and Kate in 6th grade...middle school at my school!
Kevin & I celebrated 16 years of marriage!
Claire turned 10 & we celebrated with a Unicorn Pool Party!
The girls also made slime...lots of slime!
See the party post HERE
Kevin and I headed to NOLA for the Rodan + Fields Convention. 
While we were there, we went to the Beyonce concert.
New Oreleans is such a great city & we had a blast.
Soccer, soccer & more soccer
Kevin and I headed to Las Vegas for one of our friends 40th birthday!

Such a great trip....Beatles Love and also a Chainsmokers concert.

 Halloween with a Candy Corn Queen, Bumblebee the Transformer & a 50's girl! 
 On October 1st I decided to make a random goal for myself to run everyday in October (for at least 10 minutes) and to run 100 total miles in October. I barley made it, but I did it.
When I think of November 2018, I will always think of  the Northern California fires. They were so devastating. Even here in the Bay Area we couldn't go outside because of the smoke for almost 2 weeks and school was cancelled one day.
Our family “rule” is you have to wait until you are 10 to get your ears pierced.
Claire’s 10th birthday was in September but it was right in middle of soccer season which meant she had to wait until soccer was over in November to get her ears pierced.
On Thanksgiving and we headed to the horse races at Golden Gate Fields with Kevin's family. They have been going on Thanksgiving Day for over 50 years.
The day after Thanksgiving I went to the Fleetwood Mac Concert with my Dad, Aunts, Uncles & cousins.
  So many childhood memories listening to them on family roadtrips!
 December was filled with fun Christmas celebrations.

I also threw my younger sister a baby shower!
A Great Adventure Awaits!
You can see the party details HERE.

On Christmas Eve Eve, I took the girls to San Fransisco with my mom & sister for a quick 24 hour overnight.

 We saw all the beautiful Christmas decorations around SF...Ferry Building, Union Square, Neiman Marcus, Fairmont Hotel, Palace Hotel, Top of the Mark, Macy's & Grace Cathedral.
We had a wonderful Christmas & that week I had another skin check.
6 months ago to the day I had surgery on my nose for basal cell skin cancer. I get to go twice a year now because of my skin cancer history. 

They biopsied and found 4 more basal cell skin cancer spots on my back & shoulders.
 They also froze off 5 more pre-cancerous spots on my face and 1 on my hand.  My doctor said most of my basal cell skin cancers were caused from all the sun exposure I had playing soccer in my teens & 20s. Wish I would have listened to my parents and worn sunscreen regularly. 

So, let this be another PSA & reminder...make an appointment to get your skin checked and wear sunscreen, even in the winter....make sure your daily moisturizer has at least an SPF 30. And, if you have kids make sure they are using sunscreen as well.

We spent the last part of the year in my happy place...Lake Tahoe for 5 days to end the year & ring in 2019.

2018..... You were good to us & you have memorable.

When I look back on 2018, there are 3 things that stick out to me that defined this year:
1) Lots of traveling & road trips
2) Skin Cancer
3) The year I purged & organized my house

Lots of good times, some sad times, more laughter than tears. 
2019, you have a lot to live up to.

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 2019 be filled with joy & hope no matter your circumstances!


  1. Love these posts; you guys had some really great things happen in your family for 2018. Blessings for this new year, Mel!

  2. Always love following your adventures!! Thanks for the push to get my dermatologist appt scheduled! Where is your tie dye concert up dress from??



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