31 December, 2015

Good Bye 2015, Hello 2016

As 2015 comes to a close it is natural to want to reflect on the last year.  For me I have had a pretty good year, I completed 3 semesters in school (making all A's), the whole family completed a very successful round of Whole30 and stuck to a pretty good Paleo diet for a couple of months before our crazy spring/summer schedule came. I ran a few races, many less than I have in the past but one new one that I have been wanting to run since moving here, the Wicked 10K and it was on Halloween this year!!  I stepped down from being the PTA President and have now resorted to volunteering when I can, which is kind of a nice change of pace, though I do miss being around those kiddos!!  In October I did teacher observations for one of my classes, I got to observe a PE/Health class at a High School in Chesapeake.  It was so much fun and got me so much more excited to finally get out there and teach!  2016 is already setting up to be pretty exciting. The spring semester will be my last at TCC and then I will begin at the University in the Fall.  We have a cruise planned on the newest Royal Caribbean ship, The Harmony in Nov for Thanksgiving and most exciting I just recently found out that I was selected to go on a trip to Israel through the Jewish Women's Renaissance Project, I will be gone for over a week over the summer getting immersed in the Jewish culture and touring around Israel, I can not wait!!  I have many goals in 2016 and I am ready to tackle them to make this year amazing!!

Chris has spent the year much like me, maybe just not as busy;)  But he is always right by my side helping me with all our crazy schedules and ideas.  The past few months he has been focusing on life after the Navy since he will be getting out shortly after the new year.  He believes he has a job in Norfolk lined up and will be finalizing things soon.  Fingers crossed it all goes as planned! I'm excited to announce that Chris has stepped in to the Cub Master position with our Cub Scout Pack and we are looking forward to see what he does with that. 2016 is going to be a big transition for him, but I know he is up for the change and excited to see what happens.

This year Leia "graduated" from elementary school, earning the Presidential Award for Academics and also achieving a perfect score of 600 on her history SOL.  She also was accepted in to all the specialty programs for the middle schools and chose the new choice school, The Academy for Discovery at Lakewood.  The school is 3-8 grade and the middle school is a candidate for the IB Middle School Program.  It is the perfect school for her and she is doing really well.  Her favorite subjects are band and history, she absolutely loves to play the flute and she is doing really well with it too! She has learned some tough lessons this year though, in middle school the teachers do not baby you as much and you have to be very on top of your work, she received her first B+ (in a long time) because she didnt turn in a few assignments in english (she learned her lesson). She also had her first big let down when she did not make the soccer team. Again, she is learning alot about how life works.   Hebrew school is coming along good, I can't believe in just over a year she will be having her Bat Mitzvah, CRAZY! For her Mitzvah project she has chosen to assist with Kids and Kiddish, it is prefect for her.  I have no doubts that 2016 will bring her much success, she has so much going for her, I can't wait to see where the next year takes her.

Jacob also has had quite a year.  He has discovered a love of baseball this year and has improved immensely over this year.  I can't wait to see him in the spring and see how well he does. He is also now attending the same school as Leia and just like Leia is learning new life lessons.  This school is much more rigorous and he has struggled a little to get used to the new way, I am confident though in the decision to put him in this school and just over the last couple of months I have seen a big turnaround.  He enjoys the school alot too and has made tons of new friends.  He loves gym class too which makes me so happy!  He enjoys being on the student council and is the treasurer! In scouts he is a Webelos and almost has earned the rank, I am so glad he enjoys doing scouts, it is really good for him. Hebrew school is going well for Jacob as well and he really enjoys going.  It is so fun to hear him say the prayers and sing in the choir. Look out 2016, Jacob is ready for you!!

Now Elijah, he gave us a little scare in June when he had to be admitted to the hospital due to appendicitis, he recovered wonderfully from it and we are so fortunate for that.  Elijah is still at Granby and has an amazing teacher and so many of his friends are in his class.  He was selected to be in the gifted program and enjoys having that extra curriculum.  He also started taking piano lessons this year as well and is doing pretty well, just wish he would practice more!! He also joined the youth choir at Temple and enjoys it.  Elijah would rather play video games than play sports, but does enjoy playing outside when he is in the mood. Elijah loves scouts and he just earned his Wolf rank!! He also enjoys swimming and passed the YMCA swim test this past summer. Now, if he can just learn to ride a bike:) Maybe 2016 will be the year for Elijah to get more athletic, I wont hold my breath though.  One thing we have learned about Elijah, when he is ready is when he will do it, not any time before!!

We were so fortunate to have seen so much family this year and we are even more blessed to have two new additions, my brother Norman and his wife Robin welcomed baby Mollie in January and Chris' sister, Lynn and her husband Geoff welcomed Elise in February.  And we got to meet them both this year!! Of course my parents visited often and stayed for awhile each time, which is always great. And being so close to my brother is nice because we get to see them a bit.  On Christmas my other brother, Joe and his wife Lisa came to see us at Disney, we haven't seen them in awhile so that was a treat!  Thank you to all our family for the visits!!

We weren't short on traveling this year, and we added some different destinations. We started the year in D.C., made some trips to Fredericksburg, took Dad to Canton, OH to the Football Hall of Fame for Father's Day and visited Cleveland while we were there, very cool city... who knew?!?!  A couple of weeks later we celebrated 4th of July in Philadelphia.  August brought us our biggest adventure, Seattle and a cruise to Alaska and Canada.  Seattle is a great city and Alaska, WOW, we can not wait to go back!  While in Seattle we hiked Mt. Rainer and had a chance to visit with a cousin I haven't seen in over 20 years.  In October I went to Walt Disney World on my own for agency training which was wonderful, I got to spend time touring resorts and enriching my agents with more knowledge, plus we had a lot of fun. End of October we went back to D.C. to run my 3rd Marine Corps Marathon, and my worse.  It was not a pretty race, it took me forever and I was miserable... but I will probably do it again next year!  Hopefully this year I do not break a toe in the middle of training. Chris and I headed west in November to California (Disneyland to be specific) for my annual EarMarked Conference, after 5 days in Disneyland we traveled over to Las Vegas.  While Las Vegas was not my cup of tea I am glad we got to experience Sin City and we absolutely loved visiting the Hoover Dam and Red Rock Canyon. Finally in December we surprised the kids with a trip to Disney World for Hanukkah.  Spending Christmas at Disney has become a tradition, this year though we only spent 4 days in the parks and one day at Legoland. It was a much more relaxing trip than most so that was nice. The highlight of the trip may have been seeing Star Wars The Force Awakens!!

We look forward to seeing what 2016 brings. I know it will be filled with challenges and I can not wait to face them head on.  One of my biggest goals for the new year is simplicity and I hope to gain a new outlook on life to not worry so much about things out of my control.  Thank you to all our friends and family who are there for us and our biggest cheerleaders and supporters, you know who you are!!  Here is to the Morrisseys living life to the fullest in 2016!!

28 August, 2015

Heading to the Last Frontier Day 1

1 Plane, 2 Plane, 3 Plane, DONE!!

Our day started at 4am with our alarms going off, luckily the kids were very excited so there was no problem getting them out of bed!  After packing the van and checking for any last min items we may have forgotten we headed to the airport.  After checking in and checking our bags, all 5 of them, we headed to security which was a breeze since one, it was super early, and two, we had precheck status so we didn't have to take everything off and all that fun stuff.  Then off to Starbucks (which you are going to find as a trend on this trip I am sure) for some breakfast.  Now, at this point we are almost ready to board the plane, just had to wait a few mins. for the gate attendant to call for Sky boarding, somehow Chris was able to upgrade us to comfort plus seats (at least on 2 of the 3 flights) which was really nice. The comfort plus gave us extra leg room plus free drinks... I took advantage of this:)

Our first stop was in ATL (Atlanta), we had about a two hour layover which gave us plenty of time to eat.  So, what else would you have to eat in Atlanta other than... 
We finished up and got to our gate kind of late actually, we were some of the last to board. When I got to my seat I noticed there was a mom and little baby, and a dad... um... we are assigned to two of those 3 seats sir.  I politely told him he was in my seat.  Apparently he was assigned a seat on the other side and asked a lady on that side if she would move, I thought that was kind of weird, but she was very nice and obliged. It worked out for me since I didn't have to sit by the baby, LOL!  We touched down in Salt Lake City about four hours later and didn't have much of a layover, just enough time to use the restroom and eat a snack quickly. 
I was in awe of Salt Lake City because of the mountains, us on the  east coast don't have these to look at!! Our next stop was Seattle, FINALLY!  The best thing was we arrived a little early and my parent's flight arrived a little late so we ended up landing at the same time.  We met them at baggage claim, got our bags and then proceeded to the shuttle to bring us to our hotel.  After checking in to our hotel we looked at the menu for dinner and they were having nachos, we all agreed it would be best to eat at the hotel and just chill out out and plan our day for tomorrow.  Besides we were all exhausted and just wanted to crash:)   

Up next: a beautiful sunny day in Seattle...