It's been a full year over here, and we like to consistently and intentionally step back and take stock of our lives, all the good things and the hard things too.
We have far too many photos of our awesome clients and in order to reign in this update, we're going to keep to the personal stuff in this space. So here is a look back at 2016 and a tiny glimpse forward too.
We started the year with two full months in Kona, Hawaii, which is still crazy when we think about it. We were incredibly grateful for the chance to coordinate and teach in a photo school. (Three of the students came back to Brantford and worked on Status:Welcomed for the spring.)
We were also happy to see a few extra people while we were on the island-like Sarah and Dave, Brett, and Jaylene (whom we got to see twice this year, lucky us).
Jonathan had the opportunity to coordinate and lead a team to Papua New Guinea at the end of February. The heart behind the documentary trip was to raise awareness about the educational and medical needs in the country.
After a year of looking, we finally bought a house, insert all the praise hands here. Even though we moved on a Monday in July, a lot of incredible people came out to help us.
We still have a pile of work to do on our little gem, but we couldn't be happier. It has been a dream come true.
Speaking of dreams and personal projects, Layne is passionate about seeing people grow into the fullness of their potential and launched a team and leadership development company earlier this year. She works with teams, leaders, companies to work together, problem-solve and grow in their strengths. She loooooves teaching, and this is a great fit for her professionally.
She's also been working on two books this year with her friend Lindsay and can't wait to share them with you (soon?!)
Layne's Christmas/birthday gift (for last year) was to travel out to Texas and visit some of her dearest friends and their offspring. Time with her heart friends makes Layne a happy, happy person. Thanks, Alleys and Mahers for spoiling me so much. I can't wait to come back.
And speaking of heart friends, we shot a wedding out in Seattle in August which was gorgeous and also enabled us to take a mini road trip through the PNW to see some of our very favourite people, not all of whom are pictured below.
One of the hardest and simultaneously most beautiful parts of our year was meeting Norah Grace. Some of our dearest friends, Melissa and Chris, gave birth to their stunning little daughter back in the spring, and we celebrated with them from afar. We were hoping for a trip to California in the second half of this year to hang out with the three of them.
It is their story to tell, but the long and the short of it is that Norah was rushed to the hospital days after she was born when she stopped breathing. She was in the hospital for most of her young life and died at the beginning of the summer.
I include her in here because, thankfully, I was able to meet her, and she was pretty great. Her parents called her Norah the Brave and to know her was to love her. I cried today remembering her.
Mel and Chris are some of the strongest people I know, and I've learned so much from watching the two of them and this heartbreaking journey. Norah's story, so short, will always be remembered by those who knew and loved her. And my life will forever be marked by meeting her.
Another big moment for the year was celebrating Isaac and Anita's fall wedding up in Muskoka. Jonathan was the wedding photographer and Layne was a bridesmaid, along with a lot of her close Canadian girl friends. This meant a couple of extra fun girls' trips up to Muskoka for wedding stuff, a fun bachelorette party here in Brantford and fun out-of-town visitors, like Hannah, who stayed with us.
I was superrrrrrrrrrrr blessed to see my sister, Catherine four times this year-once in Kona, twice in Atlanta and once in Canada. This is a record in our adult lives and (I'm hoping) a new trend.
It was so fun to have our house as a hosting spot for Christmas this year and both my mom and my sister came into town to celebrate with us. And bonus: we do one big family Christmas with my family and Jonathan's family who are so inclusive. I'm incredibly grateful.
Oh, and one last thing-we love each other and our life together so much that we decided it was finally time to go forward with adoption. (It helps that we finally have an extra bedroom too.)
This has long been on our dream list and starting the process earlier this year felt amazing. We have completed 2 of 3 steps and don't know how long the rest of the timeline will take, but we'll update you again eventually.
Happy New Year, peeps, thanks for coming along the journey with us.