If you’ve known us long, you’re aware of the long history of complaints about my cooking chronicled in this annual letter. I’m an analytical gal and one of my 2017 resolutions was to let everybody rate dinner on a nightly basis in hopes that I could perfect my dinner repertoire to meals our family actually enjoy. We hit the ground running January 1st with a notebook of dinners and scores. A funny and unexpected thing happened, the complaints halted. A kinder, gentler audience emerged who was dying to rate, which required trying everything. By the time May rolled around, the arguments over who got to journal dinner in the notebook broke me and we quit.

At about that time, I came to the realization that the season in our lives was changing too and expecting to have a hot, healthy meal as a family every night was too much. What I’ve learned is the daily ritual that I held dear was being together around our table and the food didn’t matter. Whether we are eating a family favorite, BFD (breakfast for dinner), or a lesser loved concoction (of which there are many), we can be thankful for what we have and share the highs and lows of the day. Littles brought a fun little addition to our mealtimes with a deck of Table Topic cards from Chick-fil-A that ask questions about happiness and heroes. She loves pulling them out of the silverware drawer and distributing them to anybody who will participate. Bigs usually rolls his eyes, but ultimately wants to share too, especially when he can debate which super power would be the most awesome to have.

So this new season of life… it is full. Full of love. Full of laughter. Full of challenges. Full of activity. Full of mistakes. Full of forgiveness. Full of abundance.

Littles (6) has perhaps changed the most. She confidently boards the bus every day for a full day of kindergarten and loves every minute of it. She is becoming a great writer and is beginning to bring home books that she can read aloud. Littles spends Tuesday nights at ballet and tap dance class, which she mostly loves because of the clothes and shoes. When she has downtime at home, she uses her endless imagination with her Barbies, dolls, and Calico Critters. When Littles grows up she wants to be a cheerleader. I think she is well on her way to that goal as I watch her encourage others in whatever they are trying to accomplish.

Bigs (8) had another great year with the Tooth Fairy, but spent most of sweet corn season bummed out that he had no front teeth. He looks like a real hockey player, especially on the ice playing for the Elmbrook Blue Eagle Mite team. This summer, he played Little League baseball. In regular season play he had a very high on base percentage, but the coaches told him they really needed him in the batting line up during the playoffs and he experienced what we all do with high expectations. Bigs is doing well in 2nd grade. His favorite subject is math and he loves showing me new ways to calculate faster in my head. When he grows up, he wants to be a hockey player… probably more like Viktor Arvidsson than Pekke Rinne.

Husband (almost 40) is in his eighteenth season with the hockey team. I love watching his passion for communications and new media blossom into cool game day attractions and community support. Not at work, he is the best hockey/dance dad of which our kids could dream. Husband is also the best partner I can imagine for this season of fullness. He is exceptionally kind when I realize I’ve blown scheduling child care when the kids are off of school and when I nag him to do all the things he’s forgotten.

Ruth (almost 40) is about to embark on her 53rd quarterly earnings season as an equity analyst. 2017 brought new sector coverage of medical equipment and devices. I’m pretty sure our neighbor never expected to have an in depth conversation about the features and benefits of his ICD with me. While the learning curve has been steep, I remind myself that our six year-old is learning to read and we can all do hard things. When I’m not dropping balls like child care, loved one’s birthdays, or punctuality, I’m loving reading and found a local yoga studio at which to practice.

Our wish for your 2018 is that you find meaning and connection in the daily rituals of a full life.