2016 in review, and what’s on tap for 2017

Twenty sixteen has been quite a year. A year ago today we moved in to our new rental, 2000 miles from where we lived for several years, and on New Year’s Day we were unpacking our belongings. It’s been a year since Aaron completed his enlistment in the Army. We’ve jampacked as much as we could in 361 days. Incredible, really. I’m going to do a run-down of events month-by-month.

January – 21 miles run; 11:48 average pace

  • We unpacked all of our stuff in Maryland. A state I never thought I’d move to. I was completely opposed to living on the East Coast, but that’s where an incredible opportunity for Aaron was, and we knew it would be good in the end. So we moved.
  • I got a job right away subbing in my local school district. Subbing is not my favorite; I’d rather work retail than sub. But it was a good foot in the door to jobs here.
  • I had an interview with the local community college that was really promising.
  • We met Aaron’s new coworkers at a company dinner in downtown Baltimore.
  • We saw the craziest blizzard that had ever been seen in many many years. Winter Storm Jonas dropped three FEET of snow.
  • We visited a few churches in the area.
  • No pregnancy.
  • Debt paid off: $201

February – 61 miles run; 12:10 average pace

  • I started teaching part-time at the community college – one for-credit academic class and one continuing education class. I had amazing students (ESOL tends to have the best, in my opinion!).
  • Our budget really started getting back on track after moving and the holidays.
  • We visited churches in the area and decided to attend one just a couple blocks away.
  • No pregnancy.
  • Debt paid off: $401

March – 52 miles run; 11:52 average pace

  • My beloved grandmother, Jane Little, died on the 9th unexpectedly. We traveled to Illinois to lay her to rest.
  • Aaron’s brother and his family came to visit for their spring break. We toured parts of Baltimore and DC, and ate more crab cakes than one probably should.
  • I flew out to Seattle area to see my sister for my spring break. We had a great time hiking, crafting, driving around and blaring music and visiting Portland.
  • I found out I won a spot in the Marine Corps Marathon, so I put a training plan together.
  • No pregnancy.
  • Debt paid off: $1066

April – 83 miles run; 12:22 average pace

  • I turned 30 on the 22nd.
  • I attended TESOL International in downtown Baltimore, the main conference for English for Speakers of Other Languages.
  • We became members of our new church and started getting more involved there.
  • We did some hikes with local meetup groups.
  • No pregnancy.
  • Debt paid off: $401

May – 67 miles run; 12:01 average pace

  • I ran the Maryland Half Marathon on the 14th. It was nearly my slowest. It was hot and humid and HILLY.
  • We did more hiking with local meetup groups, including a Memorial Day weekend hike on the Appalachian Trail.
  • We decided to be completely done trying to get pregnant. Such a huge relief, to be honest. Sad, but the decision brought us peace.
  • Aaron started using his GI Bill to take classes towards his Bachelor’s degree.
  • Debt paid off: $568

June – 76 miles run; 11:51 average pace

  • We ran the Bel Air Town Run 5K on the 5th. Another hot, humid, and hilly race.
  • I started teaching a summer class at the community college – academic writing.
  • I had two interviews for jobs – one at the community college and one at a local school district. I didn’t make it past the first round for the college job, but I was offered a teaching position at a local district. I accepted that offer. It started out as a middle school Spanish position, but then an ESOL position opened up before I was set to interview for ESOL so I was offered that one. I accepted!
  • We had an impromptu day trip to Pennsylvania Amish country.
  • We had a lovely anniversary dinner in Chesapeake City right on the C&D Canal at sunset.
  • We did more hikes with local groups.
  • Debt paid off: $885

July – 76 miles run; 11:48 average pace

  • I continued teaching the evening writing class.
  • I started training officially for the Marine Corps Marathon.
  • We saw Guns and Roses perform in Philadelphia at the Eagles stadium – what an amazing concert!!
  • We did another Appalachian Trail hike near Harpers Ferry, WV.
  • The morning of the 4th, we did a fun run with the local running store at Fort McHenry, Baltimore.
  • We spent the rest of the 4th in Washington, DC, and watched the fireworks go off near the Lincoln Memorial. We also visited the National Archives to see the Bill of Rights, Constitution, and Declaration of Independence. That was a 4th to remember.
  • Aaron celebrated his 32nd birthday.
  • Debt paid off: $2368

August – 119 miles run; 12:11 average pace

  • We spent a weekend in Lancaster, PA – such a cool town!
  • Aaron moved to a new company, and with that came a raise!
  • I completed teaching the summer writing class.
  • I started my new teaching position in elementary ESOL – lots to learn and do, but I have awesome support and colleagues.
  • I began teaching another evening writing class at the community college.
  • Debt paid off: $2093

September – 107 miles run; 12:09 average pace

  • I did the NCR 20-miler and felt GREAT!
  • The fall Girls on the Run season started, and I became a head coach at one of the local sites.
  • We went to see Othello with new friends at the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company in downtown Baltimore.
  • Debt paid off: $204

October – 117 miles run; 12:07 average pace

  • I completed the last month of training for the Marine Corps Marathon.
  • I welcomed cooler fall running with open arms.
  • We did more sight-seeing in DC prior to the marathon.
  • We hiked more around Maryland.
  • I RAN THE MARINE CORPS MARATHON! It was such a well-organized and fun race.
  • Debt paid off: $2767

November – 42 miles run; 12:21 average pace

  • I hit the 20+ pounds lost mark (since February)!
  • The Girls on the Run teams from Harford/Cecil counties had their celebratory 5K – what a fun experience!
  • We traveled to Illinois for Thanksgiving – we drove both ways and we vowed to NEVER DRIVE AGAIN. We met our new nephew, Carter, during this visit.
  • With a colleague I presented at our district’s teaching and learning conference.
  • We met up with Aaron’s cousin Anita in Leesburg, VA for dinner and a visit.
  • Debt paid off: $4000 (!!!!!!)

December – still in progress! average pace: 10:49 (HUGE improvement!)

  • I completed my first semester with the new job – and my observations turned out well. I will gain tenure at the beginning of my 4th year, but until then, I will be observed 4x a year. I currently serve 20 ESOL students in my school who speak Spanish, Greek, Italian, and Punjabi, and who are from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Greece, and Italy.
  • The college writing class ended, and I’ll be taking next semester off from teaching there so I have more time to focus on my 9-5.
  • We had our first Christmas in Maryland. We got together with friends for Christmas Eve, and attended church for the late candlelight service. We also attended church on Christmas morning and then prepared a feast, including prime rib. It has been the most relaxing Christmas we’ve ever had.
  • We extended the lease on our rental a few months so we have plenty of time to find and close on a house in this area, preferably in Aberdeen or Havre de Grace.
  • Debt paid off: $2350

This year we’ve paid off a total of $17,308 – an average of $1442 per month. We had some major car repairs, doggie dental work, and other purchases such as a new mattress this year, too. We will be completely debt free in early 2017!! We also rolled over our retirement accounts from other places into legit mutual funds and have started working with a local financial advisor (endorsed by Dave Ramsey). We’re so excited about the financial and personal progress we’ll make in 2017. I think we’re most looking forward to buying a house. It’s hard to imagine staying in one place for longer than a few years.

For 2017, we’re also looking forward to the church retreat in January, the youth retreat in February, the Wilcoxon family cruise in March, Emily’s visit from WA over spring break, a possible trip out to WA this summer, the church’s Volunteers in Mission trip to West Virginia this summer, and hosting family for Christmas. I’m running the Philadelphia Marathon in November with Elizabeth from El Paso, and of course I’ll have other races scattered in my 2017 calendar. I’d like to hit 1000 miles next year (862 this year).

Cheers to an eventful and productive year, and best wishes for 2017!


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