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    Welcoming 2016 – Moving Forward But Holding On

    There’s something about that clean slate, day 1 of 365 that just brings you hope and encouragement. Things you want to improve, focus on more, change… but I think back to this past year and I am just mighty thankful that I made it through 2015. A whirlwind indeed with several projects that came up, many challenges, and lots of tests here and there. Tests with friendships, relationships, work, and parenting. I can admit I failed in some areas. I liked this sign I saw posted on my newsfeed last week. It stated:

    If you FAIL, never give up because F.A.I.L. means “first attempt in learning.” End is not the end. In fact, E.N.D means “effort never dies.” If you get NO as an answer, remember N.O. means “next opportunity.” So let’s be positive.

    I love that so many out there want to be positive and really weed out the negativity from their lives. We have to remember that we cannot compare- especially with social media! I will certainly admit that I don’t usually post the BAD that’s happening in my life, rather, the great moments and snippets that have been captured. Constantly remind yourself that what you see on others social media is only the GOOD, not the bad and the ugly. Believe me. If you can’t remind yourself of this, then turn it off.

    If I had to pick something to get better at this year, I would say that my New Year’s resolution would be to stop being so shy and reserved and really start speaking my mind more.. you know, stop caring about what people think. 😉 (*of course this is complete sarcasm.) Like I stated in the previous blog, I love the continuous growth, I love that chapters end and new ones begin, and I love that I’ve selected that handful that will remain in many many more chapters to come. The key there is to be kind and loving towards these key characters in your book of life, and they will remain there. We are conditioning our children to change because life is fast paced, life can throw you curve balls, and we have to adapt to new surroundings and new people constantly.

    To elaborate on the things I want to continue, I’d have to say:

    1. More vacations with family. I cannot stress how important this is to me. The kids are more and more fun to be with every day, and I am just at a place where I don’t want to miss anything. I feel like with the hectic work schedule I gave myself years ago, that I really missed out on a lot of the “little things” in Amelia’s first few years. It was tough, I would tell myself, “well, she won’t remember any of this.” And the saddest part there? I don’t either. I’d rather have a memory, than the memory be: You weren’t there. So vacations will be happening – and the kids will be a huge part of them! In 2015 I am happy to say that I was around for a LOT of it, which made a huge difference in my own life, the joy it’s brought me has been incredibly fulfilling, even during the Christmas season, we were able to really soak in the true happiness of it all: having beautiful, healthy children and watching them light up. We took the kids to Manila, they took several trips up north to visit their grandparents – these two are great travelers by now! They understand that drives and flights can be long, there’s a lot of travel in traveling, but the whining and complaining have ceased for the most part because they understand that there is happiness awaiting them at the end of the journey.
    2. Continuing date days! When Jeff and I have mid-week sessions, we usually get a sitter for just the amount of time that we have the photo shoot, so lately, we’ve been adding a couple extra hours to the sitting fees because when our session is over, it’s worth it for Jeff and I to spend a couple hours together, not working, just relaxing a bit. Whether it’s a wine tasting, a dinner, a lunch prior to the shoot even, window shopping.. we need to be able to have these moments. I love that we did this so much in 2015, and cannot wait to continue on with it.
    3. Truth-telling. 2015 was a very trying year for me when it came to friendships. I have this “problem” with TRUTH.. once I know it, it’s not easy for me to shut up about it. For years my eyes have been opened to the harms that vaccines cause, so I would post up articles, I would post up a lot of my findings and here’s what I thought would happen: I truly thought that it would raise awareness, get one or two moms to wake up a little and research what they were actually putting in to their children, realize that it’s NOT okay to just say, “well, it’s the new norm” to all the sickness and disease and DEATH that’s happening. Start doing their own research.. well, what ended up happening is it turned a lot of people OFF. Perhaps because no one wants to feel guilty or like they’re “a bad mom” -which was never said. But this is the sad, ENTITLED world we live in now. Truth hurts, and if it hurts your feelings then the person spewing it is “offensive and mean.” I think my favorite line from 2015 is: BEING OFFENDED DOESN’T MAKE YOU RIGHT. In fact, it causes no progress, it leaves you sitting there… with offense… no improvement, just a scrooge-mentality of, “how dare they say that…” -_- Good luck with that! I found that if I had to choose peoples FEELINGS over shining light on truths, I wouldn’t be myself at the end of the day. Yes I can be overly passionate when it comes to these things, but I like that about me. I don’t think that needs changing, or even dumbing-down. All the more I want to continue. You know you’re doing the right thing when you have dozens of private messages from people encouraging you to keep going, saying that they wish they could say it but they don’t want to upset their friends or family. This past year I stood my ground when it came to liberal-bullying. Debating with a liberal is not the smartest thing to do because their only argument is to attack your character. Don’t allow it. Don’t allow anyone to call you a “bigot”, “nazi”, “racist” etc without PROOF or merit, simply because you don’t agree with them. That makes them a bully, so call them out. Once your character has been questioned because of different BELIEFS, you know that’s the best they can do in that argument, and it’s best to ignore and move on to those who are actually willing to have a real conversation.
    4. This one is for my husband, and since I don’t want to get a icky on a blog post like this, all I can say is: Jeff, we will continue alllllll of that, a lot, like, a lot a lot. 😉 You’re my favorite part of this grand adventure called LIFE, and putting you and our marriage first has been the best thing EVER.
    5. Church! So happy that we were able to go to church as often as possibly in 2015 – gotta continue with that. Feeling uplifted, being surrounded by people and families who all share the same longing for the love of Christ, it’s a beautiful thing! It’s like a soul-cleanse weekly, the only cleanse I am willing to follow through with!
    6. Distributions and Giving. I got “rid” of so much in 2015 by donating, there really is a different kind of happiness there. It’s hard to explain, but when you give to others who have much less or nothing, it does something to your innards. Haha! It’s actually a little addicting. Besides just cleaning out our home of clothes and things we want to donate, tithing – Bars To Bears came to life in 2015 and it’s been an incredible little adventure. I get to share this with a lifelong friend, and we get to bring joy to children in need. Money cannot buy experiences like this. I encourage those who haven’t tried constant giving to do so, and watch your world turn upside down!

    Day 1 of 2016 started off just right. Rang in the new year in Lake Tahoe, after some hot chocolate with the kids, cuddled up in our pajamas. I don’t know if it’s because I am a parent, 30, or a combination of the two, but I could have slept at 9pm. I wanted to ring in the new year with New York, y’know, midnight there is at 9 here, just so the kids could do the count down and then we can all go to sleep.. but something was up with the Ryan Seacrest program we were watching and it switched to pacific time which set us back a little. It worked out though, they slept in until close to 10am on New Year’s Day.

    We’ve been in Tahoe with their cousins from Manila. There are six kids total, which makes for no 7th wheel and everyone has a buddy. I know this doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to most, but those with kids understand how important it is that children between 2-8 have a buddy to play with, and don’t get left out. It also spares you from several fights and disagreements, which are going to happen regardless, but my point is: one less thing. Below are some snaps from the first couple days of this cabin trip. Hope you like them! <3 Talia

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    Views from the balcony

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    There are so many beautiful features to this cabin but the BEST part (I think) are the heated tile floors in the bathrooms. Haha! There’s nothing like getting up in the middle of the night to pee, sitting up in a warm cozy bed, and walking in to a bathroom with heated tile… ohhhh… I gotta look in to this more. Warm tootsies when you get back in bed? YES PLEASE!

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    What the mornings look like. Ample time for me to have coffee, blog, take in the views.

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    Because when you’re a kid, snowmen and sledding in the snow are a MUST.

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    All content and images copyright TheSisterFiles©2016 and cannot be used without expressed permission.

    Photography by: Talia Cruz

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