Last week my friend Brittany wrote a post about the ten (terrifying!) NEW things she tried in 2016. Her words got me wondering if I could think of my own ten new things from 2016. Here goes!
1. Running Buddies:
What began as my most terrifying new thing turned out to be my absolute favorite part of 2016. I heard about the No-Pressure Running Group from a friend when training for the Richmond Marathon in 2015. For whatever reason, I pictured a perfectly manicured group of Boonsboro mamas prancing up the Monument Terrace steps like it was no biggie. I just knew they would be too fast and too cool for me.
Fast forward to the summer of 2016 when a sweet friend from church invited me to run with this same group. At that point I wasn’t even sure if I could run the 5 miles they had planned, but I sucked up my fears and agreed to meet her anyway. I quickly learned that this group was not at all what I had expected. These women are real and flawed and smart and supportive and strong and amazing. So for about six months now, the promise of good company has helped to drag my rear out of bed at 4:50 (or 5:00, or 5:13) a few mornings each week. They’ve kept me running through the cold and pushed me to run faster and longer. But more importantly, I now have a great new group of friends that have each been a tremendous blessing in my life.
2. A New Job:
At the start of this school year I took a new position as the STREAM Coach & Math Remediation Specialist. That’s a big-ol’ crazy mouthful that means I get to help kids build stuff and get better at math all day…what could be better than that? The hard parts have been getting the room ready in time for school to start, missing working closely everyday with teammates, learning 500+ names, and figuring out how to respond to students with love and understanding when expectations aren’t met . The best parts have been witnessing growth among both the students and teachers, the excitement I see as students get to collaborate and create, and nights (every once in a while) where I don’t come home to hours of prep or grading or emails. Oh….and a schedule that makes those 5:30am runs possible!
3. A New Degree
In April I finished my Master’s in Math Education K-6 from WGU. At the end of this program, I was convinced that higher education is where I eventually wanted to land. I knew that this degree was only going to get me so far, so I immediately started looking for the what-next. For now the what-next is Integrative STEM Education classes online through Virginia Tech. For me this has meant many late nights in the library at LC fueled by gummy worms. For Jay this has meant countless nights of holding down the fort on his own. I tell him and tell him, but I so hope he realizes how thankful I am for him.
4. Blue Apron
A friend of my parents gifted us with a free trial of this meal service. I had fully intended to get the free box and then cancel the subscription because it’s so expensive. However, we really liked it! The recipes were simple but interesting. They forced us to slow down and eat at home. We got some recipes that we liked so much we’ve repeated them several times with ingredients we’ve bought at the store. Also, the portions are generally good sizes so neither of us overeats. We were getting a box once a month, but now we’ve bumped back to every few months because we can reuse the recipes we already have.
5. Mountain Biking
Whenever I run on the Peaks View Park trails, I get the mountain biking itch. Before this year, I’ve never really tried it, but these trails (more than the ones at Candler’s) make it look like fun to me. I remember thinking after a run this summer, “I wish there was a way I could learn to mountain bike….like a class or something.” Well whadayaknow?!? A few days later I ran across an ad for a beginner mountain biking class that would be offered through Parks and Rec. It was super cheap and at a time when Jay could watch the kids, so I signed up! I loved the class, but I left convinced that my bike from circa eighth grade just wasn’t going to cut it for many more rides. I got a new bike for my birthday, followed promptly by a new school year that took up every free minute of time I might have had to ride. I’m hoping that 2017 will bring more rides…and maybe a friend or two that will go with me!
Soooo….yeah. I seriously debated whether or not to include this in my ten new things list, but I finally decided that ten years from now rereading this would probably give me a good chuckle. At some point this year the Facebooks blew up with the LuLaRoe. It somehow went from one college friend selling it to a gazillion sales every week. I’ve never been a fan of buying something I haven’t tried on, so I waited until I got invited to a real-live party to buy any. Somehow I got out of there with a bright orange pair of tights with blue paper airplanes. What in the world? And while they do actually feel as good on as everyone says they do, I can’t help but wonder what we’ll say about ourselves in 2026. “Ahh….remember those leggings we all used to wear!?! With unicorns and spaceships and flamingos and pineapples….what were we thinking?!”
7. Pokemon Go
As usual, I’m a little late to this trend. We just downloaded it over Christmas break, and I finally see what all the fuss is about. It’s fun! Grandma and I have been texting each other back and forth about our current level and how many we’ve caught. She’s currently skunking me on level 14. As soon as this post is up, I think we’re headed out to LC to try to catch up to her. 🙂
Yep…also late on this one. I started tweeting in March after hearing George Couros at LC. While I was certainly hesitant to get started, so many good things came from tweeting the second half of our school year. I think it’s fun to look back and have a record of what we did, but the best part was collaborating with a class in Canada through Twitter. This school year I haven’t used it nearly as much because I’ve been sharing what we’re doing at school through Facebook instead.
A friend at school asked me to help tutor her in math for a few weeks over the summer. She wanted help getting ready for a math placement test she had to take at CVCC. Until this year I have never tutored adults, or hardly anyone for that matter, but I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to help her. It was such a rewarding experience to watch her grasp concepts and gain confidence. I hope to do more of this in the future!
10. Aid Station-ing
There are people who run 60+ miles in below-freezing temperatures, in the mountains, just for fun. There are also people who stand outside in those below-freezing temperatures to feed hungry runners, thaw out their bottles, and cheer them on….just for fun. So while I was not crazy enough (yet) to run the Hellgate race, I did help with three aid stations for this ridiculous event. It was so inspiring. And cold.
How about you….what did you do new in 2016?
Thanks, Brittany, for the inspiration! Follow her at TheBamBlog.com.