A look at our year...

I really can't believe that 2013 has come and gone!  I have been sitting at my computer for about an hour just looking through pictures and it was amazing to see just how much happened this year.  I wanted to share some of that with all of you and figured that the best way to do that was with a few pictures.

First of all, one of the biggest things to happen to me this year was opening my own store on Teachers pay Teachers.  I NEVER could have imagined just how much this would have changed my life.  I'll never forget the hours upon hours and late night after late night of working on products.  I was filled with hope and anticipation (well that really hasn't changed much...he he!)  with each new product that was posted.

My first paid product was my "Superhero Literacy Pack."  

I have learned SOOO much since making my first product.  Note to new sellers...do NOT create your products in Word!  I create absolutely everything in PowerPoint now and would never create anything in Word again!  Just like anything else, you live and learn.  

It wasn't until the summer that I found great success on TpT.  I had always wanted a binder that held all of my important information in one place and decided to create something that would help me do just that.  I came up with several designs with that particular concept and after a short time...I realized that this was something that a LOT of teachers really needed!  I am posting this on my "timeline" of big events, because this product changed my life.  It's my series of "Ultimate Teaching Binders."  These made my summer something more than I could have ever imagined for my first year on TpT...so grateful.

Here are some highlights from my life with my family...

We found out that my girl has Celiac just like her momma. (Boo.)  However, having a gluten allergy myself, we make it work with a little bit of "know how" and persistence.  She's been such a trooper, but is a very picky eater...no amount of creativity will make her eat food off of her 5 food menu.  I keep trying, though. :)

This little one also started Kindergarten this year!  I can't believe it!  She's doing so well and is a phenomenal reader.  I get to take her to work with me every day, which is the best part.  Well, I take that back...the best part is watching her walk down the hallway to me at the end of some very long days. :)  My students love her and she loves them...it's been wonderful!

For any parent who has had a child addicted to that horrible "B" word, getting rid of it IS monumental!  Now that it's gone...she doesn't stop talking!  She is the complete opposite of her sister in many ways.  She is into everything, very active, and keeps us on our toes!  She does, however, make us laugh with every single step she takes.  What an absolute joy she is...  She'll be riding dirt bikes with my husband sooner than later, I'm sure!  Dear goodness...pray for us all!

In the spring, my husband had back surgery.  While healing, his K-9 Iccar was kept at the state kennels for liability reasons while my husband healed.  A few days before he went to get him, we got a horrible phone call that Iccar was found unresponsive in his kennel.  That was a Saturday morning.  Our hearts were absolutely broken.  He became a part of our family and a loyal partner to my husband.  I cried for days.

The week that followed was just as hard.  We had a VERY touching funeral for my husband's partner where K-9 handlers and their dogs came from across the state...one even from New Jersey.  I learned that day that these canines are much more than dogs...they are our family, our companions, and our friends.  We lost a very special part of our family that day and we will never forget him.

This is a picture of him nestled on my bed.  He would hug me for hours with his giant paws.  He couldn't get close enough...how I miss him.

With Iccar's passing, we were able to welcome our newest edition to our family. :)  He's as sweet as a button, but he's not the kind of dog to lie in bed with me, lol.  With a little work, he's become a great partner for my husband, which is the most important thing.  Welcome, Dio!

After his back surgery, my husband started racing his dirt bike...so we spent some time watching him!  He did SO well and I believe, brought home a plaque in all but one race!  He just got a brand new bike two days ago and can't wait to start racing again in February.

This is Kinley while we were out shopping for Daddy's dirt bike...yep, that suits her personality to a T!!

Here's a picture of Adison on the day she learned how to ride a bike without training wheels.  I am not lying when I say that she was riding on her own withing 5 minutes and has never had any major accidents!! It was so cool to watch her take off on her own for the first time!  It was the day BEFORE school started, so this was a big time in her life.  No training wheels AND starting Kindergarten!

I couldn't write this post without mentioning my sister.  For those of you who have been talking to me for the past year, you know that I tried helping my sister in the biggest way possible.  Things didn't work out for reasons unknown to me...but I pray for her daily, love her more than words can describe, and hope that God has an amazing plan that he will unfold for her in 2014.  She is the bravest woman that I have ever met and I admire her so much.  What I did for her was out of pure love...and I know that something miraculous is right around the corner.  I love you.

Going back to school in the fall is always a little scary.  You never know what type of kiddos will be walking into your room and you simply go in with great intentions and hope for the best.  Well, I hit the jackpot with this group!  I have had such a wonderful year so far with my students. I can't help but think that God helped me out after the summer that I had...what a great group of kids.

As you can see, 2013 was full of ups and downs...but it was a chapter in our lives that we will never forget.  There were times where we never thought how we would make it through, or that the pain would never end...but brighter days came and good times happened.  This year in pictures has shown me that there are times to laugh, there are times to cry, there are times to celebrate, there are times to press on, and there are times to be happier than you could have ever imagined.  We are so blessed and I am so grateful for every second of 2013.  I go into 2014 with great anticipation for good things to come.  

Here are my 2014 resolutions:
*To be healthier and more in shape than I have ever been in my life.
*Fight my back pain.
*Be the greatest teacher that I can be.
*Hit another milestone on TpT.
*To be a better blogger.
*Be the GREATEST mommy and wife that I can be.
*Be thankful for everything in my life...even on the days that I'm down.
*Never lose sight of what's most important.
*Get closer to God with each passing day.

I wish each of you a wonderful 2014...thank you for stopping by and be sure to come back!


  1. Happy New Year! I hope you are off to a great start :o)

  2. Loved reading your post, Joey :) So many of your resolutions are mine, too! Hopefully we will both be in the best shape we have ever been in by the time TpT Vegas comes around ;)

    1. We can do it!! :) ...I have to figure things out with my back before I get into my crazy workouts, but I will do it. Thanks, love!

  3. Very sweet post Joey. I wish you the best 2014 ever! See you in Las Vegas!
    :) Shelley

  4. Excellent Year. The story of your family dog breaks my heart. I've lost two in the past 2 years, so I know exactly what your family is feeling. That photo of Iccar and your husband is awesome! Good luck with Dio too. I can only imagine the time and work that goes into training those dogs--it's got to be one of the most rewarding things ever....I'm just trying to get mine to sit and stay on command.

    Good luck in 2014!
    Digital: Divide & Conquer

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read my post, Matt. :) It was certainly hard for everyone...and we still think of Iccar daily. The training for these dogs is very rigorous and with Dio...it wasn't really successful at first. However, with some persistence and more time...he's coming around just fine. Keep practicing and your dog will get it, too! :)

      Best of luck to you, as well!

  5. Joey, this is such a JOY-filled tribute ... even through your loss ... I admire you and am inspired by your faith!

    Blessings for peace and plenty in 2014.


    1. Thank you so much, Barbara!

      Blessings to you, as well. :)

  6. What a beautiful glimpse into your family! You are an amazing woman and your love and kindness inspire others. I hope you and your sister will see miracles in 2014.

    Terri Izatt

  7. Loved reading your blog post!! It has been wonderful getting to know you this past year! :)

    - Brittney

  8. Love taking a glimpse into your daily life! You are such an inspiration to the blogging world! Happy New Year, my friend!
    Peace, Love, and First Grade

    1. Thanks so much, Laura! I am looking forward to blogging more in 2014! Happy New Year...sending hugs your way!


  9. I loved reading this, Joey! You shared so much of yourself and your family; I feel like I know you even better now! I can't resist saying that I am a Word-to-PowerPoint convert as well! (I just look at my early resources and can't help but grimace just a bit!) Best wishes to you in 2014!
    Crafting Connections

    1. Aww, thanks, Deb! It has been so nice meeting and working with you. Agreed on early resources --- grimace and groan a bit.


  10. Loved reading about your year! Yay for your great resolutions for 2014!

    Katie :)
    KTP: Keep Teaching and Planning!

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to read it, Katie. :) I'm crossing my fingers for the resolutions!


  11. So glad I got to know you, sweet friend!
    Meet me at Starbucks sometime!
    Whimsy Workshop Teaching

    1. Oh, if only I were across the Atlantic...we COULD meet at Starbucks! Just keep emailing me when you go and it will kind of be like I'm there with you, lol.
      Love you...

  12. What a sweet post! I loved reading it!
    A Burst of First