2016 in Review

Every year, I do a year in review post and it’s always one of my favorites.  Last year, was a huge year for us because on January 4, 2015, we adopted sweet Ashby and then this year, we got to do it again.  On September 11, we welcomed Madeley into our family…so, I really don’t know how 2017 is going to be able to top the last two years???  These girls have blessed Andrew, Kensington, Smith and I more than words could ever say.  When I think back to this year, it’s really the boring old regular days that I loved the most.  Was there some crazy fun peppered in along the way?  Of course!  Some big trips and exciting travel?  Yes.  Is that what I’m going to remember about 2016?  No.  I’m going to remember those sweet and precious days at home with my young kiddos who are getting older and older by the minute.

Thank you so much for being a part of my 2016.  I stop and pray for you every day.  I think about you all the time.  You have blessed me with friendships, support, love and encouragement this year.  I give thanks for you every day.  I do not know what 2017 holds…to be honest, I’m a little nervous saying goodbye to 2016 and stepping into that next year because there are a lot of uncertainties ahead.  I cling to the Lord’s word  and one of my very favorite verses, “For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord.  Plans to prosper you and not harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.

Happy New Year friends!  I’m in NYC today and will be on Fox & Friends (barring any news event that will prevent them from having a food segment) in the morning.  I’ll be back to posting after the New Year.  xo

To see my years in review from the past, click the dates below:

Here’s a recap of 2016…


On the 4th, we celebrated Ashby’s first Gotcha Day!

This comparison gets me every time.  On the left, Ashby the day we got her.  On the right, Ashby one year later.

On the 18th, this sweet boy turned six!


We celebrated Valentine’s Day at the kids’ school’s Family Valentine’s Party!

We celebrated the Chinese New Year too!


We went on a Disney Cruise with the Slaughters and had THE BEST TIME EVER!!!  Please note, in this picture, Ashby is crying because she doesn’t want to leave the Atlantis and to this day, we still don’t know where Bowen is.  I don’t believe he’s the one taking the picture…but at this point, it could have been him???  Where is he here???  Who knows?  We came home with him so that’s all the matters, right?!

On the 13th, we celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary.

And we spent a wonderful weekend in Fredericksburg, TX with Lovie and Papa Jay too!


I was so blessed to be able to cook on the Today show!

It was such an amazing experience!  Plus…

…sweet Erika came with me and we were able to spend several really fun days exploring NYC!

Hanging out with these three and enjoying the spring weather was another favorite of the month!


Kensington and I kicked off May in Boston to see our Sox play!

And our annual swimming lessons commenced.

Followed by lots of days in the pool…

…because those are our FAVORITE days!


On the 9th, we celebrated Ashby’s fourth birthday!  After a brunch party, we took off on a fantastic adventure…

to the Netherlands and Norway!

We came home, shook off the jet lag and decided to make golf a family sport.  Smith and I took lessons and it became something we did together as a family several nights a week.



On the 2nd, we were blessed with our newest addition, sweet Samuel Thomas.

We celebrated the 4th with all of our friends on our town square!

Mid-month, Andrew and I went away to Nantucket for a few nights and had the best time!

And we wrapped up the month with one tonsillectomy and one vascular procedure.


We could not get enough of the Olympics.  Watching together every night as we wrapped up summer is one of my favorite memories of the year!

And at the end of the month, the two big kids started school again.


September was our favorite month of 2016.  After 18 months of waiting, on the 11th, we met our precious Madeley James.  She was who we were missing…and we didn’t even know it until we met her.  We needed her in our family.  A 10 day trip to China to get Madeley was the most exciting part of our year!

And while we were there, this girl turned 8 on the fifteenth.  Love this one so very much!

We came home at the end of the month and learned how to be a family of six.


Our October was crazy fun!  We visited two different Oktoberfests!

On the 19th, Madeley turned TWO.  We celebrated her birthday…

…at The State Fair of Texas!

And we had so much fun with our four little trick or treaters…

…we made Halloween a family affair this year!


We were thankful for so much this November…but most of all, was sharing the holiday season with this one.

After Thanksgiving, we kicked off the Christmas season with our town’s Home for the Holidays event!


We began our month by going to court to finalize our adoption with Madeley.

Both big kids started basketball!

We have tried our very best to soak up as much Christmas cheer as we can :).

Kensington and Ashby had their Christmas recital.

And we celebrated our first Christmas together as a family of six.

Thank you again so much for being a part of our 2016.  Praying for you as we move into this new year.  Happy 2017 everyone!


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  • Sarah December 27, 2016 at 5:56 am

    Fantastic year!!! So happy you are sharing with us!! Wishing you the best 2017!!

    -Sarah http://www.thefrugalmillionaireblog.com

  • Ursula December 27, 2016 at 6:34 am

    Have a wonderful New Year, Shay. I’ve loved watching your beautiful family grow and appreciate you taking us all along on your daily adventures. Whatever uncertainty your referring to, I hope everything finds peaceful resolution. Happy New Year!

  • Erika Slaughter December 27, 2016 at 6:35 am

    First of all how big were those purple pajamas Ashby was wearing? Because she grew a ton and they still look big on her. Haha! And I have no clue what happened to Bowen in that picture. I’m glad we didn’t even know he was missing. 🙂

  • ANIEL YU December 27, 2016 at 7:28 am

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year Shull fam! Love reading your blog every morning… here’s to wishing that 2017 will be as much fun as it was in 2016 with ur wonderful family. Cheers to 2017!!!

  • Kelly December 27, 2016 at 7:56 am

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful life! Good luck on TV today! !

  • haley @Cupcakes and Sunshine December 27, 2016 at 8:21 am

    Ahh, happy 2016!!! What a sweet year!

  • Madison Fuller December 27, 2016 at 8:29 am

    Love following you and your sweet family through your posts each day! Thank you for sharing and for being such an incredible Godly woman to follow! Wishing you many blessings in 2017!

  • Paula December 27, 2016 at 8:39 am

    What a wonderful and blessed year(2 years)! Thank you for sharing glimpses here & there. I am excited to lurk along and see where 2017 takes you!

  • Kimberly Penson December 27, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Ahhhhhh! Girl so proud of you. Mamma to older mamma, I’m just so proud of you. Many blessings to you in the new year. May God keep you strong and courageous.

  • Genna December 27, 2016 at 8:51 am

    Will you be recapping your Christmas? What a fabulous year you had. And thanks for sharing your life with us! Me and my husband went to Nantucket on your advice and went to a good share of the places you listed. I can’t wait to go back!!

  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog December 27, 2016 at 9:05 am

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family! Here’s to another wonderful year ahead for you!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Lesley McFarland December 27, 2016 at 9:13 am

    Wow….what a fun and exciting year for the Shulls!! 2017 is going to be just as amazing.

  • Angela Ellingson December 27, 2016 at 9:32 am

    What an incredible year! You are so inspiring to me!

  • Lauren M December 27, 2016 at 9:35 am

    I started reading your blog last year after stumbling upon it from Sean or Catherine, and I have been hooked ever since. This is the second yearly round up post I have read, and just wanted to thank you for letting us all be apart of your family’s lives. You’re lovely family truly is inspirational, and it’s a joy to get to read your posts and watch your family grow. I also really enjoy your book reviews and recipes. Your blog is just so well rounded and always keeps me coming back for more! Wishing you and your family the most blessed 2017!

  • heidi December 27, 2016 at 9:36 am

    What a blessed year. Xx

  • Shan Rocha December 27, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Wishing you all the best in 2017 with your beautiful family, hoping it brings your family nothing but love happiness and good health. Excited to follow your Shull adventures in the New Year ????

  • Megan Butler December 27, 2016 at 11:19 am

    What a great year!!! I bet 2017 will be even better!!!

  • Lindsay December 27, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Shay – I love reading your blog! Your work ethic and family are such an inspiration. My husband and I have more recently been discussing adoption. We also have two biological kids ( girl and a boy spaced 15 months apart!) who are now 2 and 1. I read back through some of your adoption posts but was interested in why you all decided to adopt internationally instead of domestically? Any information would be helpful! We are in the process of trying to understand everything! Like I said before, your family is such an inspiration. It is so amazing what you have done for those sweet girls. And I can tell they have enriched all your lives!

    • Mix and Match Mama December 27, 2016 at 8:17 pm

      Honestly? We just prayed about it and felt the Lord calling us to China. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong here…in my opinion, the Lord will lead you to the correct path. God bless and good luck! Keep me posted!!

  • Sandra December 27, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Thank you for letting us into your home and your lives! Such great pictures, you should create a Shutterfly 2017 Calendar with them. I do one every year with last years photos and my kids LOVE it! Happy New Year!

  • Tia Ismaili December 27, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Thank you for sharing your life with us. I began reading your blog this year and now I’m hooked. Wishing you and your precious family a blessed 2017.

  • Jenna December 27, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    Loved this post Shay! I call Jer. 29:11 my “life verse”… it has meant so much to me since I became a mom! Can’t wait to see what the next year brings!!

  • Ann-Marie December 27, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    Hi Shay, thank you for your inspiring blog, thanks for all the recipe and all family sharing. I have been follow your blog since Sean were on the bachelorette. I dont know how I find your blog but I am very glad I did. I wisch you and your precious family all the best. With lots of love all the way from Sweden Stockholm. Merry Christmas or as we say it – God Jul .

  • Ann Marie December 28, 2016 at 8:51 am

    Merry Christmas! WHAT A FUN YEAR!!!!!!

  • Kayla B December 28, 2016 at 8:54 am

    LOVE this post and love, love following your sweet little family these past few years. Pray blessings on you all. Happy New Year!

  • Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams December 28, 2016 at 10:47 am

    What a great year for the Shulls! You guys are always so inspiring, here’s to a fabulous 2017 🙂
    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams

  • Bethany Crisp December 30, 2016 at 12:23 am

    What an amazing year!! Wishing you and your family continued love and happiness! God is good!

  • Ashli December 30, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    Love this! Congratulations on your year. I hope 2017 continues to bless you.


  • Courtney January 1, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    What a fun year you had! I can’t wait to see what you have in store for 2017. Happy New Year Shay!


  • Morgan Eckert January 1, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    I love following your sweet family! This is a random question but can I ask how you wash/dry your blardigan? I went to NYC this past week as well and I wore it on 2 planes so I know it needs to be washed but I wanted to do it the right way since it is pricey! Thanks in advance for the advice!

    • Mix and Match Mama January 2, 2017 at 4:37 am

      I wash and dry mine in the dryer (per the tag). That being said, you can always let it air dry if you want to be extra safe.

  • L January 2, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Warmed my heart to read about your wonderful year and see the pics of your beautiful family!!! Praying for God to continue to use you guys to bless others!

  • Verenicce January 5, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Love all your pics!! Would you be doing a post about your Christmas day like in the past years? Me and my kiddos would love to see it!!


  • Christina January 6, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Are you on a blog break? You deserve it!! But please say you’ll be back 🙂

    • Mix and Match Mama January 6, 2017 at 1:06 pm

      I’m here! You need to delete your cookies and clear out your cache!

    • Kim January 7, 2017 at 8:38 am

      I too cannot see anything more recent than this post on my phone (I can see more on my laptop). I deleted cookies and cleared cache and it didn’t help…

      • Mix and Match Mama January 7, 2017 at 10:08 am

        They’re switching over my server this weekend. Hopefully that will fix it for you!

  • Christina January 6, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Ha! Thanks!!

  • Amy January 7, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    Happy New Year to you & your beautiful family! I hope 2017 is amazing for you all!

    Thank you for sharing your life with us through your blog. Your blog is my absolute favorite blog to read. One of my goals for the New Year is to start commenting more!