Archive - December 2017

» Rejoice Always
» Touring D.C. in the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
» REVIEW: Nashville’s Nutcracker 2017
» 2017 Christmas Gift Guide

» Rejoice Always

It’s New Years Eve morning. Calvin and Elliott are with our church family this morning and I’m playing nurse at home for the remaining family members. Strep made a last minute stop at our house before the completion of 2017. (have to admit… it was nice getting that last ounce out of our deductible!)

Like everyone else we’ve been reflecting on 2017 this week: looking back at pictures, remarking on the physical and emotional growth in our kids and imaging what next year will look like. There have certainly been years when I welcomed the New Year heartily, grasping for some kind of marker to signal a fresh start. There were years that held disappointments, sickness or difficult trials. 2016 fell into that category as I dealt with illness and surgery, and as I’ve shared before I’m abundantly thankful for the growth that came out of that season. I’ve also developed a deep appreciation for the days I’m given. A day might be good, bad, extraordinary or ugly… but it’s still a God-given day that shouldn’t be wasted.

As we enter 2018 I have few resolutions to speak of… minus the usual clean-eating after baking a bit too much in December… but I AM resolved to remember that each day has great purpose. I’m convinced that if we watch and search for God’s purposes in each day, mundane or extraordinary, we will certainly find them. When our eyes are focused on finding our best life in His plan the surrounding battles and discomforts of life will pale in comparison.

1 Thesselonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always,
pray continually,
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

» Touring D.C. in the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Earlier this month, Calvin and I decided to spend our joint birthday present on a quick trip to D.C. Our last experience with the (2016) Outlander Sport in Houston was excellent, so I was excited when we were afforded the opportunity to test the 2018 model. The driving atmosphere is way different than Nashville with pedestrians and more cars at every turn but the 2018 Outlander Sport handled things nicely. We had an enjoyable trip, thanks to this fun small SUV.

all photos © Goodbye Normal

We thoroughly enjoyed both the vehicle and visiting places such as Georgetown Park, the grand opening for the Museum for the Bible (among all the other museums), Chinatown and tons of places to eat.

We stayed about 15 minutes away from the Monument so we had to drive into the museum district each day to enjoy the sights and sounds D.C. has to offer. The Outlander Sport provided a smooth ride into town then responded well to the multiple turns and stop-and-go traffic that pedestrians often cause. We even enjoyed testing the vehicle with a longer 45-minute trip to Baltimore which also proved to be a comfortable ride. Here are a few things I especially liked:

Panoramic Moonroof – We were fortunate to visit during a mild, rain-free winter where we could enjoy this awesome addition. The moonroof spans across the front and back seats so all the passengers can enjoy the view. I love how this feature can make a car feel bigger than it actually is.

Folding Side Mirrors – The side mirrors on this Mitsubishi fold in automatically once the engine is off in park. This feature is especially useful in cities like D.C. where parallel parking is a necessity. In Nashville, it’s not as common to parallel park but even standard parking spots could spare the car from large purses and shopping carts. 

24/30 MPG – We have always tried to be conscious of our consumption for the planet and our wallet. This compact sport utility vehicle gets great mpg without compromising it’s size and speed.


We have had a small SUV as a second vehicle for a while now and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I enjoyed the 2018 Outlander Sport and could definitely see us considering one when we’re due for a new vehicle. Whenever you’re in the market, give Mitsubishi a test drive!




Special thanks to Mitsubishi of North America for allowing us to test drive the 2018 Outlander Sport. As always, these opinions are my own.



» REVIEW: Nashville’s Nutcracker 2017

December, as usual, is already flying by. Both Calvin and I have birthdays in December and it’s also a very busy time of year where I work. Thankfully, by the second week of December we were ready to dive deep into time with family and friends. This year we planned to attend the Nutcracker as usual but decided to allow Char to invite a couple of special friends, the boys were more interested in watching a little football and vegging out. This was an added bonus for me because their sweet mommas attended as well! 

We arrived a few minutes early and hustled the girls over to snag a few photos with the beautiful ballerinas. If you arrive even earlier (1:15pm for us), your kiddos can even learn one of the dances from the show! After a quick photo session we quickly located our tickets and went to find our seats. For this show we found ourselves in the orchestra section. In past years we have sat in the balcony and I must say the orchestra seats were so special! Sitting closer to the stage area made the center seem smaller and more intimate.

This year the Nashville Nutcracker is celebrating their 10th year. We were curious about this and knew there would be added surprises. If you’ve gone in previous years, you’ll notice a little more surprise and delight… we won’t spoil it for you.

Below is the remaining 2017 schedule:

Friday, December 15 at 7 p.m.
Saturday, December 16 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Sunday, December 17 at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, December 21 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Friday, December 22 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Saturday, December 23 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Get your tickets directly from the Nashville Ballet’s website.

(All Photos by Heather Thorne)

The Nutcracker continues to be a special Christmas tradition for us. We love the special Nashville elements that show up in the production and sit spellbound through every moment of this special production year after year. To finish off our girls night, we made a nearby trip to Milk & Honey for dinner and dessert!


» 2017 Christmas Gift Guide

Have you made it to December without finding that perfect gift yet? Our list is shorter this year as we continue the year of less. We’ve been looking for non-tech gifts that promote creativity and/or spending time with others and these made the short list.

1. Chippo

Chippo is a fun game for the outdoors or even larger indoor spaces, think corn hole combined with golf. If you love golf, you’ll love Chippo. If you don’t love golf, you’ll still love Chippo. This was intended for dad but our oldest son who has never touched a golf club (other than putt putt) is always wanting to play a round. The game is best played with two wedges (not included), so make sure you grab an extra if needed.

Chippo website

2. KiwiCo Monthly Crates

Kids love getting mail, especially when it’s for them. After having friends try these out and seeing Facebook ads over the last few months, we had to try the Tinker and Doodle Crate for ourselves. KiwiCo makes science & engineering fun for kids of all ages. These boxes can be for an individual child or make it a family group effort to build or create together. Boxes are typically $20 shipped, but you can save a few dollars each month if you commit to 3 or more months at a time. As I’m writing this, your first box is only $7.95!

KiwiCo website

3. Brain Putti

Braini Putti is the perfect stocking stuffer for all kids. You can use Braini Putti similar to Play Doh but you can also make super bouncy balls with it. We’ve had a few nights around the dining table creating and laughing over Braini Putti.

buy on Amazon

Braini Putti website

4. Local Events

For those of you who are completely doing experiences over gifts, December is a great time to enjoy local events as a family. We’ve created many new traditions with this mindset including the Nutcracker for the family, and a date night seeing a Christmas concert (Dave Barnes this year). If you’re in Nashville, check out this post for events we’re most looking forward to.


All Content © Erica Ho, Goodbye Normal