There is just something about a clean slate. I love the idea of a whole new year waiting out there full of hope and possibility. As 2017 draws to a close, I want to take a little time to note and honor all that this past year has held, so I can begin to look towards 2018 and all it might be.
This year has held a lot of milestones for us. From kicking off our restaurant journey to announcing the last season of Fixer Upper, this year has felt like one adventure after another. In January, we began renovating the historical building that will be home to our restaurant, Magnolia Table. It’s no secret that Chip loves a good breakfast, and it’s always been a dream of his to own a restaurant that serves it up right. After a long year and a lot of hard work, we are 95% done, and the Magnolia Table will open early this coming year!
The details have been my favorite part of the whole thing. Designing the tables and chairs, the menu, the tile, the countertops—it’s all been so much fun. Just seeing it all come together has been unbelievable, but my favorite part of the whole thing has been rallying behind Chip’s dream, just like he has always done for me. We can’t wait for you to see the whole design and renovation process when it airs on an episode of Fixer Upper in the spring!
This year also stands out as the year Chip tackled one of his favorite projects to-date: Capital Gaines. There were a lot of early mornings and long nights, but it was all so worth it. Having those words on paper is one of the greatest gifts Chip could ever give to our kids. They’re not old enough to understand it all yet, but one day reading about all that is within their dad’s heart and what he is so passionate about right there in black and white will mean everything to them. Then hearing so many of your stories about how this book has impacted your lives is more rewarding than we thought possible. Chip’s true nature is that of a coach, and he has this ability to give others the courage to really take the first step in chasing their dreams. I have been so proud watching him do just that.
Speaking of taking the first step, Chip has decided to run a marathon this next year. Yes, you read that right. He has long talked about taking on this challenge, and with all the coaching he did in Capital Gaines, he figured it was time that he get after it and put his money where his mouth is. To make the whole thing even more next level, we have decided to host the marathon ourselves here in Waco, Texas this May. With no running experience at all, Chip has a lot of ground to cover in a little over 4 months! This is gonna be fun (for me at least). We’ll be giving all of the official race details really soon, and there will be a little something for everyone—not just marathoners. If you’re like Chip and running a crazy number of miles is always something that you’ve wanted to accomplish, then get to training and make plans to come run alongside him.
We started filming season 5 of Fixer Upper in early in 2017, and it’s going to be our biggest season ever—19 episodes! People are always asking if the other rooms of the home not shown on TV were renovated, and this season the answer is yes. For every house in season 5, the other rooms were designed and renovated along with the rest of the home. Because of time, we weren’t able to show the whole house, but that’s why we’re excited about Behind the Design. This is a bonus show that will start airing every Tuesday night after the series finale of Fixer Upper. It dives a little deeper into the design aspect and allows you to see some of the spaces you didn’t get to view during Fixer Upper.
We’re now five issues into the Magnolia Journal! I’ve loved the process of making this magazine. It’s such a rewarding project where I get to delve deeper into a whole range of topics, and we have the best team in the whole world. They don’t take a single page lightly…every last detail of every single story, recipe, photo, layout, and design is fully thought out. Our hope is that people will read the magazine cover to cover and feel inspired for their own lives. We want to connect real people and share their stories of hope and courage. We are knee deep into creating our 2018 issues, and this magazine just keeps getting better and better. I could not be more proud of it.
In November, Chip and I had the honor and the privilege of renovating the St. Jude Target House dining room. The Target House is a large facility where the families of children undergoing cancer treatment at St. Jude can call home while their kids focus on getting well. This was one of our favorite renovation opportunities ever, and we hope it feels like a home away from home for these beautiful families. We officially launched our Magnolia Foundation this year (which serves the most vulnerable children and families in our communities) and Chip was happy to kick off our first official fundraiser by promising to cut his hair if people would donate to St. Jude. It was definitely a highlight of our year to travel to St. Jude to reveal the Target House dining room as well as surprise the families with a big check from all of you. Then, to top it all off, Chip had his hair buzzed completely off right there for all the kids to see. The whole experience left us forever changed.
A major milestone was the Hearth + Hand line launching in Target stores nationwide in November. Getting to share a little bit of Magnolia in towns all over the country has been exciting, to say the least. The response to our Christmas collection has been truly overwhelming. Just this week we launched over 100 new products in the first refresh of this long term collaboration, and I hope it helps you ready your home for the season ahead.
Just this last week, I officially revealed the cover for my cookbook, Magnolia Table. Like anything new, I never knew the many details that go into making a cookbook, but what an amazing learning experience. Cooking is one of those things I hold near and dear, and this project has been so important to me every step of the way. For me, preparing a meal for my loved ones is something therapeutic that I look forward to, but it hasn’t always been like that. Learning to love cooking has been a journey for me, and at the end of the day, it’s the end result—feeding my family food that they love—that makes it worth the work I put into it. I want you to find joy in the process, too, as in all things. Whether it’s with design or cooking, my heart is to help and encourage people in their own lives and homes, and I hope the Magnolia Table cookbook is a tool that helps you do just that.
Life on the farm has been really good this year. We added some new animals, including 15-20 new baby goats and a kitten. Chip brought the kitten home for the kids a few weeks ago when I was out of town (of course), and the Emmie named him Snowflakes. I guess you can go ahead and call me a cat lady now, because I think he’s pretty darn cute. Our horse, Dolly, is 6 months pregnant with her second baby, and the whole family is rooting for a girl.
We finished filming season 5 in November, so we celebrated with some of our dear friends by taking a trip to Italy. This was the first time we’d ever been to Italy before, and we had a wonderful time catching up on some much needed rest and exploring new places. My personal favorite was just simply sitting by the fire and enjoying all the beautiful landscape of Tuscany. Oh, and the Vespas! It was such a good time with our friends who have been with us on this journey since the very beginning. It really was the perfect finish to this season and this year.
If you can believe it, Drake is officially taller than me. I can’t handle how big all of my kids are getting, and how fast time seems to be flying by, just as everyone says it does. Lately I’ve been being particularly careful to soak it all in. I don’t want to miss a single moment of the things that matter the most to me. These kids are smart, witty and unbelievably creative. Every day with them is a gift, and I love getting to be their mom. We’re not big on resolutions in our family, but we do choose one word every year that we really want to focus on. Chip and I are still trying to think of our words, but the kids have already landed on theirs. What are some of your family’s favorite traditions this time of year? I’d love to read them in the comments below.
As I sit here and reflect back on the last 12 months—the memories we’ve made and the milestones we’ve tackled—all I feel is grateful for another year. I am also expectant for the one ahead. Big, beautiful things are coming, in our lives and in yours. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. As always, we are so, very thankful for your support, and we are praying that 2018 will be a year of peace, hope, and contentment for you and your family.
Happy New Year, everyone!