Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in Review

It's that time of year again, just days before we say goodbye to another calendar year and begin a fresh slate of new resolutions, hopes, and plans for the coming year.  I've been reading old blog posts a lot lately, specifically the ones from past Decembers (four years of them I've documented), and trace similar themes with each one.  There's the recap of the previous year, always filled with rich blessings, happy memories, and so many fun pictures and stories to go with them.  And similarly, the blessings are matched with unique challenges, obstacles and unplanned events that I could have never predicted in the days, months, or years preceding them.  And while I didn't really stop and think about the impact of these moments while they were happening, it's amazing to look at them now through the present's lens.  Life is such a progression, and retrospect is a powerful thing.  

As I get older, I keep realizing that life isn't made up of a single-lane road, but filled with many lanes that give us very different rides along the way.  One lane is the planned moments of this life, the moments that give us control and allow us to make our own happiness and dwell in our surroundings.  This past year, we planned trips and saw new places, spent afternoons at the pool, and celebrated important days in our family's history.  Beau and I celebrated five years of marriage in Mexico, we threw a big birthday bash to celebrate Cruz turning two, and we planned our family's first big vacation to Lake Tahoe in July.  We looked forward to these events, both the big and the simple, and will forever cherish the memories we made and the feelings we had along the way. 

And sometimes, we are forced to merge into another lane, one whose direction tends to be more unclear, and often forces us to give up control and trust that someone else is behind the wheel.  This road is unpredictable, with bumps along the way, but if we let it, it has the power to work in us and change us, mold us, and make us stronger versions of ourselves.  

I continue to drive, merging in and out of these lanes of life, learning that each lane is necessary and important in their own ways.  Because although it feels good to take hold of the wheel and control our destination itself, it's the other lane that provides the true adventure.  And this is when growing occurs --- during seasons of life that call us to question, trust, and depend on things greater than ourselves.


I've been thinking a lot about timing lately.  Cruz has been going through a camera-rebellious stage, avoiding the camera at all costs, especially when he can sense that I really want a picture.  The only time we can get a good picture of him smiling at the camera is when I drag out the tripod, set the timer, and make a little game out of it.  It's way too much work, seems so unnaturally canned, and has about a 50 percent success rate of getting a semi-good shot out of the deal.  

And I've learned through this process that as much as I try to control the timer, I can't predict what's going to be on the other end of the frame.  As much as I long to snap my fingers and make the picture look exactly like the image I have in my mind, it never really works that way.  I may have a timer, and I may attempt to control a piece of the outcome, but I'm usually left with something quite different than my original plan.  And oftentimes, it's these pictures that I eventually love the most.  The unplanned, imperfect ones that represent us at our truest. 


I didn't get everything I hoped for in 2012, and as of late, it seems I'm sort of stuck in the uncontrolled lane of life, learning and growing, but longing to take over and do the driving myself.  But I also know that the other end of the frame is good, and that someday, it may turn out to be just what I needed.  I don't know yet because I'm living in it, but with time and retrospect, I'm sure I'll see it soon enough.
2012 was a good year for us.  In many ways, it was a big year as we traveled, saw places, and took part in many wild adventures.  But it was also a year of quiet, of settled, of living in this stage of our lives.  In many ways, I think this year is a precursor to big changes ahead for our family --- a nesting period, so to speak.  And while I'm looking ahead to starting another year in our simple house, with our simple family, and plans for another summer garden, some canning, and lots of afternoons at the pool, I'm also ready and waiting for change.  

I'm not sure where the road leads in 2013, but I pray it's filled with learning, loving, and growing. 

A few of my favorites from 2012. 

 A boy and his dad. Father's Day, 2012.  

 Five years. June, 2012.

Sweet, sweet summertime.    

Independence Day. July, 2012.

 A Room with a View. Lake Tahoe, July.

A Fall Tradition. October, 2012.

Someone turned two. October, 2012.

"Let the Wild Rumpus Roar." Halloween.

Vegas. November 2012

A new hobby. Fall, 2012.

A Day in the Woods with Santa. December, 2012
Christmas memories. December, 2012 

Wishing all of you a happy and safe NYE, and a very happy 2013.  For the first time since Cruz has been born, we are forgoing the baby-sitter route and taking Cruz to the bowling alley for some pizza, party hats, and Shake, Rattle, & Bowl.  I'm sure it will be an adventure. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

And of course, more pictures! Christmas continues...

More pictures from our Christmas weekend...

Oh, Boone!  We had so much fun with you this year and can't wait for you to visit next December.

Baked brie and caramelized onions on crostini and raspberry spritzers to celebrate the Winter Solstice.  We put Cruz to bed, opened a bottle of bubbly, and cooked an old-fashioned Beau-and-Ashley spread, just like the old days.  We made one of our favorites - Bobby Flay's Thai peanut chicken skewers, and ate after 9:00.  It was quiet, it was slow, and did not involve grapes on the floor, milk smeared on the table, or screams of 'I'm done!' five minutes after sitting down.  It was a simple start to our Christmas weekend, and a perfect way to celebrate being snowed in.  

Someone made it in the overnight bag...

Christmas at Grandma and Papa's house.  Saturday, December 22.

Cruz and Charly secrets are the best kind of secrets.

Sunday, Dec. 23.  Church back home, Christmas at Great Grandma and Grandpa's house, and a surprise present from Uncle Les and Aunt Ronnie. 

Christmas Eve, 2012.  Love.


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