Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Look Back at 2013

"there are years that ask questions and years that answer."

-Zora Neale Hurston 

Of all the blog posts I write each year, my end of the year posts are always my favorite to look back on. It’s amazing to see the growth and the change that occurs in a year’s time, especially when little ones are involved. And as I look back and see pictures of Cruz and all the fun we’ve had in 2013, I feel like we are nearing not only the end of a year, but the end of an era of the three of us. 2014 will start with a new baby girl in our family, a whole new adventure of a daughter, a big brother, and two parents learning the ropes of a family of four.

Last December 31, I wrote about learning to trust in God’s timing and live contentedly in my present. I was waiting to be pregnant and was questioning where God was leading me and what He was teaching me through my struggle. 

Here’s what I wrote…

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. 

Retrospect is a powerful thing. Now, exactly one year later, we are just two weeks away from bringing a new baby into this world.  I’m so thankful God gave me 2013 – a beautiful year of pregnancy, another year exploring the world with just my Cruz, of soaking up this simple life of the three of us. It was my nesting year, indeed, a year I could slow down and prepare for big changes for our family.  I am so ready for 2014 and so thankful for God's upper hand in shaping my life far better than I can comprehend.  

A look back on 2013 and all its glory...

January. A long, relaxing winter break and a weekend at Sesame Street Live. 

February. Love for my boys and love for a newly discovered city.

March. An early Easter and a Saturday celebrating Dr. Seuss.

Spring. April showers lead to May gardens.

May. A bittersweet Mother's Day and a positive pregnancy test the very next day.

The makings of a baby bump.  Due January 14, 2014.

Sweet summertime. 

Our summer of concerts. The Lumineers in June, the Avett Brothers in June.

July.  A week road trip to the deep south.  Tennessee mountains and Georgia sunsets.

August. Ring bearers, birthdays, and deep fried everything at the Iowa State Fair.

September. A baby GIRL and a babymoon to KC.

October.  Our boys turns THREE!

Christmas is coming.  This year's Christmas card picture.

December. Merry Everything.

It was a good one.  Cheers to a new year.  Happy 2014.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas, cont.

Forever moments of our Christmas 2013...

...a movie night and dance party by the fire the night before Christmas Eve.  Cruz kept saying it was "cozy", a word he most definitely learned the past couple of weeks.  It's a favorite word around here.  

...that snow that fell from the sky as we left church on Christmas Eve.   

...sneaking out with Cruz and Beau in our pajamas and boots late Christmas Eve to sprinkle our reindeer food on the drive.  The snow was sparkly and everything was so quiet.

...stealing one of Santa's sugar cookies, drinking orange juice out of his mug, and watching Christmas Vacation with Beau after stuffing stockings and tucking in our sugar plum.  

...(just minutes before church is going to start)...Me (to Beau): You forgot Cruz's backpack??? (Meanwhile, Cruz's eyes surf from the white candle in his hand to the lady's blond hair in the seat ahead of him). 

...a yummy Christmas Eve meal, warm baked hot chocolate, and a little boy who had three glasses of apple juice because he thought he was spiffy drinking out of a wine glass.

...a new heirloom ornament to hang on my Christmas tree.  A new favorite picture of Cruz with 2013 etched in the silver frame now hangs below a wedding picture of Beau and I, a similar frame with 2007 etched in its frame. 

...a little boy in plaid pajamas who proved to have the whole present thing down pat this year.  He looked like a mini-Beau tearing into his packages, only to announce, "I was looking for this the whole time," after opening the grand finale Batman house he's been talking about for a month.

...Minion Tim and the many laughs he brought us.


...Another morning snowfall, big flakes, and the sight of Cruz in his plaid pajamas and snow boots "helping" Daddy shovel the driveway.

...the subtle paranoia that set in as he ventured west in the snow, 37 weeks pregnant.  It was only an hour away, but I know the 'what-ifs' were on both our minds as we drove further away from the hospital.

...a fun night in Hampton and a detour through Waverly to check out one amazing light display.

...one of the sweetest Christmas memories to date.  My talented husband wrote a song for me, and sat on the floor of the living room and sang it for me Christmas night.  It's a song about us, our babies, and it represents so much about this stage of our lives.  He wrote the lyrics, the chords, everything on his own, and I'm so proud of it.  I have dreams of him singing it to our baby girl and someday teaching Cruz to play it on his guitar.  I will just never forget that moment, laying on the couch feeling the baby hiccup, watching this man that I'm so lucky to share this life with sing this song for me.  It was one of the best Christmas presents I've ever received and a moment I felt so very lucky to be his wife.  

...a fun 'day after' with my boys.  It was a good day to play outside, the snow still too fluffy for a snowman, but just right for Cruz's first ever snow fort.  We chased Cruz through the mall, went to the public library for some books about dinosaurs, and had some tacos at Pablos.

-a fun Christmas at Mom and Dad's.  Cruz's 'fireman' toy (aka, Ironman toy) from Uncle Taylor, a birthday cake for Jesus, and three pairs of matching pajamas from Grandma.  

Fun to see how much the littles have grown from last year.  And next year there will be four. :)

That's a wrap!  Some 2013 reflections coming as we anticipate a baby girl in two weeks!


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