My end of the year blog posts are always my favorite. They are a one-stop-shop for my most treasured memories and photos I've collected throughout the year, a chance to walk down memory lane with a smile on my face and tears in my eyes as I am always reminded of how fleeting life is, especially when it comes to raising babies. It's incredible how much learning, growing and changing happens in 365 days. I look back and am reminded of all the gifts I unwrapped throughout the year, and also recall important themes that seem to emerge on the pages of each chapter logged. 2012 was a year of bending with the wind, of learning to trust in God's timing and understanding what grace feels like when we want something so badly, yet know the reassurance of a God who knows what we need far more than we will ever comprehend. 2013 was a year of blessing and restoration, of preparing a nesting place for a new baby girl while soaking up the last months of a familiarity we loved. 2013 was a quiet year, a slow and peaceful year that I knew would serve as a precursor to a big year of change for us. And then came our 2014...
And I am tired. God blessed us big in 2014, starting our year off with a 6 lb. 13 oz. bundle of joy who gives every meaning to the saying, though she may be little, she is fierce. Becoming a mom to two stretched me in new ways I expected but still wasn't ready for. And after a few months of hunkering down in our little haven with my three greatest gifts, life just sort of turned upside down in the best of ways. My simple, slow life got very busy and left me feeling stretched, weary, and exhausted. I used to sit on the deck staring at my garden towards the end of last summer, thinking ahead to all that was to occur in my life in the remainder of 2014, wondering how I was going to do it all. Starting a new semester with two in daycare and my first doctorate class every Monday from 6-9:00. Putting our house of eight years on the market and keeping it sell-ready with two busy, messy kids. Breaking ground on a new house and maintaining some sense of normalcy within our jobs and our home while making the hundreds of decisions that go into building. Selling our house and relocating to who knows where. Planning birthdays and Christmas, traveling to D.C., packing, unpacking, and packing again. I used to stand on the starting line seeing it all ahead, half wanting that gun to go off to get it over with, and half wanting to throw in the towel and crawl back into my familiar bubble. But now, on the first day of a new year, the finish is in sight and that victory lane is within arm's reach. I can almost taste it.
2014 was too much and I learned I'm not cut out for a life of too much busy. But looking back, I can appreciate lessons I've learned along the way. I've learned that although my husband and I are about as opposite as two people can be when it comes to our decision making process, he's still my saving grace at the end of every day. He's my rock and my source of laughter, and I can't wait to make a life with him in this house that nearly got the best of us.
I've experienced the humbling feeling of being homeless, of having to rely on someone else to pick up the pieces when we're not sure how they best fit together. It's not a feeling I'm used to as I typically tend to like to be in control of things, but I've learned to let go a bit and go with the flow a lot more. We moved in with my parents in early November, and it's been a roller coaster since. In a little over a month, we've passed around the flu bug twice, battled colds, fevers, and strep, taken Mila to the emergency room in the middle of the night, and watched my dad lose his mom. It's been rough at times, but I know someday I'll look back on these days and cherish this time with my parents.
I'm not one for resolutions because who really sticks to them, but if I had to pick a word that sums up my hope for the upcoming year, I think I would choose settled. I looked up the definition and almost all of them seemed to fit in the best ways.
1. to take up residence in a new place
3. to become calm or composed
4. to come to rest, from flight
5. to become established in some routine, after a period of independence or indecision
We have been birds in flight this year and I am ready and anxious to create a nesting place for my family in the coming year. I pray for a year of peace and calm, of feeling established and composed, or as much as one family can be raising two little people that have gotten awfully used to having Grandma and Papa around!
If I focus on this one word, I believe that many of the things I want to improve on will fall into place naturally --- thoughtfully furnishing and decorating each room of my house in a way that fits our family, stocking our fridge and pantry with good, balanced meals, prioritizing family time around the table, reconnecting with friends, making time for date nights, game nights, and bubble baths, and enjoying a year of simple adventures near and far. Just thinking about these things makes me breathe a big deep sigh of relief. It sounds so good to feel settled.
What word best describes your hopes and dreams for the coming year? Whatever it may be, I wish you loads of happiness, new experiences, and special memories with the ones you love.
**Pictures in this post were taken by Darcy from At Play Photo. Mila's 6-month and 9-month sessions.