Oh man. 2011. It came in like a lion and has cruised out like a lamb. Temps in the 60′s, Daddy home, playing outside, riding bikes, having adventures together… this week between Christmas and New Year’s has been amazing. But when I think back to this month a year ago I can’t believe we made it this far!
January of 2011. It started with the stomach flu, we moved to my parents house, traveled with them to WI to visit my sister, C’s car was stolen while I was in WI, Parker was diagnosed with an egg allergy and about a million food sensitivities, we radically changed the way we all ate to accommodate her new diet, C’s car was found, all three kids had pneumonia during an incredible ice storm and two had double ear infections. It was quite the month! The best moment? When Bailey put $20 in our house fund. Sweetest moment ever.
February found us at the end of basketball season which is always awesome (what’s awesomER is NOT coaching basketball like Chris did this winter!). I helped run Bailey’s Valentine’s Day party that she was too sick to attend. I wrote THIS blog post that I will cherish for years. Sometimes blogging can be so so good. I tried to get back into running but failed miserably. We started our 52 Smiles project which was totally the highlight of our winter/spring!
March was soccer soccer soccer. Oh how I love being a coaches wife. Lots of fun 52 Smiles projects too! The girls went to WI with my parents and we had a few days with just Gray. Gray had his adenoids out and new tubes put in. Spring break with Chris gone for most of it on a soccer trip. Oh and Parker had a cigarette butt in her ear. It may not have been in this month but I can’t remember when it was and I don’t want to forget so I’m sticking it in March!
April. Soccer. Becoming better friends with Adriane. Staying sane with Angie by my side at soccer games. Feeling hopeless about ever owning our own home. Struggling with PJ’s food allergies. Soccer.
May was a crapload of crafting. For Teacher Appreciation Week which I unwillingly was put completely in charge of (not that I didn’t love Bail’s Kindergarten teacher but who can afford to do an entire week of gifts alone with NO reimbursement?), Bailey’s birthday at school and two birthday parties. Summer started which is ALWAYS my favorite time of year. I love having Chris and the kids home. We all do better somehow when we’re together all the time. Chris and I argue more when we’re busy doing our own things… when we’re all together we’re just happier. My dates are mixed up now but I think this month is when we really started house hunting too even though we hadn’t been approved yet… it was wishful thinking!
June was THE BEST MONTH EVER. We were approved and bought our first home! Not much else compares even though a ton of other things happened that month! Two other BIG things though were Gray turning three and becoming completely potty trained! Six years of diapers came to an end!
July was all about paint. I think I painted 8+ hours a day that entire month. I ruined so many clothes, constantly had paint in my hair/hands/legs/feet and watched every episode of Dexter as I dragged my laptop from room to room while I worked. I had a lot of solitude at the new house which was awesome but also worked harder physically than I ever have before. It was an exhausting month but so so good. Bailey also turned six but we pushed her birthday party to August so it could be at the new house.
August we moved in! We had Bail’s birthday party AND Terri’s 60th birthday within weeks of moving in so it was a stressful time. Fun but hard. Bailey started first grade, PJ and Gray started preschool and Chris began his first year as a tenured teacher at Webster Groves High School.
September flew by. Fresh Art began its busiest season, both girls played soccer, choir at church started, Chris was coaching field hockey for the first time and I started working more at Kuhn Const. Chris and I celebrated our 7th anniversary by taking a road trip for three days that was one of my favorite parts of this entire year. We’ve never had so much uninterrupted fun together! Just the break we needed after working so hard all summer.
October was so much just loving our new neighborhood and house. Still the Fresh Art busy season, Halloween preparations, decorating our house for its first holiday, Gray got new tubes in his ears AGAIN and just surviving the madness of my fall season while soaking up as much family time as we could get. It was also when Kim decided to step away from Fresh Art and I turned 32. Lots of good and bad this month.
November will always be when I surprised Parker with the best birthday party ever! It will ALSO be the month my sister and I surprised my mom for HER birthday! SO much planning and secrets this month it was so much fun! Parker turned FIVE and was finally given an IEP for speech therapy at school. We took fun photos for our Christmas card, I spent an eternity making stick horses for PJ’s party, I finally started to feel like our house was organized and my busy season wound down.
December was pure magic. If January sucked a big one December completely made up for it in one big swoop. Chris had enough Christmas spirit for our whole block but we were the lucky ones to get to soak it in everyday. The kids had a blast with Elfkin, buying+decorating our tree, so many nights driving to look at lights, working on Christmas gifts, warm movie nights next to our new fireplace and just all the other usual Christmas festivities. We missed seeing our extended family this year but MAN did I love how relaxed the days leading up to Christmas were. Charades at my parent’s house was hysterical, renting a 15 passenger van to do lights with my sister’s family was amazing and camping out in our living room watching Christmas movies late into the night. Literally I could go day by day to talk about all the magic that happened this month! And it ended with gorgeous weather, well-behaved kids and so much family time. This is the kind of month you dream of.
We had a rough start to this year but every month, every day practically, it just got better and better. Chris and I will sometimes just look at each other and talk about how lucky we are.
Every year of our marriage has been hard. Babies, moving, lack of money, etc. Some of the stresses we’ve been under almost sank us. But looking back on this year I feel like they were leading up to now. That without all the struggle we wouldn’t be able to sit back and enjoy our life so much right now.
I know 2011 wasn’t awesome for a lot of people. Jobs and the economy have taken their toll. Trust me, this winter we’ll be eating a lot of Ramen too! It’s just that, the bad almost doesn’t matter so much anymore. Looking back today I finally see that God really doesn’t give you what you can’t handle. That He has the perfect road laid out for you. We are so blessed I’m bursting from it all.
Moving into 2012 I can’t even hope for more. I just pray that I continue to learn and grow in every area of my life. As I have more time I’m going to sit down and write out some very specific goals for the first time ever and I will share them with you. I don’t want time to move faster but I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for me and my family! I pray that you all had a wonderful Christmas and that we all have a blessed new year!