It's gonna take me about three months of writing 2014---no scratch that, 2015, before I get used to it. How is it really 2015? I still remember ringing in Y2K, and might initially say that it feels like that was just yesterday, but then I think of all that's really happened over the last 14 years and then it starts to feel like a life time ago.
As I think back on what 2014 has held for us, it's been a really great year. It's held challenges for me and our family at times but it's also held a LOT of wonderful moments too. Something that I've become aware of this past year is how I used to think life had ups and downs, peaks and valleys, but in reality, I think it is more like a train track with the good and the bad running parallel with one another. Which is really a good thing because that means its not all good or all bad, there's the balance of both happening simultaneously. So, here's a little recap of our "train tracks" of 2014.
We had fun birthdays to celebrate as Ava Jane turned 2, Emerson turned 3, Lawson turned 5 and Peyton turned 8.
We discovered that Lawson has severe environmental allergies that caused his nose to be yucky constantly and required lots of breathing treatments so we began the dreaded weekly allergy shot. And as "luck" would have it, I think we'll get to endure taking two little ones (which actually means four kids) to the allergist each week as Emerson is following in his big brothers footsteps.
This was a year of many fun concerts. Adam and I haven't been to a ton of concerts, but this year we some how lucked out and got to attend four. We saw Tim McGraw and Faith Hill in Vegas, we saw James Taylor over our 11 year anniversary, Darius Rucker with friends in Memphis and topped off the year with a Garth Brooks sing along. We had a blast!
There were potty training woes, I honestly thought that I might train both Emerson and Ava Jane in the same year. Unfortunately, she has regressed but thankfully, he is doing great! I do think Emerson gets the gold medal for longest to finally potty train. We tried it for over 10 months and truly worked hard at it for a good solid 6 months, with the everyday challenge of pooping in the potty NOT in his pants. (I've only been a Mom for 8 years so far, but I do believe potty training just might be one of the hardest most difficult things to do as a parent.) I had it down to a five minute window when I knew he would try to do his business everyday and I always, always, always seemed to miss the one moment when I needed to run him to the bathroom. I did everything from leave his bedroom door open at nap time, to sitting on the stairs outside his room to sitting in his room…you name it, I did it. And somehow I didn't ever seem to get him to the bathroom in time. But it finally happened one day, once I left the country and went to China, go figure!
And speaking of Ch!na, I wasn't able to blog much about my trip to the other side of the world, but I did have a wonderful time loving on those sweet babies. I wish I could openly share all that I learned and what God did while our group was there but we'll have to leave it at this, those two weeks overseas certainly opened my eyes to the desperate reality of those precious little ones and my experience there has continued to shape my mindset and daily prayer life to this very day.
And while I'm on the topic of trips, we were able to see many fun places this year. Adam had a cardiovascular conference out in Vegas. It wasn't really on my bucket list of places to visit, but when given the opportunity to travel with my hubby, I jumped right on that! I'd never done a helicopter ride before, so one afternoon after one of his meetings, we took the opportunity to do one and it was super fun flying over the Vegas strip and over the Hoover Damn. All that's in Vegas is big and over the top and pretty much everything you've seen in commercials or movies is exactly how it is in real life.
My Mom, sister and I were able to make a girls trip to Canton, TX. That is such a fun place, with tons of great shopping. We must make this trip an annual event ladies!
Every two years we do a big beach trip with Adam's side of the family. We enjoyed being right on the beach and getting to "do" life together for a full seven days. There is something to be said about precious times of getting away, playing games, singing worship songs out under the stars with the ocean crashing in the background; times where cousins get to play for hours in the sand and then getting to enjoy tasty dinners shared with everyone. It's memories like these that that will last a lifetime.
Adam and I got to get away a few extra days before a healthcare administrator training in Scottsdale, which was a real treat since it fell over my birthday weekend. I'd never really experienced a desert like climate, so that was truly fun! Just having a little down time and quiet, just the two of us, was so refreshing.
Mid year, I got the privilege of helping to plan a big birthday celebration for my wonderful Mother. I was able to pull together 30 of her closest friends and family to celebrate the life that she has lived and continues to live each day. Just a few of the words that were spoken of her were thoughtful, caring, sacrificial, dependable, and helpful. She is all of these things and so much more, she is a huge blessing in my life and I do not know what I would do without her. I'm so glad that we were able to surprise her with so many faces of friends she's had over the years who've walked along side her and been her "iron sharpening iron".
Unfortunately, my Pityriasis Rosea reared its ugly head again. It doesn't usually recur, but mine did, and lasted almost four months. It's extremely itchy and annoying, thankfully it didn't pop up on my face or arms, but it totally took over my torso, legs, scalp and ears…it was a bit miserable. I still have the little white spots to prove that I did in fact have it again. I'm hoping that they will repigment soon.
Then there was the start of my new normal, having two kids in school full time and only having two left at home with me. I was emotional in the weeks leading up to the start of the school year and tried hard to hold back the tears as we dropped Lawson off in the Kindergarten Flex Space. My how those five years went fast! It's hard to believe that we have a second grader and kindergartener. But what a wonderful year we've had so far. Lots of answers to prayers, for friends and teachers both, God has blessed us and we are so thankful!
We enjoyed several extended weekends at the lake with my family which is always super fun. The boys have a blast and I am reminded of many childhood memories there.
We made our annual trip to the pumpkin patch, which happens to be one of my favorite things to do each fall. Who doesn't love swimming in a "pool" of corn kernels and riding the tractor hayride?!
And I try to steer clear of disciplinary choices on the blog. But this next "bad railroad track" has truly been a real battle for us, (and particularly challenging for me since I'm with the kids most of the time.) This has been a year for using what I call "yucky juice" which happens to be vinegar and water in a small spray bottle. We have experienced an exorbitant amount of whining with one child in particular over the past 365 days. It's honestly been one of the most challenging things I've yet to face as a mother, and one of the most difficult things I've had to combat over the past year. It's not been a little here a little there, its been a constant, grating, dreadful experience since the beginning. There's really not a build up to the frustration level of this child, it just kind of goes from zero to a million in one second flat to which an unusual amount of bemoaning, whining, crying, kicking is what we see (and hear) as the reaction. It is enough to make you want to pull your ears off! I most assuredly have not always responded well to these moments of struggle. It has caused me (and Adam) to have to be very consistent, constantly trying to have this child "redo" situations, to restate the need, re-say what the wants is, mostly just a ton of redo's which is exhausting and frustrating. I'm hopeful that 2015 will hold much improvement in this area and pray that another year of maturity will help this issue to subside. I can hear in my head, my Grandmother saying, "this too shall pass"; I sure hope so!!
This fall we went camping with Adam's parents. It really was a perfect weekend, warm during the day and cooler at night. It was definitely a challenging hike that we chose and next time, we'll have to look for a different route. Poppy lovingly volunteered to carry Ava Jane on his back so I didn't have to do it which was so kind. But there were a couple of really steep parts to the trail and one moment in particular that involved a somewhat rickety walking stick snapping in two that required me to grab ahold of the backpack to help steady the two of them. I think all of us were grateful to finally reach the top with all of us still in tact.
In November, instead of doing a birthday party for Peyton, he chose to go on a family trip. So we headed to Dallas to visit Great Wolf Lodge and Lego Land. It was a fantastic trip, everyone had fun and great memories were made. Lawson said even today, "it was my favorite trip, I want to go back again soon!" It was a complete success and I highly recommend it as a doable and affordable family trip.
So 2014, it's had a lot of highs and a few definite lows. But thankfully, they've come simultaneously, not one at a time, so that joy can indeed occur in the midst of the journey. I'm thankful for the route we're on, for the God who is steering us (even when we can't see where) and for the fact that I have so many loving friends and family to walk this road alongside me. As Adam and I have reflected on this past year and look with anticipation to 2015, we feel completely blessed and grateful for all that God has done and is continuing to do in our marriage and in our family. I hope that you and yours have a blessed New Year.
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