I always heard time flies when you have kids, and now realize that statement is 100% truth. Who knew that we'd go from newborn to almost 3 years old in the blink of an eye!!! Holy crap.
Here's some of my favorite things from 2015:
- Celebrating 2 years as a stay at home Mom. I was always the "oh yes, I'll totally work when I'm a Mom" girl and after a complete change of my heart, desires and passions, God has allowed me to fully embrace this life as a stay at home Mom. I feel like I got more in a groove this year with it all. It just took some time to find "me" time, while still focusing on Landon each day, and making the day's exciting for him. We spent MANY days at our favorite spot: the zoo. We love the parks on pretty days. We utilize indoor places when it's rainy or cold like pet and toy stores and Malls. We made crafts, we watched LOTS of Daniel Tiger and Mother Goose Club, and we did plenty of laughing and memory making!
- Watching Landon's vocabulary blossom. This year he became a HUGE TALKER. The things this kid says are hilarious. I loved hearing him say a new word or phrase. Being able to have a conversation with him is definitely a favorite from this year. I can remember one night at dinner, it was just me and him and we were having Tacos (one of his favorites). We were sitting at the table eating and talking about the day and I realized it was the first time I was sitting there really having a conversation with him. It made me all teary and happy inside.
- Landon's love for music. This kid is like his Momma and really love and picks up on music. I really relate to Music and lyrics and I'm getting the idea that Landon will too. He can pick up on song lyrics FAST and because of that I made it a point to only have Christian music playing in the car/around the house. In the womb, Landon LOVED when I'd jam to my Hillsong or Passion worship CDs on my commute to work every morning (he'd go crazy inside my belly) and it's still the same today. There's not much better than having him request "Mommy listen to "Awake My Soul"' from the backseat. He knows almost every word to countless Hillsong, Christy Nockels and Passion songs and it makes me so happy to know that his little toddler brain is being flooded with God's truth and love at even this early age.
- Our Beach trip to Amelia Island in July. This was the second time we'd taken Landon to the beach, but it was the first time he was old enough to enjoy it. He went when he was about 9-10 months old and it was a disaster. I was breast feeding and pumping all the time, he still napped several times a day, and he was just too little to be at the beach or pool for long. This summer, however, he was at a really fun age to play and enjoy all the beach entailed. It was a hard trip on Momma and Daddy (10+ hr car ride, sleeping in the same room as him, always "on") BUT it was a really fun family trip. It really was. I loved playing with Landon at the pool and watching him play with his dump trucks in the sand. Seeing him find sea shells or see birds. He also saw his first fireworks (and hated them) this trip. It was a great memory together as a family.
- Our Babymoon to the Canadian Rockies! This trip was years in the making and well needed. It was amazing to see the sites and then relax and recharge, together. We LOVED it up there and can't wait to get back!
- Having Keely live with us for 5 months. We opened up our home, from August to December, to Keely - a young woman I've known for several years and had just moved back after living as a Missionary (teaching English) in the Dominican Republic. While I was excited about it and we knew it was what God had for us, I was still nervous about having her move in and giving her a "behind the scenes look" at our family. :) It went perfectly and we absolutely LOVED having her as part of our family. One of my favorite things was watching Ben and Landon really grow to love Keely as much as I have for years! Plus, Keely fell in love under our roof and that was super neat to get a front row seat of during her time with us.
- Getting pregnant with Allie. And getting pregnant so quick. It took about 3 months to get pregnant with Landon and lots of confusion and worry over my irregular ovulation, so I was nervous about the 2nd time around. Finding out we were pregnant again was such a blessing. While this pregnancy has been WAY different than Landon's, I'm still so thankful and blessed to be carrying our daughter. We can NOT wait to meet her in March!!
- New friendships and strengthening existing ones. I'm just so thankful with where God's taken me, in my friendships, over the last year. It's been a tough road at times, emotionally, but the place I'm at now is so good and I'm so thankful. He put the right people in my life, this year, to help guide me and really lift me up. God gets ALL the credit for that!
- Our 3rd trip to the Dominican Republic. We headed back to the DR in March and it was our first trip to get to visit the home of our sponsor child, Franklin. We've gotten to know him over the previous 2 trips and our connection to Keely living there, but seeing his home first hand was HUGE. Eye opening and just raw. It's a day and feeling I'll never forget. We love that little boy to death and LOVED getting to see where he spends his days!
- We lost our sweet Chloe. She was 8.5 years of SPUNK and SASS. She left us very suddenly and without warning and it was awful and traumatic and just plain HARD. It still is. But the favorite part in all of it, and why it's making this list, is how God loved on us. Even though it was a dog/pet, she was a HUGE part of our family. She made me a dog person (I hated dogs prior), she taught us responsibility, she was our "child" for 7 years before having Landon, she gave us lots of laughs and frustrations. God really used other people who had been through losing a pet to love on us and encourage us as well as just little things throughout the process that had His hand all over it. We praised Him so much during those first 2 weeks after, and continue to seek Him for strength in those days that we just want our dog back.
Now, on to 2016!! We laughed the other day with some friends saying "2016 is a year we'll just need to write off". Meaning: we're having a newborn (again) AND we still have a toddler, we're becoming a family of 4, our life will be nuts for a while, we won't be able to do as much as possible, etc. I was thinking about that statement and while I still believe the gist of it: it's a year where we'll need to step back quite a bit, I'm also kind of fighting back against it and saying "No". 2016 will be a hard year, no doubt, but it's also going to be an amazing year. It's the year we will have a DAUGHTER. It's the year Landon will get a SISTER. It's the year we will become a family of 4 and spend lots of time hibernating ourselves as we soak in the changes and adjust TOGETHER, and with God's help, provision and guidance. I know it'll be tough, but I also know how FAST the days go and how thankful we are with the blessings God has given us.
That's why, for 2016, I've chosen the phrase: "Choose Joy". It's a phrase I've loved and claimed for several years now. As someone who has surrendered my life to Christ, yes life is hard and hard things happen, but because of my relationship with Christ, I have joy. I have joy because I have Him on my side. I'm not alone in those hard times. I have his promises, guidance, encouragement and provisions to guide me and teach me through each day. I have the community of believers He's place around me to walk through it with me. God very clearly laid it on my heart the last several weeks as I started thinking about what my focus would be for the new year. He immediately brought James 1:2 to mind that says "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trails of many kinds" and it goes on in verse 3 to say "because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." I know 2016 will come with new obstacles and challenges, and we'll need to step back a bit as a family, but I'm choosing joy anyways. I'm claiming the truth in James 1 and reminding myself in those hard moments, days, weeks, seasons, that it's to be considered joy when I face them - BECAUSE it develops my perseverance to be able to withstand the other things life throws at me. Enabling me to grow in my walk with Christ and be the person He has called me to be.
So I'm choosing joy in my marriage, in my parenting, in my ministry, and in my family and friendships. I'm refusing to let Satan make 2016 a year I "just write off" and I'm choosing to find the joy in each moment and each day.
Here are several goals I'm focusing on for 2016:
Have a weekly family call.
I'm making it a goal to make a weekly phone call with my Mom, Dad and Sister on a weekly basis.
Have one-on-one time with both Landon and Allie.
I want to add "daily" to that, but I'm realistic. I know it'll be easier to do as we adjust to two kids, but I want to be very intentional about spending time with BOTH of them this year. Eventually, I know I'll get to the point where I can do it daily.
I'm making rules about when I'm allowed and not allowed to be on Social Media and/or texting. I want to be PRESENT. I'm taking lots of the things I learned in "Hands Free Mama" and putting it to use!
I've stopped keeping up with my daily cleaning chore schedule during this pregnancy - and rightfully so - but I'm getting back to it this year.
Daily Quiet Time.
I know that will look different in the beginning months after having Allie then it will later this year, but I'm committed to making it a daily priority and not letting myself get too overwhelmed with things to skip it. I'm picking back up my Bible reading plan, I'm utilizing www.shereadstruth.com a lot because it's GOOD but quick and easy for a busy Mom, and I'm going to do one of my favorite devos for Moms by Jen Hatmaker "Out of the spin cycle: Devotions to Lighten the Mother Load". (They're quick and easy and powerful devos for Moms)
I want to finish Landon's (I'm almost done) and keep up with Allie's. I also want to get the several photo books I've created online complete and printed out.
I journal a lot in my prayer journal and during my quiet time, but I want to also make a nightly journal entry of the day's activities. I did this during Landon's first year and want to make sure I do it with Allie's too.
Monthly date nights.
I'm not sure this will happen at first with breast feeding and such, but eventually we'll get to it. :)
What are some of your new year goals?