Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reflecting on 2013

2013 reflection.  I found these questions from my high school English teacher's blog.  She's a fantastic writer (obviously) and the questions really helped me to reflect on the most life-changing years of my life.

1. What was the single best thing that happened this year?

Well, that's easy.  Andie.  Seeing her tiny naked body in the hands of my doctor as she was moved to my chest was one of those moments in life that warms my soul.  It was so foreign, yet so natural and powerful.  She is so precious and I love her dearly.
{my favorite picture of all of 2013, maybe even ever.  Holding Andie for the first time}

2.  What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

Honestly, when I think back to the moments where I said "this is so hard" - it brings me to family issues.  I won't go into detail, but sometimes the roller coaster gets a little hard to hold on to.  There are two sides to every conflict, but seeing the other side can be a very challenging thing.

3.  What was an unexpected joy this year?

Making new friends.  I am so fortunate to have some incredible ladies in my life.  I love learning from my friends... and with all of their different backgrounds and different life experiences, I am truly blessed to constantly be understanding life in new ways through them.

4.  What was an unexpected obstacle?

My pregnancy.  I didn't go into much detail to many people at the time because I was filled with fear and worry.  When 27 weeks hit, Andie's heart was doing some unusual things.  At 29 weeks, I was admitted into the hospital for 24 hour monitoring for a couple days.  I will never forget being in the monitoring room and having my doctor come in and tell TL and I that he wanted us to head over to the hospital.  I cried, TL's throat cracked as he asked what was going wrong.  Her heart was having "variables", or sudden drops, and no one could tell us why.  Even with a perinatologist, several doctors, and nurses examining us and telling us they were going to keep a close eye (twice a week at monitoring) on her, that fear never left. The unknown of why nearly killed me.  I worried every day.  I just wanted my baby to be okay.  The relief I felt when she was born and all was okay was like a 15 thousand pound weight being lifted off of my heart.  I am so thankful to have a healthy baby.

5.  Pick 3 words to describe 2013.

Intense.  Happy.  New.

6.  Pick 3 words your spouse would use to describe your 2013 (don't ask them, guess based on how you think your spouse sees you)

Happy.  Fun.  Challenging.

7.  Pick 3 words your spouse would use to describe 2013 (again with out asking).

Dad.  Wonderful.  Love.

8.  What were the best books you read this year?

Ha.  That's a funny one.  I didn't read a single book.  Unless you count the chapters in What to Expect the First Year, and People magazine.  Maybe I should work on that in 2014.

9.  With whom were your most valuable relationships?

My husband.  Ohhh, my husband.  We experienced some of the most powerful and happy moments of our lives together this year and it strengthened us.  My love for this man grew tremendously as I watched him become a daddy.  Also, I realized even more his love for me as he stood by my side for every minute of the challenges I faced in pregnancy, and held my hand and watched our baby come into the world.  He may not be perfect, but he is absolutely my best friend.  He is my biggest advocate and I know he would do anything for me.  A lot of life happened this year and he and I got through it together.  I am so happy that he is committed to me and we are determined to work together to make this marriage of ours the best it can be.

My mom.  She's my sounding wall, my life coach, my biggest fan, and the most incredible woman I know.  She is so darn special to me, and our relationship grew even stronger this year, especially because of the new perspective I have since becoming a mother myself.  I realized even more then ever how dang lucky I am that SHE is MY MOM.

My sister, Julie.  Both of my sisters are very special to me... and Juls and I both embarked on a new journey of motherhood together this year, and it has been so much fun.  She and I call each other and tell stories and ask questions about all sorts of things that just aren't normal.  (example: our girl's poop)  I am so excited to have girls the same age and really think it is so special that we have this in common.

10.  What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?

My biggest personal change this year... confidence in myself.  I realized more this year that I am a people pleaser, and in some ways this is a good thing, but in other ways... I need to stop worrying so much about what other people think and have confidence in making the best decisions for myself and my family.

11.  In what way(s) did you grow emotionally? 

I am an emotional person.  I always have been.  And I embrace that quality about myself, which I think is truly how I grew this year.  I cried the first time I rocked my little baby to sleep and sang "you are my sunshine" to her.  I learned that just because I am emotional doesn't mean I am weak.  I just feel my emotions.

12.  In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?

I saw a quote a while back that has stuck with me "Your beliefs don't make you a good person, your behavior does".  Spiritually, after this wonderful, challenging, beautiful year...  I believe even more that their is something bigger than me to believe in, because with out it, the world just feels empty.

13.  In what way(s) did you grow physically?  

Well, obviously, I grew a baby... so I grew bigger & fuller.  And it was the most incredible thing my body has ever done.  I am still amazed by pregnancy and the process of conception to birth.  Since Andie, I haven't focused much on my physical appearance, but I am okay with where I am at.  I gained a little more than 15 pounds during pregnancy, and lost it fairly quickly because of breast feeding.  In 2014, I need to focus on gaining more physical strength.

14.  In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?

I have truly begun to appreciate relationships more for what each of them are and the value they bring to my life.

15.  What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home?

Everything "Andie" related...  I am not a fan of laundry, but there is just something about Andie's laundry that I love.  I actually enjoy folding her pint sized clothes, organizing her room, and seeing her toys around our house.  This is the chapter of our lives where the "kid mess" is a large part of the decor in our home and I am completely okay with it.  I was so sad to put the "mamaroo" and activity mat away in the closet... so I just want to enjoy each stage of her toys.

16.  What was your most challenging area of home management?

If you ask TL, he would say I struggle most with cleaning the counters and washing dishes.  ha! (I married an extremely clean person... I haven't cleaned a toilet since I married him).  But for me, the most challenging has been just keeping up with things.  It bothers me to go to bed with a dirty house, but I have had to accept the fact that my sleep is more valuable than a clean home sometimes.

17.  What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?

Worrying and losing sleep because of what other people may think of me.  There is nothing more frustrating then having a sound asleep baby laying next to you when you are extremely tired and not being able to sleep because your mind is spinning about things outside of your control.  (friends, work, family - all of which caused me to 'worry' this year)

18.  What was the best way you used your time this year?

Rocking and snuggling with my baby. Smelling her, holding her, squeezing her, and kissing her... nothing better than that!  And of course, time with my family (TL, Andie & I - and extended family) and friends who are like family.

19.  What was the biggest thing you learned this year?

Life is all about our perspective and our mindset.  If I find myself frustrated with a challenge, I find a way to put it into perspective.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2013 for you.

My life centers around my love.

Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy, safe, and exciting 2014!

Friday, December 27, 2013

5 on Friday

My goodness... Christmas and the last couple weeks have flown by!  Linking up for 5 on Friday:

ONE. Almost 3 weeks ago, I had a toothache, so I went to the dentist and THAT day at 3pm they pulled out my impacted wisdom teeth.  Yuck.  A little late in life, but at least it's done.  I still have some bruising on my face and looked like I was punched or lost a fight.  Thank goodness TL was able to leave work and my parents came up to see us, I was so out of it after being put to sleep.

TWO.  Andie got sick on Christmas Day with a really stuffy and congested nose... the day after Christmas, it got worse, and lucky TL and me got what she has.  It's been a rough couple days seeing my poor little girl sick.  She's been irritated and a little fussy... probably a little confused why she's feeling yucky.  And thank goodness for Boogie Wipes.  Her nose is a little raw, but it would be a lot worse with out these things!
THREE.  I was spoiled and got some really fun Christmas gifts from my family.  My sister found some adorable stationary and address book, I got nail polish, lounge clothes, a new purse and diaper bag... not to mention the necessities "Santa" always brings me: undies, socks, chapstick, hand soap, etc. :)  Christmas was amazing this year... especially because I got to spend it with my entire family.
FOUR.  It's almost New Years and this year has been one of the most life changing that I have ever experienced (for obvious reasons).  I have been doing a lot of reflecting and am planning on sharing some of my feelings soon.  New Years resolutions are always tough... but this year, I need to take a few things seriously.  Some changes may be on the horizon.


I hope you had a wonderful Holiday!!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dear Andie... you're 7 months old!

My sweet daughter Andie,

7 months old!  Laughing and giggling, smiling all the time, determined, observant, and sweet as can be. You are the most special thing in my world.  I look at you everyday, your chubby little cheeks and body, and am in pure amazement that you're growing and thriving so well.

You personality is blooming more and more everyday... you've got your "fake cough" down and give us a huge grin when you do it.  You snort when you laugh really hard - which makes us laugh even harder and you will scream at us to let us know if you need something.  We enjoy your noises and your laugh fills my soul with happiness.  It's the most amazing sound I have ever heard.

This month we have had a big change in working on your sleeping schedule.  I feel like I am getting much better at understanding your different "cries" and for the first time this month, I let you "cry it out" for a little while in your crib.  As agonizing as it was while I was sitting staring at the monitor... it worked.  You now are in a much better sleep schedule - sometimes sleeping 8-10 hours straight.

At the beginning of the month, we took you on your second plane ride to Arizona and you did very well.  You were so cute lounging by the pool in your little swimsuit.  You also got into the pool for the very first time with your daddy and you seemed to like it!

You are reaching for everything.  You are fascinated with the toys in your ducky bath, iPhones, stacking rings, Sophie the giraffe, and pretty much all of your toys.  You started sitting in high chairs and shopping carts this month, which you love because you can see everyone and be a part of the conversation.  You've almost started crawling, getting up on your knees and hands, but you still prefer to roll everywhere.  You love to stand up and are very strong at holding yourself up.  Sometimes, we let you stand up against the couch or table and you will play for long stretches of time.

You just made the move (2 days ago) into size 3 diapers.  You're wearing 6 month sized clothes, and can fit into some 9 month sized clothes.  You are still breastfeeding often, which I love, and you're also doing so well with eating solid foods.  You particularly love sweet potatoes and your rice cereal.  You've tried pears, peaches, peas, and green beans as well.  You liked them all, except bananas.

We celebrated your first Thanksgiving with lots of family... both sides of my family and with your uncles Joe and Dave.  Daddy worked on Thanksgiving day, so we had a turkey dinner with Gramz, Pops, and your great grandma Nancy and great grandpa John.

We went up to get our Christmas tree with the whole family, which is one of my favorite traditions and it was extra special having you along with us.  Daddy and I took you to meet Santa... this was extremely traumatizing for you, but the picture is adorable and someday you will love to see it!

You are so observant and really enjoy seeing new people and places.  You are so good when we take you out because there is always so much for you to see.  You are such a beautiful baby, your blue eyes are so precious and I just can't get enough of your sweet stares, noises, and smells.  I adore you and am so proud of you!

I love you so much and am excited for your first Christmas.  It's going to be very special!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Cards... decisions, decisions.

This is the first time (in a few years) that TL and I decided to do Christmas cards.  It's too hard to pass up now that Andie is here!

I have the hardest time picking out which card I want.  I love you, Tiny Prints, but why do you have so many cute options!?  Here are some that I love... although, picking out pictures is another story.  Thank goodness I can rush order these... Christmas is right around the corner!

Do you do Christmas cards?
Happy Monday!

Friday, December 6, 2013

5 on Friday

ONE.  My Christmas shopping is officially DONE.  I can't believe it.  I still have a few little things here and there that I could get, but for the most part, everyone on our list has something, and I am so excited to see them all opened up on Christmas.  The online sales have been great this year, which meant I could get a few extra things for everyone!

TWO.  My girlfriend, Katie, and I are thinking about signing up and doing another half marathon in March.  This is a challenge for me... I have to start making it a priority to train and get my butt in gear!  I have done a couple of them... but my body just feels really weak lately, so I need to strengthen up and get going.  Wish me luck!

THREE.  I haven't been writing as much as I would like to lately... my little blog has fallen behind my family, the season, and work... so I haven't been able to share how wonderful our Thanksgiving was!  It was a few days of celebrating because TL worked on the actual day, but it was quiet, relaxed, and wonderful.  We celebrated with both my mom and dad's families, TL's brothers, and then on Thanksgiving day, my mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, Andie and I went to a yummy Turkey dinner together.  It was awesome!

FOUR.  Our house is decorated and festive for the Holidays.  And I LOVE it.  I love being home during this time of the year.  TL got the lights up on the house and I got the tree all done.
{Andie helping daddy with the lights}


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Getting our tree 2013

Getting our Christmas Tree is one of my favorite family traditions that we have.  My parents have been going to the exact same tree farm and cutting down their own since they were in high school (40+ years).  It is so special to think that I have gone every year, and the memories year after year are so fun to think about.  

This year was extremely special because we had 2 new babies to bring along with us... Andie and Stella did so well, and so did the boys.  We went up early and had a photographer come to take some pictures for us (we have a hard time getting the whole family together all at once, so we had to take advantage of it!) and then we had a picnic in the trees, then picked out the perfect trees for all 4 of our families.  It was extra special this year... and something I will always remember.

It's my favorite time of the year!!

These are just a few pics I got on my phone... I will share some the photographer snapped soon :)

I feel so blessed.  I am thankful everyday for my family.