As we step into this new year and all it holds, I’m reminded to not too quickly forget the year we’ve stepped out of and all the goodness and growth it held as well.
When I think of 2017, one word comes to mind— b a b y.
Honestly, when I was first thinking about writing this post and recounting the blessings and adventures the last year held, I could think of little else beside our daughter being born. It wasn’t until I started looking back through pictures and thinking through what we had done month by month that I realized just how full a year it was even apart from our daughter.
January We stepped into 2017 with a two-year old and a broken arm. It wasn’t until March that Roman would have his last cast removed. I had honestly forgotten this had even happened this year—amazing since it was such a big ordeal at the time.
February We celebrated Valentine’s at a fun restaurant in downtown Springfield and walked the streets remembering the little apartment we shared there once upon a time before we were parents.Later that month we found out we were having a girl. A girl! I couldn’t stop smiling that day and my heart is still so full. She’s all magic and sunshine and I’m so very thankful.March My best friend came to visit from Kansas City to celebrate her 30th birthday. We stayed up late laughing until she snorted and I cried and explored all my favorite nooks in Boston together with our husbands. Next, Darren and I flew to South Carolina so I could be in a dear friend’s wedding. This was our last trip just the two of us before baby. We walked around the campus where we met and relished a million memories from our college days and falling in love.Finally, I spent a girl’s weekend away at the Cape celebrating another 30th birthday. Though it was the end of March, we still nearly froze trying to explore the boardwalk and ocean 🙂 My belly really began to show and I couldn’t wait for warm weather and that sweet girl to be in my arms.April My parents and grandma came to visit and we had a great time exploring NYC together. My mom and grandma were able to celebrate my baby shower with me which is such a treat with them living across the country. Next, Darren’s best friend came to visit with his family and after his wife and I took off to Ikea, the boys were good enough to put Roman’s new big boy bed together. It felt strange having Roman out of the crib and nursery and in his own “big boy” room. We celebrated Easter together before they headed home to Maine. May Ahh May. We were tired by now as you might imagine. I was 7ish months pregnant and it had been a whirlwind of company and fun for three months straight. I was ready to slow down and focus on my boys and preparing for our girl. We got the nursery ready amid lots of other nesting projects.
June We got our new-to-us SUV on the road and broke it out on a trip to Tennessee. I was right at a month from my due date and nervous both about being so far from home that pregnant plus so many miles on the road with our son but both worked out just fine (meaning no baby was born in the car and minimal tantrums from our toddler lol). We had a reunion with my side of the family and it was such a sweet week together with everyone sharing a big cabin and catching up.July Man oh man, July. It was finally the month we would meet our baby. I was due the 11th and told to expect her early since this was my second time around. I thought for sure we were getting a July 4th baby (not what I wanted) when I had regular contractions all day on the 3rd. I got a hospital bag ready and we stayed up late timing contractions only to have everything peter out.
The days ticked by and on the 7th we celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary.My parents and grandma came into town anticipating our daughter’s arrival. Baby girl’s due date came and went and I grew frustrated by all the extra doctor appointments, poking and prodding, and being over-due in the July heat. Roman turned three and we celebrated his birthday with family and lots of construction vehicles in his honor 😉
The time my family could stay in town waiting for our daughter was fast running out and I spent many an hour pacing the driveway trying to burn off frustration and walk her out.
Finally, ten days over-due, I was induced. It was strange, going to the hospital not yet in labor but knowing I would leave with my daughter none-the-less.Last photo right before we left for the hospital.
I was apprehensive about being induced but the whole labor went far better than Roman’s and just a few hours after we arrived at the hospital our little Aletheia Rae was in our arms at last.
August We spent a weekend up in Maine to celebrate Darren’s parent’s 50th anniversary. Aletheia was only two weeks old and it was fun showing her off.
When Roman was a baby, his first trip to the ocean was at Old Orchard Beach in Maine so we wanted to take Aletheia to the same place. We stopped on the way home and spent a couple of hours in the sand and sun.
September Our friends from Maine came down and stayed with us for a few days again. Gretchen and I stayed up watching Poldark while the boys played xbox 😉
October We had a missionary family from the Philippines stay with us for a week. This is the first time I’ve ever had anyone I didn’t know stay in my home and I was nervous about it, especially since I’m not the most outgoing person ever. But I’m so glad we did it. The kids had fun playing together and we were so encouraged by the couple we met. I loved getting to know them and it showed me what a blessing it is to open my heart and home to someone needing a bed, even if we’re strangers when they first walk through the door.
November We flew for the first time with both kids to see my family in Kansas City for Thanksgiving. The flights went fine-ish and it was a fun time away with family.I got my nose pierced while we were there mostly because I wanted to do something a little spontaneous 😉December Life is beginning to feel normal again. Aletheia is sleeping in her own room and Roman is sleeping through the night again after being disrupted by her arrival.
I had fun decorating a lot more than I normally do for Christmas and opening presents with Roman was super fun this year since he’s old enough to know what he wants—a crane and digger to be exact.
And here I thought it had been such a quiet year with nothing but a baby born. This is the beauty of looking back, of writing down and remembering. How sweet it has been to turn this past year over in my heart and mind and to remember all God has down every step of the way.
As I thought over the past twelve months, one thing kept coming to mind: All is grace. The moments so beautiful they catch in your chest and throat and you can’t breathe for a moment taking it all in. The moments so exhausting and hard you struggle to remember any of the beauty that came before it. All is grace. God is unfathomably good to give us any of it and to walk with us through every bit of it. So whatever this new year may hold, I remind myself, all is grace. However beautiful. However hard. Every bit is breathed out in His love and mercy.
But this I call to my mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’ The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. Lamentations 3:22-25 (ESV)