It's hard to believe another year has come and gone. It's hard to believe that Cody and I have been together for more than five years - married for almost four. It's hard to believe that our first-born is about to turn four. It's hard to believe I have been with my company for over three years, and it's hard to believe that Cody is about to turn 3-0. To say it has been a year of ups and downs would be a vast understatement. As a kid, I loved roller coasters. One summer, my parents and I took a week-long trip traveling from one amusement park to the next. My dad and I were on a quest to enjoy as many roller coasters as we could in a few short days.
Cody and I have sure been on our own thrill ride this year, and we've taken the people who love us along with us. The ups have been extremely high and the dips have been pretty low. But... we've survived. We still have our faith - probably stronger than it's ever been. We have a cute little family that no one else can stake a claim to. We have a warm home to come home to every night, we live in a community that we never want to leave, and we've learned how to ride the rough seas even at their choppiest. Though there are days where we say, "what next??" -- there are also days where we do have the strength to say, "bring it on."
Here's a recap -
January. Jaden turned three. Brandon got ear infections and teeth. It snowed. A lot.
February. Cody turned 29. Brandon got ear infections and teeth. It snowed. We left the daycare we'd been with for almost three years and started a brand new daycare - on a leap of faith and after many tears. We fell in love with this new daycare, and so did our kids.
March. Brandon turned one. Brandon had surgery. Brandon finally had all of his teeth (except for his two-year molars). Brandon became ear-infection free and started walking.
April. Some might say the next few months were the calm before the storm. Meaning... nothing traumatic happened.
May and June were more of the same. The summer started great, the weather was beautiful, and life was good. We put together a get-out-of-debt plan with a financial advisor, started a retirement fund and bought really great life insurance. Cody was incredibly busy at work - putting in many hours at night, but business was booming.
End of June - the bottom dropped out. Our daycare that we loved so much told us with two-weeks notice that they were moving out of town. We had two weeks to find a new daycare - one that didn't charge more than what we were currently paying since we had just bought all of that life insurance and started that retirement fund and put together that get-out-of-debt plan. Cody also started feeling less than stellar.
July - Started new daycare and started spending a lot more a week on daycare. Cody got sick. Cody spent two weeks in the hospital. Cody had surgery. Our medical bills sky-rocketed. My boss called to tell me they were possibly going to be shutting down my office, but that they were going to try and create a new position for me within the company so that I wouldn't be out of a job. Jaden got pneumonia while Cody was in the hospital. Brandon got bronchitis while Cody was in the hospital.
August - Cody was home but still not feeling good. Cody got diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Cody was missing lots of work. We were spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on prescriptions. Cody got a blood clot. It was HOT outside. Jaden started preschool. Nicole had had enough of summer.
September - Life slowly got back to "normal." We learned how to adjust to what our new normal was. Cody got back to work. Nicole knows she will not be losing her job, but there will be huge changes after the new year. We enjoyed lots of evenings outside enjoying Fall.
October - We watched our boys have a blast trick-or-treating. Nicole is still waiting to find out what exactly is going to happen at her job. We watch a lot of football on the weekends.
November - Thanksgiving. Christmas shopping. Nicole finds out her office will not be closing, but that she is still getting promoted to a national position. More on this to come after the new year...
December - Cody has to go on lay-off because it's not snowing enough. Okay.... it's not snowing at all. The starter in our Jeep goes bad, and we have to replace it for $400.00 two days before Christmas - the same week that Cody goes on lay off. Brandon starts saying a few words. We enjoy a wonderful Christmas and week at home.
...What a year, huh? And yet -- we have so much to be thankful for. Our boys are sweet, wonderful, funny, adorable. Our families are amazing. We have jobs. We have each other. None of this "broke" us -- it taught us. And we have had fun. And we have smiled and laughed and created lots of memories and taken lots of pictures. I feel like a stronger person than I did a year ago. I'm definitely a more grateful person than I was a year ago. And I truly am looking forward to what 2012 will bring.
Happy New Year everyone - prayers to all of you for a 2012 full of blessings, health, safety and peace.