"When you called me to be a Mama, You didn't ask for perfection. But that with every breath, I'd point them to You."

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: That's a Wrap

It has been a year full of triumph and frustration. Disappointments and blessings. Beautiful moments captured and big decisions made. We've learned a lot, prayed a lot, cried a little - and through it all, managed to have a lot of fun.

I love these year-end posts. Sometimes, in the day to day, when jobs are busy or life is heavy, when the to-do list is long and the weather unendingly cold, it's easy to lose sight of how good we really have it. But it's why I blog and take all the pictures - it's why I share mostly the good - there's a lot of good to share - so that I can maintain perspective. It's like a bird's eye view to look at these pictures and these shared memories - a big, grand picture of what life really is all about. Joy is found in not only the creation of these moments - but in the looking back at them, too. I'm so grateful for this blog and for these images. And for this life.

Our year in just a few snapshots. 2015... one last post. It's been a big one.


Winter. We celebrated a seven-year old with a bowling party, a five-year old with some Chuck E. Cheese, beat the winter blues with a few sledding adventures and watched our favorite basketball team take not just our state, but the whole nation on the ride of a lifetime. We put a For Sale sign in our yard, lived through countless showings and false hope and learned a lot of lessons. The most important one - God has something better in store. Wait on Him. I can't wait to see what He has in store for us instead.

Spring. We had an Easter for the record books, watched our preschool graduate accept his diploma in the sweetest of ways, enjoyed a beautiful Mother's Day weekend and spent all the days outside. This season... always a breath of fresh air.

Summer. Oh, what a summer. We partied on the lake, partied in our friends' backyard pool, partied on the river and partied in our own backyard. We became a true boating family, accepted a big job promotion, took our house off the market, made big decisions and said goodbye to our beloved daycare. We spent countless evenings at the pool, at the ball park and on our own back deck. We soaked up sunshine, sunsets, and so many incredibly beautiful memories. These are the days that carry us through January and February. These are the best days.

Fall. We sent Brandon off to kindergarten, spent Saturdays watching our boy score touchdowns, evenings coaching football practice, visited pumpkin patches, made multiple loaves of pumpkin bread, buried a good friend and got lost in corn mazes. We celebrated Halloween, our niece's first birthday, and a Thanksgiving with much to be thankful for.

And then there was Christmas. And all its magic.

We didn't get all we asked for in 2015 and we're not where we hope to end up just yet. But really, life isn't about reaching a destination. It's about the journey. And we are on quite a remarkable ride. I'm looking forward to 2016. I love the blank canvas stretched before me and I can't wait to make art with it.
As my favorite blogger Kelle Hampton wrote recently, "You don't own your family or their feelings or your circumstances. But you do always have the power to make... choices, changes, happiness, comebacks, words, songs, beautiful things. That's a powerful little thing to take into the new year."
Happy New Year to you and yours. May you make beautiful things wherever you are.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Christmas Prequel

As I type, the boys are outside playing in the snow - for almost an hour now! - and I am getting ready to pack up our bags and car for a short little getaway for just the four of us. We're taking the boys somewhere new (to them), and I'm looking forward to adding even more pictures to my camera card before the week is up. So much to share from our Christmas week and two-week vacation, and there are several posts coming filled with all the stories and presents and pictures and family members that have made up our holiday.

So to start - the few days leading up to Christmas Eve. With time away from work, Christmas falling on a Friday and the boys still in school on Monday and Tuesday, I had two whole days to myself to recharge and re-set. It's been a crazy few months, and I was so looking forward to those days and so in need of them. I shopped, I wrapped gifts, I read, I ate lunch at Panera with Dad and I sipped coffee in my pj's in the recliner at 1:00 in the afternoon. Those two days - if only I could take them every month!

When the boys got out of school on Monday, we celebrated the fact that there was just one day left with a trip to the Chocolaterie downtown and our own quiet corner of the place where we sat and ate gelato before strolling the streets of our cute little town under the white Christmas lights. Anticipation was high, and it was a beautiful evening. We came home, laughed through Christmas with the Kranks, and I wished for our week to drag on as slow as possible.

Our family started rolling into town at the same time that the boys got out of school on Tuesday, and we all gathered at Mom and Dad's for a spaghetti dinner and reindeer games. Literally!

On Wednesday, with school out and break officially started, the boys and I visited the movie theater in the afternoon for a quiet showing of the new Chipmunk's movie before joining our entire family for a beautiful and yummy dinner downtown at Bourbon St. We sat at a table directly under that notorious lighted indoor tree, Jaden discovered that he loves calamari and Brandon colored all the Christmas pictures while we satisfied Aunt Sally's longing for a good piece of Iowa steak.

My favorite, Christmas Eve, coming up next...