This past year was a wonderful year for our family. I'm not saying that to be boastful or sound like I am bragging, but to show gratitude to our Heavenly Father. The previous two years were difficult years for Jeff and I. We were going through so much change in our lives. He was working a lot, traveling A LOT!, we had two children 20 months apart, Jeff was teaching two classes at church, I was exhausted all the time!, we were pursuing a career change but praise the Lord we declined, however, the stress from the thought of having to uproot your family, leave all your extended family and friends, live in a totally different state, find doctors, a church, new friends, can all take it's toll on you individually and your marriage. When we decided not to move to New Jersey, we started discussions about leaving our home church that Jeff had been a part of for 20 some-odd years and the church we first went to after we were married. We felt like God was tugging at both our hearts but to make that first step was very difficult. In the Spring of 2011, we decided to see what God had in store for us and boy has He been amazing!
The year 2012 started off a little rough, not because we had anything tragic or dramatic going on in our lives, but because our three year old, in a span of 3 months, broke his arm, dislocated his arm and broke his foot. We saw his wonderful pedi a lot at the beginning of the year. So much in fact that I asked the receptionist if they could just take money from Jeff's pay check so I wouldn't have to remember my wallet for the co-pay every time we came in. By the time he broke his foot, I was a little scared they might call CPS on us because seriously, what kid is this clumsy? When I took him in for his foot, Dr. D poked his head in the door and just said, "lets go get xrays." No questions asked! He just knows our fearless and careless C-bear!
Once the craziness of broken bones settled down, we had a great year. Here is what God did and blessed our family with in the year 2012:
Jeff: We are so blessed to have a hard working man in our home. God continues to bless him with job after job. He is in one of those professions where when a project is complete, he could be out of a job. But by the grace and provision of our Heavenly Father, He always has a job lined up for Jeff, sometimes before he even finishes one project. I know Jeff isn't a fan of being on two projects at once, but honestly, as his wife and him being the only one bringing in money, I am so thankful. He began playing music for our church this year and I am so proud of him. One thing about Jeff is he super dedicated to his family and since he's like that, he doesn't, in my opinion take a lot of time for himself and do things that he enjoys doing, like jammin'. He has made some really awesome friendships with other guys at our church and I am so thankful for that. Another thing Jeff did last year, and I am so proud of him for, is he trained and trained and trained for Tough Mudder. I was so proud that he was dedicated, committed and worked so hard and was able to complete a tough competition. He also made some awesome friendships through this as well, so I was happy to see that. Jeff also coached Joesph's tball team in the Spring which was a special thing for him and Joseph.
Joseph: This little guy isn't so little anymore. He has been growing like crazy! He turned 6 in December and already comes up to my lower chest line. He is massive! This was such a fun year for us as his parents. In the Spring, he played tball for the first time. It was so much fun to watch him play a sport. The first game was difficult because he was so shy and timid, but he participated and I was so thankful for that. From the second game on, he did nothing but blossom, improve and really begin to love the game. In the summer, he took swim lessons and overcame his fear of the diving board. He had an amazing swim instructor and he was swimming on his own in four days! In the Fall, he played soccer. He was absolutely fun to watch. The first game, again, was a little difficult because he had no idea what was going on and he seemed to enjoy digging his new soccer cleats in the dirt rather than play soccer. After the first game, Jeff and I started going out one night a week as a family and practicing with him and he improved leaps and bounds!! He scored a goal and became an awesome defender and goalie. Actually, he took up 3/4 of the goal so really the other team had no chance of getting a size 3 ball past our gentle giant. He plays in a league that hands out a medal to one player after every game. For soccer, he received the one for humility. If you know Joseph at all, you would know this is a perfect medal for him. He can be a very humble, tender hearted little guy. He is also started Kindergarten which has been a smooth transition for him. He has a wonderful, young, Christian teacher so we are so thankful for that! I have met some of the mom's from his class and they are all wonderful Christian families! So Thankful!! He also lost 3 teeth last year. We were so blessed to celebrate another year of life with him. I am planning on doing a post of his party and him individually, but I always like to wait until he has his well visits so I can post his stats. His appointment keeps getting pushed back, so that post will be next. He has come to love Star Wars and Power Rangers, Nintendo 64 (Mario Kart more specifically), riding his Razor 360, and has adjusted to the fact that he won't be getting his baby sister that he prayed so much for :-(. He has nicknamed his soon to be baby brother 'JoJo.' This coming year he will be joining us during the main service and I am super excited about this. Now, I know the first couple of months are going to be exhausting because he is a 6 year old BOY and is going to have to sit still for an hour and a half, but like everything, I know it's going to be just a phase. Once we get past the wiggles, I know my little questioner is going to be asking a lot of questions about the sermon, the songs and communion. I am excited that Jeff and I are going to have many opportunities to share the gospel with him this coming year.
Christian: Once we got past March, the doctors appointments, xrays, casts and follow ups, he had a great year. When he first turned three I was bracing myself for the storm that was about to come. As a mother, I have learned that the two's are not what you have to look out for, it's the three's! Holy Cow are the three's challenging. However, when Christian turned 3, it wasn't bad. He was still the same ol' happy, goofy, content C-bear he has always been. I was somewhat relieved. Then he hit 3 1/2 and there it was. The defiant, grumpy, whiny, complaining 3 year old phase that I remembered oh so well from Joseph. Oh well, it's not near as bad when you have been through it once and you know that it's all just a phase! I feel like I have so much to write about him, but really nothings new in his little life. I always think of him as older because he is always hanging out with his big bro and older cousins. He is DYING to play sports. As much as I want to put him in something, my hubby always talks sense into me. Every time a sports season comes around I am begging to put him in something, but then after we decide not to, I am always thankful that we waited. When I see the 3 years playing before Joseph and see the crying, them laying on the field, and having not a clue what's going on, I am so glad we didn't waste the money. Although, he is going to be very good at soccer and tball. He always practices with us when we take Joseph and he is pretty tough so he is going to be a lot of fun to watch! His vocabulary is starting to explode. Having an older brother who spoke very well at an early age and being a thumb sucker, he didn't talk much. Now, being at home without his big brother, it has forced him to communicate. He still loves his thumb and we aren't in any hurry to get him to stop. He has been sucking his thumb since he was 3 months, so to us, that's our sweet Christian! The dentist isn't worried about it either, so if he says to just let him quit on his own, then that's what we are going to do. He is at the phase of coming into our room every night! I remember Joseph doing this for about a year straight! With Christian being the second one to do this, we aren't worried about it and we know there will be a day when he won't be coming into our room (hopefully that's next year!). He has a lot of growing pains so I think that's what's waking him up at night. This kid is madly in love with Legos!! He talks about them constantly and wants a new lego guy just about every single day! His favorites are Star Wars Legos and Ninjago. He is also loving Power Rangers right now!
Nathan: Since I just did a post on him turning 2, there isn't much more to say. The highlight for me regarding Nathan last year was how much he changed. He is in such a delightful phase right now. This was my fussy, clingy, screaming baby for 18 months. Once he started walking, something changed in him. He became more independent and not needing to be on my hip 24/7 which my body was so thankful for. He began playing and exploring more on his own, which I think he discovered can be a blast. Now I will often find him in his big brother's room sitting and playing quietly by himself. Another big change in Nathan in 2012 was his language. It has absolutely exploded! We can have conversations with him and he can tell us what has happened. He repeats after everyone in the house, so we have to be careful what we say at all times. We were already monitoring this because of the older one's, but now we have to talk 'code' around Nathan. His latest word that he has learned from his oldest brother and it cracks both brother's up when he says it is "butt crack." Ahhhh, the joys of older brothers. I don't know if we will ever be able to keep him from saying it because once he knows he can make his brother's giggle about something, he will keep repeating the behavior. Nathan is love with cars, trains, and automobiles. He loves the song, "We Will Rock" by Queen and will sing it often. He can jump really well on the trampoline and do tricks. He is about to be transitioned to a big boy bed and will share a room with his new little brother this year.
As for me: One decision Jeff and I had to make in 2012 was whether or not to try for another baby. We were both pretty exhausted after Nathan and for a while, thought we were done. Once he grew out of his fussy phase and my OB thought it was safe for us to have another baby, we began talking and praying about what we should do. After a few months, we were both at peace and excited about the idea of having one more. Since before we were married, we always wanted four kiddos, so I think we both felt like our family wasn't complete without one more baby. I have been meaning to post often about my pregnancy, but it's been insanely difficult to sit down and do so. I honestly don't feel like there are enough hours in a day to do everything I want to do. I believe I am going to be 29 weeks this week. Yes, I probably should know this for sure, but I have had a hard time keeping up with this one. I go in this week for my glucose test which is to be at your 28 week appointment, so I'm not sure. I will know for sure how many weeks I am on Friday :-). Since my platelets dropped into the 70,000's with Nathan, they have been keeping a closer eye on them this pregnancy. I believe I have had 3 blood tests so far and the platelets are slowly dropping. Part of me is bummed every time I hear they have dropped some more, but then another part of me is at complete peace because we have plans of what we are going to do if they continue to drop. So, if you read this and think about our family, please pray that my platelets are at safe levels until the very end and as soon as the baby is here, they increase. I was assured by my wonderful OB that delivered my last three, that what I have isn't life threatening to me or the baby, but it's just something we have to keep a close eye on. The plan is if the pl (platelet levels) are below 90,000 at 36 weeks, they will put me on a steroid to boost those numbers, I will be induced at 39 weeks because there is no reason to let me go any longer. All it does is allow time for my platelets to drop even more, if the steroids don't work to boost my pl, I won't be able to get an epidural, and if I have to have a c-section, I have to be put under. Oh, I may also have to have a platelet transfusion (Which I am praying against!). Other than all that, I have been feeling great. I am in a serious nesting phase right now and can often be found re-organizing closets and bedrooms. I recently went out and bought a bunch of paint and am in the process of recruiting people to come help paint. In 2012, we not only found out we were expecting, but that we would be expecting a healthy baby boy. Jeff and I were both excited to hear the news of expecting our 4th boy and that he is healthy. As most of you probably have heard, I used to tell people that I always wanted four boys. It's not that I don't 'like' little girls, because there are some pretty sweet one's. But, I honestly didn't think I would be a good mom for girls. I think other's saw it too. I distinctly remember in high school one of my good friends telling me, "you better have boys when you have kids." I can't remember what led to that comment, but she was right. As excited as we were to learn that this one was a boy, it hit me at lunch the day we found out that we are never going to get to experience pink, pig tails, squeaking voices, girls day, etc. I was a little bummed. I was also a little nervous to tell Joseph because he was so sure it was going to be a sister and he had prayed often for a little girl. He took the news pretty well. In 2012, I had a pretty annoying shoulder injury. I wish that I could say I sustained it doing something awesome, but I can't. I was trying to cross the monkey bars down and back and when I went to turn to go back, I tore, ripped and numbed every muscle in my shoulder. I finally went in and all I could do was rest and ice it. It took forever to heal because I still had my stage 5 clinger at the time and the arm that I carry him with was the one that I injured. In 2012, I saw God intervene in my marriage, in my job as a mother and in relationships that needed healing. Jeff and I grew and matured so much together last year and I hope that we continue to grow and mature in the coming years. One of my prayers for myself as a mother last year was to love my boys unconditionally and to be slow to anger. My prayer is that our boys know that I love them no matter what. That I love them when they obey, disobey, are kind or ugly. I want them to respond out of love and respect and not outta fear. As I prayed that at the beginning of the year, I felt God's presence so much in my parenting last year. To end the year, Jeff and I celebrated our 8th year of marriage. Our anniversary is on December 31. We went to a delicious steak house and then stayed overnight in a hotel downtown. We had a blast!
I am looking forward to the year 2013 and what God has in store. We will be welcoming baby boy Kirklin at the end of March. Christian will be turning 4 and we are praying protection over him right now that he doesn't break something in the next few weeks. Joseph will be playing tball in the Spring and soccer in the Fall. He will also start first grade in August. Some exciting stuff!!
I don't really make resolutions, but I normally sit down and write down some goals. It is now January 8th and I still haven't done it. My main goal for this year is just to SURVIVE with four boys! I know the first couple of months can be difficult so my prayer is going to be that the Lord give me strength and endurance.
Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and New Years!