Monday, January 9, 2017

What we didn't share in 2016

First of all, can I just take a second to say how GOOD it is to be back in blogland???  Because, wow.  You guys.  The love!  Thanks for your emails and notes.  It is good to be back, especially when the welcome is warm.  

So thanks.

There was so much I wanted to share with you last year.  The kids grew by feet, not inches.  We homeschooled, we played, we traveled.  We got an Asian kid.  And knocked up.  We renovated the back of our house.  We started new schools and made new family traditions... it was busy!

Oh, how I would like to photo dump today, but I'll restrain myself (and don't laugh when you see what that actually looks like!  I missed like 2/3 of the year!) to just the "big" moments.

1. Summer
Summer was a pretty typical affair for us, major life changes aside. 

We played.

Jake joined our neighborhood swim team (another brand spankin' new item for his ever-growing firsts resume)

We had fun cheering him on.  Or, as many as ever have fun doing anything at the same time, anyway.

We took a road trip to south western Colorado and camped at Mesa Verde.

In August, we celebrated an adoption

and two birthdays

2. Starting School

Which - obviously - they all did.  

Holy crap.  We have a high schooler in the house!

And no, I'm not homeschooling him.  For so, soooo many reasons.

We have a proud second grader.

A preschooler.  Who can't stand still, as preschoolers are likely to do.

And of course this one, who just didn't want to be left out.

3. Gender: Revealed!

There were so many other awesome moments from the fall that I wish I had time to share.  Pumpkins, costumes, trips to the mountains, cute littles hard at work on their various projects.  But without doubt, the biggest moment of our fall was finding out about our little tie breaker. 

Initially, we weren't going to find out.  I think Casey felt cheated that, despite the fact we didn't find out with Olivia, I knew she was a girl deep in my bones.  And I wasn't shy about proclaiming it to the world.

The truth is, I absolutely adore knowing who's in my belly.  I find it to be such a bonding process; one that is just precious which I was hesitant to give up.  So I twisted his arm, and we decided that finding out this way would be a nice way to bookend our pregnancies.

It was 7 years - almost perfectly to the day - after we did this:

Seriously.  We were just babies!  WHO let those two have a kid???

...but OH how much has changed!

What hasn't changed - no, not even considering this is the 4th time around - is my own practically incoherent excitement.

And the fact that I still CAN'T STAND the suspense!!!

Oh my goodness.  A BOY!!!!

There were some very fat tears of joy (me), and some very bitter tears of disappointment (Leah).

But, she has since come around, and Casey and I are over the moon.  Logan needs a buddy, and is SO beyond thrilled to have a brother.  The only one who gets his own room in this house is Jacob, so it works out absolutely beautifully that we'll have two little girls and two little boys.  

So there we have it.  That's what you missed from 2016.  In a nutshell (biggest understatement ever).  

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A New Year, and our new life

Hello, my lovely friends!  Happy New Year!

I suspect you've probably figured out by now that we took a bit of an... ahem... extended absence from the blogging process.

Along with the bells and whistles of 2017, I can now fill you in a bit about why.  There are so many details here that don't belong to me, of which I'll have to leave you in mystery, so forgive me in advance but it is only partly my story to tell.

The short and simple?

We are now a family of six!  And... a half... but I'll get to that later.

The short story is that my 14 year old cousin lost his mom, my aunt, about five years ago.  At the end of April, his daddy passed away as well.  I got on a plane to Washington on May 1st, and one week later came home with Jacob, a suitcase and a box which comprised all of his earthly belongings.  In August, we adopted him, and everybody lived happily ever after.

That's the version of events that everybody seems to want to hear.  The story that ties up neatly with a pretty little bow.

One of the things I have greatly missed about blogging is the ability to pour out my heart, to ponder, to put my struggles and experiences into words.  But I'm quickly learning two things.  One: teenagers.  They don't like it when you talk about them (weird, right?).  And two: people really like this neat and tidy little story.  It looks so good on paper.  A sad story, to be sure, but one that has a happy ending.

The truth, though, is that it isn't an ending at all.  The simple story misses all the details that make up the everyday moments of the lives we're all in the process of re-building.

Hard details.

Painful details.

The simple story keeps all the complexities and trauma and adjustments and painful endings that nobody ever wanted in a safe, unexpressed little bubble.  It ignores the fact that we are all in the midst of forging an entirely new normal that looks nothing - for him, for us, for anybody - the way life looked as the new year dawned in 2016.

But, it looks good on a Christmas card, and that is as much as most people are interested in.

Which is okay, really.

There have been so many victories, which I am convinced God prepared for us beforehand.  The fingerprints of divinity have been upon us from the very beginning.

We've discovered that safe and tidy and acceptable are not the way God usually operates.  He goes for the impossible, the unbelievable.  

The reality is that it was an act of total and utter obedience, without any understanding of what the path before us looked like or how in the world it could be accomplished; how the broken pieces could ever be put back together.

We simply stepped out in faith and made the next right choice.  And the next one after that.

All my worries and arguments are continually met with Scriptures about relying on His strength and not my own.  Scriptures that declare that God has a plan for our good, and that He wastes nothing.

Every failure and every victory, it is all in His hands.  He takes our measly fish and loaves and multiplies them into something altogether wondrous, and so much bigger than we could have imagined.

So that's where our story begins in 2017.  It has not been an easy journey, nor are we done yet on that front.  But really, really BIG things are happening in our home.  

I haven't quite figured out the balance of what I can share here in this space and what needs to remain private, nor have I figured out how to clear enough room to make time for writing as a priority.  But I do hope that I will be able to post more this year than last.

Especially because...

....well, let's just say there will be more to celebrate in 2017.

Happy New Year to you, my friends.  I pray that you are blessed even through life's challenges!

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