Hi to the first day of 2015.
I have never been good with keeping a journal. A diary. A baby book. In fact, any consistent recording of events through pen and paper is not a personal strength.
So despite the temptation to overuse, I am thankful for easy ways that are available to take pictures and record captions (sometimes multiple times a day) of the important, the silly, the sweet, and even the tasty moments that make up my family’s days.
And since this post is likely to be long and full, I will just go ahead and skip any further words of introduction here and get right to it. So without further ado, here is a recap of the highlights of 2014:
The biggest event of the year– our daughter was born. Molly Abigail immediately fit right into our family, stealing mom and dad’s hearts as well as those of our boys.
It’s hard to believe we are celebrating Molly’s first birthday in just a couple of weeks. Her first year has had its hard moments (the excess crying, pooping, etcetera stuff) but mostly it’s been a wonderful year full of baby firsts, plenty of ruffles and bows and girly things, and generally a more relaxed attitude.
This month saw Groundhog day and my second son turning two years old on the same day.
Jedidiah is so many things. He is a wonderful little brother to Jack (so much so that I have to give extra attention to teach Jack not to take advantage of Jed), and is becoming a great big brother to Molly (today he stuck his finger in her mouth to fish out a toy– not so much a good idea, but he was motivated well). With two big dimples, he has a grin that is quick to melt hearts. He is kind, forbearing, and built like a tank.
An ice storm made our backyard sound like the battle of Bastogne. All night long branches and entire trees popped and snapped with loud pops and bangs. In the morning almost our entire city was without power. For us, no power also means no water. For the next five days, we layered clothing, lit candles, and made trips to the gas station to fill up our 5-gallon water jug. It was an adventure. Of sorts.
April is the month I took the plunge and started this blog. After a few years of considerations and suggestions from friends, the timing finally seemed right.
In the process, I’ve learned that I really enjoy writing and connecting through this blog. I knew I enjoyed writing in school but this is different. Or maybe it’s just that after having three kids, getting thoughts and ideas out in a clear, concise and interesting manner is just an entirely different sort of challenge than writing term papers the day before they are due. Both involve late nights and caffeine but stories about animal poop and the never-ending pile of dishes didn’t usually make appearances in my college papers.
I guess I had a lot on my mind in terms of parenting this month since I wrote about it a lot. I was learning to practice restraint in my gift giving, how my temper tantrums aren’t too different from my kids’, and about three ways to help my kids learn to listen and obey.
A few of my most used, most helpful recipes for staples in my kitchen also made their debut this month. Starting with the basics like crockpot yogurt, 1-hour roasted chicken, and healthy animal crackers seemed like the right thing to do.
May was the month of travel. At the beginning of the month, my husband traveled north to attend a pastors’ conference, and I took my three children (three and under!) south to visit friends and family for a week.
We spent time in five cities over the course of seven days. I learned a few things about traveling alone with small children along the way, including the importance of stretching during the drive and the apparent terror of out of town merry-go-rounds.
As soon as we returned from our first trip, I got to work preparing for our second. Laundry was washed and returned to suitcases. Beach necessities were purchased and gathered. And grocery lists and meal plans were written out. Turns out I may not be the only one who likes to do a little planning before vacation– this post about meal planning while on vacation has been one of the most popular of the year.
After getting ready to travel, then traveling, and then cleaning up from traveling almost the entire month of May, we were happy to get our summer started by simply staying home!
We played in rivers, ate lots of picnic food, and celebrated my oldest son’s fourth birthday.
Eager to save money?
Aren’t we all?
While you’re at it, here’s another great way to save money on your grocery bill by making an important kitchen staple at home in your crockpot.
Camping! Camping! Camping!
Are you a camping family? Camping together at least once a year is a tradition we hope to continue to do every year. It’s one of the most wonderful, challenging, refreshing, fun, and hard things we do together.
Find the series of posts I wrote about spending a week in the woods here: what to eat, how to manage it with little kids, and more.
I addressed a couple of more serious topics in September. Starting with a plea for less mom-guilt and less worrying about if others are always judging us.
And then a reminder (that I needed to write for myself as much as anyone else) that even though the days are long, they are worth it.
October will forever be referred to (at least in my mind) as the month in which I bit off more than I could chew.
I had a plan. I started early. And still could not handle the load.
31 Days to A Handmade Christmas. A month of tutorials, recipes, and round-ups. Great in thought but something I could not completely finish while still taking care of my home and my children (first job, anyone?).
I am happy with what did get done and even the projects and posts that were put on the back burner will be finished early this year.
A few of my favorite projects and recipes of the month? Simple embroidery art (no machine, minimal experience needed!). White chocolate fudge bites. And this child-made wallet that my son sewed *almost* completely by himself!
Continuing on with handmade gifts, this tutorial for a flannel infinity scarf was the most popular posts of the entire year. Simple, frugal, and cute.
Was Christmas only just a week ago? How does it already seem longer than that?
A post full of pictures from our first-ever family photography session started the month.
In the middle of the month, we also were blessed to stay with friends we had never met for the weekend. So glad they took a risk and welcomed (almost) strangers into their home. We all had a great time.
Whew! And that’s a year.
Bring on 2015!