Still, the coming of a new calendar year is something kind of special, isn't it? New years, new days, new mornings. New chances. The closing of a calendar year gives us the opportunity to reflect on what was, and to dream of what comes next.
2011 proved me to be an unfaithful blogger and photographer, so I can't do one of those month-by-month, best posts or photos reviews, but I have picked out a few things to share as I reflect on 2011.
In April I shared my thoughts on Husband and I finally deciding that we were "ready" to have children - or to start trying. Still, that "decision" brought very little chage in my life.
In August, Husband and I were in Lincoln, NE, for a wedding when we discovered that we were, in fact, pregnant. After taking a couple of pregnancy tests over the course of a couple of days (which, yes, I have pictures of, but no, I will not post here), we sent/gave our parents these homemade mugs to share the news with them.
In October, we shared the news with the world. The first non-family, non-close friends people to find out? My Student Council. They were so cute and excited for us!
I had my first and total meltdown about worrying if my baby was okay - I was sure the baby was dead and I just didn't know it. I was a sniveling mess for a couple of days until I finally let my rational self and God take over.
In November, at our second ultrasound, we learned that not only was Baby C alive and healthy, but he was also a HE. A boy. A son. Whoa! I kind of knew it, I think.
In November, I gave in and finally bought maternity clothes (a tramautic experience at first, but I'm feeling more comfortable in my expanding body these days.... comfortable as in more accepting, not as in physically comfortable).
Most excitingly, the end of November and December have brought amazing feeling movements and kicks that both Husband and I can feel, and the mushy mom-to-be side of me has finally started to come out. I'm nervous, excited, and realizing, holy moly, I am going to be a mom. Soon.
On God and Deeper Things:
At a few points throughout the year, I acknolwedged that I needed to dig deeper. I pondered having Margin in life, God's faithfulness, and a need to spend more time with the One, but little came of it until November, when a friend finally kicked me in the butt and told me to just do it.
December brought nearly daily quiet times (some long, some short), where I've begun to learn more and more about faith, belief, and a new level of relationship. The Advent season helped me to process that it's about that relationship.
Photo Credit: My wonderful blog friend, Southern Gal.
I'm on a journey, but it's beautiful. And hard. Beautifully hard, but worth it, and I know I'm getting something I didn't get before.
On Family, Friends, and Life in General:
January brought a visit from my friend Brooke for a weekend. She's moving to Korea in a few weeks with her husband. Brooke is the type of friend you know you can always count on. I mentioned that I would be alone for the weekend and I was super upset about it, because Husband was going to be on the youth retreat, the first I had missed in years. On a whim, she and her dog Charlie drove out to hang with Ginny and me.
Husband and I just had the chance to spend another weekend with Brooke and her husband as they drove from Arizona to Michigan, phase one of their move to Korea. I don't know when I'll get to see her again, but thank goodness for Skype, and for friends that you know are always going to be there and get you, no matter where they live.
Summer yielded two trips to Nebraska on my part and three for Husband (who loved it, since that's his hometown). In June, we spent a long weekend at John's mom's and attended Husband's cousin's wedding. There was an incident with a harmless snake in a park that resulted in my crying like an idiot, and Husband explaining to his sister that I am like Indiana Jones - able to conquer everything but snakes. In July, Husband went back to Lincoln for his 10 year high school reunion, where he got to drive a Mustang and catch up with some old friends. And in August, we went back again for Laura's (MIL's) birthday and went to another wedding. (And found out about the Peanut.) Sadly, I have no pictures of any of this - I was a terrible photographer.
In July, my grandpa turned 96 years old, we moved him from one retirement home to another, and we took him to Estes Park. He's pretty much the coolest old man I know. My sister and I had lunch with him yesterday at his place, and just laughed with him. He's great.
My sister graduated from college in May and, in August, started her first year of teaching (1st Grade!). She's doing an amazing job, from what I can tell. She's also the Peanut's biggest fan, and has already bought him a couple of cute little outfits and is super excited to be an aunt. Hanging out with her is always fun, even when I'm freezing to death at a football game.
also have found that, more and more over the last year, I just absolutely love and respect my husband. He's an amazing man, who continues to amaze me more every day. He graduated from a 4 year schooling program with honors and took his Journeyman's license test and passed on the first try. He tore out our rotting deck and put in the cutest little patio and yard in our teeny-tiny townhouse space. He's been reading up on babies and is actively involved in this pregnancy, and is so excited to be a dad. And he's grown, in lots of amazing ways, that I couldn't even begin to share here. He's just wonderful, and I am blessed to be his wife. I can't even begin to imagine what this next adventure we're about to go on together will be like, but I'm so excited to be on this road with him.
There are about a billion other things I could tell you about 2011, but as this post has already taken way longer than I thought, I'll be finished.
Looking back, I am in awe. I pondered. I taught some great students. I made some mistakes, but I tried to do right. I spent time with people I love and who love me. I learned to spend more time with my family, to create some margin, to leave work at school more often. I'm growing in my faith, in my relationships, and, of course, in my belly.
I know that 2012 is going to be a year full of life I cannot even begin to imagine, and I am thrilled to begin looking forward. I have some hopes for this blog, but more importantly, I have hopes for myself, for my husband, for my son.
For my life.
Blessings, and I'll see you again next year.