10. Strong school year. Both boys have seamlessly settled into 5th and 2nd grades, with new teachers, and a new zeal for learning. Last year was difficult to get them motivated, and each morning was a fight, so this new-found enthusiasm has been a welcome change.
9. Baseball, karate, soccer, and basketball, oh my.
We've done them all. Manic May was rough (on me... they loved it!) with karate and baseball and soccer all at once. But we managed to come through (relatively) unscathed.
A started strong with pitching and hitting well, entered into a hitting slump, but pulled out of it in time to help his team clinch 2nd place in the league.
C graduated to a orange belt, and then we put the "hold" on karate to spare the budget and my sanity. He asks about it often, so we'll be looking into some options coming soon.
C really developed quite a few soccer skills this year earning him top scorer at many (too many?) games. He's FAST on his feet and understands strategy and skills needed to succeed in this game. We made a deal with him- if he played soccer in the fall, he would try baseball in the spring. He agreed. This will mean LOTS of baseball, but we enjoy the sport.
Dave is coaching A's basketball 4-6th grade team this year. Due to some team members traveling during a tournament, C got pulled up to play. Both boys enjoy the sport and are looking forward to building skills in the years to come. (Side note: my husband coaching is unbelievably endearing... and hot. Very hot.).
8. We purchased a new set of wheels. While I'm not one to brag about wheels... especially when we usually purchase them under the guise "don't laugh, it's paid for", it's worth noting that the engine is sound (ish), and it's super nice to have a van that doesn't start smoking when you stop at a red light and the heater is on. Also, having a car with mileage UNDER 240,000 isn't too shabby either.
7. Work. Dave is still owner/operator of his own construction business. His attention to detail, clean work space, and respect for others has really caught on because he is fielding calls for new work everyday! His brother, Matt, works with him pretty much every day, and I think it's nice that he has someone to talk to other than (yelling at) talk radio. :). I am still enjoying my sabbatical from the 9-5 grind to raise our family. Christian Education continues to be a main focus of our family ministry, and my not-working a traditional job has allowed me to really get involved in things like helping with hot lunch ("hoagies and grinders, hoagies and grinders... navy beans, navy beans"....channeling Adam Sandler here!), coordinating a spring auction, running a road rally and serving our church as a social media coordinator. I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to serve and have the kids see that in action. I'm sure someday I'll go back to work full time, but I still need to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. :)
6. Old friends/ new friends, Dave and I continue to enjoy the friendships that we've made in years past, and continue to follow where God leads us. This includes branching from our old small group and starting a new one- which was a transition- and while change is sometimes hard, it's refining and God has been faithful to us as we continue to grow in our faith in this new group. I continue to serve in my local MOPS chapter at the church on the corner of our own street (where I serve with and met some fantastic friends), and I joined a new Bible study at a Lutheran church right down the road- where I met some really amazing women and played my first round of Bunco. (extrovert's delight!)
5. Work on the Love Shack continues. 2014 marked the 9th year we've been at this location- and while we're no longer in the 780 square foot shack, the work is still unfinished. BUT, this year, we completed the exterior portion of our home with a deck (hooray!!!) and the stone facing on the front.
Lest you think we're close to being complete... we aren't. We still need to complete C's new room, main hallway, main bath and kitchen. Then we have a driveway to do... then sprinkling... then the kid's college. :). (BUT- as I type, the floor in C's room is being installed... so there's progress!)
4. Dave and I both made it to 38. A few bumps and bruises along the way, a few more wrinkles (me) and gray hairs (him), but we're here! And we're still learning things about each other, and still enjoying each other. We were able to steal some time away - just the two of us- for a few dates this year, and it was nice to reconnect. I love that guy more than anything, and I'm so glad he chose to dance the minefields with me.
3. Chicago. We had our first family "vacation" in.... well.... I'm not sure we've ever been on a family vacation (that wasn't a visit to someone's house)... so in ever. You can see the blog post on it here. We had a small radius in which to travel, and an even smaller budget, but the kids talk like we took them to the TajMahal. When asked about the best part of the trip, the kids said:
A: "LEGOLAND and Soldier Field"
C: "Staying in a hotel"
Baby L: "My-cago and fishies."
Now, every time Baby L. sees a city with a few tall(ish) buildings, she calls it "My-cago.". It's cute.
(Also worth noting that Dave and I learned a LOT about each other during this trip. Like my need to fly by the seat of my pants, and his need to plan out.every.last.detail. Something for both of us to remember on our next family trip.)
A made it to 11! Double sticks. This sweet, sport-loving boy is the quintessential first born. Lots of planning, lots of anxiety, lots of cuddling, lots of love. He is very responsible, and wants me to let you know he now knows how to make scrambled eggs and macaroni and cheese.
C. is now 7 (how did this happen??? It seems like time flies the fastest with him.) He has two speeds: fast and sleeping. When he's in, he's ALL in. His teacher informs me that he has become quite the leader in his classroom this year- which warms my heart (as long as he's leading in the right direction). He has the biggest heart, and great empathy for the under-dog. I love this about him. As of TODAY, we have officially made it 2 years without calling 911 or an emergency department visit for his asthma. We'll counting that as a "win" and saying prayers we're over the hump of scary-blue-faced midnight runs to the hospital.
Baby L is less "baby" and more "trying toddler.". This girl knows what she wants... and what she does NOT want. She's head-strong (I have NO IDEA where she gets this), as well as sweet to the core. She's a hard-core extrovert- knowing every name of every child in school and church, and loves to be around people. Every Monday she goes through a little slump when the boys go back to school. She loves all things Mickey Mouse, Curious George and Thomas the Tank Engine. She has rounded my mom-boy corners and added a loving ruffle to our family. Sometimes I'm still amazed that she even exists, and at the same time, I cannot image our life without her. She loves her brothers, and is daddy's little girl.
1. God's grace and mercy abounds. Always a highlight of every year. Always number one. Dave and I have been given many opportunities this year to grow in our faith, as well as share our faith with others. We both sin and mess up daily...but God's grace pulls us through to show His love another day. And for that, we are so thankful.