You all were super excited to go to Mimi and Popi's annual New Year's day Parade and Kickball game. It is always a fun way to start the new year with family and friends. Having your grandparents and cousins living so close is such a gift. I hope you never take it for granted.
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"I was faced with a dilemma - one so many of us face quite often; I could either wrestle my life and my kids and my house and our Christmas into something fantastic; something perfect... Or I could plant myself down right in the middle of the mess and realize that the mess is actually my life, the only one I'll ever get, the one I'm in danger of missing completely, waiting around for fantastic. That Christmas I chose to be present over perfect, and that's still what I choose today"-Shauna Niequist
I was watching the sun stream through the windows this weekend while she was taking a bath. I remember last year this time. Looking out this space; which at the time was a torn apart kitchen under construction. It was the start of the holiday season. It was also the start of me going on bed rest. The start of what would eventually become pre eclampsia and another premature birth.
Those days were difficult; yet a year later I look back with such gratitude. I felt like my whole world was a mess. We couldn't cook or do laundry in our home for months. I was going to weekly doctor appointments and in and out of the hospital for observation; all of you were with us for almost every appointment. I felt like I was letting our family down. I couldn't go out and do Christmas activities. I couldn't decorate or bake or do the things I loved to do with you.
Through it all, love poured from so many. Our church provided meals for us. Mita took our laundry and lovingly cleaned our clothes. I'll never forget the day that Mimi showed up and decorated our home. Hallmark Christmas movies played a lot and we spent time as a family snuggled in bed, doing all I could to stay healthy.
We were together.
It was a time that is normally busy but became unusually slow. It was a beautiful reminder in being present and together. I pray that I can take that slow and infuse it into our Christmas each year. I don't want to try and orchestrate a pretty picture of some perfection that doesn't exist. I want to cherish these days and hold onto what this season is truly about and I don't want to miss the light that He has so graciously brought into my life.
Today, our oldest daughter took part in our regional ODP ( Olympic Development Program) training for soccer. We made the decision to go as a family . With it being almost a two hour drive, it would have been easier to have me stay behind with our baby and 6 and 9 year olds; but we decided to all go to support big sister. I'm so grateful we made this choice.
Our daughter had been nervous all week. Fearful of the unknown. On the drive there , she was especially anxious. As a family, we prayed with her. We encouraged her. She asked me to read her scripture to help calm her nerves.
She got there and she did great. She was surrounded by new people, new coaches and new expectations. It was over 90 degrees out and she didn't give up. I was so proud of the courage she showed. For relying on God to help her. To face the unknown head on. These small steps, I believe, build character for future big steps. I was so thankful her siblings were there to love her, to encourage her and to see her example.
When we got home, they asked to go down to the lake. I look at the four of them and am thankful for all that we are experiencing together. Truly, there is something wonderful to see love grow between your children. To see them raise up one another. To see them be a unit. And while, there are many moments in between that include fighting and competing, these moments remind me that love is at their core.
The end to a great weekend away celebrating her 6th birthday . I think the highlight of the weekend for me was dinner at the America Girl doll store. Big brother and dad were awesome about joining us and the girls had such a fun time! We ended yesterday with a few hours at the Magic Kingdom.
This pregnant mama is exhausted. I realized yesterday marked 22 weeks and we are now on the downside. I am so grateful for this special time in the life of our family. Back to reality and our own beds tonight. Getting away is always nice but there's nothing like getting back home.
Birthday wishes. It's hard to believe she has spent five birthdays in this home. Before moving back to Florida we had never lived in one home longer than about two years.
Every time I see these four cousins together I am reminded of what a blessing this time is. I have three siblings ranging in age 13 years from oldest to youngest. Starting with the birth of our daughter, we each had a girl every six/nine months. Now these four girls all live on the same street, growing up together. I will never take these days for granted !