There were too many blessings to count this year. Including the birth of our son, (who we kind of like), our family welcomed 3 more babies. Aaron and I have a new god-daughter, who is so dainty and perfect. It is amazing to see how large our immediate brothers/sisters/nieces/nephews are. The house is total chaos when we are all together, and I love it! Another huge blessing was Aaron working out our plan so that I could go part time and just be in charge of high school ministry (see work). We paid off over 20,000 in debt, including one of our cars. Aaron (the husband) is doing an excellent job planning for our future. We got to take the baby on his first vacation and Aaron and I got to get away for our own weekend of Romance. All and all, a pretty incredible year. And, of course, another little one on the way, is pretty much fantastic.
With change, comes challenge. Trying to balance being a wife, a mom, a youth minister, a daughter, a sibling and a friend has been way more difficult than I expected. Some areas I have been intentional about, some I have let go. We see these challenges as opportunities to grow and be patient with ourselves. I wish I could be so many things that I am not, wish I could have a few more hours in each day, wish I had my thank you cards done from my baby shower…but alas, I take a deep breath and look towards next year.
Our kid is literally the love of our life. I knew being a mother would change everything. I didn’t fully anticipate how much loving such an amazing little person would radically effect everything I know. We laugh off when people tell us how cute he is, but let me take this opportunity to say, our kid is really cute. His cheeks are so squeezable. His giggle is infectious. I call him, ‘inspector monchichi’ because he studies things. He studies faces, people, toys, etc…he makes little goals in his mind of things he wants to grab, etc..and makes it happen. He screams in a talking voice that I am trying to quiet and just love. He is not perfect, he gives us a run for our money in terms of fussiness when he is not happy. He is already SUPER stubborn and quick to anger (wonder where he got that from?), but I swear, he gives me his ear –to-ear smile and I am like putty in his hands. Watching him learn to crawl, play on his own, babble, and repeat has been wonderful. Watching him watch his daddy is amazing. He is a ball of joy that has changed every aspect of our lives and we dig it.
Marriage is HARD work, but we are getting better at it. Selfless love is a foreign concept in our world and not celebrated by many, so in some ways, we have to learn this behavior. I figure for 29 years I was alone, for 11 of those years I pretty much did what I want, when I wanted…so this has been QUITE the experience for me. I married a patient good man though, and I feel like we get better at it every day. Our fights will always be there (Bickersons anyone?), but we are getting better at not giving in to radical anger and day-long fights. We are getting better at forgiveness and active love. We are getting better at marriage, and I think our kid helps. I married the man that most makes me laugh, and most drives me crazy- and it is obvious in every aspect of our relationship. We got to go away for a weekend and are pretty committed to doing that at least once a year. I truly believe that being in love is the best gift we can give our kids, and so, we work at it!
Work was the biggest surprise of 2011. Turns out, being a CYM is like the most difficult job ever (not really, but kind of) for having young children. I though the flexibility, hours, nights, weekends, lack of daycare, would make it so easy. I was VERY.WRONG. Going to wyd, was the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. Being away from my child for 2 weeks is something I will NEVER do again. I am learning to ask for help, relying on good adults and good teen leaders. I am going to try in 2012 to figure out how to ‘turn off’ work when I am not at work, stick to 30 hours a week and not to sweat the small stuff. Having a babysitter come to the house for 1 of the work days should make a huge difference. We will continue to evaluate how to balance work and family.
Most of our friendships this year have changed and evolved. We find that the time that we have to give to our friends is precious and we need to use it wisely. We are getting better at picking and choosing what things to be involved in and when we just need a night in. As we go from one child to two, I am sure there will be even further settling of our friendships. We find that those that can be patient with us continue to stay in our lives, but also, that we need to make a better effort to show those that our in our lives how much they mean to us.
This one has been a challenge. With the craziness of the past couple of years, I find that the discipline I once had in my prayer life has slacked a bit, (a bit being a huge under-exaggeration). I find we do the bare minimum, prayers with the child every night, occasional prayers as a couple, Mass once a week, confession every four months, that is about it. In 2012, one of my major goals is to be discipline about my faith life, but more on that in a future post.
All and all 2011 was good to us! Hope it was fantastic for youJ