Happy New Year everyone!
We just returned home from a trip to Texas to see my parents as well as visit with many dear friends and loved ones. We endured a 17 1/2 hour CAR TRIP with a 13 month old... that has to earn me some kind of medal, I'm sure...
I'll be blogging about some very special visits from that trip in upcoming posts, but before I get to that, I'd love the chance to do some reflecting back upon the year 2013. And as I reflect, I'll also be sharing a handful of my favorite pictures from the year as well.
2013 was a year filled with both great struggles and great joy for our family.
Even though technically, Jameson joined our family at the tail end of 2012, it was in 2013 we watched him transform from a helpless 1 month old to a walkin', jabberin' 13 month old.
Lots of changes in those months.
But perhaps the biggest change of them all wasn't in Jameson, but in me as I faced the adjustment of going from a family of 3 to a family of 4.
1 kid to 2 kids.
That was a doozy for me. Really. (can we say sleep deprivation??)
I don't think I've been so needy in my life as I was the first 6 months. I was in lock-down, survival mode. I really felt like I was drowning. And I struggled to do the hard work of asking for help. (by the way, these links I'm including are to previous blog posts during the year...)
So as I struggled initially with feeling shut-in, hopeless, overwhelmed, and alone, something had to budge. I had to begin seeing everything as accomplishment. It was not simply an adjustment of my time or my schedule, but my entire perspective as a stay-at-home-mom HAD to change.
I really think this shift in my thinking (plus the unending grace of God) got me through some rough days.
2013 was full of physical challenges for us as well.
Contributing to the rough days were Jameson's struggles with reflux and reoccurring ear infections. I swear, I could count the number of "healthy" weeks he had on one hand. We were in the doctor's office at least twice a month, spending a fortune on hypoallergenic formula, and trying to console a baby who couldn't lay down flat at night because it kicked up his reflux and put pressure upon his infected ears. Poor baby!
It was so, so rough.
In the middle of it all we didn't know if we'd ever make it through the other side alive!
Thankfully, getting ear tubes has slowed down the infections greatly, and as of this past WEEK, Jameson has weaned off of the crazy-expensive formula and his sleeping is doing somewhat better at night. (usually only waking up once now...)
2013 was also a year of physical challenges for me personally.
I've never mentioned it here on the blog, but I've been struggling for months through physical therapy as a result of a repetitive-strain injury to my hip over the summer. (yes, I thought I'd get active and walk on my treadmill every day... so much for that thought. See what exercise will do to you?? Now I'm doing well to be able to walk from room to room without some kind of pain. It leaves me wondering when I'll ever be able to exercise again.)
My issues have gone from my hip to my back and now most recently to my knees. I'm doing strengthening exercises every day. I've had some small victories, but they always seem to be followed by yet another set back.
Discouraging to say the least.
One of the greatest joys I experienced in 2013 was the new-found identity of being a transracial family! Since there were less than 24 hours between our final decision to adopt a black son and his actual BIRTH!, it's been a great year to learn and process through the implications of race and adoption. We've soaked up books, attended seminars, watched documentaries, and most importantly, asked questions and listened to our minority friends and students.
We LOVE it that our son is black. Marc and I have learned so much about race, the issue of which we don't dare speak. It has been so richly rewarding to incorporate another culture into our lives. It has changed so much of how we see the world. It connects us to people to which we might not otherwise have connected. We've had some fun moments already, like the time we took Jameson to get his first haircut at the black salon.
Jameson has brought so much COLOR into our life!
This was a big year for this girl, too.
She started kindergarten.
She got her first (and second) wig. But she rarely ever wears it. (I'm good with that!)
We had the occasional, "Mom, I wish I had hair" days, but mostly, she is confident in her differences.
As a mama to a bald daughter, 2013 was far better emotionally than any previous year with alopecia. There are bumps in the road, and things that trigger sadness and anger along the way, (and I usually tell you guys all about them...) but all in all, I've accepted and embraced my daughter's alopecia. (not easy to do, let me tell ya.)
Still, even on one of the happiest weeks of the year- our family's vacation- the issues with alopecia never go away...
But one of the BEST days of 2013 was getting to meet a friend who understands exactly what it feels like to be bald. I can't even find the words to tell you how amazing this day was. I'm choking back tears looking at the pictures.
Any visit with Caroline's birthmom, Megan, will ALWAYS be a highlight of our year. (this picture was from our visit in May, and I'll be posting pics of our most recent visit this past week!) I'm sure you all get tired of hearing me rave about open adoption, so I'll spare you.... just this once. ;)
One of the happiest moments in the year was the day we surprised CC with her first violin.
Of course 2013 was also a big year in the life of my family. October 26th was THE call, THE day for my dad's lung transplant. Pretty scary watching your dad struggle in ICU and then continue the fight for his breath and strength post-surgery. Lots of similarities between his transplant and the adoption process. Thankfully, the Lord has been gracious and my dad is doing VERY well as he continues to adjust medications and strengthen his atrophied muscles. We are hopeful he will be discharged to go home in just a few short weeks.
It's been a year of both struggle and joy, but we're thankful for this Thing 1 and Thing 2!
And we look forward to seeing what the Lord has for us in 2014.