I've said this many times over the last few weeks, but 2013 will go down as the luckiest/unluckiest year of my life.
Let's review the good, the bad, and the wonderful.
- We put our first house on the market in February. It sold in 3 weeks. And then it didn't. But then it did again, with an even better offer. Though the weeks in between were incredibly stressful, I'm so glad it worked out the way it did!
- We found our new house, and it has been absolutely perfect for our family. We love the location (close to 3 parks, close to family, quiet street). We found a new daycare two doors down, so we are literally two doors away from our girls. Our neighbors are friendly. We're 1 minute and 45 seconds away from Kroger and Home Depot, which are the two most important stores in our lives (next to Target).
- We made our new house our home. Check out the before/afters of our living room/dining room, family room, kitchen, master bedroom, and nursery. Because we're suckers for a good home improvement project, we've made even more updates to some of these rooms, so pictures of those plus the guest bedroom, Emerson's room, and laundry area coming soon!
- I rediscovered 80's music, and I can't quit it. It's just so good. There is no way a homely 40-year old could succeed in today's pop music market, but back then, our radio stations were filled with cheese and mullets and it was amazing. Like seriously, would a record label take this dude seriously today?
- I'm one of those people who believes that life is too short for negative energy. If there is someone in your life who is a lifesuck (I can't think of a better term, but someone who sucks the life out of you and you dread your encounters; a person who makes you feel worse about yourself instead of better), then they need the ax. Figuratively, not literally of course. You can't always control this (for example, a coworker or neighbor who just drains you with their asinine comments) but you've gotta do what you have to do to keep their negative energy away from you. I always try to see the best in others, so I just choose to believe some people just can't see that their words or actions are hurtful/annoying/obnoxious. Somehow, this year, through various circumstances, any lingering lifesucks made their way out of my life. This was especially important when going through what we went through with Anna. I didn't have the time, energy, or willpower to deal with anyone who was a butthead. And luckily, I didn't have to.
- So many good things have happened to my family. My brother got married, my sister is having another baby and bought a wonderful new house for their family, and my sister-in-law had a healthy and adorable baby boy. I couldn't be happier for them!
(THE BAD. THE REALLY BAD.)
- One of my biggest regrets in 2013, and probably in life, is that I didn't truly get to appreciate my pregnancy with Anna because I was SO busy, preoccupied, and stressed with the sale of our old house and the purchase of a new one. I had never experienced such anxiety, and I wish I could have that time back. We are not sure if we will have another child, and I am sad to think that if it was my last pregnancy that I wasted it being stressed.
- Everyone in our house got the stomach flu twice. I do not recommend this. While 32 weeks pregnant, I lost 8 lbs and felt like absolute garbage. The worst was watching poor Emerson throw up. Sick babies are so sad because they don't understand why the feel so bad. I wash my hands obsessively now, but I saw this article this morning and instantly felt terrified.
- My father-in-law had a stroke and it rocked our family to its core. The threat of losing someone that close to you is enough to make you question anything and everything you're doing, and never taking for granted the moments that you have together.
- From August through October, I experienced a series of emotions that I can't even begin to explain. I thought the anxiety of house buying was tough, but it was nothing compared to my journey with Anna and her health. You can read the story from the beginning starting here.
- I learned the very hard way that I will ALWAYS trust my motherly instincts.
- There are two sentences in my life that will haunt me forever. The first was in September 2010, when a doctor came into the room and said "I'm so sorry, but your baby is not going to make it."
The second came in September 2013. It was 2am on our first night in the PICU at Children's Hospital, Jon had just arrived back from a conference in Wisconsin, and a doctor came in with the results of Anna's preliminary MRI. I'll never forget his words:
"Unfortunately, I don't have good news for you."
He told us they could see two clots in Anna's brain, indicating that my 4-month old had had two strokes. He said he couldn't guarantee that she'd ever regain brain function at all. I think I actually went into shock. I remember shaking violently, being cold, and feeling like I wasn't in my own body.
Not again. Not again. NOTAGAINNOTAGAINNOTAGAIN.
But, as we know now, the results from the advanced MRI showed blood running through the clots, which is a good thing and meant that she was going to be fine. Eventually. What a journey it was to get there.
- My amazing, adorable, strong, beautiful, happy, perfect second daughter, Anna Beverly, was born on May 9th, 2013. Read her birth story here and here. Last night I was cuddling her as she slept and I just had one of those moments when I stopped and took everything in. The way she smelled, the way her lips parted, the sound of her breathing. I know these days are numbered, but I hope I never forget these perfect moments.
- We had an amazing summer in our new house with our girls. My maternity leave fell during the perfect time. Almost every day included our double stroller and walk to the park. The weather was beautiful, and we made a few new friends. I doubt I'll ever get 12 uninterrupted weeks with my children again, so I will always cherish this first summer in our house and remember it as one of the best times in my life.
- I got a new job! I'm still in the same office (literally, I didn't even have to move my stapler) but I am working with a new team and a new student population. It was the greatest career move that has happened to me because I was able to stay in an office that I loved but get back to the roots of why I went into career counseling in the first place. I couldn't be happier and I never dread going to work every day.
- Jon also got a new job, which is perfect for him and for our family. Flexible, keeps him in Ohio, and allows us to afford daycare which costs almost the same as our first mortgage. Yep. It is also allowing us to take a second honeymoon in May, and we are so excited!
- My little fighter, Anna B, is doing wonderfully and thriving like crazy. See her latest update here.
- My beautiful Emerson is just a breath of fresh air and I couldn't have dreamed up a more perfect child. She's SO smart. Like freaky smart. We went to the pediatrician for her 2-year check up, and he asked if she was saying 2 word sentences yet, just as she said to me: "Mommy, I want to go home right now. Please." He laughed and put her in the advanced category for speech development. I'd like to thank my parenting skills, but I think some credit is due to Mickey Mouse as well. She's 33 inches and 24.5 lbs, and is 2 going on 16. I love them both more and more every day.
In short, the entire year can be summed up in one picture. Despite all the stress, all the tears, all the anxiety, all the pain, at the end of 2013, the only thing that matters is that everyone is happy and healthy.
My little family. My whole heart belongs to these three people.