Oh what an epic year it's been. Here's quick look back (including links to the year's blog posts!)...
JANUARY - We found out my growing belly held a baby boy. We celebrated 1 year home with Judah and Addise. On that same day, Brian ran his first half marathon while raising over $1000 to build clean water wells in Malawi.
FEBRUARY - Addise turned 2. Brian turned 33. Judah was potty trained in about 4 hours. Not exaggerating. Addise rebelled against our attempts in potty training her and preferred peeing on herself and sitting in her own stink. Potty training was actually a spiritual experience for April.
MARCH - We bought a minivan. That's all.
APRIL - Asher Zacarias's life was protected and he was miraculously born on the 23rd.
MAY - Judah had surgery about 10 days after Asher was born. Brian ran his second half marathon. Asher came home on Mother's Day. Priceless. Our family's story was featured in a new book for parents called Parenting is Wonder-FULL! We re-finalized Judah and Addise's adoption!!!
JUNE - Maternity leave continued. I have no idea what happened this month. #3kidsunder4years
JULY - We celebrated Judah's 4th birthday with a "bounce house" party with over 20 of his "United Nation" friends. Brian went on his annual pilgrimage to Comi-Con in San Diego with 150,000 of his closest friends. April had a work trip to Palm Springs which included all 3 kids, a husband, a mother, and 2 more grandparents. Yes, it takes a village to raise a child and be a working mom.
AUGUST - April turned 33 and went back to work full-time. Brian and April celebrated 11 years of partnership (aka marriage).
SEPTEMBER - Brian was laid off and becomes full-time stay-at-home dad. This is not a long-term solution as it's not good on anyone, including our pocketbook. Began potty training Addise. Key word: began. She's STILL working on mastering the technique of going #2 on the potty chair. We also were gifted with a fabulous week-long vacation to Palm Springs.
OCTOBER - Brian ran his third half marathon and ran from zombies through a 5K mud run. Not a clue what else happened in these 31 days, other than some fabulous Halloween costumes and excessive candy.
NOVEMBER - April spoke at an incredible youth worker's event in Atlanta on "Redefining the Role of the Youth Worker". It went so well "more" is in the works in 2013. We celebrated our first Thanksgiving as a family of five. Just the five of us. It was lovely. April also signed a contract to write a bunch of middle school and high school curriculum for Simply Youth Ministry. Brian began intense workouts 2 days/week at 5:45am in addition to his continuous training for half marathons. Why? I have no idea but he's getting buff. No complaints here.
DECEMBER - April made a last minute trip back to Illinois to grieve with her childhood best friend on her father's passing. During this visit, April was also able to introduce the littlest Diaz to more of her extended family - so awesome. Our family dedicated Asher at Newsong - beyond awesome.
The year also included about a bazillion hospital visits and doctor appointments for a pregnant momma, NICU baby, surgery for son #1, and general check-ups. Let's just say we hit our insurance out-of-pocket maximum. We also tried to hit up the "happiest place on earth" as often as possible thanks to annual passes. It's a family favorite all around!
As mentioned, what started as the first half marathon for Brian, turned into 2 more this year. And he's running the World Vision half marathon again in a few weeks. His goal is to raise $655 this year (about $50/per mile). We would love for you to support him as he runs for life!
The year also included 4 out of town visits from my mom (she just can't get enough of these babies!!!) and quick visits from Brian's parents, my grandparents, baby brother, dad.
Mostly, the year involved a LOT of growing. Of course, the 3 kiddos are growing at a rate that may eat us out of house and home. Brian and I can hardly handle the speed of their growth - physically, socially, verbally, and intellectually. But we've grown so much as parents, leaders, partners, and friends. In a year that involved essentially NO margins and sleep, we are more mature, more loving, more forgiving, and more sure of who we want to become as individuals and as a family.
Enjoy a few never-before-seen pics of our colorful crew...
|He's so happy! (and doesn't my hair look good?!?!)|
|Father and Son|
|My one and only girl|
Earlier this month I spoke at Newsong on WAITING for Advent. As I was preparing that message I was starkly reminded of the significance of this month. Four years ago we grieved the 6th failed fertility treatment of the year. Two years ago we longed to bring our kiddos home for Christmas, only to be delayed. December represents a lot of waiting for our family. But it also harkens back to the original longing as we wait for the world to be made right again through Jesus.
As the year winds to an end, LIFE is more precious than ever as so many grieve the death of those they love, whether through cancer or car accidents or school shootings. Whatever the state of your soul at the end of 2012, may your longing and waiting pull you a little closer to the One who came - in the most humble state - to bring you life and hope and healing.
With Love. Merry Christmas!
Brian, April, Judah (4), Addise (nearly 3) and Asher (8 months)