January 27, 2016

2015: A Hump Year


The year 2015 was just one of those years. Nothing big happened. It won't go down in history for our family. It just simply was another year with 365 days. It wasn't a bad year but it wasn't one to write home about. I couldn't find the peaks but at the same time there were no lows.


It was a hump year; a year that had to pass to get onto the next year. For me another way to describe 2015 is it was a "blah" year.


I struggled this last year. I wasn't sad or depressed. It was more like I lacked energy or motivation to do anything other than what I had to. I was happy but not the kind of happy that always found me with a skip in my step. I knew as we got closer to the year 2016 I needed to do some deep soul searching on why I felt the way I did. The blahness needed to find its way out but I knew I needed to figure out what was causing it first.


After a while I figured it out. After years of one trial after another 2015 was the first year that we didn't find ourselves in one. Now not all of these trials were bad; actually most of them were awesome but each trial had us adjusting our life. Here is a run down of the last 13 years;



graduated from college and moved from North Dakota to California. Started being adults and working full time.

bought our first house and a month later found out Paul had cancer. Spent the next 10 months fighting those dang cancer cells with chemo & radiation.

infertility found us and for the next 3 years. I did more drugs than I thought possible, cried and ached over 2 babies who I would never feel kick me or hold in my arms to finally become pregnant with the twins.

spent the next year adjusting to life of a married couple to a life as a family of 4. Let's just say it wasn't an easy adjustment. Hello sleep deprivation. Along with switching jobs from adults to babies and days to nights I could hardly figure out when I was suppose to sleep.

and then hello baby #3. We weren't planning you but what a blessing you became. Your "split" lip and crazy hair made us quickly fall in love with you.

wouldn't you know 16 months later baby #4 would surprise us too but you were only here for 10 weeks preparing my womb for what God had planned next for us. 

a couple months later we got a surprise of a lifetime when our 2 non-viable embryos along with our 2 okay embryos decided to take up residence in my uterus

the next 7 months I had only one mission...to get 4 babies here safely. We followed those months in survival mode trying to make it as a family of 9 for the next year.

a year later we needed space and we moved to the country where our kids could run and yell all they wanted without the neighbors calling CPS.

soon after we moved we had our second cancer scare and my life stood still for 2 months. I couldn't deal with 7 young kids and a husband battling cancer. I wasn't that strong and God thankfully agreed.

instead I would just have surgery and spend a full three months recovering the following summer.

and all that lead us to 2015.


A year when there was nothing life changing. It was just us living our life and apparently this OCD mom likes change. Who knew?? I am a planner and live for routine so why do I need my life to be one of chaos, adrenaline and lots of sleepless nights? I have no idea and still have not figured it out to be honest. 


I'm not looking for a roller coaster ride in 2016 so instead I needed to figure out what I could do for myself to give me the change I needed to give me the thrill I apparently seek. I won't change jobs unless it means I can be a full time stay at home mom. I won't be having another baby. We aren't moving at this moment. Adoption papers haven't been started. And I am most certainly not asking for any more medical challenges. So instead I am becoming a healthier me. This includes becoming a runner (I have a long way to go but 27 days into the year I am still going strong!), getting more sleep, eating food that is healthy instead of only made of chocolate, and working on my relationships with my husband, children and also friends.



I will not allow 2016 to be blah. Instead in a year I hope to say this year was awesome and I am a better person because of the year that followed the hump year. 

And this is how the majority of the dyi holiday pictures turn out on my usb card. Good thing we live in the digital era!!



January 21, 2016

Not Ready to be Done

Last year was hard for me to blog. I just didn't enjoy it as much as I had in past years. So I took a break...a long break and thought maybe my post form November 2015 would be the end of my blogging adventure. I'd print that book and call it a wrap. But I'm not done. I am missing it. My pictures sit in my computer hard drive begging to be looked at because they know they will never actually get printed (maybe that should have been my new year resolution). I recently sat done with my blog book from 2012 and I love having those memories; not just in pictures but with emotions attached to them. And lately I have started to create blog posts in my head again while driving which means I am not done.

I don't blog because I think our life is anything but ordinary. I don't blog because our life is perfect. I don't blog because every post I write gets a million shares on fb. I most certainly do not blog because my grammar & writing skills are those of someone in the top of the class. I blog because it is therapy for me and also because it will be something to pass onto my kids someday because you can bet there is no more scrapbooking going on around this house. That actually stopped after Drew was born!

So before I can move onto the new posts that have started writing themselves along I-80, I need to catch up with our December 2015 because I have some kids that looked really cute and I need to make sure they get into that blog book. So someday when they are 40 I can prove that we celebrated Christmas when they were 7, 5 & 3.

A 1st Birthday Party
December started off with us celebrating our godson's 1st birthday. Paul and I are finally at the point that we can go to get together's and not constantly have to be watching the kids. We actually get to relax and talk to others while the kids play which is awesome.



Luckily she decided to enjoy the fruit with the serving spoon near the end of the party. 
Can't you just hear her yelling at the boys because it is her bowl?
Apparently she decided to share.
There is always one in every bunch! Trouble maker since before he was born.
And of course it didn't take her long to realize she was missing out. 


Secret Santa's
Some may say Paul and I are the Grinch when it comes to Christmas gifts for our kids but we are totally okay with this. Our kids lack nothing. They have more toys than they ever play with (we have kids who seldom play with toys unless they are outside toys). And Paul and I refuse to buy "things" just because the calendar says December 25th. Each child got one item from us; the big girls each got a swim parka and the remaining kids all got new bike helmets. They then got a shared gift of a battery powered jeep since they constantly fight over our other one. Of course Santa came and you will see what he brought soon but this was it. Nothing more and you know what our kids didn't even notice that mom and dad only got them one thing.

The big girls did ask if we could do secret santa this year after their baby sitter, who also comes from a very large family, mentioned they do it. Paul and I thought it was a great idea and that the kids were at a good age to start it. Each kid drew a name and bought a gift for under $20 for their secret santa. For now Paul and I are buying the gifts but as the kids get older are plan is for them to save up enough to use their own money for this tradition. We all went to the mall and this was the only time Paul & I stepped foot in the mall during the whole month of December! Each kid got their siblings name on a piece of paper and off I went with three kids while Paul walked the mall with the other 4. We then did the grand swap so I could help the remaining 4 with their gifts. We all had a blast, except for Paul dealing with stupid holiday drivers at the mall as he calls them, and I know this is something we will continue. Most amazing part of the whole thing was that no one told anyone what they had bought!


You can see Drew running towards the big girls and Kenzie was also sprinting but Natalie is blocking her. We were gone for a max of 30 minutes but you would have thought it was 3 days by the way they came running!


I think he likes holiday shopping at the mall as much as his dad does.



One Picture December Happenings
This was the first year we took the big kids to see the Nutcracker. They all did really good and probably enjoyed it more than their dad. I think next year he will happily stay home to watch the babies. We concluded the evening by purchasing a nutcracker to always remember our first Nutcracker together.


I waited until the week of Christmas to do holiday baking this year. Ever since I can remember I have started baking in November and continue until Christmas. This year between just not having time and also absolutely no willpower to not put them in my mouth we waited until the very end. I didn't make nearly the variety I usually do but the kids still had fun and we indulged plenty the week of Christmas.


Shortly after Christmas Paul was putting his work notebook away when he found this letter in it. I cried. She is by far my hardest child and it is these moments that I know she loves fiercely.


We purchased the quad stroller when the babies were 6 months old and it changed our life. It meant freedom for the days Paul and I were alone with all 7 kids. We figured out early on how to get out of the house with just one parent and all of our littles. We needed to. Some of it was necessity and some of it was just to keep us sane. The week of New Years we passed our freedom on to another family. It felt great to be moving on from the stroller stage, yet at the same time I couldn't believe my babies were growing up. 


The big kids decided they wanted to try our for our church's Christmas reenactment for the Christmas Eve service. I was more than willing to bring them but never expected all of the kids to be asked to be involved! Not sure what the lady was thinking when she thought it would be a good idea to have four 3 year olds as sheep but in the end they were adorable, mom was sweating and Drew had every one laughing with his "me too, me too" line. I did get extremely nervous as we walked in and Rylan told me his tummy hurt, especially since the day before Drew had been throwing up. Can you just imagine how we would have been remembered in the church?!?



Christmas Eve

A Christmas tradition is having great grandma's coffee cake. It is something the big kids look forward to the minute the box shows up early December. We told Grammie a couple years ago that we had so many kids because we knew the more kids we had the more coffee cake we would possibly receive. Unfortunately all the kids agree with me on which one is the best while Paul gets to enjoy his poppy seed all by himself.
Every year while we are at mass Santa drops off Christmas jammies to wear while we open Christmas presents. For some reason I can still see me being the last one in the car for mass even when my kids are home from college!
Yup, this is what one does when the thought of moving the elf every night makes one want to cry!



This is the first year the babies really understood what was going on. They had so much fun but didn't always understand why they couldn't be next.


After every single gift this kid posed with this cheesy grin and ran to us to say "thank you". Such a goof!



Christmas Day
Too many stocking for a fireplace mantel. Thankfully we have a really long staircase.
Santa must know our family's love for popcorn!!
So glad Aubrey got out her camera otherwise a child could be left wondering if mom ever was around.

The 10 cousins!

Family Time
We had my dad, stepmom, brother and sister up for 5 days after Christmas. The kids love when they come because they all look up to Ella and Conner and have a blast when they are here.


See that bridge in the background? We had to walk across that twice and let me tell you the guardrail is not child safe. My anxiety was so bad when we got to the car. I did not deal well even though we had 3 adults. I recently found out that at one point there wasn't even the unsafe guard there is now. Don't these bridge makers have kids?




Grandpa taking all the kids on a nature walk by himself. I did later find out he made them trespass on someone's yard and Natalie did not find this kind of adventure entertaining at all. Not sure who she takes after but I know exactly the kind of anxiety the poor girl was dealing with at that moment.
The mornings following Christmas were cold. Like frost on the ground cold and these crazy kids still were outside at 7am riding their bikes.

Some how December always goes so quickly even though there is so much we try to fit in. Somethings we had to leave out this year but in its place we added new things. Next year we will adjust once again for the hussle and bussle the holidays bring. Just for one year I would love time to slow way down so we can just stay home and enjoy the time with our kids as babies before they grow up to be big people. The innocence and pure joy of Christmas is the best right now and I will miss it when it is gone. 

And just a real life glimpse of lazy mornings in our house with way too many people and way too small of bed! I can guarantee the other two non-photo takers were on the end of our bed smashing our legs and kneeling on our shins.



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