Monday, December 30, 2013

Looking Back at 2013

The week after Christmas is my favorite week of the year. There is something so satisfying about settling into the quiet with my family after the busy holiday season, cleaning and organizing my house, and preparing my heart and mind for a new year. For me, a big part of this is to look back at the past year-- the challenges and the joys. It is always amazing to see how far we've come.

This has been a year of changes. Although, as I get older, I am finding that most years fit that description. I'm also finding myself less afraid of change, because even though it can certainly be scary at first, I have learned that change can always lead to growth. Even the most difficult circumstances can bring valuable change and growth; in fact, I wonder if these are the circumstances that bring the most growth!

So, here's a look back at our year:

Unfortunately, our family's year has been bookended with illness. We started the year with the norovirus that wouldn't quit (although it finally did after I bleached my house!), and we've spent the last couple of months with various ear and sinus infections, stomach bugs, and the flu. I think we're finally on the road to recovery, though. Hopefully 2014 will be a healthier year for us all.

I spent all of 2013 as a master's student, and I've (mostly) loved it. I'm officially halfway through my program now! If there was any shred of doubt in my mind that I wanted to be a school counselor, it was quickly put to rest when I began my school observations in the fall. I particularly fell in love with the elementary school kids, which came as a surprise to me considering I had always assumed I would work with teenagers. My classes have really energized me as far as my personal interests that tie into school counseling; I have greatly enjoyed learning more about counseling theories, child development, education, and working with those in poverty.

A big change came for me as a parent, as all three kids are now in some form of school. If you had told me a few years ago this is what we'd be doing now, I would have quite frankly been horrified. I've realized that for a couple years there, I rode around on my high horse fed by ideals, without taking into much consideration how realistic and beneficial my ideals actually were for me and my family. I had it in my head that the only way I could personally be a "good enough" parent was to be a stay-at-home mom.

I finally admitted to myself that while being a stay-at-home mom is truly an amazing thing for many moms and their kids, I am actually a better parent when I'm not at home full-time. I'm more capable of being patient, focused on the moment, consistent, and authoritative. So the kids are in school; Elijah (11) is in fifth grade, Isaac (5) is in pre-k at Elijah's school, and Joshua (2) is attending the Montessori school. This has also been necessary for me to be able to focus on my school responsibilities such as doing school observations.

Lesson learned here? Ideals are good, as long as they are balanced with the realistic needs of the family and each person in it. We are all truly thriving now, and I'm thrilled!

Some other major events of the year:

I participated in my first 5k in March: Color Me Rad. Then I didn't run another step. Gotta get back to that...

In June, my husband and I went out of town together without children for the first time in six years, and only the second time in a dozen years of marriage. It was just one night in Nashville, but it was really lovely. I hope we'll be able to take another trip together soon.

 In August, the church we were part of for six and a half years stopped meeting. You can read more about that here. We've found another church that we like quite a bit, but we haven't been able to attend much recently because of sickness. That's something I definitely want to change going into the new year.

In November, Clark was admitted into the nursing program, and he'll start nursing school in a couple of weeks.

We celebrated twelve years of marriage in December! We have been through a lot in twelve years, and I'm so glad we've been through it together. I wouldn't trade my husband for anyone, that's for sure. :)

My hair grew a lot. Maybe that seems like a silly thing to include in my post, but it's a big deal for me after swearing for years that I would never grow my hair out again. ;) For comparison, here I am at the beginning of the year, and now. I can't wait to see how much longer it is by the end of 2014!

Gotta brag about my kiddos a little bit, too:

Elijah was invited to a Lego STEM camp at the local community college during his fall break, which he loved. He got the opportunity because his science and math test scores are so high. So, I guess this is one of those times where I will actually have to say hooray for standardized testing...

Elijah also started an after-school program for academically talented kids, and he chose to participate in a music class. The kids learned to play various percussion instruments and performed at the school's Christmas concert. He looks forward to continuing to learn more about music!

Isaac played his first organized sport this year: pee-wee basketball at the Y. He had lots of fun! He's also loved being in pre-k this year.

As for Joshua, he weaned in September at the age of 21 months. While it was somewhat bittersweet for my last baby to stop breastfeeding, I was ready for him to wean. I'm proud of how long we nursed! He's also loved being at Montessori and has done very well.

So there's a look back at 2013 in our household. I can't wait to see what 2014 has in store. I have a feeling it will be grand.

1 comment:

  1. Loved reading your post. There's lots of things I can definitely agree on with you. ;) I hope for your sake that 2014 is a healthier year. It's been a bad year for sickness. :(