The Year In Review

(My favorite calendars (yes mark my word I refuse to go digital!) are Susan Branch's)

2013 just about did me in.  Honestly, that is the first thought that comes to my mind when looking backwards over the year.  Heck it was busy.  Heck I was tired-Janey is sweet as pie but wasn't and isn't "easy" as far as babies go.  I had to push myself physically and mentally and emotionally every day to attempt to meet the needs of my family with all the different ages and stages, and I had to do that on little sleep.  I feel like there was very few days when I felt on top of it all.  I feel like I could count on two hands the days I did my hair, or put on makeup.  I am still wearing the same yoga pants I wore after Janey was born-and she's 16 months old!  I still have baby weight to lose, and still nursing, it seems like it's been forever.  I haven't left this house for more than two hours without a child with me.  I cooked, and cleaned and straightened, and solved and helped, and scolded and snapped and hugged and talked to teenagers late into the night and nursed a baby early in the morning, and wondered if I was doing enough ever.

I know things will get easier, I just know they will, that is the good part of aging.  You see the ends to the beginnings and know that the middle won't last indefinitely, and one day soon the hard stuff looks sweet and loses it's sour.  I also know that with each addition to my family there has been a period of uncomfortable but necessary growth-growing pains aren't just for children.  I've had to shed some part of me that needed shedding, and gain new "skin"-new knowledge, new ways of doing things, a new normal.

Janey is growing so fast, and it hurts my heart to put outgrown baby clothes away.  I have them boxed up, and there they sit.  I say I am going to go through them and sort and five times I have sorted and then just put them all back in.  I am not going to push myself.  She might move out one day with ten bins of her clothes, dolls, books and mementos and think, "My mom has gone a little crazy."  It shocked me to write her 2014 birthday down with the number two after it.  I was shocked when I wrote each of the brithday's down, mine included! :)

Isaac is a sophomore in college and we just sat down before break and planned out the courses for the next two years, now that he decided on a major and minor.  I know how fast two years fly by.  I am so happy that he is happy and thriving in college and growing up (literally!) into a great adult.  We had a nice talk late Christmas Eve night and I told him how proud we are of him.  I should tell him that more often I've decided because I don't say it enough.

(I don't know if I blogged this already, but I documented Abbey's announcement just to prove to her that she once said "I hate shopping" one lovely day, music to my ears!  I also have a note in my purse when she begged me to buy her a pair of heels she "had" to have and promised/vowed/signed away her life saying that she would never ever ask me again to buy her a pair of heels for anything ever the rest of her life if I bought them-I did buy them and she did sign on the dotted line.)

Abbey and I also sat down and planned out some important junior year pre-college events.  Testing classes and then the ACT/SAT, college visits during spring break.  I know this is overwhelming for her, but I promised her that one day she will thank me for knowing that it is worth it all in the end.   And it seems to me that just yesterday I had the same blue binder out that Isaac's wonderful high school supplied us, going through each month's checklist.  I feel so much more confident now and understand this (somewhat crazy!) process even more.  We've had many heart to hearts this year, and boy, it's a hard world out there for teenage girls.  I hope I've helped her, I have learned so much about parenting teenagers this year.  They need us, desperately, just to listen.

Matthew is graduating from 8th grade this year, and also being Confirmed, and there were lots of important deadlines to mark on the calendar.  He will attend the same high school Isaac did and I know he will thrive there.  Matt has helped me tremendously this year-he put together the most complicated Christmas present that would have taken me days, and hooked up our new printer just today.  He is as smart as they come and I can always count on him for a laugh.  I think he is ready for the bigness of high school, but will also always miss his nice little class that he has grown with for eight or more years.

Andrew and Patrick have both grown so much this year.  They tried so many new things, like the swim team, and I am so proud of them.  They are nice boys and are well liked in school and have nice friends.  They play nicely together most of the time (not always!), and are right smack in that really easy stage of parenting that is purely enjoyable.  Busy and messy and active, but enjoyable.

I am looking forward to 2014.  I always look forward to a new year.  Is it weird that when I start to fill out my new calendar I get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about how exciting and challenging and beautiful life is?  As I was writing down all the important dates, I said to Abbey, "I don't ever want to die! I want to live on earth forever!"  I love the calm days of January, and the fun of Saint Valentines Day and March with it's thawing earth and foggy cold air and April with the excitement of outside play and sunshine for all of us withered up moms and cabin-fever kids.  And on and on...

I feel so much gratitude for my lovely life.  I live in a cozy house I love, with a devoted, loving, hard-working husband, and six healthy children who are growing and thriving.  I could count blessings from the minute I wake up till I go to bed and still not cover them all.  I couldn't ask for one thing more.