Well hello New Year! We meet again, as seems to be the case each year around this time. That’s the thing with celebrating another year on the calendar, it’s a sure thing, and I have to say, I kind of love that.
A fresh start, always. If you choose to see it that way, I guess.
2015 was, in a word, full. A good kind of full, but full nonetheless. I hope yours was too. I would much prefer that, than to get to the end of a year and feel as though there were times wasted, or opportunities left untaken. And over it all, I really do see how God’s hand led us in each step, which makes the whole thing seem so much richer.
And so, to kick off another year, and another year of blogging, I want to take a minute (who’s kidding who: it will be lots of minutes, because I am, shall we say longwinded), and recap the year that we just put behind us.
I was officially offered a new job, one which I took. While the interview process had started a few weeks earlier in December, and I pretty much knew I was being offered the job as a pastor at this church, but it was made official in January! I wrote a little bit about the process of leaving our other church, and how hard that was, to take this job (you can find it here. Don’t bother looking for part 2….I never wrote it…) We also had a GREAT weekend away with the Bokma family in January. We rented a cottage together, had almost everyone there (missing Jo and Sarah and fam from Nicaragua), and had a great time together.
My kids were an entire year younger than they are right now, and dang, were they ever cute.
We took a trip to Florida with Colleen, my birth mom. Oh how lovely was this. We were in the midst of a long.hard.winter and it was such sweet relief to get away from it all and just soak in the sun. We had an incredible house to stay in, the pool was perfect for us all, and our nights were spent drinking mojitos and playing cribbage. (remember those days when I wasn’t knocked up and could enjoy a drink?? Yeah, me neither…)
I started my new job on March 1st and life seemed to hit warp speed. After being off on mat leave, and then just off work for a few extra months, it was definitely an adjustment to go back to full time work, this time with 2 kiddos to find care for. We had Ben’s sister Rachel step into that role for us, and for three sweet months, her and our niece Adah would come over three days a week and watch our kids. It was a sweet time of bonding for our families, and a blessing in the midst of new things all around us. We also got rid of Ellie’s soother! It was a more emotional process for me than I thought it would be, but another step away from toddler-hood.
Not much noteworthy happened in April, I think we were still just adjusting to our full-time working roles. I was out most evenings this month, visiting the small groups (Home Churches), that I was now responsible for. It doesn’t leave much room for other things when EVERY NIGHT OF THE WEEK is eaten up. Well we DID get new windows….which I realize is not even a little bit noteworthy, except for that THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS went into getting us new windows, and so they DANG WELL BETTER BE a little bit worth noting. As a sidenote: I’d appreciate if when you come over to our house, you feign a mild sense of admiration for them ok?
Ben’s work was really ramping up, as camp was just around the corner. So, while April saw me busy most evenings, in May it was Ben’s turn to work around the clock. (or so it seemed). We also had our first experience with Ben needing to be away for a work conference, and me ALSO needing to work, thus beginning the game we like to call “who the heck is going to watch our kids?” Thankfully, this time around, I had no extra meetings, so the work hours were covered with daycare, and then I was home. But oh my friends, how this ever was just a little taste at the juggling acts to come. (just wait for August!)
Ben and I celebrated 9 years of wedded bliss. We also got ready for camp, enjoyed summer weather with friends, played ultimate Frisbee and made great friends with our neighbours. We share a backyard fence with a family, and it was this spring, that on warm evenings, when our kids would play, they just started talking over the fence, and this turned into having one of us parents just pass our kids over the fence, sometimes our kids to their yard, and sometimes the other way around. It has been so sweet to keep making new friends, both for our kids, but also for us.
This was our camp month! We moved up to camp at the very end of June, and I took a month leave from work so we could spend this month together as a family. Ben led the LIT program (his job…in case you’re newer around this blog and didn’t know that), I helped with the teaching portion of the program, and the kids thrived at their grasshopper program. (Have I mentioned how sweet this is? The kids get one-on-one babysitter care all day and do super fun camp things all day long) There were tough moments – the kids didn’t sleep awesome, they got hand foot and mouth disease, and working at camp pretty much means working hard 24-7, which is tough when you also have little people to care for. But I wouldn’t trade it. It is SUCH a gift for our kids to experience camp life, and a gift for us to be reminded how to serve. A highlight was having my dad around for a week when he volunteered in maintenance. The kids loved having grandpa around in the evenings to go to the park with, or get ice cream with, or go fishing.
This was our “my-husband-still-needs-to-work-at-camp-but-I-need-to-be-back-at-work-so-I-guess-I’m-solo-parenting” month. Oh was God ever good to us this month. I was SO nervous about doing this alone, for an entire month. And yes, it was a full, full month, one that included so much driving to and from places to drop kids off, and relying on the love and selfless care of grandparents, and choosing to say no to many things because I didn’t know how much I could handle. But it was also SO SO good.
I was SO humbled by the ways my parents and Ben’s parents stepped in to care for us, as each weekend I had to have my kids at one of their houses, so I could work on Sundays. I still enjoyed playing Frisbee while my kids were cared for one, or two nights a week. I had a super fun staff retreat with my co-workers, and the kids and I just got to enjoy great summer time together, swimming in the back yard, going for ice cream on a long walk and exploring new parks. This month COULD have been a bonified disaster, but it was such gift.
Oh! I can’t forget that I ALSO found out I was pregnant this month! And that was a new experience – telling your husband the good news over facetime, because he happened to be in Jamaica, leading a camp trip.
Ben’s brother and family were home from Nicaragua, and his sister and husband flew in from BC and for the first time in 4 years, the Bokma family was all together. We enjoyed such great times with everyone and it was a highlight to see our kids get to know their cousins. And then? THEN- my first born child started school. I wrote about that here. And there is no way I could do justice to how significant this was, here in this little space, but rest assured, this was a highlight of the year.
Also? My husband was home, and this was something worth celebrating. And by celebrating I mean that I put my feet up each night after dinner and let him do bath and bedtime.
We will coin this the month of feeling like barfing. I definitely was in the throes of first trimester joys and felt awful. I really am fortunate, and never barfed, or had to take time off work, but if I had to sum up this month, it would be “the time I consistently looked like a crap-bag”.
It was a busy, busy month of work ramping up for me, heading to Michigan to celebrate the life of Ben’s grandma Bosma, Ben heading off to BC to begin his Arrow Leadership program (remember when I did this 5 years ago?? SO EXCITED for Ben to experience it too!) and then a road trip to Nova Scotia for a much needed vacation at the end of the month. So many great family connections in the midst of it all, though.
This month brought a collective sigh of relief. It was the first time in months that one of us wasn’t going somewhere overnight, and that we were together as a family. We finished up an amazing trip to Nova Scotia and just had normal life for a while. Nights in, weekends free, and time together as the four of us. Ben turned 33, and we celebrated in the best way we know how : good food, friends, and cheesecake.
Well, as is to be expected, this month kind of just barges in without taking it’s shoes off and makes itself at home. We had 2 little kids with birthdays to celebrate, a few staff parties, and Christmas in the mix. It was busy, but all of it good. The kids parties were so fun – we had a family get together for Zeke, who is very proud to say he is 2, and a princess party for Ellie who was heartbroken on the day of her party (which was the 19th), to find out she wasn’t ACTUALLY 4 yet. (her birthday is the 24th). She perked up pretty quickly though and can I just say this party was SO MUCH FUN to do? It deserves it’s own blog post, but in case I don’t get around to writing it, here’s a sneak peek at the princesses in action.
Christmas was a good time together, and although Ben had to be away from the 26th-1st, the kids and I enjoyed good times with my family.
And there you have it –the recap of our year, in far too many words, but truthfully, I’m at the point where I’d rather have too many words on this blog than no words, which is more my default these days. Here’s to 2016 and all that it will hold! Including a new baby! (Some days I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that we will be a family of 5 in 4 short months…)