2016-wow what a year it's been. It felt like a year full of highs and lows for the world in which we live. But for our family, it was one for the books.
Here's a wrap up of every bit of it.
Travel: Traveling has been something that has been such an important healing balm in our journey with grief. I don't know why or really how to explain it, but many grievers I have talked to have felt the same. There is something about getting out, seeing, doing and feeling alive that mends your heart in ways that nothing else has for us. Our favorite near-by spot to hang is Austin, Texas and we do so as often as we can. This year, thanks to the generosity of a few separate families we were blessed with two different big trips, one to Taos, NM and the other to Disneyworld. Our trip to Disney, in particular, was so meaningful for my kids. I did a trip recap on that one if you want to view it HERE. I'm thankful for the opportunities we've had to get out and see the world-but most importantly it is our time together that I will cherish for a lifetime.
Milo turned Four: My first born, baby boy turned Four years old this year. The transition from Three to Four has seemed huge to me. He has grown up so much this year, both in height and maturity. We joke that he's always been a Forty-Year old man in a kids body and that's even truer today. We started homeschooling Milo for Pre-K this year and he's doing excellently. After talking to some of my friends I found out most of them are starting their kids in Kindergarten at age Six instead of Five. Since I don't want him to be the younger kid in his class I've decided to do another year of Pre-K before we move him on. He loves school. I'm not sure how long we will continue to homeschool, but for now he adores it and it works well. Milo also started Martial Arts this year and is thriving. He's already moved up one belt and is moving up another next month. I've been so proud of how hard he's worked at it and how much dedication he's shown. He's an amazing little guy, one who continuously loves on and takes care of everyone around him.
Ellis turned Two: I feel like from age One to Two absolutely flew by for our little Ellis Claire. I don't even know where it went. Every time we have a party to celebrate another year of life for Ellis, it's beyond emotional. We thought we'd never see One, we certainly never thought we'd see Two. Her life is a gift, one that reminds me every day of what a gift life is in general. One look at her and how could I ever take it for granted? Ellis is continuing on with physical and occupational therapy. It's something we do once or twice a week and have since she came home from the hospital. It is slow moving and at times difficult. In a perfect world she wouldn't need it and it wouldn't take up room in our lives. But it is a part of our lives and we try to embrace it as another gift, in that it gets her to where she needs to be. At this point she's not where a "typical" Two year old is by any stretch, but she's light years ahead of where anyone thought she would be. So we continue to take it one day at a time and celebrate her and every victory as often as we can. I have a feeling that Two is going to be a big year for her with lots of victories to celebrate. She is a bringer of so much joy. Her smile lights up an entire room. Her laugh is like a song. Every time she laughs everyone in the room stops and laughs right along with her. So grateful for my baby girl.
Book: The biggest honor of my life came in 2016 when I released my first book. It is a memoir called From Depths We Rise. This project has kept me busy for the better part of this year. It was worth it in every way. Releasing this book to the world was the most vulnerable thing I've ever done. To have people read the intimate details of my journey was an interesting feeling...hard to even put into words. But all along I've said it's not my story to hold inside, it's my story to tell. I've been so grateful for the ways our story has been used to touch others lives. It's humbling in ways too numerous to list. To each of you who purchased a copy of the book and sent sweet letters of encouragement, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I've slowly begun work on book number two and I'm hoping to submit it to publishers in the next few months. Exciting things are ahead.
Love: The biggest thing 2016 brought our way was something I thought I would never see again-love. I reconnected this year with my first love and High-School sweetheart of three years. Our individual "we's" became an "us" once again. I can assure you there will be future blogs to come about loving again as a widow. I feel like in many ways I'm still trying to find the words to do it all justice before I fully share with you. It has been a journey. All I can say is when I expected it the least it came. This man has changed our world completely and really miraculously, I would say. The way we have so quickly molded our lives and our families together has been seamless. Like no time had passed at all. This could've only happened with him-someone who knows me fully and has loved me selflessly for a very long time. I'm beyond grateful for his presence in our lives. It has only made each of us better.
Moving: One of the biggest changes from 2016 to 2017 for us will be a big move. I have felt for awhile that a move and a fresh start in a new home is exactly what this family has needed. A few weeks ago we finally decided to make it happen. One of my dreams, for a long while, was to live on some land. We are finally going to be able to live out that dream. We made an offer on a house on an acre and a half of land in a small town outside of where we currently live. It is close by, enough so that we're not far from friends and family. But it's also far enough away to feel new and fresh. Putting my house on the market was bittersweet. Lots of memories here. Yet at the end of the day, I'm excited for new beginnings. I'm excited to see what's next for this family. I haven't felt excited for my future in a very long time and this new feeling is exhilarating to say the least. We still have to sell my house for everything to line up, but I'm hoping and praying it does so I can wake up to this view every morning.....(yes..it's Oklahoma and it's flat.)
Thank you for all the ways you've supported and loved our family in 2016. We love you back!
So much more to come in 2017. Stay tuned....
Live Simply. Dream Big. Be Grateful. Give Love. Laugh Lots.