It has been awhile since I simply did an update on our family and how we are doing. I thought today would be a good day for just that. Life is not moving on, but life is moving forward.

When you love much, you grieve much in loss and this has been true for us.

We are now a little over a year since Joel left this earth. That is still so hard for me to believe. I think I thought after a year I might be farther along on the journey of grief. But then I have days that remind me just how far I still have to go. One of the recent ones was my birthday last week, my second now without Joel. It was a very sad day for me and one I was so happy to be done with. Days like that make me wonder when/if the day will ever come that important dates will carry more joy with them than sorrow. I am not there yet. I am hopeful that one day I will be. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for each day, but some days I really feel the weight of grief in ways that still take my breath away.

June, July and the start of August are hard months to get through. There's so many important dates, birthdays and anniversaries packed into such a tiny space of time. Basically every important day, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas, is jammed into a 10 week period. Getting through the first year reminded me what a process this journey I am on can be. And a long one at that. There were many, many times where I relied on the grace of God to carry me through. And carry me He has. No matter how deep the pain has been, His faithfulness has shined brighter still.

Milo turned two recently. That's another one that's hard to believe. I have seen so much growth in him this last year, going from a wobbly little baby to a full on person. He talks up a storm and is very vocal about what he wants/doesn't want or what he likes/doesn't like. I love that about him. His personality is his Daddy's 100%. He likes to be hyper, wild and crazy but he also loves to be cuddly and chill. Most of all he's just pure fun. He is so silly and loves to make me laugh. Oh how I've needed to laugh this year.

People ask me all the time if Milo remembers Joel. He does, but only through pictures. He doesn't call out or cry for him as he did in the beginning but he does love to look at pictures of Daddy. I have a picture of Joel and I framed in Milo's room. One of his favorite things to do, when I'm rocking him at night, is to hold the picture and point at Joel and then me. "Mommy and Daddy, Mommy and Daddy!" he always yells out proudly. The first time he did it I wept. Now when it happens, as sad as it makes my heart, it also makes me happy he knows the face of his Daddy. As time moves forward he will know who his Daddy was through me, through stories and through the every day ways we make Joel a part of our lives. That's so important for Milo and I'm determined to do it well. When I look at my son I am so in awe of his joy and his resilience.

Despite what we have lost we have also been given much! I am 2 weeks away from being in my final trimester of pregnancy. Baby girl Rodriguez is growing beautifully and due at the start of November. My biggest hurdle this pregnancy has been the exhaustion. This wasn't a kick up your feet and relax kind of pregnancy, as it was with Milo. This pregnancy I am taking care of a toddler as a single parent. I don't get much rest and at the end of the day am extremely tired. That has been the hardest part and the reason I have been writing a little less than normal. All in all I can't complain. What an incredible miracle this babies life is. We absolutely cannot wait to meet her in just a few short months and are starting to get her nursery ready now.

I was praying recently about what God has for us in the next year of our lives. They say not to make any huge life shifts the first year and to keep your routine as normal as possible. For the most part we have done just that. I have strived to keep things as healthy and as consistent as possible for my family.

I feel like this past year was solely about building our foundation. We were strengthening our love as a family, our belief in the promises of God and our determination to press forward every day. This last year made me all the more resolute on what I believe to be true. Our foundation is solid. What I feel like is to come is the "rebuilding" so to speak, of our home. Where we will push forward to not just surviving, but thriving. I see change and new opportunities in store for us. Our life has been the portrait of consistency but I see it becoming more of wildly seeking out the unknown. While I don't know yet what they that looks like, I now know to embrace the changes and not live in fear of what's to come. If there's one thing we have learned it is to live big with no regrets because life is way too short to have them. What this family will always be about is seeking to live each day with fullness, purpose and to make a difference in the lives of others. We have truly been given a gift in seeing life through a different set of lenses. That has been one of the biggest blessings to come from such despair.

So it is well. We are well. We are growing, we are changing, we are mourning and we are celebrating. Every day we continue to choose to rise, choose to live each day with joy and appreciate life for the gift it truly is.