As we look forward to another new year, I can’t help but look back at the blessings that 2011 has brought. There is so much to be thankful for, but I am sharing eleven blessings of mine.
11. Healthy kids, healthy parents... something I hope I never take for granted.
10. Two toddlers who are becoming more and more independent with each passing day. (Most days this is a blessing!!)
9. Eight hours of sleep at night! No need for explanation here.
8. The reestablishment of Friday date nights! This used to mean dinner and a movie or a trip to our favorite wine bar. These days, I am happy to settle for a Red Box rental and a big bowl of popcorn!
7. A brand new cousin for Jake and Lilly! What a blessing it is to watch our family grow!
6. Friends. I cherish all of my friendships. I love that I have friends I get to see every week who are going through the exact same phase of life as I am. I enjoy catching up with the friends I don’t see every week but wish I did. I would be lost without my older friends who have raised kids and love to share their wisdom with me. I miss my dear friend who moved to another state, but I am so glad that she is always just a phone call away.
5. Another year at home with my kids. The first year I stayed at home was sort of a no-brainer. The cost for childcare for two infants would have been equivalent to my teaching salary. The second year has been a bonus! We are so blessed that God provided such an awesome opportunity for Cody to grow in his new business, and allow me to experience the joy of watching Jake and Lilly grow and learn more about this world every day. I am so proud of Cody’s leadership not only at work but also at home. Proud, yes. Surprised, no. I knew when I met him twelve years ago that he would be a very involved and very loving Daddy. In our house, 5:00 (when Daddy walks through the door) is a sweet, sweet time!!
4. A whole year of firsts. First teeth. First birthday. First plane ride, carousel ride, Ferris wheel ride, train ride, golf cart ride, swing ride, and wagon ride. First “big people” meal. (Jake’s still perfecting that one!) First Music class. First sleepover at Grammy and Pop’s house. First Valentine’s Day. First Easter egg hunt. First Mother's Day. First Father's Day. First Fourth of July celebration. First steps. First colds. And many, many more firsts to come!
3. A marriage that takes a ton of hard work but is so worth every ounce of effort. I can’t say that our marriage has not been affected by having two babies enter our lives a year and a half ago. I would be lying if I said that we never argue or disagree. We are both first-borns, so the fact that we butt heads from time to time is just a given. Throw two kids into the mix and you’ve got a million different things to debate. I would say the hardest thing for me has been the realization that two little people are now very conscious of the discourse that bounces back and forth from Mommy to Daddy and vice versa. Our kids have brought so much energy and joy to our family, but they have also forced us to compromise, to communicate more clearly, and to put each other first. I want my kids to know that Mommy and Daddy love them, but I think it is just as important for them to know that Mommy and Daddy love each other.
2. Family. We are so fortunate to have close relationships with our parents and siblings. This year we were able to reconnect with family members that live miles and miles away. We look forward to many more visits in 2012!
1. My salvation. Life is just too hard and too messy to live without Jesus.