Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top Ten of 2009

On this last day of 2009, I am remembering some of this year's best moments. Here is my Top 10 (or the best that I can remember!) in no particular order.

10. I wasn't pregnant this year!!! Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed being pregnant in the past, but I was glad to have this year to enjoy the kids I already have and no more growing inside of me.
9. Both of my sisters are pregnant this year!!! See, now I wouldn't want to be pregnant and steal their thunder!
8. Molly Kate turned 1. Where did that first year go? MK is the sweetest, most gentle spirited, precious little thing. You can not help but fall in love with her the moment you meet her. Amazing child. Thank you God for an easy one!!!
7. I have drawn so much closer to God this year than ever before, and because of that I have a clearer sense of my purpose and destiny than ever before. I love knowing that I'm right where I'm supposed to be and that's right in the middle of his perfect will for my life. It makes me want to draw even closer so I don't get off track! I feel more comfortable in my own skin than I think I ever have. It just feels so good to know you are doing the right things even if it sometimes feels like the hardest things you've ever done.
6. Found even more peace and grace to handle the trials and sometimes ugly circumstances that come with being a step mom. This year I wished to be able to adopt Taylor and that didn't happen. I'm not sure that it ever will, but God has carried me through every disappointment, every up, every down, and everywhere else in between and I made it! I'm still making it. God, I thank you for my precious oldest daughter, Taylor. Thank you for knitting our hearts together in a bond unlike any other in my life.
5. I am writing songs again! And some of them aren't half bad!! I have found a new love for music. It no longer feels like work to me. I don't have an internal struggle every time I sit down at the keyboard anymore. I just love listening to God and tapping into whatever He is speaking to me at the time and I love trying to express it in a song. I love being able to share my thoughts and feelings about life and where I'm at through the lyrics and the music. It's a real gift to find a renewed passion for songwriting.
4. I got to spend another great year with my grandfather. Last Christmas, Pepa was in the hospital and I wasn't sure if he would ever come out. He did come home and has made so much remarkable progress this year. He went from being on hospice care with very little time left to being released from hospice with the doctor's scratching their heads about his miraculous "comeback." Our conversations have gone from planning the music at his funeral to now just chatting about the kids and sharing all of our fun stories with him. Thank you Jesus for your healing touch and continue to pour it out on Pepa and Mema this year.
3. #3 is for Ava because she turned 3 this year! I love Ava Grace. There is no way I could put just one memory of her on here. We make multiple memories every single day! Her brilliance and spunk keep me on my toes and keep me laughing every minute. She is such an amazing kid and I can't wait to see what all is in store for her in 2010.
2. I have found a new love for cooking! It is a fun, relaxing hobby for me. It has been somewhat of a creative outlet for me and I really love it. We have made it a priority for our family to eat dinner together at home more often and it is so great! I love that we can all come together and share a meal and just be together.
1. So the #1 greatest thing that has happened to me in 2009 was a no brainer! 2009 has been the greatest year of my marriage (so far, I believe the best is yet to come)!!! Alan and I will celebrate our 5 year anniversary in April, 2010. This past year we have grown so close and more in love with one another. We have (finally) learned how to better function in our roles as husband and wife and I am constantly striving to find ways to better serve him. I love him so much and I thank God every single day for bringing me a husband that protects me, provides for us, encourages me, never lets me settle, sees all of the potential I have yet to tap into, and the list could go on and on... I love you Alan. I can't wait to see what 2010 has in store for us!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New traditions and a new friend

I love this time of year. I think more than the actual holiday, I am loving spending so much time with my family. My girls are all out of school and we are enjoying each day together. It's so great to see my two oldest, despite their 6 year age difference (Taylor is 9 and Ava is 3) getting along so well. Ava has matured a little bit and doesn't annoy Taylor quite so bad. And when Taylor does need a break Ava just goes and plays with her imaginary friend, Halloween. Yes, her name is Halloween. Halloween showed up in early October about 3 weeks before the actual holiday of Halloween. I think Ava heard that word on TV or in a store and really liked the word. She had no idea it was a holiday, but I noticed her using that word a lot as she was talking to herself (she does that a lot too!). A few days later she introduced me to her new friend, Halloween. It took me a little while to figure out what on earth she was saying. She kept asking if Halloween could come over and play. I kept trying to explain to her that Halloween was a holiday and she just kept looking at me like I was stupid. "No mom, I'm talking about my friend, Halloween. I want her to come over and play dress up with me." My response was, "Ava, Halloween is a day where some people dress up and go get candy." Again, I got the "You're stupid" look. Once I finally realized that she had a new friend that was totally alive in her mind I quit trying to explain the holiday. I honestly thought Halloween would stick around for a few days, maybe a week and would be gone. Oh no...this was not the case. Halloween has become a pretty regular part of our day. If we go somewhere, Halloween comes along. I even have to buckle her in her pretend car seat next to Ava. Ava will usually give me an update on what Halloween is wearing that day. Occassionally, we set a place for her at dinner. She's gone from living down the street in her imaginary house to moving in with us. Now Ava has informed me that I have four kids: Taylor, Ava, Molly Kate, and Halloween. She thought it was a better idea if they were sisters. Is this unhealthy? Am I unknowingly scaring my child for life because sometimes I go along with her imagination and pretend Halloween's there because it's easier than fighting with a 3 year old about it?? I'm sure I'm not the only mom who's dealt with this, so any advice would be greatly appreciated! If Taylor is feeling especially ornery one day, she'll tease Ava about Halloween not being real. It usually ends in a screaming match with Ava in tears defending her new sister's existence. I'll give it a little while longer, and I'm hoping it just goes away. I mean, I know I'm not going to send Ava off to college with Halloween. And we probably won't even make it to kindergarten with her! Nonetheless, Halloween is here for now (even has a present under the tree, from Ava) and I'm not going to worry about it too much.

This year, we have decided to start a new Rich family tradition. We are going to have a special family day on Christmas Eve!! Every year we have sort of rushed through our little family's time to get to the bigger family events. On Christmas Eve night we have a huge Christmas with all of my cousins and family on my mom's side. Then Christmas morning, we go back to my mom's for Christmas with my immediate family, and then Taylor leaves for her other mom's on Christmas day after lunch. All of Alan's family is in Dallas, and we don't like to travel on Christmas, so we don't have to worry about somehow seeing all of them as well. So, this year, since we have our own little growing family, we've decided to make Christmas Eve a special day for us. It will actually start tonight. We are taking the girls to see the new Alvin and the Chipmunks, then to look at Christmas lights. We will come home and all open up our new Christmas pajamas and then in the morning we will wake up and have our own little "Christmas morning" of presents, stockings and a yummy breakfast. I'm really excited about doing something new and taking time just for the five of us. Don't get me wrong, I love our usual traditions with all of the extended family, but I think it's important to start some new things and have some things that are special for the five of us. We are going to spend most of the day in our PJ's, playing with all the new toys, watching movies, and just enjoying one another. At 5:30 we'll head to Christmas Eve communion at church and then on to the big family Christmas that night. I think it sounds like a great time!

I hope you all have a very blessed holiday. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannakuh, or any other special day, I pray you find time to enjoy your family and the relaxed pace to sit and take some deep breaths! I know I will!!