Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Year in Review: 2015

2015 was a good year for our little family. Compared to 2014 in which we moved to a new house, prepared for a baby, adopted the baby, went through a major surgery, and spent 6 weeks traveling back and forth to Baltimore, 2015 was pretty chill :) No complaints about that, though!

We spent the first few months of 2015 adjusting to being a family of 6. The big kids seemed to stay sick during the winter months, so we spent a lot of time at home. We were also in that haze that comes with a newborn and not having much of a routine. Between winter coughs and a new baby, none of us got much sleep ;) Some of those days were tough, but we also had some really sweet time at home and slowly began to find our new normal. Spending so much time away from home at the end of 2014 really gave us perspective, and I think I was more aware than ever of how blessed we were and I tried to just focus on how thankful I was to have my whole family under one roof. 

We were all ready to welcome spring when it finally rolled around. Our sweet little Lu turned three in March and we celebrated her!
We also participated in a 5K on World Down Syndrome Day (3/21). Our family just did the one mile fun run, but it was so special to be there in honor of our precious Francie. We celebrated Easter, and Aubrey and Jude finished up their school year (kindergarten and k3!). David and I celebrated our first Mother's Day and Father's Day as parents to 4!

We also tried a spring family photo shoot with our new family of 6. Unfortunately, it didn't go very well. Francie, who is the least fussy baby ever, was NOT having the pictures. We found out a few days later that she had an ear infection, so that explained the fussiness, but we didn't get any great shots of her. Oh well, that's life and I'm glad to have even that documented! 
We had a truly wonderful summer. We spent time with friends, helped with VBS at our church, went to the beach with my mom, and spent many an evening at the pool. Having all of my babies at home with no school assignments or agenda was so refreshing, and I can't help but smile when I think back to our summer. 

Our little man Jude turned 5 in July, and we had fun celebrating him and what a special guy he is!

Francie also started therapy at a new place over the summer. She started having physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy every week, and we saw her progress so much over a short period of time. We continue to be so pleased with her wonderful therapy!
August brought a few big, exciting events. First, we officially sold our old house. This was something that we had been praying about for quite a while, so that was a huge relief and an answer to prayer! Walking out of that office with our check in hand felt GOOD :) Secondly, Francie started school. This was a hard decision for us because even though we absolutely love the little school where she would be attending, we also felt like she was really young to be going to school 4 days a week. I just selfishly wanted to keep her with me longer! After a lot of prayer and talking to different people, we ultimately decided that starting school early would be in Francie's best interest. We have not regretted this decision once! Her teachers and therapists at school are just wonderful, and she gets loved on and cared for so well. Being at school also hasn't negatively impacted her bond with us.... I'm happy to report that she's quite attached to her Mommy and Daddy :)

Aubrey, Jude, and Alaina started school in September. This was Alaina's first time to go to school ever, and she's LOVING it. They only go to school twice a week, but with Francie in school too, this has left me with two days by myself for the first time EVER since becoming a mom. I must say I've enjoyed those days just a bit ;) I try to be really productive and get a lot done while they're at school so that I can be more present with them while they're at home.

We also celebrated our sweet Aubrey's 7th birthday in September. Instead of a big party, she just had a few friends over for a girls' night in, and it was perfect.
Fall brought lots of fun stuff. David, Aubrey, Jude, Alaina, and I made a trip to the pumpkin patch with their school.
We celebrated Francie's and David's birthdays at the beginning of October. We couldn't believe that it had already been a year since we had first met our baby girl, and we felt very sentimental in the days leading up to Francie's birthday. Her birth mother was on our hearts and minds more than ever. We celebrated Francie's first year of life with our families, and it was a special day.
At the end of the month, the kids got all decked out for Halloween! I must say, they were the cutest Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger, and Piglet I've ever seen :) 

Later in the fall, we started our first big home project of the year. David took out our old tile back splash and re-tiled it. This is STILL a work in progress (4 kids and limited free time and all that jazz), but I love the way it's progressing!
Sadly, we lost David's dad in November. All of David's siblings came home for the funeral, and it was good to spend time with them, but we wished it was under happier circumstances. We miss Granddaddy here, but we are thankful for his life and the godly legacy that he left behind.
Francie had a procedure under anesthesia to check on her bladder one year post surgery. We were SO thankful to get an excellent report! Her bladder is growing and healthy and functioning just the way it should.

We celebrated Thanksgiving with David's family, and it was a bittersweet day without his dad, but we were very aware of how much we have to be thankful for.

We had another family photo session in November, and thankfully, everyone was happy for this one!
The Christmas season came around next, and we thoroughly enjoyed it! We went to a ballet, a puppet show, and lots of Christmas parties! The kids all got out of school in early December, and we enjoyed spending extra time together leading up to Christmas. On Christmas Eve, as is our tradition, we had Christmas at my grandparents' house and then went to our Christmas Eve service at church. We ended the fun day with another Christmas celebration at my other grandmother's house. Christmas Day was low-key and wonderful. We spent the morning at home opening presents and eating a big breakfast, and then my family came over that afternoon. We ate dinner and played games and just enjoyed our time together.
We're finishing off 2015 with some projects, as is our norm. David has the week off, and we're putting together a playset for the backyard that the kids got for Christmas and maybe making some new beds for Aubrey and Alaina.

As I look back over 2015, I'm just so thankful. The Lord has been faithful and He's provided for every one of our needs. Sometimes looking ahead to a new year can be a little intimidating. None of us know what the future holds. Looking back, though, gives me so much peace and confidence going forward. The Lord has always gone before us and lead us and provided, and I know we can trust Him to continue to do so. Because of that, I'm excited to see what He does in this new year. So, praise the  Lord for another great year. And WELCOME 2016!!