It should come as no surprise that 2016 was one heck of a year. From a tense election season to international conflicts, these 12 months have made headlines in so many ways. Personally, it was a big year for me and my little family as well. It was a year of changes and new beginnings, a year in which I did hard things, sacred things, beautiful things. And in the interest of living openly, of ever turning towards the Light, I want to share with you all the ways in which 2016 was a year unlike any I’ve seen before.
January: I started off the year by choosing my OneWord365: grow. I shared the following words on this very blog:
this year, i want some things to grow that have years ago already been planted. i want to learn to wait well in the process, and to trust wholeheartedly. i want to care for and nurture the things that bring me life and yes, i dare say it, i want to even get a little messy, a little sloppy, to dig my hands into the earth and plant things. the process of grow-ing is my word for this year because it’s real and it’s raw and it reminds me that he truly does make everything beautiful in its time.
In January, I also entered the second trimester of my pregnancy, and we shared the news of our +one joyfully with the world.
February: During residency week of my second semester of grad school, I spoke to my professors and made the decision I would take some time off once Atticus was born, knowingly pushing my completion date back but recognizing the need to put family first. We traveled to Canada for my brother’s wedding, and my baby bump made its grand appearance at 19 weeks of pregnancy on February 29th!
March: I hit the halfway point of my pregnancy and experienced the miracle of feeling my baby move from the outside. We got out of town for a babymoon in the Massachusetts Berkshires and enjoyed a few days of relaxing and reconnecting, knowing our days as a twosome were limited!
April: Kyle and I celebrated a two year anniversary of the day we met and one year of his ordination as a Minister of Word and Sacrament. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes (booo!) and completed my first year of graduate school with a 4.0 GPA (yay!)
May: I celebrated two years of being an American citizen, having applied for naturalization thirteen years after moving here. Baby bump and I had our first Mother’s Day together, and family and friends hosted a beautiful baby shower for us!
June: The school year finished, and I ended a 10-year teaching career to become a stay-at-home (though still expectant, at the time) mama. We celebrated the year anniversary of when Kyle proposed, and we had our birthing class at Hahnemann University Hospital as we anxiously prepared for our little one’s arrival!
July: Kyle accepted a call to become the pastor of Western Presbyterian Church in Palmyra, NY (though it wasn’t public knowledge at the time). I finished the final weeks of pregnancy and was checked into the hospital on the 24th to begin an induction. After almost 60 hours, our sweet Atticus James was born on July 27th!
August: I shared the story of my birth on my blog, a post that received more feedback, support, and kind words than any other I’d written. At the end of the month, we packed up our fourth floor Philadelphia apartment with the beautiful bay window and moved in (temporarily) with my in-laws in Pultneyville, NY.
September: Kyle shared his heart about the birth of our son, and I wrote another blog post on how life as I knew it had changed completely. We found a new home in Palmyra, signed the lease, and moved in, all by the end of the month!
October: I settled into my new role as a stay-at-home mama and wrote about how it changed me and my faith here, here, and here. We bought a new car to help make it through New York winters–and provide our family of three with a little more space! We celebrated our first wedding anniversary, and Atticus the sock monkey experienced his first Halloween!
November: Atticus was baptized into our church, and I confessed my faith and became a member. We had our first Thanksgiving and reflected on how grateful we are for all the good gifts we have been given. November brought several health challenges; it was during this month that Atticus was diagnosed with torticollis (which is rare) and plagiocephaly (much more common), and we found out he’d need both physical and helmet therapy to achieve full range of motion with his neck. I was also diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety–and am in treatment for both–and several ovarian cysts that the doctors are keeping a close watch over.
December: After a brief hiatus, I re-enrolled in my graduate program, ready to get back on track. I celebrated my 33rd birthday and we are eagerly awaiting Atticus’ first Christmas. I’m still mulling over what my word for 2017 will be, though I’m sure it will introduce itself to me at just the right moment in time. I’m ending the year with a heart that’s been stretched wide, sometimes to the point of breaking, but also one that’s been filled with good and beautiful things. I’ve tasted, and I’ve seen, and His praise is still–and forever will be–on my lips.