We started 2015 in Florida. Ringing in the New Year as a family at Lego Land to be exact. That was a fun and memorable time of celebrating. Our family of 3 entered 2015 with excitement.
We celebrated my birthday in February. Okay, to be fair, we celebrated the whole month of February. But it wasn't my birthday that made February special this year. It was the 28th of the month when I had the first sign that we were expecting. Our family of 3 was going to become a family of 4 in 2015 and that was obviously the major theme that marked this year for us.
We celebrated Michael's birthday in April and officially announced our news on Easter. I admit to being nervous and anxious but also wanted our prayer warriors and friends to pray for us and the baby.
In May Eli turned 7. We celebrated his birthday at Putt Putt this year with, of course, a Dinosaur cake. The birthdays through the years show me how much he's growing and the true blessing it is to be this boy's mama.
In June we got the first glimpses of our baby's sweet features and oh how I clung to those images! I studied the nose, mouth, the hands up by the face. And of course we wanted the gender to be a surprise - at least until we revealed it in the presence of our family who would celebrate with us.
Can we say SURPRISE?! Who can forget this image when I was SHOCKED to learn the inside of the cake revealed PURPLE icing, which meant a GIRL! I was CONVINCED we were having a boy. Michael and Eli both swore it was a girl. So yes, I ate my humble pie AND my purple cake. We knew instantly her name would be Violet Hope. We had chosen it before she was even conceived.
This summer was a HUGE milestone for Eli as he learned out to swim. This confidence booster was such a turning point for him considering he wouldn't even cooperate during lessons to literally overnight being like a fish! We are SO proud of him!
Michael and I had a "babymoon" to Southport and Oak Island where we enjoyed the relaxation of the beach and LOTS of seafood! We knew this would probably be our last getaway without kids for awhile but we both were looking forward to the changes to come.
At the end of July, we went back to Florida with both Michael's parents and mine for a week long vacation, including Magic Kingdom, Kennedy Space Center and lots of time relaxing at the resort and enjoying our family time. This was our 4th trip to Magic Kingdom as a family of 3 and Violet's First trip - kindof! But we can't wait to take her for real!
August brought a new year of school - 2nd grade for Eli. This year has been marked with new adventures for an ever-energetic little boy of creating and discovering who he is, new struggles he faces with school and developmental delays and even more challenges that co-parenting and custody schedules bring. Eli's creativity continues to thrive as he's become more enthralled with his inventions and creations. All this kid needs is a roll of tape and some scraps and he will make a creature out of it!
The long awaited, much anticipated birth of our daughter finally came 4 days late and with an unexpected c-section after a day and a half of labor but on November 12, Violet Hope made her entrance into this world. She's stolen our hearts and fit right into our family beautifully.
Of course we adore her but what is so beautiful is watching the relationship between this brother and sister. I admit - I was worried. He's adopted. She's born from my womb. Would he feel differently? Would he know how much he's loved? How much I prayed for him? How he made me a mother to begin with? Without skipping a beat, this is how God planned our family. It hasn't always been perfect or beautiful. It hasn't been all joy and rejoicing. There has been heartache and tears but I can look back over this nearly 10 year journey to becoming a mother to these 2 children and know God has had His sovereign hand over each detail.
As we rounded out December, the birth of our nephew came as an early surprise when he arrived 10 days before his due date. Celebrating Christmas with these two babies has been so much fun! Cousins just 5 weeks and 1 day a part and our family is truly overflowing.
I could have NEVER predicted or planned for what we've seen and experienced in 2015. There's no way I could have even begun to understand what all was about to unfold in these 12 months. My husband often remarks how we've managed to pack so much life in such a short amount of time. So much of what became of this year was well out of my control. So much of what has come has been so deeply embedded in my faith walk of trusting the Lord with each step of this journey.
When I began 2015 it was claiming joy and hope. I wrote these words:
God is my strength, my shield from every danger.
I trust Him and He helps me.
Joy rises in my heart
until I burst out in songs of praise to Him
Joy continues to rise in my heart. I can't contain my rejoicing because of how I've seen God work. Understand, this isn't the reflection of 2015. This is the restoration of many years of waiting, praying and seeing Him at work. As I reflect on this year, I simply cannot claim God's faithfulness enough.
From our family to yours, whatever the year has brought, whatever you've gone through or faced, whatever you may be looking forward to in the coming year, whatever you've celebrated or experienced in 2015, Happy New Year!