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25 September 2014

One year later...

I hardly know where to begin...it's been such a long time since I've written anything! I think about blogging often, and I'd love to get back in the habit of writing on a more regular basis. I enjoy recording our family stories here...and my occasional thoughts and reflections.

So much has changed for our family since I last wrote. We've added a 3rd child. We've traveled and made some wonderful memories as a family. We've begun our homeschool journey. Truett is potty-trained (most of the time) and Maren is learning to read. As cliche as it sounds, life truly does pass by quickly. Thus my return to the blog...I've missed documenting the ins and outs of our little life. 

And so, in starting 'fresh', I've decided to share a few pictures of favorite memories from the previous year. Now for a stroll down memory lane...

Visiting Santa at the bank is always a Christmas highlight. 

We spent Christmas 2013 in Michigan. A highlight of our morning was announcing to the kids that a new baby would be joining our family the following summer. Maren was ecstatic and said it was her favorite gift. Also, I had pink hair.

After Christmas we ventured to Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City for a few days. The cousins had a wonderful time...the kids were the perfect ages to enjoy the slides. We hate living so far away from family so times like these are particularly special.

Maren and Truett took every opportunity to play in the snow...they'd often be outside bright and early before Brett even left for work...'helping' to shovel the driveway.

Maren and I spent a long weekend visiting my grandma, aunts and uncles in Minnesota. I hope I never forget this trip...it was special to travel alone with Maren and to enjoy girl time with her. We also treasured the time we spent with my sweet grandma. Maren was so attentive and helpful with her in pushing her wheelchair or making sure grandma was comfortable and had whatever she needed or wanted. I'm so thankful we were able to make the time for a visit.

Truett's yearly cardiologist appointment went smoothly. This was the first year we were able to make it through the tests without too much drama or too many tears. Most importantly, our boy is healthy and everything looked great!

We enjoyed hosting several close friends from church for Easter dinner and an egg hunt. The kids were pretty excited for the festivities!

Maren danced in her first ballet recital. She looked so grown up in her sparkly dress and stage make-up. We love her ballet studio and the fact that she danced to a special rendition of Jesus Loves Me. 

Maren also finished up her time in preschool with a special performance and party. Her best friend this year was a little boy named Destry. She once told me how much she was looking forward to college so she and Destry could hold hands. (One month into Kindergarten she's already moved on to new friends...her first crush didn't survive the perils of attending different schools!)

We had a surprise encounter with Elsa and Anna at a local frozen yogurt place. Maren was beside herself with delight upon seeing them...they even performed a special song for the patrons...pure JOY for our girl!

With the coming arrival of a baby in August, we traveled to Michigan over Memorial Day week instead of later in the summer. It was a treat to be at the lake for the initial summer activities. My dad, brother, cousin's husband and Brett put in the dock.

Truett was a big fan of riding on Grandpa's boat. Both of the kids loved the water and pretty much everything about our week at the lake.

All the cousins' kids...there was never a shortage of friends or activity with all these kids around!

Funny story...the kids were so excited to go fishing, so we bought some worms and loaded up the boat to go out fishing one day. We enjoyed some peaceful time on the lake without a single bite. Not even a minute after we returned to the dock, Brett dropped his hook in the water and caught a fish...right off the dock at our place. Brett and my dad proceeded to catch a few fish that were hanging out under the dock. The kids thought it was the greatest thing ever. 

The very cold water didn't keep us off the water! I was pretty thankful to have the pregnancy excuse to keep me warmly in the boat.

One benefit of traveling over Memorial Day week was enjoying the beach at the state park...a place typically overrun with teenagers and a louder party crowd. 

Considering how early in the season it was, we enjoyed some beautiful, warm weather. Also, I love him so much!

With a little [a lot] of bribing, Maren finally tried out the EZSki. By the end of the week she was asking to go out again and again!

The kids sure loved their time with Grams...and so does their mama!

Back in Colorado we made the effort to enjoy some fun family outings that we knew wouldn't happen again for a while after the new baby arrived. We took Maren and Truett to Ringling Brothers circus. They were both highly entertained...even though Truett covered his ears the entire time!

Truett turned 3 in June. Each year that passes with him, I'm so thankful he's here and healthy. I feel so blessed to live in a time when we have the medical intelligence and capability to have repaired his heart. Truett is funny, loving, mischievous...he brings so much joy and energy to our family. He's also incredibly sensitive and thoughtful with his words. He'll frequently tell me things like, "this is the best dinner ever mom" or "thank you for giving me this candy mom. It's good candy, mom." We are so thankful for the gift of Truett in our lives!

We had a simple backyard BBQ with some friends to celebrate T's birthday...it was the perfect evening with no frills...I might be over the fancy parties. :)

Truett was excited to celebrate his birthday again at Papa and Gigi's house!

Brett worked feverishly at finishing our basement. With a 3rd baby on the way, we were excited to make a space in the basement for guests and for the kids to play. I'll have to share more pictures later when we're completely done. [It's livable now...just needs some finishing touches!]

I loved having Maren along to celebrate baby 3 at a sweet shower my friends gave me.

Amy and Jaime spoiled me with a 'sprinkle' for baby girl. It was a special treat to be so spoiled by my friends. I'm blessed with a wonderful community of friends and love any opportunity to get together with them!

We attended a local parade for the 4th of July...a nice and hot day!

A highlight of the parade is the kids' bike parade...Maren did an excellent job of decorating her bike this year!

The Florida cousins were visiting over the 4th of July...so fun to have all the Colorado and Florida kids together! Also, Maren's glad to be welcoming 2 more girls to the family this year!

We love summer Slurpees!

More basement work...the kids enjoyed spending time in the basement with Brett.

We went miniature golfing a couple times this summer...both kids really enjoyed it! Truett loves golf and took the game pretty seriously for a 3-year-old!

Getting bigger...and closer!

We had a garden again with a few of our favorites from years past. Here was our first zucchini harvest.

I think this was maybe a week or two before I was due.

Elin Elizabeth joined our family on August 9...her due date! I had a quick labor and we welcomed our 8 lb. 6 oz. girl at 9:52 on a Saturday night.
The three girls! Maren is such a caring big sister...even with 6 years between them, I pray they'll have a special relationship.

She waited so long for this moment!

Truett is actually a sweet big brother, apart from the occasional impulsive gesture towards her. 

Just a week after Elin joined us, we celebrated Maren's birthday. Her two good friends from church came over for an 'almost sleepover'. The girls played, enjoyed pizza and cake, and finished the evening in their pj's watching a movie. We wanted to make sure Maren felt loved on her special day...so glad she could spend it with Hannah and Abby!

Our family of 5!

Sweet Elin.

Maren started Kindergarten this fall! We are homeschooling, which I hope to write more about at some point. She attends a hybrid program 2 mornings a week, which she is loving. So far this has been a great fit for our family. She loves her time at school, and works hard during the alternate days at home. I'll look forward to documenting more of this journey soon!

Elin has been my chunkiest baby...she weighed 11 pounds at her 1-month check-up!

We've enjoyed the Balloon Classic for the past several years over Labor Day weekend and were sad to hear this would be it's final year in Colorado Springs! Even with a small baby, we made the effort to go early on a Sunday morning for the balloon launch. Truett talked about the balloons non-stop leading up to the event and cried hysterically for the first 30 minutes or so once we arrived. He did NOT like being so close to the balloons as they were filling up and taking off...he finally calmed down enough to enjoy part of the morning, but continued to ask to go home. Crazy boy!

We had a stranded baby bunny in one of our window wells, which provided some great entertainment one Saturday morning!

We sure love our baby girl!

Elin cozies in and falls right to sleep in the Ergo...so I've taken advantage of wearing her around quite a bit. It's been a convenient way for me to keep 3 kids happy during the days!

Maren is playing soccer for the first time this fall, and Brett is her coach. She's on a sweet little coed team called the Sharks! A couple of weeks ago she scored her first goal...so fun to become a soccer mom!

When I look at this picture, I get a little teary and also feel overcome with gratitude. It took us so long to get pregnant with Maren, I remember wondering if we'd ever have the privilege of raising children. I've experienced 3 miscarriages along the way...and I had a hematoma early in my pregnancy with Elin that caused quite a frightful few weeks. I wouldn't trade any of the hurt, months of waiting, times of crying out to God for anything! I look at these three faces and thank God I get to be their mama. I cherish each of them so much, and I'm amazed at the miracle of each of their little lives. I remember begging God for just one baby...and thinking that I'd never ask Him for anything again if he'd allow just one child to join our family. Now I have a house full of noise, little feet, laughter, sometimes screams and tears...I can't believe how fortunate I am! 

So, there you have it! A glimpse of where we've been these past 12 months. I sure hope I make it back here before another year has passed!