JANUARY - We started out the year getting back to normal and working on a few projects around the house. My Main Squeeze figured out how to install a paver patio extension on our back patio, and it totally transformed the look of our backyard. We eventually built in a small fire pit, and loved using it. I also painted a quote in our foyer: Dear God, Your will. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. Amen It's kinda crazy how we had to rely on the faith expressed in that sentiment.
FEBRUARY - February was busy for us. We had passes to Disney World this year, so we met one of our cousins there to celebrate his birthday. I thought going to WDW so many times in one year would get old, but it really didn't. We love the place. It's fun to do the "favorites" and every time we found something new too.
We also took the kids with us on the youth group ski trip. We only skied and snowboarded a little bit. It really turned into a big snowball fight...
MARCH - In March, my grandfather died at age 90. It was a really sad day, but his last few years of life were really difficult for him. He longed for the day where he could be in Heaven with Jesus and Grandma with a whole body. Despite knowing that, it was still hard to say good bye.
I also attended a choir reunion for the college I attended. They invited each of the choir directors to return and direct a number for the mass choir, and we recorded a cd of the pieces we performed. A special piece was commissioned for the event, and it was beautiful.
Our #1 started playing little league baseball, and he was really good at it. He is the epitome of sheer enthusiasm when he plays. He hops up and down in excitement. I think he learned a lot about baseball, and he had to learn about sportsmanship since his team was not the best in the league.
APRIL - In April, we celebrated #2's 5th birthday with a teeny tiny birthday party since she loves everything teeny tiny. We had mini cakes for everyone, a teeny tiny scavenger hunt, and mini Chinese take out containers to put all the treasures in. There were tons of little kids at our house....it was crazy fun. Before #2 opened each present, someone in the group would yell, "Kiss it! Kiss it!" and she would. It's kinda become a new tradition in our house to kiss your present before you open it. It all started here.
We also celebrated Easter in a big way. All 3 got to be in the first big scene of the Easter production at church. #2 got to run and jump into Jesus' arms. That was pretty exciting. My Main Squeeze got to dress as a Roman Soldier and be in charge of parking. We also had lots of family in town to decorate eggs, do egg hunts, nerf gun wars, fish, and just in general have fun with.
MAY - We celebrated my birthday and mother's day.
May was kind of a hard month for me. We were talking to the leadership from our new church, and it was becoming more and more clear that God was moving us from the home we had known for 7 years. I was looking at everything we were doing as "the last time" we would do whatever it was we were doing. Also, we were being cautious about how much we shared with our kids about the move because we didn't want them to feel the same stress and pressure we did. We also wanted them to be able to finish out their school year as normal as possible.
We enjoyed taking our students on their Junior Senior weekend.
We took the big green truck out for another mission in downtown.
JUNE - AKA the craziest month of my life.... We finished up baseball with #1's team making the playoffs and doing pretty well. Their team peaked at the season's end just as other teams were plateauing. #1 could always be counted on with a big hit.
We also finished up school. #2 graduated from preschool, and #1 finished first grade with straight A's...a goal he had worked on all year.
I know she's only 5, but why does it feeeeeeel like she's 18?? Somebody help a mama!!!
Her graduation program was so cute! They sang songs and quoted poems and Bible verses, and the sanctuary was packed, and we sat on the front row with tears in our eyes. I loved the kids' school. It was probably the hardest thing for me as a mama to leave when we moved - even harder than our house and our friends - because I knew when I dropped my kids off in the morning they were in a place that loved them as much as I did. And I'm not just saying that....
We also had our house on the market, which meant constantly keeping it clean while packing. We had the house competitively priced which meant it was being shown all the time. We ended up having a contract on it by the time we moved on June 21st.
The best part of June was choir tour - our last big trip with the Calvary Crew. We had about 15 performance/ministry stops planned, and we ended up doing 23. The experience was nothing less than amazing. It was so cool to lead a group that all wanted to use music and serving to share Jesus with whoever was in front of them. It was great knowing that all 75 people on the trip were of the same mind and same purpose. I blogged about this trip HERE if you want to read more about it and see some short videos of it...it's worth the click.
On June 19 we had our choir homecoming performance and farewell party at church. It's hard to explain the emotions of that day. For us, we knew it had been coming for a few months. For our friends, it was only a few weeks.
The next day we started packing like crazy. The moving company was supposed to come on Thursday to load us up and unload us on Friday. We had so much help that by Monday night we were 3/4 done! The company called on Tuesday morning and said they had an opening in their schedule and asked if we could be ready on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, and my Main Squeeze said YES!!! What was he thinking??? But we did it! By 6pm on Tuesday all our stuff was in the truck and our cars, and we were patching holes in the walls. We drove halfway to our new place that night. We were so beat!
We unloaded our stuff in our new place on Wednesday. It was crazy how fast it all happened. We had stuff basically moved in and we had started to unpack by evening on Wednesday. We even surprised them at our new church on Wednesday night. We spent the rest of June unpacking, settling in, and exploring....
JULY - We did a lot of getting used to our new home! The kids loved swimming in the neighborhood pool. It was basically a daily affair. We took a trip up to see grandma and grandpa and to see our new cousin who was visiting from out of state. Grammy moved down to the same town as us, and we got her moved and settled in. There were some "settling in" pains to be sure, but that's to be expected in a new place and a new town.
AUGUST - My Main Squeeze and I started out the month (actually starting in the end of July) by taking the High School students to Student Life camp. It was a great experience. The speakers were some of the best I've ever heard at camp. It was a very different experience than most of these kids had ever had before too. It was a great chance for us to get to know this new group of kids too.
It was a big month for the kids too. #1 started playing tackle football. It was a big adjustment for him because for the first time he was the youngest in the league, and he got hurt a few times (minor stuff), but by the end of the season, I think he understood the game better and played it pretty well.
#1 and #2 started their new school. I love their teachers (they do too!) I really appreciate the hands-on approach this school has while still maintaining a strong traditional academic core. The kids just think their classes are fun.
My Main Squeeze bought a new Jeep because the old one was having more and more problems (which added tons of stress for us this month - at one point He was having to start the old Jeep with a screwdriver!!) The new Jeep is quickly becoming our family car.
SEPTEMBER - Was a whirlwind month for us. We celebrated my niece's first birthday. She is such a cutie patootie. Her personality totally cracks me up!
We were also fully into the school/sports schedule. #1 had practice for football 2 days a week and one game each week. It was a lot for a 2nd grader. Basically, we got home from school, did homework, changed clothes, ate something, took off for football practice, came home, showered, and had about an hour to chill before bed. It was a schedule that was kinda tricky for our family to get used to. I was very proud of how hard he played all season.
#1 and #2 both got the Christian Character Award at school.
#3 started going to "Friday School." It's a preschool enrichment class for 3 and 4 year olds that meets just on Friday. He loves it! They do a lot of music, science, cooking, outdoor play, and Spanish. It's made Friday a delightful experience for me and Main Squeeze. One of us takes all 3 kids to school, stops for bagels from Panera on the way home, and we have a quiet morning at home! A girl could get used to this!!!
On September 8th, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Right after we moved, I found a lump accidentally in my right breast. By accidentally, I mean that I wasn't doing a self check or anything. I just noticed it randomly. I had a mammogram, an ultrasound, and an ultrasound guided biopsy to confirm that the lump was cancerous. After that, I had a bunch of tests...MRIs, PET scans, genetic testing, more pathology on the biopsy....to confirm the type of cancer and where else it was in my body. The official diagnosis is Triple Negative Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. The month was very emotional for me, and scary, and confusing, and at the same time it was overwhelmingly supportive, inspiring, and strengthening for me. By the end of the month, I knew I would need surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, and that the next 6-8 months of my life would be dramatically different than I had anticipated for myself and my family.
OCTOBER - Ironically, it's breast cancer awareness month...One good thing that's come from cancer is that I'm getting to spend a lot of time with My Main Squeeze as we go to one doctors appointment after another. On October 10th, I had surgery to remove the cancerous tumor. It was not fun...and it was hard...and the recovery was hard too. I don't know why anyone would choose to have elective breast surgery for any reason. it.was.not.fun.period. The good thing from the surgery was that they found no spread of the cancer, and they were able to get the tumor with clear margins.
While I was recovering from surgery, the kids got to hang out with relatives. #3 got to go to the zoo here in town and pretend to be a tree while trying to feed giraffes.
We also celebrated #3's 4th birthday. I made a Yoshi cake because it's what #3 is into right now. I freehanded that baby on the cake! Yeah! My sister and her family decided to vacation in our hometown, and they rented a house near the beach so we had the birthday party there. We played in the pool and cooked out. It was an easy going, fun time.
My Main Squeeze and #1 surprised me by getting some pink wrap and wrapping his wrists and ankles with it for one of his games. He got to be captain this game too!
I started chemo. I blogged about it here and here.
The kids are doing so well in school. #2 is reading more and more. #1's class has done extensive studying about colonial America, and he has done several interesting projects.
I made sure MMS and I were kissing at 11:11 on 11/11/11...
All 3 kids participated in children's choir at church, and they have loved it so much. #1 got a solo to sing in church for Veteran's Day. The choir I direct sang in church the same day.
We celebrated Thanksgiving at my sister's house. We had dinner on her back porch like we do every year....pure bliss!
DECEMBER - The first week of December we put up our Christmas tree....
...my hair started falling out, so we shaved it...best decision ever!....
My main squeeze and I did nearly all of our Christmas shopping in a 48 hour period (so much fun) because in the 2nd week of December I had my 2nd round of chemo. It was just as yukky and just as hard as the first.
We celebrated #1 and my Main Squeeze's birthday. #1 got a bigger bike and some Lego Ninjago sets. MMS got the newest Modern Warfare video game. I made them a cake about the way the 2 of them play football video games together. I used some of #2 dolls and furniture from her doll house to represent #1 and his dad, and I used #2's squinkies for the football players on the other side of the field...there is a TON of frosting on this cake....
#2 had her Christmas Around the World program. She dressed like a girl from Sweden. The poor girl couldn't keep her wreath on her head, so she ended up holding it for the whole program. Can you say epic costume fail???
#1 was in the Living Christmas Tree performances at church...all 8 of them!
After the kids were out of school, we spent a week traveling the state visiting friends and family. My cousin got married, and we went to the wedding. The reception was at the Museum of Fine Art...a beautiful place and a creative place to have a reception.
We spent a few days with my parents and celebrated Christmas with them, then we spent a few days traveling around and visiting all the friends and family that we could. It was a whirlwind trip, but so much fun.
We got home for Christmas Eve services at our church...I was privileged to be able to sing a special in the service, "All is Well" by Point of Grace.
Then it was Christmas Day! After the kids went to bed on Christmas Eve, My Main Squeeze got more lights out and decked out the inside of our house. He strung the lights back and forth in front of the bedroom where they were all sleeping to keep them from peeking. At 7 am, they were sitting right there....waiting patiently....
We opened stockings and read the Christmas story as usual, then it was on like Donkey Kong!! I got my Main Squeeze a new cordless drill and a shop vac. #1 got several Lego sets and video games. #2 got a girl and a boy lalaloopsy and a girl and a boy barbie doll...why? So they can kiss. That's what she said! #3 got some lego sets and toys from the Cars 2 movie. We also got the kids a Kinect for the xbox. It's been a hoot watching them play!! Wipeout has been the favorite game so far. I got a lot of clothes, and my Main Squeeze outdid himself...he got me diamond earrings!!
We ended the year with chemo #3. It was a hard one. I think it was harder on the kids because they didn't have school, so they saw me down and out for the week.
We rang in the new year watching a movie together as a family...#3 and I fell asleep on the couch. #2 did well until about 11, then she fell asleep too. About 10 minutes of midnight, MMS woke me up, and #1 had to hold his eyeballs open, but he made it. Happy New Year!!