When I was little it seemed like the days, months, and years went by slowly. As an adult, it feels like the hours, days, months, and years move at the speed of light, and 2017 was no exception.
This past year was a year of endings and beginnings for our family. My oldest daughter graduated from high school and started college. My oldest son started high school. My youngest daughter “graduated” from Kindergarten. My time as a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom (15 years) came to an end when I returned to teaching.
During the summer of 2015, I tried to will time to slow down. My little Janna was going to go to Kindergarten, and Julia was going to be a high school senior that August. I really just wanted more time before everything changed. That obviously didn’t happen, though.
Despite my desire to keep things the same, changes happened. And, you know what? With God’s help, I survived them all.
Julia has thrived at college (I am thankful she lives at home and commutes.). Janna is doing wonderfully in school, and she reads anything she can get her hands on. My boys are all doing great, and they are growing like weeds. I just finished my first semester of teaching 8th grade language arts, and I have lived to tell the tale.
When I started this blog over 10 years ago, I didn’t have a plan. I just decided to start it and fumbled my way through. For many years, I shared bits and pieces of our lives. Then, for some reason, I held back.
Maybe I thought that this blog was supposed to be something else; that I was supposed to be writing for other people. If I followed the blogging “rules”, I guess that is what I should have been doing. Yet, I feel like the more I tried to do that the more I lost my desire to write and my sense of purpose for even having this blog.
So, I am going to try to get back to what I loved about blogging. Sharing my story. I have come to realize that if I don’t enjoy this space no one else will. Even if no one ever reads another word I write, someday my kids will be glad I took the time to write about our lives.
With that in mind, I am going to share some of the highlights of 2017 for our family. There were many highs and a few lows, but God was with us every step of the way.
While there may not be anything that seems special about two boys playing a game of basketball in their driveway, let me assure you it was a big deal for my son James. When he broke his leg, just below the knee at the growth plate, on October 31, 2016, the basketball season he worked so hard to prepare for ended.
By late January, he was able to move around without a brace. If you look closely at the picture, you will notice his right shoe isn’t even a shoe but a slip-on sandal. When his cast came off in mid-December, we found out that he had a pressure sore on his heel that was about the size of a half dollar.
I am over being upset that we weren’t listened to, during the first week of having the full leg cast on, about the heel pain he was having. It took until sometime in March before James was able to wear a shoe again, but, as someone who tries to look for the positives in situations such as this, there are a few things I am thankful for.
First, I am thankful my son didn’t need surgery on his heel and that he was able to heal without losing his part of his heel (no pun intended). It took a long time, but he has no lasting issues with his foot (other than being dented in about 1/4 inch in the center of where the pressure sore was).
Second, I am thankful that James had even more time for his leg to heal than he would have if he had started working out again right away. Since he wasn’t able to wear a shoe, he couldn’t run and jump as soon. I feel like this was probably a good thing.
This picture was taken after pulling into our driveway on my birthday. I had been substitute teaching, and my husband and kids surprised me with flowers. The semester I substitute taught was kind of crazy because I switched between two different schools 2-4 days per week. However, it was a good way to transition back into full-time teaching.
I love living in the country and having plenty of space for my kids to play. It is also pretty cool that they are growing up in the house I grew up in. We have made some changes since my husband and I bought it, but it is still a special place to live.
My four youngest kids had so much fun hiding, finding, throwing, and catching the hard boiled eggs we decorated at Easter time. I am not into the Easter bunny or even buying my kids a bunch of “stuff” at that time of year. However, I like to let the kids decorate eggs.
Julia went to her Senior Prom with a good guy friend, and she had a lot of fun. She wore the dress she made for 4-H in 2016.
When she was probably 9 years old, we found a few vintage patterns at a yard sale. The pattern for this dress was among those we purchased. Julia told me that she wanted to make and wear that dress for her Senior Prom, and that is exactly what she did.
My little Janna “graduated” from Kindergarten. She had such wonderful school year, and her teacher was awesome.
Julia graduated from high school with several honors as you can see from all of the “bling” she is wearing. My girl worked so hard, ended up with 26 hours of college credit, an almost 4.0, and enough scholarships that we won’t have to pay a dime during her four years of college.
When she was little, we didn’t have any money to set aside for college. I am so thankful for the blessing of that weight being off of our shoulders.
My dad graduated from high school 50 years ago. 25 years later I walked across the same stage to receive my diploma. This year my daughter did the same. I think it is pretty cool that 3 generations of first-born children have all graduated from the same high school 25 years apart.
Julia gave the closing speech, and you can listen to it here if you would like to know some of the reasons I am so blessed to be mama to this young woman.
At the end of June, we took a big family trip to Disney World. We stayed in a big house with my parents and my brother’s family. We had a wonderful time, and I am so thankful for the memories we made that week. We did nearly the same trip in 2012. It is amazing how much the kids have grown in five years. (Sometime I will share about being in charge of food for 13 people for a vacation.)
The 4-H fair happens in July, and this year was Julia’s tenth year. She has participated in sewing each year, and this year topped the prom dress you saw above. She has learned a lot since her first year of 4-H sewing.
Not only did Julia make a beautiful wool coat, but she decided to make a dress to wear under it. She was grand champion of the fashion revue and grand champion of sewing. It was a pretty awesome way to end her 4-H sewing career. She even got to model at the State Fair again, and she was chosen as a top-15 winner again this year.
For the first time since 2004, Julia wasn’t in a first day of school picture. This year, James is a Freshman, Joshua is in 7th grade, Joseph is in 4th grade, and Janna is in 1st grade. They have all been having a good year so far. I am praying we have a great second semester as well.
On a Saturday in late September, the three youngest kids and I headed out into our woods. I don’t think I have ever seen our creek as dry as it was that day. I am so thankful that our drought ended, and that we had a fairly normal fall.
Even though it was very dry, the kids and I enjoyed our walk. We even scared a Great Blue Heron, or he scared us, when we finally got close to some water (I should probably say mud puddle.).
We got a week off for fall break (Well, Julia didn’t, but that’s the way college is. 🙂 ), and one of the things we did was to go to a pumpkin patch that was more than just a pumpkin patch.
It was very hot for mid-October, but we had a great time. There was a train to ride along with many other fun activities. We had a great day, and it was a nice break from the norm.
I hosted Thanksgiving again this year. We only had 17 here this year, but we still had a great time. Even though I worked outside of the home, I was still able to do quite a bit of cooking ahead of time. I enjoy having everyone over, and I hope everyone else enjoys being here.
On the day after Thanksgiving, we put up our Christmas tree. Joshua had been sick, but he felt well enough to put the angel on top and pose for a picture.
Now, if only I could get as excited about taking down the tree…
December was a whirlwind of basketball games for James and Joshua, Christmas concerts and programs, and family gatherings. We have been enjoying a slower pace during the past week, and I am sad to see our break end.
I pray you had a great 2017 and that 2018 will be even better. What was your favorite memory of 2017?