The greatest thing about New Years for me is a time for reflection and looking forward to a newness!
I'm so thankful things are slowing down and I've actually HAD time for reflection! 2014 overall has been a year of exploration, discovery, and understanding in a lot of different ways. Big milestones...at the tail end of 2013, we welcomed our newest...and last addition, Owen!; we became farmers in training with a much bigger garden and 10 ducks; I graduated with my MSW; Brooke & Brennan started general education classrooms with support; Hailey started 3rd Grade; Landon's continuing SXI at the local special education classroom.
Apart from those type of milestones, we've also reached a sweet spot as a family. We're out of survival mode and assembly line care (mama's of multiples will understand!) and Brooke, Brennan and Landon are really growing into their own which is so helpful! As they're growing, I'm noticing how different (and a little similar) they are. And Hailey...3rd Grade is the new middle school, I feel like!!! This is the where the part about the year of exploration, discovery and understanding comes in...
Hailey, Hailey, Hailey...she is so compassionate and really in touch with her feelings! I've seen such growth and maturity from 2nd grade - summer - 3rd grade....I'm a little worried about what next year looks like! :) Thankfully her character is developing right along and we've been talking through things. One night she told me - emotions are tough! AMEN Hailey! Sometimes they do too much of the talking too and they get you in trouble! :) She had her first major fit with friends at school this past year and handled it like a champ - this is where the exploration and understanding for me comes into play...she's of little words when something's up and I want to make sure she always feels like her feelings, concerns and problems are just as important to talk about (she's said it doesn't seem like a big deal with the other things we've got going on...YIKES!). Hailey's a critical thinker and also so creative! We've also had great conversations about how laws are formed and how to get your voice heard, why we believe what we do and why others do. She designs and redesigns things, repurposes things, plans our parties, etc. Always keeps it fun around here!
Brennan is one of the SWEETEST kids I have ever met! However, he also has a hard time communicating his needs, frustrations, etc. which unfortunately come often as he wants to do typical things but his really poor vision, balance trouble, very impulsiveness gets in the way. The more I discover and understand, the more we can practice situations to help them come easier next time. He's so open to it right now and I really want to take advantage of it! He also LOVES to be super silly, Thomas the Train, and has a great imagination - he's given each of our family members a Thomas the Train character name and everyone plays along! :)
Landon is growing leaps and bounds! He has done so well medically this past year, I was almost nervous to write that! :) Without the medical issues being an issue last year, he's also made a lot of developmental progress too! He's bearing a lot of weight, standing all the way upright often (instead of hunched over), rolling around, getting up on all-fours, intentionally manipulating toys. To anyone else, these might look like such basic things for a 5 year old, (and they are), but it's HUGE for Landon and for the other kids to see that he's still learning. It gives us so much hope! This is where the exploration,, discovery and understanding come in...learning what motivates him, best techniques, what he enjoys and how to get what he needs to continue making progress he needs.
Brooklyn is all in in whatever situation; she's sweet, hilarious, developing a sense of compassion, very independent and very strong willed. She is in love with Annie, American Girls, Hailey :) and really can enjoy just about anything else! She's doing really good in Kindergarten for what we expected and know that she'll repeat when she moves to the same elementary school Hailey goes to next year. The structure and flow is really what we felt like was the biggest thing to master but she's doing really good with reading, and is loving school (and like's the responsibility of having homework right now)! Brooke also has a great imagination - so many times I need to check if she's talking to me or her toys...generally it's not me :) The discovery and understanding for Brooke is that all-in piece...she has a hard time regulating once she's crossed the line and the more I understand what triggers, how to snap her out, etc, the better for her and for me :)
Owen is full of life! He is the perfect addition in many ways. Each of the other kids have a unique relationship with him and it's so sweet to see! Owen turned 1 on Dec 19th and started confidently walking ON his birthday! His favorite toy of everything is an old jack in the box, he gets giddy when it pops up! He's so curious, loving, and silly - the other kids love getting him laughing!
As I've learned and understood more about myself and the need and gift to just straight up, rely on God, there's been such a freedom. A lot has happened in 2014, will continue happening in 2015 and on and as New Years' comes and go. My resolutions are to learn better ways to get through. Not only get through but enjoy and do His work, in my community and in my family. For 2015, I want to take time. Simply put. Take time fueling my soul in His word, in community, in service, reflect and learn, be present, spend time together, understand what makes each child (and my husband!) tick, what they need, help them communicate it to me, grow up with good character, help me understand what I need and communicate it to those that love me, the list can go on.
In 2014, our family lost really special people and Hailey reminded me, what I told her a few years ago when some died, "People die, Mom...I'm really sorry, but remember, it just happens?" Sounds insensitive, but it really wasn't. We've talked about we're humans, we have a time here on earth and what matters is what we do with it. We've reflected on the lives they lived and impact they've had on us. That perspective is what my New Year's Resolution is about; creating deeper relationships, open understanding, aligning priorities. Here's the New Year's Resolutions for Brennan, Hailey & Brooklyn - the red words are the important part of their dream/wish for the upcoming year. Pretty interesting and gives us insight! :)
I've been blessed with a pretty awesome family to nurture into another year - here's to 2015!