A Year in Review: 2013

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I didn’t send a newsletter with our Christmas card this year… It was part of my whole “let’s not stress over Christmas” plan.  I just ran out of time to do it, so I didn’t do it!

Novel, right?

So I’m trying to rack my sick, foggy little brain for the important, sentimental details of this year, but all I can come up with is, “I had a baby.”

And while that statement sounds tired and weary, it’s really just the only way to simply sum up a tremendously wonderful, life-changing year.  Looking back, this year has been exhausting. And emotional.  And perfectly wonderful.  In each moment and stage, there was never more than I/we could handle {though I got really close a few times}.  But to look back across the last twelve months is completely overwhelming. 

It’s hard to believe we made it.

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January started off with a bang—Georgia {my alma mater} defeating Nebraska {Tyler’s alma mater} in a New Year’s Day bowl game!  I knew right then it was going to be a good year… Tyler also started a new job opening a congressional office—this meant everything from hiring and training staff, to guiding a new congressman through what it means to be a legislator, buying TVs and computers and office equipment… We were also assembling a crib and a stroller and folding baby clothes and freaking out because…we were about to have a baby!!  I will never forget a certain night, awake at 1 am, very pregnant, making shortbread cookies for the FIRST TIME EVER for the congressman’s swearing in party…because somehow people got the notion that was something that I did.  Making 100 shortbread cookies in the shape of the Capital…no prob.  Anyway, just a random January memory.

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Charlotte’s birth came at the end of the month and needs no other words.

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February was a blur of new baby, newborn photos, Baby Wise reading, squeaks, squirts, and snuggles along with visits from each of our parents and my sister.  Charlotte had jaundice for a looong time, so it also meant a lot of doctor’s visits and trips to the hospital for blood draws.  It was also the State of the Union because I distinctly remember being home alone with a very new baby, praying that the President would just please wrap it up so my husband would come home before midnight.  I was quickly starting to hate the Hill—a new position for me.  Tyler loves the Hill and I am usually happy to support him.

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March took us to Savannah for St. Patrick’s Day to introduce Charlotte to more family and a visit from Kara, Tyler’s sister.  I didn’t cook a thing for at least two months- we were so showered with love and support from our friends, family, and colleagues.  My hands also weathered from the insane use of sanitizer—Mom Hands are here to stay.  I also felt like a supermodel this month but looking back I was definitely not.  Definitely not.

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April took us to Nebraska for Charlotte’s first Easter and to meet more family.  It was also her first flight—she did mostly great but I was a crazy paranoid mom, not about germs but about her losing it on the plane.  We visited the White House and pretended like we still got it at Taste of the South.  We spent a week in Pawley’s Island, SC for my last week of maternity leave—Tyler was working on a fundraiser and we were happy to tag along.  My parents drove up to see us, as well as Lauren & little Lane—friends from Savannah.  I also cried a lot.  Like, a lot a lot. “This time next week, I will be at work and Charlotte will be at home and I will be missing every blink of her eyes and…”

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May took me back to work and I thought it would surely kill me.  My colleagues and patients were so wonderful though and really made me feel appreciated and welcome.  I didn’t believe anyone that told me, “It gets better.”  But it really does.  It got better.  We also celebrated Gracie’s first birthday in Savannah and visited The Homestead in Hot Springs—our favorite Virginia getaway—for a conference for Tyler.  There we celebrated my first Mother’s Day and took some much-needed time to ourselves and with friends.

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June was our slowest month.  We drove to Atlanta for a baby shower for my cousin Jess and loved every minute with my family.  Other than that, we were here!  It was lovely, from what I remember.  I certainly didn’t spend it blogging!

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By July, I was ready to quit working again.  The novelty of my absence had worn off and Charlotte was getting to be so fun!  This was a special month though, with Charlotte’s dedication.  Family came in to celebrate with us as we stood before our church family and committed to raise her according to God’s word.

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August!  Recess! Yaaaaay!  I’m not sure Tyler had ever put more hours into a job as he had at this new one—the same year we have our first kid.  We were both walking fine lines—me, trying to be supportive but also needing and wanting more help at home; Tyler—trying to keep everyone happy at home and at work.  August meant normal working hours {i.e. home by 5} and the chance to leave town for a week.  I was breathing for August.  But not before we hosted a low country boil for Tyler’s office and hosted Tyler’s sister and our nephew Cohen for a visit!  Then we hit the road for Savannah, where I turned THIRTY, we went to the beach, and we celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary.  Tyler, in full rest and relaxation mode, grew a beard…just because he could.  And Charlotte started to crawl.

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September came and we geared up for a beautiful fall full of pumpkin and football.  What we got was a curve ball!  A BIG curve ball, that swirled in from China, bounced off of Mars, and landed in Alexandria.  A few days into the month, Tyler committed to a new job that would take him out of state five days a week {or nine or ten…}.  I was eager for him to leave the Hill and this new job— running a Senate campaign— was an amazing career opportunity.  But Charlotte is just the sweetest thing and is growing bigger and learning new things every day—it absolutely killed me to think about what he would miss with her and with us as a family.  It was a hard decision, but one we made prayerfully, as a family, that I fully supported.  The rest of the month was a blur…we didn’t travel, but Tyler juggled working two jobs during a government shutdown, while my Etsy business grew increasingly with online orders and local fairs.  I also traveled to Tennessee with my friend Lindsey to a women’s conference, where God started stirring something in my heart that has not since been silenced.  It has a lot to do with adoption, worldly possessions, and white suburbia… Fortunately, it is all still sitting there, in my head and on my heart, as I continue to read and study and pray on where this is all going. 

Vague, right?  I’ll get to sharing it soon enough.

{Other than that, September was just a lot of crying out of disappointment in our respective football teams.}

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October.  I dreeeeeaded October because it was when Tyler’s new job and travel schedule officially started.  I cried a lot those first few trips, just being sad for the year ahead.  But we still managed family time, taking Charlotte to her first pumpkin patch, and her first “trick-or-treating.”  And we took our first girls-only flight to Nebraska, which was an adventure.

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November brought a trip to Savannah to honor my sister-in-law Landon and her yet-to-be-born daughter Foster.  Charlotte was in heaven with so many big girls around!  We spent a week in Nebraska for Thanksgiving where we spent good time with Tyler’s family, and also with my Dad, step-mom, and little brothers.  I was thrilled that Charlotte finally got to meet her Pop.  We also witnessed her first steps and ability to throw a tantrum.

December…

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December was a great month!  We got a lot of Daddy time over the holidays and we took in a lot of firsts as a family!  It was actually NOT a stressful month, for once.  We took in a few parties, decorated the house, were loved on by sweet friends, visited Santa, and spent a lot of time with family!

That was painted with a broad brush, I know… The tiny brush strokes and ridges of paint were laced with exhaustion and hours of feeding and snuggles, tears and frustration, A LOT of learning, experiencing love and protectiveness and defensiveness and territorialism, and grace and forgiveness, divisiveness, unity, camaraderie, unconditional love, growth as a woman and as a wife, self-doubt, indescribable joy, fun, laughter, fear, and a million other big emotions that filled all of those spaces of the superficial experiences listed above.  It was a BIG year.  I wouldn’t take a second of it back.

{….but maybe next year could be a small year? Please, Lord?  A tiny year.}

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