Friday, December 19, 2014

2014, The Good, The Bad, The Ugly. Our Year In Review!

I've always loved the end of the year. 

Something about its finality and the closure of a year's worth of adventure (both its successes and its failures) while simultaneously standing on the brink of a brand new beginning- entire blank calendar pages awaiting, empty planners with shiny new plans just waiting to be hatched. I just love the unknown of it all- a clean slate. 

As much as I love looking forward to a new year, there's just as much a part of me that loves looking back. On thing is for certain this year and that is the numbers don't lie. For the first time in the 8 years that I've been writing here in this space, this is the year where I haven't written nearly as much each month but that's not to say that I didn't have some pretty important (to me) things to say.   

In January, with less than 100 days to go until we would become a family of five, for the first time out loud I began to freak out at how we would survive the shift from man-on-man defense to zone defense. Looking back, I can laugh now but for the first twelve weeks, it was a blurred nightmare of mutiny and chaos, much more the angst-filled Party of Five than, say, the Brady Brunch. It was also during this month that we chose a name for our sweet boy and I discovered that in allowing myself permission to fail as a mother, I was actually succeeding after all. I closed out the month by writing one of my most widely-read pieces for What To Expect, landing myself a contract writing for them. It was the piece titled "The Wrong Reason To Try For A Fourth Baby."

I started off February by debunking several myths of motherhood, my most favorite being "a good mother never yells." I often wonder if Collins will grow up thinking that yelling is an acceptable pitch with which to hold a conversation. I'm always yelling and it's something I want to focus on doing less of in 2015. One of my most favorite pieces that I wrote this year was also written this month, as I questioned whether or not my husband would still have asked me to marry him had he known what our life would look like 7 years down the road, more specifically what I would look like 7 years down the road- exhausted, squishier, a touch more harried than the fresh-faced college co-ed he fell in love with. 

March rolled in I didn't have a whole lot to say this month. This post was sweet as it gave me a glimpse back into those final weeks of pregnancy that, often times, we are so quick to forget once baby is here. It also makes me miss pregnancy hair like whoa, as I sit here with baby bangs sprouting at my temples and bald spots that rival my 8 month old's. This month also reminded me of the first of two unexpected hospital stays I would experience for preterm labor thanks to kidney stones. How quickly I'm now reminded of how painful those suckers were- how uncomfortable I was and how badly I wished the team of doctors at the hospital would just get on the same damn page. 

In April we welcomed Collins Mason, our third beautiful boy. I opted for the extra bonus day in the hospital this time and I will be forever grateful I did. My hospital stay with him is the one I remember most clearly of the three and I'm so grateful for the extra one-on-one time it afforded me. Once we returned home to the Zoo life became a blurry mess of life and parenthood and those five days with Collins were ones I knew I would never, ever get back. I do love, however, just how much my thoughts have changed on the transition from two to three. 

By the first week of May, I climbed out of the newborn fog long enough to write down Collins' birth story. It was the most difficult of my three c-sections but reading through it brought me right back to the day. What a mix of emotions- knowing it would be our last baby but so excited to meet the precious soul who spent nine months growing beneath my heart. Life since then has only grown more chaotic but since then I've certainly learned how to manage the chaos, most days. The day that Maclane made out with a dead squirrel was not one of those days. 

I'm not sure if you know this but having three kids has made me quite the expert on the kind of crap you need to be a parent. I'm kidding, mostly, but these posts, ones in which I talk about things like "29 Diaper Bag Must-Haves" can be kind of important and life-changing all at the same time. I wrote that one in June but it wasn't nearly as interesting at the time that Carter said the F-word while riding around in the car with my husband. What can I say? He clearly takes after his mother. If you've ever wondered why my blog is called I Love You More Than Carrots, you can check that out here as well.

July was a pretty fun month, unless you happened to be my husband who certainly wasn't sharing a similar sentiment between the sheets. We're both happy to say things have definitely changed since then, just as I had written, "it's just a season," although it's often difficult to see and understand that when you're living in the moment. Carter turned four this month, we took a trip to Dutch Wonderland and I talked a little bit about how my hometown, a place I haven't lived in for over 12 years, will always be home to  me.

August. Well, even though I have a camera roll that begs to differ, August was a quiet month here on the blog. Of note, the most exciting thing I did was write about my Whole30 experience but my favorite memory of August was celebrating Carter and Maclane's birthdays with a backyard crab bash. 

I turned thirty-one in September and started watching a lot of TV. So much, in fact, that I'm sad to see all of my favorite shows coming to an end. We won't even talk about the end of Parenthood, for like ever. We celebrated my birthday at the beach house, the last trip that we would take there until next summer. I can't wait to return to the beach with our three wild and crazy boys. Speaking of lasts, I wrote a little bit about my feelings on our last little baby, something that has been tugging at my heart with every milestone we check off. It's bittersweet, for sure.

October came and went. Collins turned six months old and it was kind of like a sucker punch to the kidneys. At nearly 8 months old currently, I cannot believe how quickly these months fly by. We'll have a one year old on our hands before I know it, a thought that quickly takes my breath away. It was this month that I realized that having three kids was pretty damn cool for a number of reasons. In other words, it was the magic number of children that I needed in order to stop giving a shit as to what everyone else thinks about how I should mother.

We spent the better half of November at home with my parents in New Jersey- it's where Collins witnessed his first snowfall and we celebrated Thanksgiving this year. The month started out a little more stressful than I would care to remember as we geared up for our first professional family photo session since our wedding, nearly seven years ago. We managed to clean up nicely and pull off "The Family That Really Has Their Shit Together" look fairly well. I will forever be grateful for hard copy memories of this season in our life, even the ones where the baby is missing his shoes and our middle child is a complete blur. 

December. How quickly we've arrived here. We've been so busy this month that I plan to take the next few weeks to decompress and be present with our band of crazy. I've been pretty good at doing just that these last few weeks which explains why things have been a bit quiet around here. I'm realizing more and more that we're only given this life once- my kids will only be 4 and 2 and a baby before I blink and they're getting ready for Kindergarten, first years of preschool and gaining enough momentum to run, let alone walk their first steps. We've been decking the halls, baking the cookies and making even more memories to sustain us through what is bound to be a very, very long winter. 

What a year it's been. Full of new beginnings, embracing the status quo, growing, laughing, learning and looking forward to another year of adventure! 2014, you've been more than good to me but I'm ready to see what 2015 has in store for us! 

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  1. great recap, have a wonderful Christmas!

  2. Love love love!!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading (and rereading) these amazing posts this year and continuing to follow your amazing journey! Have a very merry my sweet friend! Xoxo

  3. Love the belly pics! Plus I loved all your posts about parenting this year, I'm of the opinion you have to have a sense of humor about everything:)


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