Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Signing Off, 2014...

Me:  "Remember this time last year?  We were so ready for the new year.  I have to say, after looking back through pictures of this past year, I'm sad to see 2014 go.  It's been an awesome year, ya know?"

T:  "Whew... yes.  2014 has been the craziest year of my life."

Me:  "Crazy?  That's an interesting adjective to choose.  Why crazy?"

T:  "Well, I started a new job, we moved to a different state, you started life as a stay-at-home mom, we sold a car we hated to part with, we bought another car, we started seeing a new specialist in Atlanta and began intense infertility treatments, the IVF cycle was labeled a 'failure,' they switched to IUI but told us it would likely not work since there was only one good egg, it DID work and we got pregnant, you had to start giving yourself a shot in the stomach every night to help keep the baby alive, the baby DID stay alive, we had constant doctor appointments and ultrasounds to check on the baby, my friend moved in with us for two months, we had to see another specialist to figure out how to safely transition you off of blood thinners without risking your life or the baby's life, we underwent major home renovations, you had the baby and it was a BOY, the baby's umbilical cord was tied in a complete knot and all of the doctors and nurses said it was a miracle he was okay... So yeah, that's why I used the word crazy."

2014, you were definitely crazy.  And overwhelming.  And scary.  And exciting.  And amazing.  And hopeful.  And breathtaking.  And inspiring.  And adventurous.  And nerve-wracking.  And incredible.  And happy.  And so many other things.  But mostly, you were the most memorable year of my life so far.  A year that brought me more love and joy than I ever knew was possible.

Last year at this time, I was so excited to see 2013 go.  It had been such a rough year for us, and I was so hopeful that 2014 would be better.

And I was right.

So to highlight 2014, here are some of the memories from throughout the year, month-by-month:

The month we packed up a truck and moved our lives from NC to GA.  T had applied to UWG on a whim one day...  so when the Uhaul pulled into our driveway a few months later, I think we were both still in shock that we were actually moving!

We embraced life in our new small town, and I embraced life as a stay-at-home mama.

We saw our first Georgia snow - and lots of it!

And we began to make our new house a home:

The month sweet Addy was born, the month my brother became a dad.  I will never forget seeing the text from my sister-in-law that said, "It's happening!"

The month a box of medicine arrived in the mail that was both overwhelming and exciting.  A box that hopefully held the key to bringing us the baby we had dreamed of for so long.

Each night I mixed my medicines, injected them, said a prayer and made a wish.

 And meanwhile, life continued as usual.  CK asked her Daddy to once again be her Valentine.

 We immersed ourselves in all things UWG, going to our first basketball game.  Go Wolves!

My best friend Yinds had her baby girl, OG, and we traveled back to NC to meet her!

 And then we were crushed with news that seemed hopeless - we got a phone call one night after an afternoon ultrasound and bloodwork.  The doctor was declaring my IVF cycle a "failed cycle" - there was really only one good egg, and they suggested maybe switching to IUI, but warned us chances were slim.  I remember being hysterical.  I cried, I went for a long, hard run, I came home and I chugged a beer.  And then TJ and I looked at each other and said, "Let's do it.  Let's do IUI."  We both agreed that we had this gut feeling that it was all going to be okay, that the IUI just might work...
This picture is post-emotional breakdown, long hard run, and chugged-beer:

This little duo and their pregnant mama came to town to watch our girl so we could move forward with the IUI and focus on fighting for that baby we knew would complete our family.

And then... this happened.
For the rest of my life, I will remember T being in the shower, me walking over to him with a look of shock and showing him the test, him jumping out of the shower and scooping me up, soaking me from head-to-toe.  That egg, that one little egg that we were told would likely not make it... it was our baby.

We held our breath, said our prayers, made our wishes, and kept loving life in our new town...

We made some amazing friends, friends who would prove to be more like family, welcoming us with open arms.

 CK and I ventured to Charleston to finally meet her new cousin, Addy girl!

And almost as if in a dream, two of my sisters and I were all pregnant at the same time.

And my mom's four biological children would all be having babies in 2014, all three months apart.

 We found lots of dandelions, CK always making a wish "for the baby in Mommy's tummy."

We celebrated Easter!

And another baby was added to our family when sweet Harrison Robert was born.

This month brought us warm, summer temperatures and lots of outside, backyard fun.

And my stepsister got married!  We celebrated sibling #6 of six tying the knot in Columbia and welcomed a new brother into the fam.

Living in GA, we were now able to spend a lot more time with my sister-in-law and her family, who live in Atlanta - two of CK's cousins who she absolutely adores.

And we said hello to the second trimester, announcing our incredible news to the world.

The month that CK decided she wanted to dress herself.

I also babysat these monkeys for a few days... just me (pregnant) and three kids four and under, whew!

We also surprised CK with her very own playground!

And grew a very successful tomato garden.  This little girl would go out in the yard and eat cherry tomatoes off the vine everyday.

"Rocky" was officially half-baked, and CK was getting more excited to become a big sister.

CK continued her gymnastics classes.

And these two were together constantly.

I also ventured to Columbia so we could throw a baby shower for my little sister!

Andddd CK got her first black eye, when she fell off of the potty and into the tub.

We celebrated Independence Day with our first Carrollton 4th of July parade!

And spent lots of time at the pool...

And went to cheer on our Braves...

And went to the Georgia Aquarium for the first time...

And I celebrated 6 years of marriage with this stud.

And my baby sister had her baby, Skylar Ann!!

The month our big girl transitioned to a big girl bed without skipping a beat.

And felt her little brother kick for the first time. <3 

And I got to meet that sweet Skylar Ann!

We also mastered potty training, finally.  No lie, this kid needs a magazine to poop.

And we kicked off college football season with our orange and purple - Go Tigers!

The month that CK started preschool!

And we went to our first UWG football game - Go Wolves!

And celebrated "Rocky" at a Sprinkle thrown by sweet family and friends.

And started some major home renovations...

CK also "graduated" from the parent/tot gymnastics class - Next up, Mighty 3s!

The bump got bigger around these parts...

 And "Uncle Marky" moved out, much to this girl's dismay.

 Our last month as a family of three... we celebrated our sweet miracle once again at a baby shower thrown by T's colleagues.

And a certain little girl turned 3!!

And that same little girl FINALLY got her first haircut.

I soaked up my time with my CK knowing soon I'd have my hands full.

And we had lots of fall fun together.

 Things continued to expand...

And our little aerobic instructor rocked Halloween.

We all know what this month entailed... some of the best memories of my entire life. <3

And finally, December.  We found our niche as a family of four, fell madly in love with our E, and celebrated Jesus' birth with the best, most perfect Christmas.

So, it's time to sign off, 2014.  Thank you for giving me a year I will never, ever forget.  You're gonna be hard to beat, but I am so excited and see what 2015 has in store for me and my family of FOUR!!!