Gratitude

Goodbye, 2016

December 31, 2016

I’m not one of those people who really enjoys New Year’s Eve.  I hate staying up late.  And I prefer sweatpants and wine to a sequined party dress and heels.  But, I do appreciate the reflection the end of a year brings and the anticipation of what the new year will bring.  Boy, do I hope for a fresh new year.

To say 2016 has been a challenging one would be an understatement.  Sometimes I wonder if I will ever look back upon a year and say, meh….that one was easy?  Doubtful.  My post last year began with “good riddance”, so my track record doesn’t look good.  This past year did have some highs (hooray baby and vacations!) but when I think back upon it, there were a lot of valleys. 

We welcomed 2016 by hosting a memorial service for Chad’s Mom, who passed away last December after a long battle with breast cancer.  Valley.  About a month and half later, we lost my beloved Grandma.  Valley.  Spring brought warmer weather and lots of planning.  We began preparing for Elena to enter Kindergarten in the fall and booking spots in summer camps and therapies.  Being pregnant with #3, I had lots of high hopes for a fun summer enjoying the last times of our little family of four.  Ha!  Planning is an exercise in uselessness. 

Calvin turned TWO in April, which seemed so big at the time, but now he’s SUCH a little boy.  These days, I find myself missing the squishy-ness and inability to ask “why” to everything I say.  Ha!

Chad and I had a lovely vacation at the end of April to San Diego, then turned around and took the family to Florida to return Sharlene (Chad’s Mom) to the place she loved the most.  It was beautiful and serene and really the last moments of peace for our family for awhile.

At the beginning of June, we suddenly learned our summer plans were moot and instead, Elena would be having emergency surgery on her right hip.  June and July were a literal whirlwind.  Somewhere in there Chad and I were able to escape one last time to California for a trip before Elena’s surgery.  Then, somewhat unexpectedly, we lost Chad’s Grandma.  Another devastating blow to our families.  After that, I can’t really recount what happened, because 10 weeks felt like 10 minutes.  Elena had surgery and her 5th birthday (laid up in a hospital bed, no less).  I had a birthday a few weeks later.  For the record, I still have no idea how old I am.  It’s like that birthday didn’t exist, because I’m certain I’m 31, only to do the math realizing I’m actually 32.  Minor details, people. 

We celebrated my Dad’s 70th birthday, Chad and my 7th anniversary, Elena began Kindergarten and BOOM, then we had a baby.  One of the few true peaks this year, our little Turner William completed our precious family.  And we’ve all been stressed and sleep deprived since! September was sleepless and October wasn’t much better.  Though my parents took all of us to spend a week together in Florida…peak! 

I’m sure something happened in November and a lot happened in December, though it was all too quick for me to remember.  And folks, here we are on December 31st….looking forward to all the plans, surprises and fun a new year is sure to bring. 

I know it’s simply a season of life, but I can say with certainty 2016 was one of the harder years of my life.  It was hard physically, being pregnant.  It was hard mentally, because well, kids.  It was hard emotionally with all the loss our family endured.  It’s been hard on relationships.  It’s been exhausting.  Life can really just beat the dickens out of you sometimes.  I’ll be the first to admit adjusting from two to three kids has been incredibly difficult.  I’m more tired and beat down than I ever thought one could be.  The holidays were wonderful but left me feeling frustrated that my exhaustion leaves me missing the present.  It’s been so easy for me to forget to be thankful for my beautiful family and the joy they bring and only focus on the difficulty of it all.  It’s easy to fall into the trap. 

But my darling, ever so patient, husband is so good to remind me of all the beauty that is our life.  Our health, our home, our family, our friends, our kids that make us laugh and make us cry, the grace, the love, the promise that, through it all, we are never alone.  I’m so thankful to be rooted in that promise.

I don’t know what 2017 will bring.  No doubt it will be full of peaks and valleys, though I’m hoping for more peaks.  Life is busy and messy but, my prayer is for hope, love and kindness in the midst of it all. 

Happy New Year! 

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This is Elena. Our Light. You can see all the goodness and joy that shines from those deep blue eyes. She loves sneezes, yawns, industrial toilet flushes, automatic paper towel dispensers and The Star Spangled Banner. Music is her everything, specifically Moana, Frozen (really all Disney), Queen & Taylor Swift. Nothing makes her squeal quite like swimming, fast boat rides and her two brothers in trouble. In addition to her megawatt smile, Elena reminds us to cherish the smallest of victories, to live in the present, and to daily dwell in a posture of gratitude for every breath and every blessing.  

More About Our Story

I’m Emmalee, an ordinary gal born and raised in the Heartland. Wife to Chad, and Mom to Elena, Calvin & Turner, I spend most my days ridin’ dirty (literally so much trash) in my minivan carting kids to and fro. When I’m not being a Momager, I excel at self-care, cooking gourmet meals my kids won’t eat and deep-diving all the feelings. Most days, my attitude is gratitude, just taking life one step at a time.

Emmalee & Elena

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