Monday, January 2, 2012

Year 2011 - Rewind

Last night we were reminiscing and thanking the Lord for the past year.  For SO many blessings, milestones, protection and memories.  The more we talked the more I realized that I should be, as my mother would say, "writing these things down".  So while typically January is a time of looking forward and setting new goals, I am going to pause and look back.  I think there are positive reasons to sometimes look back and reflect, but the strongest emotion that comes to my heart is an overall gratefulness.

Three major, tragic situations that occurred in friends' lives are sticking out to me as I type this:
#1.  A friend nearly lost their little boy in a drowning accident.
#2.  Dear friends lost not one, but two children this year during pregnancy.  One of which we nearly shared the same due date.
#3.  Another friend lost her husband and nearly lost a child in a horrible car accident.

The first really struck home because we moved into a house this spring that has a pool.  While a huge bonus and blessing, it is also a huge liability and I can't count how many nights I'd lay awake praying that God would not let someone get hurt or drown at our home. I am sure I will be praying this way every summer, but the fact that He protected us in that specific way makes me grateful.

The second, while guilt has been a common feeling during this pregnancy I can't help but be grateful for the life that is growing inside of me and for the seemingly healthy baby girl we are expecting in just six short weeks!  It seems that this year I've heard of several miscarriages and while I do not understand this tragedy (especially in a world of abundant abortions of "unwanted" children) it makes makes me all the more grateful for the children we have and the blessing of carrying them.  With this in mind, I will try to moan and groan less, because these past couple weeks I have been extremely uncomfortable and prone to whining.  :P

Lastly, last night as I laid in bed next to my husband I was moved to tears because I had just read the  Facebook post of my friend who lost her husband.  It read, "It is not so Happy a New Year here. We are all missing Donovan a lot today. It will be the first time in 15 years that I will not receive a New Year's kiss from my love. :'(" I can't even wrap my mind around that kind of loss.  It is heartbreaking.  My heart was more thankful than ever...

January/February:   Was looking like a quiet year when we started and then the hubs started looking at real estate online.  On a whim we walked through a house that was for sale...LONG story short our house went up on the market the second week of February.  Anyone who has sold a house knows that this process will immediately turn your life upside down.  Showings, decluttering, house repairs, inspections...bottom line...stress.  ;)

C lost a lot of teeth the beginning of the year!
All ready to play outside...we had a ton of snow in February!

Our little ham!

Disney on Ice with friends!

Daddy's date with the girls to see "monster trucks"...gotta make them well rounded I suppose! lol

The girls checking out their soon to be new room!

March/April:  These two months were hectic with actually moving/closing, spring break, birthdays, Easter and a quick trip for Eric and I to Cancun!  It seems crazy to me that we were able to pull off going away, but it was actually perfect to get away amidst the craziness and have a little fun in the sun and "alone" time.  We read a couple books together, one was "Bringing Up Girls" by Dobson and we really loved the insight into the female brain. :)  The Lord knew what was coming up in our year...little did we know that baby girl #4 was to be part of our plan for 2011!  I suppose I am getting ahead of myself though...
My cousin was in a play (no she did not REALLY get married). ;)  The girls loved it!

O. my little Kitchen Aid waiting for her sisters birthday cupcakes to come out of the oven...
We took lunch to C for her birthday!

Ice skating with her BFF

Easter 2011

Is it possible??? 8 yrs old!
Cancun - *sigh* I want to go back it looks so nice right now...


I must insert a disclaimer here...while Eric getting a John Deere was epic and a little hilarious to this wife (seeing he is from California) I am ever thankful for God's protection with this piece of equipment!  The girls love riding with their daddy and just being with him wherever he is in general, but we have stopped this practice!  We had a near "incident" where O had to be thrown off and it nearly rolled.  I was watching from the porch and nearly had a heart attack.  We had a little praise service right there on our front lawn praying and thanking God that it wasn't any worse.  Definitely a safety lesson.  In the meantime, I have the sweet pictures of happy times with daddy and remembrance that even the littlest things bring such joy to a little girls life! :)

May/June/July/August: Pretty sure I could insert a book right here, but I did do a pretty lengthy post about our summer that you can read here if you're interested.  May 6th (the same day my sister came in from Montana) we found out baby #4 was on the way!  That was the big news and outside of that it was basically lots of home renovations, lots of pool time, family from California visited, NBT (our weekly Bible school), my first 5K, Eric ran a 25K!, little M turned #2, and in August Eric and I celebrated 10 years of marriage (to be celebrated in October in Hawaii!).

Eric ran the 25K Fifth Third Run

The Alma Highland Festival - 5K (Paul and Eric ran the 8 miler)

Cousins = Fun & Love!

Saturday mornings are the best!

I am sure these pictures will not be appreciated during those teen years. ;)

The DIY-ers :)

Lots of ribbons this year at NBT!

Matching PJ's

M and C's favorite pool game got dubbed "hop hop" was hilarious.
The improvised "slide"
White Caps game with family

We picked LOTS of blueberries!!
Eric was able to use Carl Edwards Nascar (Aflac) car for an event at one of his groups - Grand Rapids Ophthalmology
September/October:  Miss O turned 6!, school days and piano lessons begin, I have looked forward to this quiet month and it is bliss.  Just normal everyday things and loving the routine.  We had our ultrasound done and planned a "gender reveal" party to discover the gender with our family and friends, it was a hoot!  I did a post on this also if you want to read click here. I was able to end September with a ladies retreat at Camp CoBeAc.  October was a little more busy with renovations we had to do on our rental property.  I reaaaally wish I had "after" pictures of all the work that Eric was able to do.  He gutted the kitchen, put in new cupboards, painted, tiled a shower/bath, installed a new window, and we had new carpet laid.  I also need to give a shout out to my dear mom who spent a good day with me "cleaning"...she is a window washing machine!  It was very rewarding seeing the end result and we have a great renter now!  He literally finished the night before we were to leave for our trip to Hawaii (his annual work convention that we used as an excuse to celebrate).

O with her "birthday Build-A-Bear" from Grandma Sue.  My mom made a tradition of taking the girls on their sixth birthday to get a bear and doing lunch.  It is such a special day for them...they love it!
The birthday morning pancake!
She is an absolute joy...
Sweet and Six

First missing tooth!  This was just after a long battle with the flu...she was one sick little girl :(
Our Labor Day Stay-cation...we (I should say Eric and the girls...M and I kept the beds inside warm) camped in the backyard, cooked out, watched the stars, and went swimming.  Ok, I am reaaaaallly missing summertime!
Kan Jam - family favorite Frisbee game

Happy Fall!!

First Day of School

9/11 Memorial

Girl or Boy???

The frosting color inside would tell!!

Field trip to Andersen & Girls Orchard

Megan loved feeding the goats!

A picnic with friends before heading to Art Prize downtown Grand Rapids

Happy Birthday Mom!  The best mom a girl could ask for!!

This girl LOVES her daddy!!
Soaking up some love before we leave for Hawaii...

Coffee, sunrise, warm air...enough said??

Our welcome dinner

Getting ready to swim/snorkel with the dolphins
6 months pregnant + a beautiful sunset

Part of Eric's Aflac team

 By FAR the funnest day of our trip was our scooter day.  Not sure renting a scooter while pregnant was the safest thing, but #1 I did wear the ugly helmet and #2 I am pretty sure I haven't laughed so much in one day.  I was seriously giggly.  It is such a free feeling tooting around on these things and I really do understand why bikers are the way they are!  We drove these puppies up the coast which was absolutely beautiful, and then made a snorkeling pit stop in Hanauma Bay.  It was perfect.  There was a group of about 20 of us and we named ourselves the "Hog Riders"...if you could only hear the zippy hum of the motors this name would make you laugh.  Besides almost accidentally entering the freeway and running up a sidewalk on my test ride it was a fabulous time. :)

Formal night at the Hawaii Convention Center

The sunsets were absolutely gorgeous!

Eric actually won this guitar!  The airport security loved the 1,000+ guitars that came through their airport the next day!
Being silly...

Getting ready to hike up Diamond Head

It was worth the view at the top!

 That concluded our trip and it was back to reality....
Megan decided to empty my spices...she was even trying to get her mess in the dust pan, isn't that thoughtful of her?!?! :P
November/December:  We started November off with a week of special meetings at our church (Mike Manor).  It was a busy, but extremely beneficial week of growth! We also had my sister's baby shower and arrival of a new niece, and Thanksgiving.  By far the highlight of November was that O asked Jesus into her heart and life!  December started off with a trip to Chicago with our youth group, Christmas parties, and the regular "get ready for Christmas" activities. December was also the month that C got baptized...these two months marked great spiritual milestones and have given joy that is not found in anything else.  Living for God and seeking to honor Him in all of our life's choices is the goal.
My beautiful grandmother and best life teacher of "How to do Thanksgiving" :)

Thanksgiving...there were 22 of us!
Aunt Allie's Baby Shower

Mom and daughter

Pregnant Sistas - 7 mos and 9 mos


 Famous Chicago Giordano's Pizza!!!


My sweet new niece (and her awesome parents)!

Chloe's Baptism

Pre-Christmas mani/pedi with my friend

Christmas cookies...

Thank you Aunt Heidi & Uncle Seth!!!

Christmas Eve!!!

All ready for church...Christmas Day

I don't think she got the memo that this set was for her baby doll...
Opening presents...

Great Grandma Hudson with her newest granddaughter

Proud big cousin!

The Christmas festivities tuckered this little guy right out!
 Whew!  If you made it through this congratulations...this really was more for my documenting sake.  That is one thing I want to be better at this year, I know I've already forgotten so many cute things the girls say or do.  I wish you all a very Happy 2012 Year!!


  1. It was fun reading your adventures of the year! It's a lot you packed in! :) Also, my heart can relate with you with those saddnesses. It was nice you remembered them too.

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  3. It may have taken my whole break, but I made it through. :) Great idea to document the year like that. So much can happen/change in one year (for the good or the bad), but you are right in that we have SO much to be thankful for!

  4. Oh Dear Sarah, I laughed & cried my way through this. All I can think of at the end, is that our God is amazing and we are so blessed. You have such an amazing family and relationship with God. I cherish being your little/big sister and love that I have such an amazing sister to look up to. Love you sooooo much!

    P.S.- LOVE your dress in Hawaii, you look absolutely stunning!!!

  5. Thank for putting this together..... I loved every word, thought and picture. You did a fantastic job !! May our Lord and savior continue to bless your family and keep you all safe..... Love you guys !!!

  6. Oh Heidi...well you returned the favor, because YOUR post made ME cry! lol I love you too and cherish our sisterhood. Sisters Forever... ;)

  7. what a full year! God has blessed you so much and although there are trials and sorrows, we have so much to be thankful for and you shared it so eloquently. You have a beautiful family and home and so much love all around you that it shows in each area of your life.
    Happy New Year! Can't wait to hear the news of Abby's arrival.

  8. So much in a year, isn't it? So much to be thankful! Can't wait to see God's blessing in weeks ahead with this new little one!

  9. So blessed to see how God has blessed those we love so much. Knowing the Lord, my wife, my kids, and my grandkids has made this life complete. Thank you for taking the time to post these precious pictures and memories. Dad.