2015... It seems like it passed by in such a blur! As I sit down to try to reflect on the year, I find that more than anything this was a year that taught us to "go with the flow" more. It hasn't been a bad year, but it has been one filled with challenges and growing pains for sure. As I prepare to head into 2016, I once again look back at our life in photos and recognize that there are treasures to be found in day to day life, even when there are few "big" events to look back on.
As Aiden continues to grow, much of our life is centered on play. Sometimes that means nerf gun battles with Uncle Sam and Daddy, but more often it means just being open to how imagination and creativity can be found in any circumstance. Aiden's imagination continues to show me how the world can be an exciting place without the need for big plans or expensive toys. In his world, time is the most precious resource. I am trying to learn from him.
It has been such a joy getting to see this little boy, my baby, grow and learn. I see his personality shining through in his quirky sense of humor and unique interests. I also see how he is surprisingly sensitive, often intense, and incredibly loving. I don't think I expected to have a son who was so compassionate and interested in making sure the people in his life know how loved they are. Sure, he also often carries a sword and can be found battling with start wars figures... but the love that he displays each day is so very sweet and sincere.
2015 was a year that brought extra opportunities to connect with family. It is exciting to watch Aiden grow along with his cousins. Being the only boy surrounded by little girls can be tough, but he loves each of them. I especially love seeing the special bond he has with his cousin who lives many hours away now. They were together a lot as babies, and whenever they are reunited they are like two little peas in a pod again. I didn't really have cousins I was close to growing up, so it is fun to watch these littles for bonds that will hopefully last a lifetime.
We began our official (or rather "almost official") journey as a homeschool family this year. I plan to post more about that later, but it has been quite the interesting experience. I am learning so much about both my little student and myself as we go! I am finding that my head and my heart don't often agree about how things should be done, but I am learning to trust my heart more and it seems to be working. I have also been really immersing myself in research and resources as I explore the probability that Aiden is gifted and what that means for how we school. I started the year disappointed that we weren't officially recognized homeschoolers (in this state you aren't until the child is 6 years old) but by the time holiday break arrived I was so very glad I have more time to figure things out.
Other highlights from the year:
- Aiden continues to excel at taekwondo, and is now taking piano lessons. We enjoy giving him opportunities to learn and explore the things he is passionate about.
- We traveled to western Nebraska for a weekend so that I could serve as wedding photographer for my niece. It was quite an adventure!
- We continue to serve as Godparent Leaders for our high school small group. Our teens are seniors this year, which is hard to believe! We also adopted 2 students from the local university to support during the next 4 years.
- We have enjoyed time with our local friends, and also said goodbye to some dear friends who moved this year. I still marvel at how God has provided these special relationships for our family after years of feeling so isolated.
- In October we had a scare when my niece Kylee had to have her appendix out! Aiden spent some time being a hospital buddy for her.
- I did some photography "jobs" in November and December, which was fun! I still don't see myself every doing it as more than a hobby though.
- I have been working as a virtual assistant for a blogging friend for a few months now. It has been wonderful to put my skills to use while providing some income for our family. This has quite possibly been the most challenging year we have had financially since Aiden was a baby, so that has been a blessing. We continue to see how God always provides for what we need.
- As December comes to a close we are awaiting the arrival of my new great nephew, and also preparing our home to welcome a sweet baby girl 3 days a week as I provide childcare for the daughter of one of our Pastor's.
There is so much more I could share, but it seems overwhelming to try to put it all in any kind of order. I have been blogging again for about 4 months now, and I definitely see where it is so valuable to have this space to record memories and keep a digital scrapbook of sorts. I am thankful that instagram holds much of what I have failed to record here during my absences, but I think that more than anything I want to focus on getting back to the root of why I started blogging as I plan for the coming year.
I want this to be that place where I can look back and see all the amazing things that happened when I was too busy going through things to fully appreciate them. I often find myself marveling at how rich my life is when I look back through photos. I miss when I had posts with the details and thoughts to go along with what those photos recorded. I want to focus in on the everyday... the moments that we so easily miss if we don't stop to appreciate them. These are the things I want to capture and celebrate... this life God has given full of both trials and great joys. A life that reveals His love for us as we learn to love each other fully and serve Him daily. A life most definitely worth treasuring. For now, though, I will leave you with more photos and a glimpse into where I hope this blog takes us in 2016.