Happy Advent, dear friends, and so very soon a Merry Christmas!! I think I'm finally resigned to this season of my life not being a blogging season but I don't think I'll ever close it down for good, so here's a little peek into our life this year.
Honestly, it's been a wonderful year. The prior year held many challenges and this year felt redemptive. We still had our ups and downs this year (even some significant downs) but our marriage and family relationships just seemed to thrive through it all and that was such a blessing.
P. continued to stay busy with his pro-life and social justice work for the Church and has even been sought after as a speaker in other dioceses farther away. Remember how we almost adopted a baby who was scheduled to be aborted but the mother decided to parent? That story was picked up and published by the Day 41 magazine of 40 Days for Life, which was exciting for all of us (they very kindly gave us the complimentary family photos I'm including here). Besides his hard work for building a culture of life, he is an amazing daddy here at home. Even when we were dating, I knew he'd make a great dad whenever I watched the creative and energetic ways he played with his niece and nephews. As I write this, he is dressed in a "blanket cloak" being Joseph while my daughter is dressed as Mary and playing with baby doll "Jesus."
I have settled in more and more to my role on the home front and love it. Though there are many moments when I feel in over my head with the exhaustion and responsibility of it all, I really do treasure this opportunity to stay home with my babies every day. I'm also deeply grateful for a large network of mama support in our area. Several of us got to attend a mothers' retreat this Advent with the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, in Ann Arbor and it further deepened my gratitude for both my vocation and my friends. Besides full-time momming, I still write monthly for CatholicMom.com...you can see my posts here. This fall with some help from two other moms and my husband, I began a miscarriage ministry called Zelie Ministry. We have sent care packages to over a dozen grieving parents so far and I love that God is helping us "comfort those with the comfort we've received" (2 Cor 1:4).
G is our sweet, sensitive, smart, and imaginative girl. She has made incredible strides with her speech and delights us daily with her many thoughts and opinions. Her play skills are through the roof with creativity and I love to watch her play baby dolls or Barbies. She also is my little sous chef and crafting partner. She and little brother enjoy a once a week Musikgarten music class but otherwise we have not done any formal education. We have almost officially decided we will begin homeschooling next year but haven't completely ruled out our parish school or a local classical academy for down the road.
J is our impulsive, charming, energetic, and cuddly boy. His daily antics both exasperate me and melt my heart. We never knew our difficult reflux baby would turn into one of the happiest, funniest little buds you ever met. He is passionate and determined and loves to make people laugh. He loves music and will rarely sit still unless someone begins singing a song, then his attention is all yours.
Baby#3 (!!!) is currently growing rapidly and taking up lots of room in mommy's tummy. We have had several scares during this pregnancy (a fall down the stairs with a resulting bleed being the most complicated) but we continue to trust in the Lord's providence and presence, and we are so very grateful to be adding another child to our family. When you have walked the valleys of subfertility and miscarriage, every new child just feels like an overwhelming and abundant gift. We can't wait to meet this little one and watch the love and joy multiply.
If I were blogging more, I would also tell you more about some of my recent favorite things: homemade chocolate peppermint biscotti, DIY vinyl-lettered floursack towels for Christmas gifts, discussing The Heart of Perfection book by Colleen Carroll Campbell with my book club (I cannot recommend this book enough!!!), prayers and coffee by the light of the Christmas tree when I can sneak down alone in the morning, air-popped popcorn dates with my husband watching our newest series after the kids are in bed, and keeping up with my best friends long-distance using the Marco Polo app.
Wishing you and your families a Christmas season full of His true peace and joy, and a new year of blessings that draw you closer to His heart.
Emmanuel. We are grateful.