Saturday, January 3, 2015

Best of 2014

My friend, Lesley writes a similar post every year and I decided to put my own twist on it but copy her idea. She's also a very gifted writer - you should read her blog.

Here's my opinions about some 2014 things:

10 Things I couldn't have lived without (most of these have to do with pregnancy or being a new mom, sorry…)

- Marika Yoga Pants, just yes
- Johnson & Johnson hands and faces baby wipes
- my little clutch wallet/purse thing that I can wear on my wrist and stick in my diaper bag
- Parenthood (the TV show) - the amount of time spent nursing in the early days is no joke
- our Baby Jogger City Select stroller - it pushes like it's invisible
- Starbucks giftcards - thank you Jesus for the nice people who know I needed coffee
- the Ergo - God bless…
- a video baby monitor - the only reason our kid left our bedroom in August
- Hand-Me-Down baby and Maternity clothes - I love my sisters-in-law
- the Exersaucer - I can pee and cook and not watch my kid

Things that just worked for me:

- Walking to the grocery store - when we had Holland, I resolved that if I needed less than 15 things (and nothing was heavier than a galling of milk) then I was going to walk to the grocery store. Amazingly, this has been a great little mile walk for us and we both LOVE it. And there's a Starbucks in the store, shhhhhh...

- We spent 3 weeks in Texas and we actually didn't go nuts - it wasn't intentional, but Holland and I ended up spending 3 weeks in Texas in December and I'm shocked that the days went by quickly and we survived. Of course, there's no place like home, but I thought it was going to be WAY harder on both of us.

- Nighttime showers - it sounds like a silly thing, but I always loved to shower in the morning to start my day. When I had Holland I couldn't do that because she's a terrible napper, so there was never enough time to leave her to shower & get ready. When she was tiny, I started showering when Jarred would get home from work. It's been grab for me & is my "wind down" time when I know he's in charge of the kid if she wakes up and I can finally relax.

- The CrockPot - my parents got us this All Clad Crockpot when we got engaged and it's from Jesus. There's nothing better when you're cooking for 10 girls or just for two. It's quick and easy and I can put dinner in during her morning nap and know that if my day falls apart at the seams, at least dinner is already done. I just wish I could pull it together enough to use it more often than I did.

Memorable Moments of 2014

- The birth of Miss Holland Mae Minefee on May 26th - and the crazy 2 weeks that led up to it - and the crazy 2 weeks that followed it… what a whirlwind birth experience that was, but our girl is here.

- Sitting on the bottom of the staircase when my dad called to tell me that my mom had pancreatic cancer. I will never forget it, nor the fearful yet peaceful few weeks that followed. Flying to Texas to see her the day after her diagnosis was like being in a bad movie. Some of the worst days of my life.

- Getting the text with my mom ringing the "Cancer-free" treatment bell at MD Anderson. I'm so grateful that God chose to heal my mom.

- Hanging out with my in-laws in October while we got the phone call that our friend Chuck had passed away from his battle with cancer and left sweet Holly and the twin babies behind - why was God healing my mom, but taking our friend?

- Hearing Holland laugh at her daddy for the first time in September - melted my heart into pieces.

- My first (and only to date) overnight away from my sweet girl to play with one of my besties for my birthday. So thankful to my hubby for the break and for time with Erin.

- The excruciating pain of having to let my daughter "cry it out" from time to time - I was not prepared for the torture that is for me - that and the sleep deprivation - absolute torture.

- Decorating our little house for Christmas with our college gals - including some inappropriateness, wine drinking and a baby photography session.

- Having lots of mama friends close by to do this raising kids thing with. I'm so so grateful for my gal pals.

- Seeing my mom back to "herself" when I got there in December - the best gift anyone could give me. Ever. I didn't know if we'd ever have "her" back and thank the Lord we do.

2014 Inventory - Highest Highs and the Lowest Lows

Clearly I don't have much blog time at this point in my life - this whole mom thing throws all used-to-be priorities right out the window. There are things I really miss and I would say sitting down to read and write are among the top two. So just for the next few days I'm taking back a few moments because I made a commitment to myself to write this post every year - to remember and reflect. As I think about writing this for 2014 I'm a little freaked out because the highs were really high and the lows were really low - it was a bizarre year.

- joy: Holland Mae entering our lives was the most life-altering, joy-inducing thing, second only to our wedding day in my book. Also, the tears of joy that flowed when my mom finished her treatment CANCER FREE was one of the best moments of my life.

- peace: from the moment my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer to the day she was declared "cancer free", though we were sad and it was a nasty road, we experienced such peace. To be able to still laugh and so enjoy being together while she was in the most intense, scary surgery is a peace that can't be explained without Jesus. I'm also still trying to find the balance with peace and parenting. I know that my job is to trust Jesus with my kids, but I've never had someone that I'm responsible for 24/7 and it's hard to have peace with that big of a job. If you're reading this and you have any advice, let me know ;)

- grace: being a mom and messing it up - every single day. Holy smokes I can't tell you how many times in just 7 months that I've already messed up royally. Thankfully kids don't have memories until they're 4 or 5 - ha! The grace that God has shown me, that my daughter shows me and that my incredible husband shows me everyday is astounding. I don't deserve it, especially from Jarred - his life and our marriage have changed tremendously this year and I'm so grateful that he over and over again chooses grace with me.

- mercy: We cried "mercy" over and over again this year with health issues - last year I wrote about our friend Chuck being cancer free - this year we cried mercy and continue to do so as he passed away in October and left behind his sweet wife and 18 month old twins - Mercy, Lord. We cried "mercy" over my mom as she suffered tremendous pain following one of the most intense surgeries any human could have, as she bravely entered chemo every week followed by radiation everyday - he has shown such mercy to us this year. I am crazy grateful to have my mom back.

- discipline: I don't know what this is anymore because my days are so unpredictable… I need more of it? I feel like that's all I can say about discipline this year - waking up early, that's taken so much discipline… or a crying infant, you choose.

- growth: In the past I've measured growth mostly by spiritual growth, but this year I think my personal growth trumped that and bled into my spiritual life. Becoming a mom has grown me and stretched my faith, my patience, my love more than anything. On the other hand, the fear of losing my mom while pregnant with my first child grew me leaps and bounds - it forced me to put my trust in Jesus, to ask for help from others, to know that even if that happened, I would be okay, Holland would be okay and my God is still good. My journey will always be marked by 2014's crazy season that now feels more like a bad dream than reality. Thank God it's over.

- answered prayer: Where do I start with this one?!?!?! Remember that time my mom got diagnosed with the most deadly form of cancer and totally beat it? - hello, answered prayer. And that time my best friend dealt with infertility and had healthy TWINS? - hello, answered prayer. And that time I got a gnarly infection after my c-section and I'm just fine now? - hello, answered prayer. And that time my brother-in-law had some REALLY crazy health issues happening that doctors couldn't' figure out and now he's perfectly healthy? - hello, answered prayer. And that time we prayed for a healthy baby girl? HELLO, ANSWERED PRAYER. I could keep writing but holy smokes God is good.

- beauty: One of the most beautiful things I've witnessed this year was watching my husband become a dad. He's incredible with our little gal and my I melt when I hear them laughing, watch him dance with her in the kitchen or see her light up when he gets home from work. And a shout out to my college gals growing up and become real life women contributing to the real life world - really a beautiful thing. I LOVE those gals and I can't talk about not seeing them almost everyday. I can't.

- rest: what's that? 2015, can we get some more of that, please?

- perseverance: A newborn requires the most intense amount of perseverance - sleepless nights, c-section recovery with sleepless nights, pressing on with all of that while my mom was going through chemo and trusting that all the details would work out for her to be here when Holland was born - of course they did, because Jesus.

- pura vida (true, full life): My daughter's laugh, my whole family together at Christmas with a whole, healed mom & two more nieces/nephews on the way (not mine, don't worry), hiking and beach days with my little family in SLO, the community of women my college gals have become, friendships that have deepened as the result of a tough year - such good life.

- love: Love took on a whole new meaning when we became parents, I couldn't have imagined how I would literally think about a tiny human almost 24 hours a day, but I do. When I look at her, I can't help but be overwhelmed with love and thankfulness for her little life. She's incredible. Also, my love for my mom is changing - when you almost lose your mom and become a mom during the same year, something in you shifts. I love her differently, appreciate her more and want so badly for her to know my daughter intimately.

- the Gospel: There was much solace this year in knowing that God was good and nothing about Him changed even if my mom didn't survive this year with pancreatic cancer. We knew that if she went to be with Jesus, she would win - even more so than if she had to live her life on earth with a terrible form of cancer. I'm crazy grateful that didn't happen, but the assurance that Jesus gives is worth it all.

I can honestly say there's never been a year where I've experienced more joy or more sorrow than 2014. Cancer and your first born child… but I have a richer, deeper soul because of it all and for that, I'm grateful.

2015, let's be REALLY boring and relaxing, ok?