Goodbye, 2014

As I sit here, on the eve of a new year, the memories from the last 365 days come flooding in.

This year has been bittersweet. We have officially lived in our new state for one year. One year we have lived away from our family support system. One year we have spent adjusting to a new area. One year I have missed my former home with every inch of my heart.

But along with the heartache came hope. New friendships were made and are growing even as I type this out. Our house on the farm feels more like home than it did at this same time last year. Our family grew again this past summer, filling a hole I didn’t know we had.

The kids are growing and learning and changing so fast. Much more quickly than I would like them to. I am so thankful for the time I have at home with my six children. Our days are spent exploring with each other and enjoying each other.

Looking onward to next year, I am anticipating great things. I’m setting a goal to daily journal my life at home with each of the kids in order to attempt to preserve these sweet memories. The things my kids say, the things we do together, the fleeting moments we can’t get back. These really are the best days of our lives.

And so, goodbye, 2014! It has been a year of growing and changing. I’m thankful for all of my blessings this year brought, and I’m hopeful for many more blessings to come!

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A letter to my husband

My love:

Last night, you helped me search desperately for a pacifier for our crying baby.  We like to joke about the pacifiers in our house growing two legs and walking away because we can never find one when we need one. I crawled on the floor, trying to peer under the armchair.  I was growing frustrated and I’m sure you could sense it.

You came over, without a word from me, and effortlessly lifted the side of the chair so I could get a better look.  Success.  You cradled our daughter in your arms and stuck the pacifier in her mouth.  Instant calm.  You held her on your chest, laid down on the couch, and drifted to sleep with our baby.  No complaints from you.  This is the stuff I know you live for.

I’ve lost track of how many times this scenario has played out over the years.  You are the calm in our storm of life.  You’re level-headed and steady when I’m past my breaking point. Eight years of marriage and that hasn’t changed.

We met at a concert at the campus I attended and we started dating shortly thereafter.  We were 19 and you were my first real relationship. We spent all of our non-school and non-working hours with each other.  Apart from me getting cold feet a few times while dating, our relationship was strong.  10 months after we started dating, we got married.  A “whirlwind romance” some have said.  I like to think the timing was just perfect.  A little over a year after that we welcomed our first child.  And our family has been growing ever since.

You are a hard worker and provider for our family.  You work diligently at both of your day jobs and come home exhausted. But that doesn’t stop you. You roll up your sleeves and jump right in to this beautiful chaos we call home. You choose to be present with us both physically and mentally. You are such an amazing example for our kids of what a dad and husband should be.

You’ve seen me at my emotional high points, and you’ve seen me at my dark, low points.  You’ve walked with me through post partum depression.  You’ve forgiven me for saying and doing things I know I shouldn’t. You’ve reasoned with me when I was unreasonable. You’ve loved me when I didn’t seem lovable.

You’ve sat up with me late at night, whether I was nursing a baby or awake with my own thoughts.  You’ve literally seen my body morph and change during and after pregnancy, and still call me beautiful. You’ve held my hand during six labors, day and night.  You volunteer to get up with the kids at night, and don’t complain about it. You have given me a life far beyond my wildest expectations.

There are days I wonder why you chose me. I’m impatient and selfish and a dozen other things you don’t deserve.  And you love me anyways. Your unconditional love for me is like a fine sand paper, gently wearing away at all my rough edges and flaws. And over time, slowly but surely, your patience and endurance is refining me. I’m growing into the woman you’ve seen all along. Thank you.

To me, you’re the only one I would ever dream of doing life with. You don’t need red carpet, or glitz and glam, or a trophy.  You find your satisfaction and peace in knowing that you make a difference in your kids’ lives; in my life. You aren’t perfect, nor do you pretend to be. You are human.  And I love you just the way you are. Imperfections included.

You’ve dreamed with me,
laughed with me,
and grown up with me.

I can’t wait to see what this new year brings.

I love you morer,
Deanne

You might have a large family if…

Just a quick, fun post today! 🙂 Enjoy!

You might have a large family if…

toothbrushes

Your toothbrushes are color-coded.

You buy a “family size” bag of cereal and it only lasts you one day.

You have enough clothing in your closets to clothe a small nation.

You have to check out two rooms at hotels in order to stay under their per-room capacity limits.

You can’t spend less than $30 when going out to eat, even at McDonalds.

You only go out to eat at certain restaurants on nights when kids eat free.

You use three cans of “family size” condensed soup for one meal.

You realize that your family is too big for most things “family size”.

You have more kids than almost anyone you personally know.

Your kids always have someone to play with.

You debate buying a dairy cow because of how much milk you go through in one month.

You traded in your mini-van for a 15 passenger van, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

You don’t remember the last time you haven’t had a child in diapers.

You buy memberships at museums and zoos instead of a ticket per person because it is cheaper that way.

Your older kids “fight” over who gets to hold the baby next.

You pack more things for an overnight trip than most families pack for a week-long vacation.

You have multiple sets of bunk-beds.

You have a pile of shoes in all colors and sizes by your front door.

You can’t get behind on laundry or you will never catch back up.

You group your kids into two groups: the big kids and the little kids.

Your kids are used to stares, questions and comments by strangers when out in public.

You never have enough lines when filling out forms requiring you to list dependents.

You take advantage of group discount days.

You have been compared to the Duggar family.

You and/or your spouse have/has a difficult time remembering the birthdates of your children. (It’s actually kind of entertaining watching my husband try. 😉 )

Your toyroom looks like a hodge-podge toy store for boys and girls of all ages.

You have to start getting ready to leave an hour before you need to be somewhere 10 miles away.

You can’t imagine life any other way. ❤