Chase and I were discussing this past year and we both said, this was just our best year. I hate to classify a best and rate years, but this one was just so good, so changing, so full of love and excitement. I cant help but say - it was a full, wonderful, and yes, our best yet!
In January we made the choice to purchase Disney Passes. At the time we lived so close to Disney, that we knew we would use them often and we did. We had several fun adventures and short, mini vacations scattered through this past year. E grew and changed so much and experiencing the imagination of a child alongside her, brought about many cherished memories. Grammie and Grampie even joined us on several of our trips, which was fun. 4 or more adults chasing around a 2 year old.... Interesting stuff!
In April, the biggest surprise came just one day after a very rough day. We had to put our beloved Pippy down because she was very sick. Surprisingly the next day we got the best, most wonderful, amazing news came when we found out we were expecting again..... I seriously remember that moment as if I were a by-stander watching myself find out this news. I definitely cried tears of joy, ugly tears, but joyful ones. Chase was in shock, happy shock, but it was a total surprise - one we wanted; but we just were unsure if another pregnancy, and a successful one at that, was in our future - and it WAS because December 16th our son was born. His birth was beautiful. In the surgery room, they were playing Christmas music, and "Silent Night" was ringing in our ears when he arrived. I immediately burst into tears of joy again. The Dr. said "You must be very happy today." I replied a response, truly from the Holy Spirit, because I have never worded parenting like this, but it was a truth that came and impacted my heart and I repeat to E and J now often; I said "I just feel so privileged to be his mom." It took many of the people in the room back, including myself, one nurse seemed as if she as never heard a parent say that and I could tell they all were sharing in our joy. Chase was humming "Silent Night" to our son as he held him, it was a perfect moment. A truly perfect moment. A delivery nurse later told Chase how nice it was to see parents who cared and loved so much, just taking in the moment with us. E loves being a big sister and has adjusted very well. We are so proud of her!
To be honest, this was a big year - E and I traveled to OR to visit family and enjoy a beautiful wedding! While there, we made some amazing memories, such as my grandparents being able to be with all their Great-Grandchildren. It was a time that will always stay close my heart and I hope more time with West Coast family will be more frequent in the years to come.
Then, following up the week of vacation, I returned to news that Chase had been offered a job in the Panhandle. He asked if he could accept it, and after talking about it, we decided it was the right move for us, so we could be closer to family. Chases job has been good to him and I also found a new job I love at a local clothing and dress boutique. It all happened very fast, and it was so hard to leave Clearwater and our family there, we still miss it and each person in our lives there. However, we have enjoyed living closer to family and giving E the chance to get to know her grandparents and especially her great-great grandmother (Granny), who lives close by for visits. In fact, one of my favorite memories of the two of them, happened just a month after moving here. She bonded so quickly to her Granny, that when we attended a family wedding here in the area, the second she saw her Granny, E immediately ran up to her and reached over her walker to hug her. Seeing that reminded me the blessing of living close and helping E gather cherished memories of her Granny. Granny turned 95 this year, so we are so grateful to have this time with her.
Other highlights included:
The funnest, best, baby celebration ever in Clearwater.
Joining a new church with our family!!
E starting school and meeting lots of new friends!!! (Her, Chase, and I)
Celebrating E's birthday!
And kinda meeting Santa....
This was a special year. A very special one... And E began to understand how generous and loving the Lord is to send Jesus to earth to be our Savior. I was grateful that she understood that Jesus came, and that was why we celebrated Christmas. She has begun to learn scripture verses and loves reading. Chase and I truly are privileged to be parents to E and now J. I am grateful, celebrating a gracious, loving year given from our Lord!
All our love,
Chase, Rebecca, Elizabeth and Jackson