I did not grow up with any sisters, so a sisterly relationship is a bit of a mystery to me, yet one I am navigating daily. One of my greatest hopes for my girls is that their relationship with each other will grow and deepen as life grows and deepens.
One day I hope and imagine my girls gathering together, reminiscing over past family stories, possibly sharing with their spouses or children. They will be crying because they are laughing so hard at a memory or arguing over the exact detail of a story. They will head to mom’s blog to look at that picture of Esperanza, or read the story of Rose, laugh at V’s silly faces or recall the time dad did what?! Overall, it is a hope that they will not only look back upon the memories they had as sisters, but a reminder to them as they continue to build new memories as sisters, family, and more!
Several years ago, the huzband took the first year of my blog and put it into book form (a coffee table type book). It is a gift I treasure and look forward to sharing with my girls over the years (once they are past the years of wanting to rip the pages). In order for them to be able to sit down together and share these moments, I have to actually write them down! So here is to 2018, all the ups, downs, in between and unexpected! A good ol’ year in review…
I must add a disclaimer that some time in November, my phone crashed on me. Full blown, got stuck on a white screen, wouldn’t turn off, wouldn’t turn on, kind of crash. I had, mmmmm, maybe 7,000 pictures on my phone, plus all the usual notes, phone numbers and more, which I am sad to admit was not backed up! Therefore, I have to scrounge around for pictures. Excuse me while I go lick my wounds once again as I am reminded of my foolishness of not backing up my phone!!!
I think every time I write a year in review, my January’s always start the same. I don’t really remember what happened!! That was twelve whole months ago, 330 plus days, and I only have so much brain space to remember things! However, it is one of the few months I have pictures from my phone!
And some of those pictures include our local Blockbuster, probably the last in the country, which closed down and of course we had to document our last visit there!
I do know that January was a countdown to….
On the 4th of February, my little tribe of five climbed aboard an airplane, traveled by way of New York, with the final destination of Antigua. This family trip was a “years in the making” kind of trip. There was an idea, that blossomed into a dream, that became a possibility, that we worked to make a reality and were now embarking on the very adventure that had started with a “what if”. The huzband took some time off of work with the intention to get away as a family. Therefore, we spent two wonderful weeks on the beautiful island of Antigua! (He took almost a month off of work.) We invited my parents to join us during our time there, to build memories with their grandkids and perhaps provide a few date nights for the huzband and myself.
What can I say about this time but that any opportunity we have to spend time as a family and build memories, whether on a beautiful sun filled island or in the backyard kicking around the soccer ball, it is time spent well! Thinking of my childhood and the memories that stand out, some were incredible trips to unusual locations (like Sweden) and some were my dad showing up unexpectedly to my high school basketball game or my mom putting aside all her work when I walked into her office and sat down to talk, giving me her undivided attention.
We ended our trip with a stop over in NY/NJ visiting family as well as some good, long time friends in Long Island.
It is always good to come home after time away; there is the comfort of the familiar and the settling back into life as you know it. We were home and it felt good; though V had a lot of catch up homework she may not have been thrilled about! The only sad part of settling back into life as we knew it was the return of the huzband back to work. We loved having him with us.
During this month, a small group of women snowshoed out to a friends cabin in the Alaskan wilderness. It was challenging, wonderful, and as always, more beautiful than one can imagine. This was my fourth time out to our friend Mike’s cabin, second time during winter, first time with snowshoe’s. And in case you are unfamiliar with snowshoe’s, using them IS NOT a walk in the park!!
April kicked off with our church’s women’s retreat. This year’s theme was “Hungry”, with all in house teachers, one of them being yours truly. (Insert freak out, what did I get myself into, face!)
It was such an honor to be invited to share to this group of incredible, beautiful, amazing, real and vulnerable group of Alaskan women!! My heart’s desire was for Jesus to shine and I think anyone who attended can agree, Jesus shined so very bright that weekend!
Yet, I just have to throw out there, when I say yes to something, I recognize my yes’s have a cost. This season, of women’s bible study and retreat, required more from me than normal, in ways that stretched, challenged and grew me, and my family was supportive. I’m not just talking about the simple dinners, lack of clean clothes or a dirty house, that is a part of it. However, the time and energy things can take, how my body was present but my mind was elsewhere, or just plane tired, carving time to study, pray, prepare, meet, etc. As well, there were several who chipped in to help with the girls, have them over so I can attend meetings or carve a couple hours to prepare and mostly, the huzband who not only cared for the girls, but urged me on and pointed me in the right direction as I shared my ideas, insecurities, read, re read, and re read some more all my notes! It is a team effort and I am so grateful for the community that surrounded myself, and the other women who spoke, in the months, weeks and days leading to the women’s retreat!
Also, just gonna throw in there that I submitted our taxes on time, and to my knowledge, with no mistakes! THIS is always worth celebrating! Can I get an AMEN?!!!
With May brought one year of living in “la casa Alaska” and the completion of a few home projects (barn doors, a dining room table and bookshelves, though the bookshelves came later in the year.) It also brought the celebration of the huzband and I’s thirteenth wedding anniversary and the end of another school year for V (the very last year of elementary school)! WHAT!!
It also marks five years we have been living in the Last Frontier; five crazy, beautiful, challenging, growing, (and so much more) years that our little family is so very grateful for! Since arriving at Church on the Rock, the huzband’s job has taken many forms, from the “media pastor” to the “get it done” guy, the “enforcer” to the “what exactly do you do?”, and even being the emergency succession plan in case anything happened to our Lead Pastor. Ultimately, we are grateful and our heart is just to be where God wants us and where He can shine brightest through us.
As a family we participated in World Vision’s 6K, a global walk/run for clean water. I walked pushing my two littles in the stroller and loved getting to walk with my friend Dawn! The huzband ran (ish) with V. At this point of the year, the weather in Alaska has been warming up enough for the huzband to start training outside and on this particular morning, he had biked something like 60 miles before the 6K. What?!?!?! I know….crazy town.
If you were living under a rock about this time, then let me fill you in! The huzband was in full blown training for an extreme triathlon called the ALASKAMAN. (You can read the full race recap here.) Together, we committed to not only this arduous training for an extreme race, but we also committed to fundraising $41,000 for clean water in Ethiopia! What happened? Well, you will just have to wait till I get to the month of July!
In the meantime, we took a few family trips in our used camper we had purchased over winter so the huzband could train on the actual course and the family could enjoy beautiful Alaska. (Hello run on sentence!) At the end of May, we traveled down to Seward, where his swim would take place in Resurrection Bay, and then up to Alyeska, where his run/mountain climb would take place.
If January was the countdown to our family vacation in Antigua, then June was the countdown to the ever daunting ALASKAMAN!! There were a lot of training runs, hikes, bikes, swims, trips and so much more!! Weekends consisted of 100 mile bike rides where I would load the girls up in the car and go find the huzband out on the road, bringing him food, grabbing his bike when he needed to transition to his run, stopping for ice cream at Miller’s in Houston while we waited for his run to finish (hey, we worked hard man!) and then taking him home. Essentially, our weekends were full of training rides and runs, hours of hard work on the husbands part, and time given up on the girls’ part! But we were proud of him and knew the cause was a worthy one.
During this month, the huzband also became an old man. Just kidding. He turned 41 years old. I would tell you how we celebrated….but I honestly don’t remember. I probably cooked him a steak or something!!
As I mentioned earlier, part of the reason the huzband said yes to the ALASKAMAN (who asked him that anyway?) was to help raise funds for clean water to Ethiopia. There is this incredible family who runs these incredible ice cream shops that serve some incredible ice cream! They had this brilliant idea to create a World Vision cone and half the proceeds from the cones sold that day went towards clean water!! Our hearts were so humbled by this family, especially Kelly, who took the time to create the World Vision cone, and support the huzband’s efforts. More so, our hearts were overwhelmed by all the people in our community that came to purchase a cone in support!! It is something we have both treasured in our hearts and will always be grateful for!! Our girls are especially grateful for the multiple ice creams they got to eat that day!!
to be continued……
should you dare to……
i dare you…..
double dog dare you…..