While it’s always the intent to blog my recap of the year BEFORE we ring in the new year, it never happens.  And that’s okay.  For the most part, the past two weeks have been spent:
a) Being sick. Boone and Crew got the stomach bug the Monday before Christmas within 30 minutes of each other, Geoff came down with it on Christmas Eve, and I rounded it out getting it on Christmas Day.  Obviously, getting sick is inver ideal, we were grateful that we didn’t get it at the same time so we could take care of each other, that it didn’t happen during a really busy time or on a wedding day and that it came and went quickly.  
b) Potty training.  Man, oh man.  Today, thank goodness, has been a “win” day so far.  Yesterday, I was needing someone to talk me off the ledge.  Potty training this boy has been quite the trying experience.  
Anyway, moving on.  :)  Our two-thousand thirteen recap.  I decided to do this year’s recap a little different than previous years…split it up by personal/business and by highlights/challenges.  Let’s dig in.  
We purposefully took a lot of time off from our business this year so we could best embrace this season of our lives with two little people to love and care for.  I look back so fondly not only at all of the fun outings/activities we got to do together as a family this year, but at the everyday, “mundane” moments as well.  
In 2013, we made snoopy pancake waffles together, we read books, we watched “Free Willy” and “Polar Express” more times than we could count.  We brought our sweet baby girl home from the hospital and played in the snow. 
YearInReviewFamMoments_0003.jpgWe potty trained Boone….twice (try #2 has been much more successful).  We fought hard, but laughed harder.  We forgave each other.  We cuddled on the couch, we chased fireflies in the front yard, we made a mess of the dining room decorating sugar cookies.  We saw Boone off for his first day of “school” (waving and calling to me as he walked to the car, “have a great day, Mama!”).  
YearInReviewFamMoments_0005.jpgWe made homemade lattes.  A lot of homemade lattes.  We rocked our babies to sleep…and we woke with them before the sun rose.  We trick-or-treated with sweet neighbors, we ate Cheesecake Factory takeout on the front porch on warm nights and we celebrated Geoff’s 30th birthday with his favorite batch of brownies.
YearInReviewFamMoments_0006.jpgWe rode the train for uptown adventures and we went apple picking and ate cider donuts.  We watched Boone lose his mind at the mere sight of “Thomas” at Tweetsie.  We beat the storm to the airport to watch the planes take off and land.  
YearInReviewFamOutings_0001.jpgWe road-tripped to Savannah twice, flew to California to visit family and shared a cabin in the mountains of Boone, NC.  We had date-night on the rooftop of a parking garage at dusk with good conversation, cups of Starbucks and a great view of the skyline.  We laughed until it hurt when we rode through Lazy 5 ranch to see the animals.
Joy.  Just so much joy.  
Of course, as much as we might want it to be, life isn’t always puppies and sunshine.  While we do feel that we came on on top and had more to put on our highlight reel than we did on our list of challenges, we still went through some really difficult times in 2013.
New Baby Struggles.  The delivery recovery, the feeding issues, the bouts of mastitis, the sleep deprivation, the “coming to grips with a changed body” reality, the hospital bills.  Yikes.  Tough stuff.
Adjusting To Two.  Caring for a newborn and a toddler simultaneously was most difficult in the beginning, but of course, it got more manageable all the time.  A couple of months before we had Crew, someone with two kids of his own told us that – especially in the beginning – it would feel like Geoff and I each had our own child.  He was so right.  Being that I was Crew’s primary food source, I naturally cared for her needs the most.  One of the hardest things for both Geoff and I was feeling emotionally connected to the other child – for me, it was Boone; for Geoff, it was Crew.  I can remember the feeling of realizing that Boone was beginning to prefer Daddy over me.  While, of course, I was beyond grateful that he has a Daddy that is amazing to him, it still hurt my heart.  I still struggle with how to show them equal attention.
Downtime.  Carving out and prioritizing downtime for Geoff and I individually and together became more and more difficult as the demands of the year wore on – especially once we picked up at full speed with the business again.  After getting the kids down to bed around 8pm, we would head straight downstairs to the office to knock out as much work as we could…day after day after day after day.  This brought fatigue, burn out, a lack of connection, irritability and guilt.  Something really has to change here.  It really does.
Finances.  Just being real here.  While the decision to take time off from the business was healthy from the perspective of our family life, it didn’t do our pocketbook any favors….especially in the wake of a down payment for our home, hospital bills for Crew’s delivery and unexpectedly having to buy a new car.  6+ months with no income that we normally counted on left us nearly (like, REALLY nearly) in the red at the end of my maternity leave.  It was stressful, yet a blessing.  Our vulnerability led us straight to God and a greater reliance on His provision.      
I have to say, getting real with these challenges is going to be super helpful as we make a plan for our 2014 priorities.