We did it!  We survived Elliot’s first year on planet Earth.  More importantly, HE survived it!  It’s hard to find the sum of all the wonderful, trying and super sappy emotional moments that made this year what it was, but here’s my honest take on the whole parenthood club. (disclaimer:  I’ve only been a parent for 366 days, so I still have a LOT to learn)

newborn Elliot

1.  No matter how much you plan and prepare, you’re still not ready…not even remotely for what that tiny bundle of joy brings to your life.  One day I mentioned to Nick “it’s hard to imagine the life we had before E ” and his response was “No, it’s not, it was CLEAN”…so very, very true.

2.  There’s something to be grateful for at every stage (or at least you better think of that way so you don’t completely lose your mind while sleep deprived)  For example, newborns sleep and snuggle all the time, but when they cry, you have no freaking clue what’s making them upset.  By the time they reach 6 months old, you have a pretty good idea what’s wrong when they cry, but they’re mobile and that’s a whole other can of worms…just practice gratitude and remember that these moments are so fleeting…so very very fleeting…moving onto number 3 because I feel the sappy coming on…

3.  Breastfeeding is an art.  I’ve never been so frustrated in all my life.  If cows and giraffes and every other mammal on the planet just latches naturally, what the heck is wrong with humans?!?!  It took us a good 6 weeks to get the hang of things, was totally worth it in the end, but it was NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING like what I thought it would be.

4. You’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t…and now that you’re a parent, you’ll probably feel this way for your ENTIRE LIFE.  Everything you read on vaccination, peanut butter, and solid foods is conflicting.  I half-way blame the internet for all the information / misinformation / mass confusion that surrounds these decisions.  Things must have been WAY easier for previous generations.

5.  Safety = $$$ BIG $$$  I’m willing to bet my parents rarely had me buckled in the backseat, in fact I was probably in the front seat, front facing, without any type of restraint.  (Do school buses have seat belts yet?)  Granted we’ve come a long way in the 30 something years since I was born, but I had no idea how fast I could drop coin on safety features.  Extra cushion for side-impact, count us in!

6.  You have a whole new appreciation for your parents.  Cliche, I know, but here’s when it clicked for me…

B Jellie Preview

While, making jellyfish out of paper lanterns for his first birthday, I snapped this expression of “awe.”  I sent the photo to my dear mother-in-law and her response was “feels great when you get it right.”  How many times did my parents think they were getting it “right” and I told them they had it all “wrong?”  Gotta wrap this post up before the waterworks turn on…

First Birthday Smash Cake

Sweet boy, where did the time go?

 

Looking Back at 2011

December 31, 2011

I spent the greater portion of the year finding my niche (unexpectedly) in the wedding industry.  It started with a few brides and quickly snowballed into a full blown line of wedding paper-goods…most of which have yet to make it to my wedding section…(goal for 2012)

officiating wedding

Speaking of weddings, I officiated one!  (Thank you Val & Pat for a once in a lifetime honor – love, Officiant-O!)

aj and liz engaged

Love, there was just so much of it! Alan Jr., aka Brosef, proposed to sweet Elizabeth…finally, a sister for me!

Transitioning our sweet Lee Anne from life at home into a nursing facility was by far most challenging obstacle of 2011.  I have a long way to go accepting what HD has done to our family, but I can honestly say, that we have felt God’s Grace throughout the process.  To all of you who have taken the time to write letters, send family photos and care packages, and pay visits, you have no idea how much it means to all of us.  It warms my heart to walk into her room and see just how loved she is.

In other news, my baking skills have certainly improved since the first of the year.

I even learned to make Granny’s Famous Cherry Pie…

It took me 31 years to catch it, but I officially have Baby Fever.

I found time to hang family photos down the hallway, and it makes me smile every day when I walk by them.

Mom taught me how to Tie Dye, though I’m still pondering how I will find use for this technique in 2012.

We fed buffalo.  The herd of 30 arrived in McIntosh County in 2011, talk of the town!

Mom’s face here = priceless!

nick and i blackhawks game

We capped off the year with trip to Chicago for Christmas.  Tonight, we’ll keep it low key.  Just the two of us, our pups and a fire in the backyard.  A little peace before the firestorm that is 2012 arrives with all it’s surprises.

Best wishes to you all for a warm and wonderful New Year!