A Work in Progress (Cheers to One Year)


Our baby girl is one.

All I can say is that we truly just kept putting one foot in front of the other, and somehow we've made it a whole year. More often than not it's felt like we are barely keeping our heads above water, and this particular birthday feels like a celebration of our entire family. WE MADE IT. Not to sound dramatic, but sometimes I wasn't sure.

Four kids is... a lot. I've said for eight years now that the first year after having R and going back to work was the hardest year of my life, but this past year might have passed it as the hardest. They are at least tied, I think.

I'm pretty sure I had (have?) postpartum depression. My hormones have been absolutely bananas this year, and then I started my period a few months ago and have been SO MUCH FUN. Like, just the most chill non-angry person ever for about a week every month. Be my friend.

This year we have also been going through some psychological testing with J for a behavioral issue we've suspected for several years now. That's all I will say about that--not because it's a secret, but because I don't want to share too much about him or his difficulties in an online space. But it's been incredibly challenging to have what feels essentially like a special needs child while trying our best to parent our other two "big kids" and keep a crawling baby from choking on Legos. And have full-time jobs and feed everyone and keep at least our kitchen semi-picked up and not stress too much about how expensive fruit is and and and...

We've struggled a lot this year with our marriage, partly because we don't always agree about how to handle the kids and partly because we are both crazy stubborn and polar opposites when it comes to how we communicate. A few months ago we realized that we really needed to actively try to get back on the same page, and so we decided to revisit something we'd done way back at the beginning of our marriage. 

The first year we got married, we read the book Love and Respect together. We read one chapter a week and spent an hour or so one evening each week discussing the chapter together. It took us 6 months to read it, and we found it so helpful. We are currently reading the book again, a chapter a week and discussion on Sunday evenings. It's been twelve years since we read it last, and I know because I'd written down the dates in the front of the book. It's a very practical, helpful book that I would definitely recommend. It does approach marriage from a traditional, Christian worldview, just FYI.

I'm so thankful for so many things, and I try not to take for granted that we have four healthy, wonderful children. But it's been so hard. Maybe it wouldn't be if Jordan and I were more chill, or our kids were more chill. Maybe if we had a house large enough where no one had to share rooms, or our backyard was big enough for J to be able to kick balls as high or as hard as he wanted and they would never go over the neighbor's fence. 

I've had a hard time this year not feeling like everyone else's life was easier than mine, and I've taken a lot of social media breaks because it was too much seeing pictures of other people's kids playing nicely together or smiling families on vacation or someone's "slow morning" enjoying a homemade foam thing they film themselves pouring into the shape of a flower before their kids wake up. I mean do I have the only children on the planet who don't nap, go full speed all day, take forever to go to sleep, and then wake up at 6am ready to do it all again???? Don't answer that.

We are still very much in the process of exploring a diagnosis for J and trying to better our marriage. We fish Legos and dried up old peas out of G's mouth multiple times a day. We can't figure out how to get F to go to bed and stay there. Yes, we've tried an "ok to wake clock." He cares about it zero percent. And I haven't mentioned R yet, but let's just say I didn't expect 8-year-olds to give me the kind of attitude I expect from a 13-year-old so that's a fun surprise.

Long story short, we are a work in progress. And this past year felt. like. work.

So happy one year, Jordan. We did it. I'm so proud of us.

And happy birthday to you, G. You're one! You're adorable and funny and kind of a superstar everywhere you go for your joyful attitude and sweet smile. You love love love to eat. You only use a paci for naps and bedtime. You go to sleep easily and sleep all night. We made it a whole year of breastfeeding! You crawl everywhere and get into everything. Your favorite room to go in is the hall bathroom. We think you are trying to say some words and will miss your adorable baby babble. You love baths, love your siblings and dad, and most of all love your mama.

I truly believe that you were the bright light we needed to get us through. Jesus picked you just for our family, and I've been thankful every day of the last 365.