Happy New Year, friends!
The New Year represents to me not just a fresh start, but one more legitimate chance to give the family update that other people seem to get done before Christmas. I suspect in the future I could be the one credited with starting the tradition of sending out a Family Newsletter for Valentines Day. Why not?
2014 was a big year for our family. Although we officially moved from NY to Alabama in November of 2013, anyone who’s moved cross country knows how long it can take to process and find a new normal after that kind of transition. So 2014 still feels like the year we moved, the year we adjusted to having a new baby in the home (who is now 14 months old!) and the year we learned to be Alabamians.
I credit my immigrant grandparent’s blood and God’s grace for our ability to adjust to and fall in love with Alabama as quickly as we have. Yes, it helped that we’d spent the two previous summers camped here in our bus, but you haven’t truly experienced a place till you’ve lived a full calendar year, and now that we have, I feel I can truly say–we love it here.
We loved our first winter–complete with mild days, way more sun than we knew existed in January, and a surprise snowfall that helped us not miss NY so much. We missed Daddy a bit, as he went back up to NY to fulfill his responsibilities as a ski instructor for a 6 week season, but made it through with the support of family close by and good friends in our new church.
hiking in the Talledega National Forest
Jesse harvesting some Alabama snow
Your Favorite Posts from Winter: The Art of Unblogging, Frequently Asked Questions About Oil Pulling, Back to Writing for Writing’s Sake, Why I’m Quitting the Facebook Game (And You Should, Too)
We loved our first spring–which came sooner than we were used to, but left us exhilarated with all the opportunities for fresh air and sunshine and exploring our new state. When Mommy and Daddy finally finished the new book, we celebrated with a family adventure to our favorite spot in Alabama–Cheaha Mountain, where you can hike, swim, and cliff jump all in one day.
discovering local made popsicles
a family hike to the highest point in Alabama
Jeremy and I cliff jumping
We loved the summers–swimming every. single. day. Both in our little puddle pool, and a friend’s large in-ground where all the children made significant progress in their swimming abilities. (Jesse rocks the Deep End now and Claire finally relinquished her floaty–some of the time.)
We enjoyed a nicely timed trip North in the peak of the heat to attend two weddings. It was a blast visiting all our friends in New York–we camped or made use of guest rooms at 7 different locations in 2 weeks and got to spend precious time with so many dear friends. It was this extrovert’s dream vacation–and entire trip centered around connecting with people!
swimming with friends
Seth Franklin turned 4 in August
Jesse turned 8 in September and we had his birthday dinner outside with some friends
Your Favorite Posts from Summer: Books I Read While Writing a Book, Where Two or More (Why Everyone Needs Discipleship), Thriving in Survival Mode, For Those With No Natural Talent For Rest.
And we loved the fall–the heat finally abating, we enjoyed even more time outdoors and finally completed our giant porch project. Jeremy and I took a quick trip to NC to help with another wedding while the kids stayed with friends and grandparents.
We attended our first Reformation Day Celebration and dressed in full Medieval costume, since that was the time period we were studying in homeschool.
Then we had the pleasure of welcoming Jeremy’s grandparents to the neighborhood when they moved into a cute little home in the trailer park to spend the winter. The kids are delighted to have their great-grandparents just down the street!
weaving on the porch
Lydia turned 1 in October
Little Medieval Children
Big Sister Claire turned 7 in November
Your Favorite Posts from Fall: Lydia’s Birth Story, The Best Way to Boost our Kids’ Immune Systems, How to Make Vanilla Extract, The Myth of the Perfect Gift and What We All Really Want for Christmas.
There was much to celebrate at Christmas when all of Jeremy’s siblings were able to “come home for Christmas” to his parents home in the park. All but one brother-in-law made it of the Holden Clan and we had a blast trying to pull off a 20-person family photo shoot.
6 of the 11 cousins
Lydia, and Jeremy with Cousin Jimmy and the newest Holden cousin, baby Trudy
Jeremy and I enjoyed our 10th Christmas together!
I’m grateful for a chance to reflect over the highlights of the year because the fact is, it was a hard year. I faced physical challenges like I never had before, spending most of the year in a fog of sleep deprivation and limiting back pain. Our finances were still recovering from the move, so many moments were spent pinching pennies and working long hours to increase our income. There were a lot of times when I asked myself if we would ever make it out of Survival Mode, or if this was the new normal.
But looking back over the year I realized that despite the challenges, the Lord has allowed us seasons of growth, many moments of joy, and the chance to taste and see that He is good. And I know that His mercy extends into the New Year, so we have reason to celebrate.
If you read the blog, left a comment, shared a post or bought a book this year, we count you as one of our blessings! Thank you! We’re so glad you’ve joined us and hope you’ll stick around–we’ve got big stuff planned for 2015!