Happy New Year, dearest family & friends! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas & are going into the New Year joyful & well rested.
Life seems to pass faster than I can blink lately. I know the days are supposed to be long and the years short, but it all feels fast to me most days. Except for the 30 minutes prior to kids’ bedtime… that one half-hour feels like 3. The highlight of 2016 was meeting Elliot James, who arrived 3 weeks early, much to this tired-of-being-pregnant-momma’s delight. The 2 days with just our newborn in the hospital felt like a vacation, with the food and narcotics services. I asked if we could stay longer, but they kicked us out after 48 hours. We quickly adjusted to life as a family of 5… sink or swim, right?
Elliot is quite possibly the happiest baby on the planet, though he is still startled by loud noises, an odd and unfortunate characteristic for a child with 2 older (loud) siblings. His worst days this winter were watching Husker games with Ben’s side of our family. Every time an enthusiastic fan shouted or cheered, Elliot would burst into tears.
Emma is a sweet, 2.5 year old goofball with a lisp. She loves, “Baby Eh-wee-it,” and has taken nicely to being a big sister. She’s very much a daddy’s girl, and also quite independent. A true middle child, she basically goes with the flow, loves to make people laugh, and wants to do everything her big sister does.
Addie started preschool 2 mornings a week this year, and her type-A-first-born-girly-self thrives in the structured learning environment. Besides adoring her teacher and friends, her 3 favorite times of the morning are snack time, kitchen time, and play time… in that order. She also enjoys discussing theology in her free time.
Addie: Can you play with me mom?
Me: When I’m done feeding Elliot.
Addie: I see… Baby’s gotta do what a baby’s gotta do.
Me: Where’d you hear that?
The other day we overheard her tell Emma, “If you lie to God, Jesus will put you in a cave.”
Needless to say, she still has some things to sort out.
Ben really enjoys his role as research director at Hudl, a sports-tech company he’s been at for the last couple years. He does something with “deep learning” and “big data,” and that’s basically all I understand. At a combined family birthday celebration for Addie and Ben, we took turns saying our favorite moment from the year with each birthday honoree. My mom said hers was watching Ben be an awesome dad. She hit the nail on the head! He comes home from long work days, greets us cheerfully, and starts his second job as a dad to 3 small children. Between running around and wrestling with the girls, feeding the baby, dinner cleanup, and the bedtime charade, he gets very little downtime for himself ever. He joyfully serves our family well. The picture above says it well – when we went out to lunch on my birthday, he let the kids smother him so I could eat. We had no idea what we were getting into when we got married 6 1/2 years ago, but I’m glad I married him!
I continue to spend the bulk of my time and energy with our littles at home, and have learned to enjoy it as the immense privilege that it is. If I have extra time and mental capacity, I write on my blog about babies, budgeting, and grace (tunemyheartblog.com). It seems most of our days are spent very simply – memory match, library trips, play dates, laundry, eating, cleaning up from eating, spills, and other bodily fluids. Yet, through the mundane and monotonous, God has taught me that life is not about achievement, accomplishment or accolade. That He loves me because He made me. I pray that in 2017, you would experience His inexhaustible love. That if you don’t already know that you know that you know that He loves you, that you would ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a personal and meaningful way.
Love and grace to you all!
And Happy New Year
-Renee, Ben, Addie, Emma & Elliot
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