Saturday, January 7, 2017

Joy comes in the Morning- 2016

I always love to do an end of the year post.  I usually spend about an hour re-reading each post of mine from the year, savoring each moment and special occasion that we have experienced throughout the year. This year I did the same, by the end of my reminiscing, I was had tears streaming down my face. What a year. What a hard year. What a year of worry, unknowns, fear, loss and devastation. But tucked deep beneath those tough times were times of growth, times of learning and even times of laughter. This is not a year that I will remember as one of our best, but I will definitely remember it as one of tremendous trials that produced tremendous testimonies. Testimonies that speak of God's goodness, His provision and most of all His grace. This year brought us to our knees time and time again.  So often I felt bruised and battered by the beatings that this year seemed to continue to bring our way, but never before have I had to cling to Him with such force.  Having walked through trials we never could have dreamed of, has forced us back to the foundation of what we believe and that being that no matter what...we will trust in God's ways. We may cry out to Him in pain, questioning His reasoning but we will not ever turn away. When we are weak...He alone is strong. We may have been knocked down repeatedly but we are far, far from out. We are not alone in a year of hardships. Our family and friends have also been battered but shown nothing but resilience and strength. I've seen unshakable strength from both my parents and my in-laws. I've witnessed first hand the devastation of losing everything, a lifetime of memories but not once losing hope. Our parents have both set the standard for what it looks like to walk through deep waters (pun intended) and come out on the other side with dignity and strength.

The beginning of last year started off really rough. I was about 15 weeks pregnant and had received news that two rounds of bloodwork came back abnormal. I also had noticed a large knot in my breast that was alarming. Both of these factors together caused us to panic.  Thankfully, things all turned out okay and some weekly shots helped to get my bloodwork back in order.

In February we had the blessing of learning that our sweet baby was a boy!  It was so fun having all of our family there to share in the announcement. Aubrey was a tiny bit disappointed, but I have no doubt she wouldn't even think twice about preferring Baylor over a sister now. Also my sweet Bre got to go on a daddy daughter date with Papa D, this was extremely special for my dad as well as for Bre. This night will be one that goes down in history as one of Papa D's favorite nights for sure. 

In March we celebrated Weston's 2nd birthday at Chuck E Cheese.  His birthday is actually the end of December but after Christmas festivities, it's always too much to try and squeeze a party in.  It was nice to wait a few months before celebrating his big day.  We also gave our sweet Lexie away in March and it was one of the best decisions we ever made!  We miss her dearly but know she is in a much better family who can give her lots of attention!

In April we took our annual "Moots only" beach trip.  This trip is always one of my favorites because it is so nice to not have any agenda or itinerary but to just relax and enjoy our family. This year we had to go a little early, so it was colder than we would have preferred, but overall we had a great time. 

In May we learned that our precious Bay Bay was not growing properly in my belly and I was told he had IUGR.  We began seeing Maternal Fetal Medicine on a weekly basis and really monitoring Baylor's weight and progress. We learned at those visits that my umbilical cord was abnormal and not functioning at the 100%.  This was very alarming for us and I was very fearful for Baylor.  I kept being told to just monitor his movement, but I could never actually feel him move. Those weeks were extremely unsettling for me.  

In June Aubrey had her 2nd dance recital and she totally rocked that stage!  She is such a performer and it was so fun to watch her light up with such confidence and beauty.

Just three days after Bre's recital, I was unexpectedly admitted to the hospital because Baylor was deteriorating.  At 34 weeks, I was rushed back for an emergency C-section.  Our sweet angel was born at just 4 pounds and very sick.  Baylor spent 21 days in the NICU and those days were by far the hardest of our lives. Having a sick child was not something we had ever experienced, and I was so torn between wanting to be at the hospital with him, but needing to be home with my other two as well.  It was such a heartbreaking time for me and I remember feeling so robbed of Baylor's birth and first days of his life. I sobbed the first time I learned that they had given him a bath and I wasn't even there to be a part of it.  All those little "firsts" you take for granted were taken from me.  However, God has totally given me back those lost moments because I've gotten to have a newborn for literally 6 months. Baylor is so tiny and snuggley and just precious.  He has no desire to crawl or move around, but rather is just content to lay in my arms. I feel like God has given ten times more time and special bonding moments with Baylor.  

July is somewhat of a blur just because we spent so much time in the hospital and then bringing Baylor home. Settling into a routine with three was an adjustment but also very exciting for our family. Baylor has brought such a peace to me as a mommy and we are all so blessed by him each in individual ways. The NICU seemed like such a tragedy, but really as I look back on those weeks, I see such great memories. We had so many moments of getting to visit, one on one with family members and friends, that it actually brought us closer to many loved ones. Such sweet, intimate moments were spent in that tiny room, great conversations, prayers and even laughter came out of many special visits. It's in those valleys that others are able to lift you up, carry you through and bless you in mighty ways. We will forever be thankful for the lessons learned throughout those NICU days. Most of all we are in awe of the miracle that is our Baylor. He is a complete medical marvel and his survival and success are nothing but an absolute miracle. 

Just when we thought things were looking up and turning around, August decided to rear its ugly head. The rains began to pour that Thursday and by Sunday almost our entire city was completely underwater. Homes ruined, lifetime of memories destroyed and lives completely turned upside down. I remember packing my 4, 2 and 7 week old in my dad's truck and just hoping that we could make it to safety.  Driving that drive to my parent's house...I just knew things would never be the same. But just like the days we spent with Baylor in the hospital, there was beauty to be found from the wreckage.  The pain and suffering would lend way to restoration and hope.  There would be many great things to come from the troubled waters...most of all the recognition that nothing really matters in this world but relationships.  All things will ultimately be lost but love will remain.  My parents and in laws have walked a very hard road in losing everything, but they have been amazing and such an inspiration.  We have such respect and admiration for their strength and joy that they have shown throughout this tragedy. 

September brought about first days of school and some were more excited than others!  My sweet Weston started school for the first time and he was such a trooper.  He struggled at first but he has done great in getting adjusted.  

In October we celebrated Bre turning 5 years old!  How on earth is my baby a whole hand now? Makes me sad, yet I absolutely love her being a little older and more mature.  She is a huge help to me and I just love having a little girl to do girly things with.

In November and December we enjoyed Thankgiving and Christmas with our families and even wrapped up the year by celebrating our sweet Weston's 3rd birthday.  Our kids are growing so fast that it is vital we stop and party it up with these little cuties. Christian was out of school for the entire month of December and it was amazing to have him home and able to just spend time together as a family.  He has ONE YEAR...11 months to be exact left of Nurse Practitioner school and we are just elated that it is almost over. Walking through these tough months, while in school full time, has not been easy and honestly we have almost thrown the towel in twice...but ultimately C hung in there and the end is in sight!!!  

As this year comes to a close, even though the difficult times were present at times, the year was over and abundantly filled with wonderful moments. Moments that have taken our breaths away and will forever be etched in our memory.  Moments that brought us to our knees, but also brought us to a place of healing, peace and ultimately joy.  I'm reminded of the verse, and I think it so beautifully fits this year's theme...For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may endure for a night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning. I am so thankful for His favor...He alone is the reason we can stand and proclaim the goodness of this year.  He has brought us through it all and made us much stronger in the process. I said it earlier but its truth is profound, 2016 had many trials but those trials gave way to many amazing testimonies...testimonies that will shape our future and be stepping stones for great things that lie ahead. 2017 will be a year of rebuilding and growth...I can't wait to see the beauty that comes in the days ahead.