January 2013: It was a rough start to the year with ear infections, fevers and colds for everyone. I turned 33 and had a difficult birthday, one that started with burnt pancakes (that little episode, now that it is over, is one we laugh about often) but ended with lobster. I wish I could say this was a representation of our entire year, but sadly it really wasn't. By the end of the month I found myself in a funk.
February 2013: The month started with a Girls Winter Amish Trip; a much needed day in the country, which always has a positive affect on my mood. We celebrated Valentine's Day with homemade Deer Valentines and our traditional strawberry waffles (breakfast) and seafood Alfredo (dinner). The remainder of the month we stuck close to home and got out to enjoy the snow.
March 2013: Nolan turned 10 months in March and this age remains vivid in my mind, it was the month he became One of Them. We celebrated St. Patrick's Day and although we didn't get that sneaky leprechaun this year, we found his tracks. We ended the month with a delightful Easter celebration.
April 2013: Darn it, it looks like the month started with another funk. I knew I battled anxiety and depression a lot in 2013 but I guess it was even more than I remembered. Although not mentioned yet, we also battled a lot of sickness in the beginning months of 2013. We tried "spring cleaning our lives" but I'd say we still have a lot of work to do to really get everything in order.
May 2013: Ugh. May might have been the most difficult month of the year....ehhh, no, that was probably November, but May gave it a run for its money. I was really struggling in May, mostly because of work. I was working, almost literally, non-stop. Evenings, weekends, staying up ALL NIGHT just to hit deadlines. This month was the catalyst that is driving all of our plans for our (near and far) future. But the month did not come without highlights: Nolan turned one (his birthday post is YET to be written!) and we celebrated with a Cinco de Mayo themed party. Collin turned 33. We got to spend an entire weekend just Mama and Baby. And, the weather was getting nicer.
June 2013: Ahhh, June. We were so happy to see you. The majority of my work deadlines were ending and Keaton was officially done with Preschool. Summer Break! This was our first year with a child in a school setting and the break was much needed by all of us. However, it also intensified my May longings to be home with my children. The boys started swimming lessons and Keaton also started a T-ball class through the YMCA. Our schedules were a different kind of busy and while that was good, it took us all quite a while to adjust to the change. Hutton turned three (his birthday post is also yet to be written) and we celebrated with a Farm themed party. Other highlights included the weekend mud bath , Breakfast on the Farm, and the return of our Saturday morning trips to the Farmer's Market.
July 2013: The Fourth of July holiday took us north for our one and only summer trip to the cabin where we watched the parade, saw fireworks, did some fishing and hung out with family. We spent the hot summer days with the sprinklers and slip-n-slide and took a trip with the boys' cousins to the splash pad. In the early evenings, when the sun was going down, we took many, many, many walks on our Nature Trails.
August 2013: August was quite possibly the highlight of the entire year. On the 13th Collin and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately we all got pretty sick with summer colds but that was completely overshadowed by our family vacation to Mackinac City. A week away, on the lake, with friends was exactly what each and every one of us needed. It was our most favorite family vacation to date. If I could I'd pack up, call Em and Drew, and do it all over again right. this. second.
September 2013: I didn't talk a lot about what was going on in our family in September but it was a month of highs and lows and a whole lot of change. The boys headed back to school at the beginning of the month; Keaton in 4-K and Hutton in Preschool. Keaton had no problems at all and even rode the bus for the very first time without any tears. Hutton had a more difficult start to the school year. At the same time Collin made the very difficult decision to accept a new job with a local company. It meant working full-time for someone else and leaving the family business. Just typing these words brings tears to my eyes. When we made the decision to move up here years and years ago it was specifically so Collin could go to work with his Dad. We both hope that someday he will be able to return to the business full time and for now he will work as much as he can in his off hours to help. A couple of days after he accepted this position we received, quite out of the blue, an offer on a real estate investment we made several years ago -one that has caused us much heartache. We felt on top of the world. But then the start-date to Collin's job got pushed back and pushed back again and the closing on the spec was delayed. A month of highs and lows.....
October 2013: October was a really tough month. We did our typical October things: celebrating Halloween with a a trip to the pumpkin patch, pumpkin carving and trick-or-treating. We took a weekend trip to the cabin and, unfortunately, endured our first round of sickness for the season. But what October will be remembered mostly for was the closing of the spec. It was a huge, huge, HUGE blessing. I try hard every single day to remember this. Our financial bleeding has finally, Praise the Lord Jesus!, stopped. But it's easy to live in denial when you're in the middle of a crisis. The sale of the spec meant we had to face the reality of where it left us. That was not as easy, at least for me. This was the beginning of a very severe downward spiral for me, emotionally speaking.
November 2013: In November I posted only three times, one of them being this. I spent the entire month struggling with depression. We had Thanksgiving at our house and I tried to put on a happy face but at one point retired to my room, alone, to cry. But despite this very difficult month the things that stick out to me are the phone calls from friends, the emails and messages, the people who told me listen, I'm here for you - you can talk, you can cry, you can vent, whatever, I'll listen. And those that said, I'm not exactly sure what's going on, but I'm thinking about you, praying for you. These people lifted me up and I will be forever grateful.
December 2013: One of the things Collin kept saying to me as we were struggling through October and November is: at least this will all be over for the holidays. While I was at the bottom of the hole it was hard to see this but, of course, he was right. The fog began to lift a bit at the beginning of the month and we enjoyed our St. Nicholas celebration, the first snow, and seeing Santa. We made it through the second anniversary of the fire and by the time Christmas rolled around things all around felt a million times better. We celebrated Christmas Eve at Papa & Busha's with Auntie Cas and Uncle Ben and had a quiet Christmas Day at home. We searched high and low for Chinese take-out and settled for gas station frozen pizza for our Christmas dinner - we're still a bit bummed about the lack of open Chinese restaurants, but that's okay. The following Saturday we had a small Hunting birthday party for Keaton and that night we headed north to the cabin for Christmas with Mimi and Papa Grizz, Uncle Buck, Auntie Kira, and J & H. We spent an afternoon walking across the frozen lake, Collin and I watched the Packers/Bears game at a bar with my Dad (sorry Dad, that's was probably rough, huh?) and ate cake for breakfast on Monday as Keaton turned five.
We didn't officially ring in the New Year - Collin and I went to bed with the boys at 9 pm that night, but maybe that's better, no hurrah, let's just close the door on her quietly. Unfortunately it wasn't a year of burnt pancakes to lobsters; it was more a year of burnt pancakes and then some more burnt pancakes, but we ended with frozen pizza and that is definitely a step in the right direction. Although our troubles of this year are still somewhat lingering, I'm already able to identify the blessings in them. We have a vision for our future today that we did not have a year ago and while I still envision a long road to get there, as a family we are ready to put one foot in front of the other and move forward.