This time last year, my husband was standing on a rocky beach in White Rock, waiting to dash into the freezing Pacific Ocean for an annual “Polar Bear Swim.” My family and I stood a few feet away from a swimsuit clad crowd who were busy dancing around, trying to stay warm while waiting for the signal to dive in. A horn sounded without warning and confusion reigned as towels and sweatpants were tossed aside. Leading the way was a tall, red headed, Swede (he prefers to be called Viking Warrior). A couple hundred thrill seekers splashed in after him, paramedics on the standby, and my family giggled from the warmth of our winter coats as everyone scrambled to get back out of the ocean.
The end of a year is an inevitable time of reflection and remembrance. You look forward with anticipation to the start of something new, a fresh beginning. And the truth is, while we set goals and talk about all the things we’re going to accomplish in this new year, we can never truly know what’s ahead. I love the fact that this time last year, I had no idea what huge changes were in store over the course of the next twelve months. While certain events stand out more prominently than others, I wouldn’t change the way that this year unfolded. God is faithful to His promises, faithful to His children. And so, in true, end of the year fashion, here are a few of my favourite 2014 memories.
Most of the year revolved around pregnancy and the birth of our twin boys. Thinking about the beginning of the year brings flashbacks to morning sickness and other “fun” first trimester symptoms. However, one of my favourite pregnancy memories was at 19 weeks. I’d been feeling little flutters of movement for the previous three weeks but Andreas had yet to feel anything. Sitting on the couch, I placed Andreas’ hand against my belly, “Here, someone’s moving.” Andreas laid his head against the spot to listen. WHAM. A well timed kick straight into his ear – the biggest movement I had felt yet, the first of many, and Andreas was right there with me to experience it!
In May, we celebrated our one year wedding anniversary by heading down to Seattle for a long weekend vacation. Seattle was a blast; we had a ton of fun doing all the “touristy” things that the city provided: Pike Place Market, the first Starbucks, the Aquarium, the Zoo, the Space Needle, the Science Museum, shopping, Red Lobster and a boat tour. (If you’re exploring the city, I seriously suggest checking out a Seattle CityPASS – definitely worth it!) At this point, I was halfway through my pregnancy and starting to actually show (compared to the “I ate too many cookies” pudgy tummy look.) This marked the beginning of my greatest pet peeve of the year: hearing over and over again, “Twins? You’re too small to be having twins!” Hmm, well random sales lady, I appreciate your expert medical opinion but the ultrasound states otherwise.
Also in May, we began renovating our apartment: we removed the carpets to put in vinyl wood flooring and redid the entire kitchen. A two week process turned into six weeks of frustration and panic as my nesting hormones kicked into overdrive. We spent a month and a half living at my parents place and took thorough advantage of my sister’s home cooking. Thankfully the apartment was finished three weeks before the boys arrived. I’m so grateful that God has blessed us with such a beautiful, cozy, little apartment – the perfect place to raise our tiny son.
For the July long weekend, Andreas, my parents and I spent a couple days at my Grandparents’ summer cabin in the Okanagan. Dad’s irrational fear of frogs provided laughs as I (in all my pregnant glory) chased him around the yard with a little, webbed fellow. Who knew dad could sprint so fast? That weekend was Andreas’ and my last little getaway of the summer: ice cream cones the size of our heads, mini-golf under a BLAZING sun, a Canada Day parade, quick dips into the lake to ease swollen ankles, walks around the point and two boys unknowingly experiencing their first visit to the Lake Home.
The boys were born at the end of July and after spending five and a half weeks in the hospital, Alistair was given permission to come home on September 1! (Just in time for Andreas to leave on a three day business trip!) Whenever I think of Ali’s stay in the NICU, I’m beyond relieved to have him home with us. It feels like forever when you’re separated from your baby but the joy at having him home is indescribable. I’m thankful for early morning baby snuggles, late night feeds from the comfort of home and Ali’s giant, toothless grins.
Reflecting on the year wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the tearful moments as well. This year was one of hospital trips and good-byes as we parted with both our son, Landon, and my grandad, Ken. But the sorrow cannot overcome the joy as we know that both are finally home.
Doctors visits and babies, roadtrips and weddings, hospitals and funerals, diapers and baby bottles. I’m thankful for God’s provision this past year, for the children He’s given and the family and friends He’s blessed us with. I look forward to this new year, to see what new and unexpected adventures lie ahead. We travel slowly along the path that God has laid underneath our feet, clinging to his steadfast mercy and trusting Him to guide our steps.