Goodbye, 2011

For some reason, I really love New Years’ Eve. It’s like closure. You say goodbye to the old year, whether good or bad, and ring in the new one with all the bells & whistles, and staying up late (too late!).  Every New Year’s Eve, I love to look back over our past year, and see where we’ve been & how far we’ve come. Although usually I keep it to myself, this year, I thought I’d share it with you! 😉

January 2011–John & I get to start off each new year with our anniversary! This year, we celebrated #8. The girls stay with Nana & Papaw, & we headed out of town for the weekend. Zoe is 3 months old, Faith is 21 months old. Zoe is still sleeping in her pack-n-play at this point, Faith is in her crib.  I have just returned full-time to work from maternity leave. Aren’t they sweet? Two sisters just barely getting to know each other…

February 2011–Zoe gets her first pair of glasses!

They look so tiny compared to mine! I remember being devastated at first to learn that she needed them. I spent so much time wondering how in the world I’d manage to keep glasses on a 4 month old baby, and how would I answer all the questions & stares we were sure to get in public? Now, I love her glasses; they show off so much of her personality, and we’ve never once gotten a negative comment about them.

March 2011–spring is coming! Zoe is now almost five months old! Faith is 23 months & counting! We are all anxious to get out of the house (especially momma!), and we start bundling up and getting outdoors to play. My brother Tyler returns from a year-long deployment in Afganistan. He gets to meet Zoe for the first time; previously all we could do is communicate with facebook messages & occasional phone calls.

April 2011–my big girl turns 2!! We had her birthday bash at home, with just family this year. It was nice to be able to relax & celebrate. She LOVED her Dora cake, and & I remember being more emotional over the fact that she was 2 than I was when she turned 1.

Zoe got her first pair of AFOs to help keep her feet straight, which we were VERY excited about. This was the month we also moved Faith up to her toddler bed, and Zoe moved into the crib. We had a big month!!

May 2011–around this time was when John & I took Faith to the zoo for the first time. Lucky for us, it rained the entire time 😦 But we made the best of it, and had a great time! I think Faith’s favorite feature was the giraffes!

We also started working really hard on helping Zoe learn to sit independently this month. Little did I know, but it would take MANY months, LOTS of therapy, & a TON of prayers before she’d finally “get it.”  This was just the beginning…

June 2011–Faith is potty-trained!! Hallelujah! We finally got our nerve up & did it! She was so excited to be in “big-girl panties,” & it was much easier than I’d anticipated. Around this time is when the girls started really getting attached to each other, and we started seeing just how much they enjoyed playing together…

July 2011–to celebrate the 4th, mom & I decided to try our hand at cake decorating. We used fondant for the first time, and I think the results were pretty darn good & it was so much fun. We celebrated our first July 4th with both of the girls, and of course we had matching outfits for the occasion 😉 Faith is now 27 months, Zoe is 9 months.

August 2011–time for another spina bifida clinic! Zoe gets new AFOs; her old ones are too small. She’s becoming a pro at rolling to get places. Faith is also finally getting a decent amount of hair on her head! Took forever but she’s got some beautiful curls!

September 2011–Zoe gets new glasses! This time, we are not just accepting the glasses, we are going all out! She gets an awesome new pink pair she has become infamous for being seen in. Yes, we do have another pair of wire-frames, but that’s just for when she feels like dressing up & going out. A girl’s gotta accessorize, ya know 😉 She also got her stander this month, which was HUGE. She’s 11 months now, and is finally able to stand for extended periods of time in the new stander. The girls are getting more & more fun together, playing well, & my only concern at this point is that Zoe start sitting more independently. Looking back, I can totally see that she just hit a plateau in her progression, but at the time I remember so vividly worrying about all the what-if’s.

October 2011–this was a BIG month for us! We celebrated Zoe’s 1st birthday with family & an awesome baby farm animals cake. Faith turned 2 1/2! So close to three!! Faith started really taking off with her speech at this point, and it still amazes me how she speaks in FULL sentences, using nouns, pronouns, etc., appropriately. She is seriously a genius!

Zoe all of a sudden decided to become a pro at kneeling. She had PT on her birthday, and they could not believe all that she was doing. It was at this point her development started to pick up speed a little. She started bearing weight on her legs very briefly while standing at toy tables with our help. She also became famous making news in the local paper for spina bifida awareness month 😉

Faith also got to go trick-or-treating for the first time, and she had a BLAST! The girls dressed as fairy princesses, and were super cute. John & I also got a little weekend getaway this month, heading off to Nashville to watch Wicked, which was FANTASTIC 🙂

November 2011-as the year went on, things just got better & better. Everyday Faith learns something new; songs, words, phrases. She is now interested (at 2.5 years old!) in telling time, constantly asking “what time is it?” She learns how to work fairly complex puzzles, how to get on & off the potty by herself…BIG stuff!

We traveled to eastern Kentucky for our annual Thanksgiving/Christmas with the grandparents. Zoe learned how to open presents, & Faith learned to love licking cookie dough off the beaters! Zoe progressed to using rolling & scooting as a means to get away from us 😉 & Faith got her huge dollhouse as a gift from Mamaw she’d been dying for! This month, Faith is now 31 months, Zoe is 13 months.

December 2011–We had the MOST fun this Christmas! The girls are at such an enjoyable age! My worries over Zoe are becoming fewer & farther in between the more she progresses. This month, she started getting VERY close to crawling, & another big milestone–pushing up to sitting from lying! Although, now that she can effectively transition from one to another, she no longer wants to be on her belly practicing her crawling moves. Her speech is making huge progress also–the past few weeks we’ve heard LOTS of new & unusual sounds & words…very fun! We’ve also seen a lot of improvement in her fine motor skills, and earlier this year we were able to reduce her OT to every other week instead of weekly. 

Faith has had a busy month…she was in her first ever Christmas play at church. Although she was not very excited about being on stage in front of everyone, we thought she did great up there! I still love hearing her sing “Happy Birthday Jesus.” She has become my big helper around the house–helping with Zoe, cleaning, folding laundry, so I am putting the girl to work 😉 She & I have also designated Thursdays as “Mommy & Faith Day.” This means I get up extra early (ugh!) to get us both ready, and we go get breakfast together, before heading off for work & play.  It seems to be a hit with her, and I love that at least we get a little time carved out for just the two of us.

We celebrated Christmas at home this year, with minimal traveling & outside commitments, and it was wonderful (although there was no snow :() We made lots of Christmas crafts & cookies. Faith loved to help & Zoe loved to eat them 🙂 We attended our annual Christmas Eve service together, ate lots of yummy food, opened a TON of presents, and were just thankful overall to be home, happy & healthy. It was a great Christmas season.

Looking back, I am very thankful & have fond memories of 2011. It was hard in some ways; all of Zoe’s therapies kept us busy & feeling overbooked at times. We John had a run-in with the flu last winter that meant we had to quarantine the girls. We had bedtime issues with Faith. A couple shunt scares with Zoe. But when all is said and done, it was a great year. No major illness, no hospitalizations, no major accidents, mishaps, or otherwise unwelcomed issues. And for that I am thankful.

While we welcome 2012 and look forward to all it will bring-anniversaries, birthdays, new milestones & adventures, I try to remember that we will also have the unexpected creep in at times. And that’s okay. I try to enter the new year without preconceived notions, resolutions or expectations. 

Just the fact that our focus as a family has to be on the ONE who already wrote the end of the book. He has already gone ahead of us in this journey, prepared the way, and will walk beside us through it. 

Happy New Year!

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