This week, I am wrapping up 2008 with some reviews and awards. Each post will contain information about twinmama's picks for the year, so stayed tuned for a new topic each time.
So now you know all about my favorite gear, let me stroll down memory lane and give you my favorite memories for 2008. These are times over the past year when the twinfamily experienced highs and lows - all of which make a year memorable.
1. The girls' first birthday. I don't know if it is a twin thing, but when Peanut and Jelly Bean turned one year old in February, I felt like this huge weight had been taken off my shoulders. I certainly knew that we have, oh, well, a lifetime of worry and challenge waiting for us as parents, but getting through the first twelve months was a blessed moment. I remember the first three months of the girls' lives were pure utter hell (sorry, I just can't sugarcoat it) and then life just got a little easier going forward. By six months, they were getting to be fun with their little personalities blooming. By twelve months, we saw tremendous change as their learning went into high gear. The girls' were retaining words, saying words and able to bring us things that we asked them to find. Going from helpless little blobs of spit up and poo (trust me, I do miss it sometimes) to active little sponges was wonderful.
2. My Little Coaches. Back in the spring, I obtained my one of my two favorite items of all time - my double jogging stroller. (What is my other favorite item? My Kitchenaid stand mixer. You know, one to make the cookies and other one to burn off the cookies. It's the circle of life, right?) The girls and I got out on the open, cough, sidewalk and started running. It was a great time and the girls really liked it. I think when I would slow down or walk, they would start kicking and getting fussy, so I would have to start running again. I was forced to workout. How wonderful is that? Our new home doesn't have sidewalks, but we do have a bike path nearby so once we get another car, I can get back out there will my little ones. Looking forward to it.
3. Slamming Of The Doors. At the end of 2007, twindada and I decided that I would start to look for full time work. We figured as the girls were coming up on their first birthday that it was time for them to go into daycare and for me to resume my career. I have to admit that I was not all for this, but also knew that we wanted to buy a home and felt this was the only way for us to make that happen. I was, of course, willing to do whatever it would take to provide for my family. I have a pretty good background so within a couple of week, I had two really good job leads. When January hit, I started having interviews at both companies and both would have been excellent opportunities. I went through several rounds of interviews at each and went in with full force telling them that I was ready to come back to work and that I was eager to advance my career. However my heart was heavy because I knew that I really wanted to be home with my girls. I didn't want anyone else to have the opportunity to be with them everyday because having spent a year at home with them I knew how wonderful it really was. I continued to pray that God would work out everything somehow, but it didn't seem like things would work out the way that I wanted. Both job leads took considerable amount of interviewing and both managers would give me positive feedback, so I just knew that I was going to get one of those opportunities. After several months into the process, I heard back from one of the places they were hiring someone else. I was surprised, but not upset at all. In fact, I was relieved. And then in a matter of 48 hours, I receive word the other job was frozen until the end of the year. My response should have been concern, but instead I thanked God and was so incredibly relieved again. I talked to twindada about what had happened and when he said these words, I just knew my prayers were answered, "I think someone is trying to tell us something. I haven't felt good about this either." So, sometimes when doors to opportunities are closed, we are sad about this and question why God would let that happen, but I truly believe these doors were not just closed, He slammed them shut! Both were leading to promising positions and for both to be stripped away so quickly and abruptly, I just knew that He was answering my prayers. I do work from home now part time, but I get to stay home with my girls and I thank God for that.
4. Our New Digs. I think that if I went back over my posts, there are probably a lot of instances where I have complained about all the moving and remodeling that is taking place at our new home. Putting that all aside, trust me, I love my new home and I am very thankful for it. I know that God was at work on making this all happen because the market is not so hot right now, but He is faithful and knew this was our goal, so again, thank you God. On the outside, our home looks tiny. When we first drove up to it, I thought there was no way we could all live in a shoebox, but looks can be deceiving. This house is like Snoopy's doghouse. Looks small on the outside, but inside has more room than we can possibly use right now. (Except the space we do want to use in being remodeled - but I am done ranting about that!) What I love about it is that it is a home for us to grow in. So many of the homes we looked at were very nice and move in ready (so-to-speak), but we would have already outgrown the space before we moved in. We are a six person/beast household after all. As the girls grow up they will have more room in this home and if we decide to have any more children, then we will have space for additional members, too. (No, I am not implying anything. No babies right now!)
5. My Entry to the Blogosphere. One day in July, I was cruising around on wahm.com and a forum thread caught my eye about blogging. I thought, "hmmm..I like to write. I wonder what that is all about." Next thing I know, I have created my blogger account and "Bringing Up Twins" was born. Within a couple of weeks, I attempted to start two other blogs, but then I got real and scrapped those and focused my efforts on this blog. Overtime, I found other blogs and made some connections, joined some clubs, learned what the heck "twitter" was and now I have a little posse of blogging buddies that I really admire. Yes, I am talking to all of you. You all rock! I talk about you all more than I do anything else in my life to my husband. I usually start my conversation with him like this, "One of the blogs I read, well, she does this and this and this and that really works for her so I think that I need to try that." or "You have got to read this and this, her blog is so funny!" or "I wish that I could meet some of my blogging buddies, I think we would have a lot of fun together." I love to say that I am a blogger and it has opened up so much creativity and joy in my life that I was missing.
6. Our Major Fault. Not everything can go perfect in a year, right? I think that is realistic to say that with joys comes challenges and we definitely experienced our fair share this year. We did some things right while we did other things way wrong. However there was one that twindada and I both feel that we failed at and it was this: Keeping God first. Sometimes we did okay at talking to Him about what was going on in our lives, but many times especially over the past six months, He has been sidelined quite a bit from our perspective. We stopped going to church and I stopped my daily devotionals. Although I do stay consistent with evening prayer, I didn't give Him my first everyday. Despite all of this, He continued to protect us and bless us, but I think back at how much easier it could have been if we would have given the controls to the Lord and rely on Him to make the decisions. After all, He knows best.
Looking back over a year at accomplishments and challenges really helps to put to perspective what is working in our lives and what needs some adjustment. I know some things that I need to do next year, but I also know that it is impossible to predict how the new year will turn out. That may make it scary, but it also makes it pretty exciting.
One more day of 2008, people! Bring on the new year - we will be ready.