I was inspired by my friend Olivia's end-of-the-year blog post, and I made a commitment to write our own.
But I don't know how to sum up this year. I'm not good at these kinds of grand-sweeping articles, loving-birthday or Thanksgiving-gratefulness posts. I always feel like I'm forgetting something really important. Which is why blogging works for me. Short bursts. Quick thoughts. Come back tomorrow if you forgot something. That's my speed.
Also, Olivia's was hilarious. I take these things too seriously, which makes them cumbersome to write and to read.
So I'll try to come up with something, but just know that I am likely forgetting everything. And forgive the earnestness, OK? It's Christmas! Be kind!
2013 was a truly wonderful one for the Davises.
The boys hit 3 hard -- becoming more opinionated, more hilarious, more obstinate, more imaginative, more talkative, more boisterous and more curious than ever. For Dean, the temper tantrums got fewer, but more determined. For Cary, listening and sharing became foreign concepts. Both boys advanced to Gold Medal status in whining. (God help us).
Dean's helpfulness became *actually* helpful, as he can truly do things I need him to do, and he jumps at opportunities to assist Lester, me, Cary and especially Clair.
Cary built on his love of books and language, and can recognize a number of sight words and sound out some words. (I said, "These kids need to go to B-E-D," to Lester the other day, and Cary said, "BED?!" This does not bode well for us.)
Both boys are more affectionate than ever, and say things -- unprompted -- like, "Mommy, guess what? I love you!" or "You're the best Mom!" I absolutely love, love, love this age, and I hear 4 gets even better. (I also hear it gets worse, in some ways. But that's every age, right?)
Clair is a marvel. Truly. This year she shed so much of her babyness, taking on traits that seem more little-girl-like than toddler. She is, as Dr. Bodnar wisely said once, the most definitive child. She knows exactly what she wants and doesn't want -- and laughs and lashes out with equal amounts of gusto. She speaks so clearly, she astounds people who are fooled by her tiny frame. "No Daddy! I don't like it!" she'll say. Or, "No Mommy! I don't want that. I want this!" Her personality has gelled into a delightful mold. She is hilarious and dramatic, loud and silly, a lover and a fighter. She is also maddeningly fiery, and my most passionate (read: loud, screamy and forceful) child. This will be an adventure raising her, for sure. She'll turn 2 in February, which means we will have to sign her up for school in the fall. We'll be taking our little baby off to school with Cary and Dean, little snack bag in tow. I cannot believe it.
After a good year of austerity, Lester and I backslid a little bit and ended this year with less in savings than we've ever had. But before the holiday, we revamped our budgeting/financial strategy and renewed our commitment to saving. I'm proud of us for not letting one year of less-than-stellar decision-making turn into a habit.
We also reconnected with a church home this year, and have made loving, serving and learning about God more central to our daily lives. This was a long time coming, and we have a long way to go to get where I'd like to be, but I'm so glad we are taking these important steps.
Looking back at my blog posts this year, I notice how much STUFF we did with the kids. But honestly, this year we actually spent more time than ever just hanging out in the house, old-school-style, letting the kids find ways to entertain themselves, even if that meant mess and noise and the din of unstructured silliness. I am learning to relax about that much-needed downtime, and not feel the need to cram "learning" or "experience" into every minute of our very busy and sometimes stressful lives. When the type-A part of my brain starts screaming "Must. Create. Synapses!" I am learning to return fire with "Must lie-in-the-bed-reading-while-the-kids-watch-Peep-in-the-Big-Wide-World!!" And that feels pretty good. (Surprise, surprise.)
Lester and I also made sure to spend time together just the two of us, despite the cost of babysitting (ugh!). And just by being around each other (without kids) we learned some things about one another that we didn't know before. It's really nice to still be able to find things about my husband that are new and interesting. It's also nice just to be married to someone who still wants to spend time alone with me -- and me with him. I don't take that for granted.
This year is going to be an important one for our family, as we take big steps toward moving to a new house/neighborhood, getting closer to God, and fulfilling what I believe to be our purpose in this world: to love and serve others.
This year is a planning/building/foundation-laying year for us -- with our goal of making real change in mid-2015. I've always been a planner, so this should be a good year (as long as everything goes according to plan, right?) even if not much really happens or is different.
I do hope to work on some things, improve on some things, accomplish some things and experience some things in 2014 -- just like all of us do. I have hopes and prayers for some of the cherished people in my life. I have dreams for myself that I sincerely pray I'll find the courage to move toward.
But I don't have resolutions, necessarily. And I'm not panting with anticipation for what 2014 will bring. On this first day of the new year, I find myself pretty content with things just as they are. I feel good about the Davises. I feel good about me. I can't think of a better way to start a year anew.