Here I go. Finally.
I suppose for those of you who actually look at this little space from time to time, the last couple months of our lives need no explanation. Jake was gone for work related trainings and events for nearly 3 months; the girls and I were on the road visiting loved ones and introducing Penelope for six weeks. We've been home since right before Christmas, but the looming chore of going through months worth of photos, jotting down our latest news, and posting this has made me more inert than anything. So... I'll use bullets. ;)
- Visited dear, precious loved ones in Maryland and West Virginia and stayed with wonderful friends in their beautiful home worthy of a listing in the local B&B registry.
- Spent time with my sister-in-law and her family. Annabella, particularly, had a wonderful time with her baby cousin. (Who is to be joined by a sibling this August, exciting news we received over the holidays!)
- Got to see Jake who had been absent from us for a couple weeks at this point.
- Headed to SC to spent time with family there. It is always spoiling for me to stay with my mother. She cannot get enough of the girls, so I actually get a few hours all to myself. The girls enjoyed visiting with my dad's family as well as all our dear loved ones there.
- Attended Sarah's first time hosting Thanksgiving in Charlotte. She did a wonderful job, of course. The following day was an electric one though, as Renee was in labor with her little boy--Truman McCarthy Royal--who arrived that evening.
- Bid farwell to Shane, Jake's brother, as he headed off to Iraq for 15 months.
- Had a little pre-Christmas party with dear loved ones before driving back to Maryland to be with Jake briefly.
- Drove north through New York City, picking up Jake's good friend and headed to Connecticut to meet his new Lady Fair, who we were very impressed with. (I will interject here that it is a providential thing when your husband's best friend decides to marry a woman whose company you sincerely enjoy and with whom you have many things in common!)
- Parted ways with Jake in Connecticut and headed to Rochester, NY to meet precious Truman Royal. Annabella had a lovely day trip to a child-sized grocery store at the National Museum of PLAY (there is such a place!!!).
- Had a lovely holiday here once we headed home and Jake returned, all of us just in time to put up the Christmas tree and wrap gifts.
- Sent Jake off to Texas for 10 days, and proceeded to tear down all the trappings of the holiday that had gone up so furiously a couple weeks before.
- Had a lovely visit from my friend Bethany.
- Saw our first few pristine Michigan snows and went sledding for the first time.
- Experienced our (as in my) first and only surgery to date with the removal of my wisdom teeth, and were blessed to have Bethany in town to nurse me and entertain the troops.
- Finally recovered!
- Welcomed our Daddy/husband home to stay!!!
- Sent my little sis off as a missionary to Africa, and had a few lessons for Belle on Africa, including eating lentils with injera bread instead of a utensil, painting her body, making a lion, as well as some tribal jewelry and an African drum.
I know I have left something out.
And briefly, things I learned during the last few blog-absent months:
- Traveling with your children alone for a month and a half sounds easier than it is, and it doesn't sound easy.
- I'm loved more than I deserve.
- Absence really can make the heart grow fonder.
- If you can do all your holiday cooking before the actual holiday, you will have a much more pleasant holiday.
- If "Santa" has to assemble a dollhouse, he shouldn't wait till after the kids go to bed on Christmas Eve.
- When your second baby has her first cold, it's not as scary as when your first baby did.
- I will have better New Year's Eves than this one, doped up on Darvocet after oral surgery that day.
- Even if your husband is out of town and you have to care for two kids, you must, by whatever means possible, get your sidewalks shoveled THE SAME DAY it snows, or it will no longer be snow. It will be ice.
Again, I am sure I forgot some things. Happy January, anyway.
Also, considering that I spent the better part of three hours today/this evening trying to get the formatting on blogspot to let me align all my writing and photos the way I wanted to, I give up, and apologize for any inconvenience you encountered reading this.