It is still January, so I can still say Happy New Year!
I am waking up this blog with a peek back and sharing our family’s highlights of 2018. Has anyone attempted to capture a whole year in one blog post? Well, leave it to me.
Warning: this will be a long post, but it’s mostly pictures, so grab your cup or glass and scroll, scroll, scroll… 🙂
In January, it snowed. Like significantly. Here, in South Georgia. January was super cold, but the snow day made it all worth it.
We celebrated Joe’s 46th birthday with a little overnight family trip for dinner and shopping in Jacksonville.
Joe started his weekly radio show, Halfway Home, technically at the end of 2017, but I never documented it on here. He is on the air every Wednesday night from 6-7pm. You can listen online here (talk921.com). He does a great job, if I do say so myself.
We attended our first concert as a family.
It was David Crowder and his band played at a local church. It was AWESOME. So much talent and such a good show!
In February, we celebrated the first birthday of our church, Shoreline. We started worshipping every Sunday on February 5, 2017. It was a very full first year, and a lot of work putting on weekly services in a movie theater, but overall a great one! We even got a front-page spot in the paper…
Hannah and Joe also went to their second Daddy-Daughter dance.
I just can’t get enough of those pictures.
In March, Hannah performed in her first piano festival – a judged recital she was more than a little nervous about, but did AMAZING.
We also went down to Tampa to visit the zoo and camp in the aquarium with Joseph’s Cub Scout pack.
We did a late-night squid dissection during our campout at the aquarium. A trace amount of squid liquid shot into Joseph’s eye when his partner pushed on the squid and Joseph had an allergic reaction. He is allergic to shellfish and some other types of fish (as well as tree nuts). His eye swelled up bad and fast and medicine took a long time to help. The security crew had to be notified in case Joseph had to be taken to the hospital. You can see it looking much much better in that last photo.
Also on this short trip, I dropped my phone into that sting ray tank in the picture above. It actually worked for a few hours before it died on the drive home later that day. Interesting fact: apparently sting rays love eating phones and are super fast getting to anything that drops in the tank. Our tour guide told me that I was lucky to get mine back. And fast. What can I say?
Other than those two incidents (plus me losing one of those favorite stud earrings – not expensive just often-worn), it was a really fun trip. Joe left around 5am that morning to drive back in time for church, while the kids and I stayed. No photo, but I got to see my BFF Beth who lives in Tampa on this trip, too!
Then came St. Patrick’s Day.
In April we had our second Easter here…
Meme came to town. We dyed (and painted) eggs. Joe and Joseph were twins head to toe. Worship at the movie theater was a great success (we had to take down the pipe-and-drape!!). It was a wonderful day of celebration.
We also welcomed baby Quinn, my nephew, into the world. Hannah and I took a special girls trip to Cincinnati during spring break to meet the adorable guy.
Joseph, shockingly, let me take Raffie, so I made sure to take LOTS of photos of his adventures to send back home.
My little bro also flew up. That last photo is blurry, but it captures the three of us perfectly. And baby Quinn…he’s amazing.
Also in April, we celebrated Joseph’s 7th birthday by spending the weekend doing all of his favorite things – including taking the cars to the carwash, eating at Mellow Mushroom and Waffle House, hitting baseballs, going bowling, and having a Nerf gun war. We had clues that led him from one thing to the next. It was “the best weekend ever”.
In May, we had Hannah’s Swamp spring musical. She was the prettiest dragonfly I’ve ever seen.
Joseph earned Tiger rank and moved on to become a Wolf Scout.
There was Mother’s Day…
And Hannah’s dance recital…
…and Joseph’s baseball playoffs. They won!
Joe and I had Starbucks dates with our boy while his sister had dance every Wednesday. All three of us looked forward to it each week.
We wrapped up second and first grade!
Summertime meant balancing kids between parents and jobs. We did some camps, made a few short trips, and did fun things around town.
Hannah and Joseph went to a kids in the kitchen cooking camp and had the best time making little recipes. One day parents were invited to come to their “restaurant” where they waited on us and served us dinner. The final day of camp they did water games and a color run. They also decorated these hand towels.
Throughout the summer, they liked being in the kitchen at home.
Hannah swam her first season on the YMCA swim team.
She did GREAT – and is natural, which should come as no surprise with both parents growing up swimming and her daddy having quite the talent. He even helped coach some.
There was Father’s Day…
A visit from my sister, Angie.
In traveling news, Joe and I flew to California to attend the Purpose Driven Church Conference with Rick Warren out at Saddleback in Orange County. (Can I please move there?)
In July, our Tybee beach trip fell through, but we ended up having so much fun staying at a hotel in downtown Savannah pretending to be tourists with Meme.
And we did get out to Tybee one day to play.
We did a last-minute overnight getaway to Jacksonville Beach. It rained almost the entire time, but it was still good family time.
…Then we spent a really fun weekend in Atlanta going to see the Braves play (for the first time) and visiting Stone Mountain! The kids liked the fancy hotel (we stayed on points) and huge whirlpool.
In August, we started third and second grades…
Joe started school, too. This time, as a professor.
In September, we celebrated Hannah’s GOLDEN BIRTHDAY in style.
Joseph started taking a martial arts combo program that is mix of traditional Taekwondo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Hannah played soccer (and piano) again.
In October, Joe and I (and a team from Shoreline) went to the Catalyst Conference. So awesome. Always.
And we had a big family trip to Chicago, where Joe ran his third and final domestic major marathon and did GREAT! Family including his mom, aunt and sister and my mom made the trip, too, and that made it even more fun. (I will be posting more on this trip, so stay tuned!)
Joe and I celebrated 12 years. (They’ve been the best of my life.)
Granddaddy came from the Pacific Northwest for a visit…
…and we were a hunter and bucks for Halloween.
In November, I went on an incredible trip to Iceland – just my momma and me. Also deserves its own post, coming soon!
Hannah danced in her third Nutcracker.
In December, we did all things Christmas. Our first women’s small group hosted the first Shoreline Women’s Christmas party. We went to Savannah for a couple days before Christmas to see family, have baking day, and celebrate my birthday. And Shoreline had its first Christmas Eve service.
And, on Christmas Day…
…we welcomed Tallulah to the family!
And we have been busy puppy-training ever since!!!
And that’s it – the highlights of 2018! Are you still reading??
I liked that walk down memory lane. As I scrolled through my photos for this post, I realized just how much happened – how much happens – in one year. If I receive no comments or don’t get any feedback from this post, at least I get the reminder that there was plenty of good in 2018. Which I needed.
2018 was hard. That’s the best word I can come up with for it. It was challenging, and messy, and frustrating and sad, and…hard for our family. We struggled and fought. We learned and grew. But we did it, together, as a family. Other than the normal stuff that makes the struggle real for all of us, there were many (too many) unforeseen challenges. Mostly with our new church, but not entirely.
We dealt with a host of church problems. We lost financial (really, all) support from the Methodist conference that sent us here to Valdosta to plant this church. Shoreline went off on its own becoming independent of any denomination. There were other church things, too. Things both expected and not, both unsurprising and unbelievable. Things I would not necessarily blog about, but may include in a book one day. Ah, the journey of church planting…
We also had a few health concerns – not one of us spared. Hannah, alone, fought terrible skin problems for most of the year and Joseph had a scary trip to the ER. We continued to fight chronic problems and continued to pray for answers.
And we lost Mollie.
For much of the year, it felt like we were just being defeated. We prayed for “small wins” – little victories that would give us back hope and encourage us to just keep going. Of course, as this post shows, the year certainly wasn’t all bad. Most definitely not, with plenty of good memories and stories to tell. I also know that through the hard times, there is growth and wisdom that comes from it. I wouldn’t want to trade that.
This post took a while to come together. Looking back through a year of photos takes some time. And there were several interruptions…like all four of us having the FLU. But, we are on the mend, and I’m ready to write some more posts. Shorter ones, too!
’til next time!