2013. This has been the hardest, craziest, most amazing year ever.
On January first, we decided to resign as youth pastors at our church in New York. We didn't know where we were going or when, we just knew our time in Jamestown was up. By the end of January, we'd decided to move to Tennessee and because I was pregnant, we would need to move before the baby was due. Also, Jonah turned two and I started writing my Toddler Activities Ebook. My favorite post from January : "Bad Day"
In February, we broke the news to our church family and the students in our youth ministry. It was the most difficult process ever. I don't think anyone really understood why we were leaving. It was hard to explain without causing drama or unnecessary burning of bridges. We loved our time there and the people there, but it was just time to go. After every one knew we were leaving, being there was super, super hard. The students were angry at us and said some pretty harsh (albeit, honest) things about us leaving. I cried. A lot. I felt selfish at times. Like we were abandoning our kids. We'd invested so much time, so much sweat and tears... it was just hard. We knew we were doing the right thing for our family and that we were doing what God had called us to do, but at the same time, it felt awful. By the time we got to Tennessee, I was emotionally spent. I had nothing left in me. Totally physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. My favorite post from February :"Packing Up"
In April, Zach came on staff at my dad's church as the worship/associate pastor, got a job delivering sandwiches at Jimmy John's, and was hired at a small start up company selling web site packages to small businesses. We never saw him. He worked almost 24/7. Somehow, in the middle of all that, we found an amazing apartment and I, with ZERO help other than carrying the heavy stuff inside, unpacked and moved us in. My favorite post from April : "That Moment When Everything Can Change"
In May, we began our search to find where we'd be delivering Emery. Our plan was at home, but when we realized how much it was going to cost, we started looking at different options. I "interviewed" several care providers and didn't trust any of them. It was so draining. We went back and forth between doing a home birth or at the local birth center and Zach finally made the call that no matter what, we'd deliver at home. The best part of May was getting to see my brother and his family who came back from Holland for a short visit. I hadn't seen my awesome nephews in over a year and it was so nice to be able to spend some time with them. My favorite post from May : "What to ACTUALLY Expect."
In June, we got our first flat tire of the year. Then we found a midwife that agreed to work with our financial situation to make sure we got the home birth we "deserved." Zach was promoted in the web marketing company and they started giving him base pay. Things were looking up. We were excited and optimistic and ready to finally settle in and relax. Jonah and I took a trip to Georgia with my mom and sister for a baby shower with my family and close family friends. It was the best. We also were able to travel to North Carolina for my sister in law's beautiful wedding. My favorite post from June : "Peeing and Twerking and Name Calling and Splashing in the Toilet"
At the beginning of July, I went into labor. I spent two days in hard, intense labor only to have it completely stop. At almost 5cm, my labor stopped and it took me almost a week to recover physically. Three days before Emery was born, our midwife gave us a termination notice. She didn't trust us to pay her so she dropped us. Just like that. No further story. (I wrote about it here) We had to scramble to find another provider. But we did. And they were amazing. I'll never have another baby anywhere else. They took us on with no questions, no medical records (because the midwife refused to send them), and most importantly, no judgment. On July 19th, Emery Lewis came into our lives. His birth was pretty much straight from the movies. My favorite post from July :"Emery Lewis LaValley"
In August, Zach lost two sources of income. The web marketing company let him go (along with almost all of their staff) and the church stopped being able to give him a pay check. Luckily, he still had his job at Jimmy John's, it just didn't pay the bills. He had cut his hours down to almost nothing so it took a couple weeks for him to pick up extra shifts. We were still hopeful and optimistic. I'd wanted him to leave the start up company anyway cause I knew he could do better. We thought he'd find work right away. Zach's mom and our nephew came down from Massachusetts for a short visit. Right after they left, we all got sick with a wicked bad virus. I got it the worst. It was one of the worst sick days of my life, going back and forth from the toilet to nursing Emery. UGH. My favorite post from August : "After the Push"
September is a blur of dead end job leads and stressful nights of looking at our bank account. Emery was full on colicky and Jonah went through a demon child "I can do whatever I want" phase. Second flat tire of the year. I definitely sang "Wake me up when September ends" very dramatically and desperately at least once a day. Towards the end of September, I set some pretty defined blog goals and began working my butt off to make them happen. (Among other things, I wanted to get to 1k "likes" on facebook and I'm ALMOST there!) My favorite post from September :"On Faith and Being a Mom"
In October, people started finding out how bad our financial situation was. We finally let down our pride and started accepting help from other people. We were ashamed for a long time, but then just super thankful that there are programs and people that are willing to help a good hard working family that simply got dealt a crappy deck of cards. This little blog took OFF in October in a huge way. I became a monthly contributor for One Smiley Monkey and joined a pretty rad group of mom bloggers to form Knoxville Moms Blog. Jonah discovered Toy Story and became OBSESSED with Buzz Lightyear. Our friend Wes moved down from Pennsylvania to stay for a couple weeks and try to find work and see if Knoxville would be somewhere he wanted to live. He's still here. Knoxville's legit, yo. My favorite post from October :"From Sketchy Pants to Wet Bag"
November started off rough and then got progressively better. We got our THIRD flat tire of the year. But then a wonderful family gave us a mini van. WHAT? Yea. People do that. I started getting out of the house more and getting to know my fellow Knoxville mom bloggers and a few girls from a meet up group. It's amazing what a little girl time can do for the soul. Zach and I both turned 27 and immediately felt 30. November destroyed our beloved double stroller. Sad, sad day. But we're making the best of it. My favorite post from November : "Raising Men"
December has been the most incredible of months. We didn't know if we'd be able to give Jonah (or each other) anything for Christmas. Our faith proved to be lacking because not only did he have a loot under the tree, he's still getting things sent to him that we're starting to put away for his birthday in a couple of weeks. Zach and I weren't forgotten either. Wonderful friends and strangers have sent us gift cards with strict instructions to not spend a penny on our children. I also took a risk and bought a bunch of fabric hoping to sell a couple of super hero capes and was able to turn a decent profit. At one of my trips to the fabric store, I randomly mentioned to the lady cutting the fabric that Zach had lost his job(s) and I was just trying to contribute to our household some small way. She told me about a company that was hiring and wrote down the website address for me. Zach applied and his currently on the fourth and final stage before hearing if he's got the job or not. (FINGERS CROSSED.) My favorite post from December : "Sometimes He Sleeps."
2013 has been a wild ride of hurt, confusion, grace, and love. Just when we thoughts things couldn't get worse, they did. Just when we thought we were hopeless, God would do something amazing. We are so thankful for this year. It's been equally as difficult as it's been amazing. I'm 100% confident in all the decisions we've made and know that we've done everything that God has asked. He intended this year for us and we know we've acted in obedience and faith. All that being said, I pretty much hated this year and I'm ready for it to be OVER. Gone. See ya never.
I know 2014 is going to be an amazing year because 2013 has changed us and shaped us and made us into a family that nothing can shake. We got this, yo. BRING IT, 2014.