Yeah, I did revive my blog in 2017… but I didn’t do much blogging. To be honest, I was discouraged. I had, after all, been blogging faithfully for 7 years… and then like a thief in the night, a hacker got my blog shut down and though revived, I lost 3 years of it… 3 years of memories. Memories of my babies. Memories I may not get back in written form. So I was discouraged to start writing again just to lose it all… again.
And while I’m not much into resolutions – this year I resolved to start back at writing. I’m not going to let fear hold me back this year. Because fear of what? Fear that my efforts will be lost and wasted? Fear that I won’t have time? (You can always make time for something you really want to do.) Fear that it won’t matter? Nope. I’m not going to be discouraged this year. Because if I make a difference for one person with writing (even if that person is me) and even if later erased, all was not lost. I’m going to write because writing is part of what I was made to do and in 2018, I’m in the business of getting back to those deeply rooted parts of my identity.
So, friends, here we go.
For this first post of 2018, I thought I’d share with you my Christmas letter that I sent out in 2017. A synopsis of our year. Do you write Christmas letters? I have a small handful of friends who do. Growing up, mom always wrote a Christmas letter. It always was front and back and had paragraphs on each of us in the family and what we were up to the past year. I looked forward to reading what mom had to say about me every year. What does mom think of me? What memories does mom have of our year? Every year we got stacks of Christmas letters back from friends and family, which I poured over each one. In our Facebook era, a yearly Christmas letter seems almost silly as many people have walked through your synopsis of life with you. But writing is what I was made to do, as I said, and Christmas letter writing is part of my heritage.
And so – for this first post of 2018, I thought sharing our Christmas letter with our synopsis of 2017 was fitting.
Precious Friends & Family,
I am writing to you this year with great cheer and news from our (Lord willing) “complete” family of SIX! I am a little bit in shock that this will be the last Christmas letter containing any sort of pregnancy or birth news!
This year has been one of all sorts of adult life things, just one after the next. It’s been a year of pushing through, persevering and taking care of the life hiccups that come up: an old business tax audit, house refinance, a pregnancy related trip to the ER and L&D at the hospital, weeks upon weeks of chicken pox and shingles, birth, an infant who doesn’t sleep (though is always happy despite it, so we’ll take it and keep him!), starting up a new business, a car accident, insurance bumps – to name just a few things that have come our way this year. Through it all, the Lord is good and the Lord is faithful! He’s been working on us (me, particularly) this year about not just “getting through” the next thing on my plate. Not just working hard to get over and past one daunting task to in order to hopefully then find some peace, joy and rest – but to really, truly find and have joy through the midst of life’s duties. Each and every day. To not just say, “I finally got through it!” but to say “this is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!” – even if that day looked like spending 10 hours digging through old files of receipts for a tax audit, and even if that day looked like an infant napping for 15 minutes the whole day despite my best efforts, and even if that day looked like schlepping the kids AND four car seats by myself, in the down-pouring rain, from car to car to car as we took our van to the shop after an auto accident, to an Uber car ride, to Hertz to pick up our rental van. Despite the downpours, He wanted us to find joy each and every day. We’re still learning but we are thankful for our year of growth and stretching as we have worked on this! And now for personal updates…
Skyler is in his TWELFTH year of schooling, folks. Let me say it again and let me sing – no SHOUT IT – from the rooftops: Skyler is in is TWELFTH and FINAL year of school!!! In August 2018, he will graduate from Gonzaga University as a Family Nurse Practitioner and we cannot be more ecstatic about it! We see the light at the end of the tunnel and it’s rushing towards us. 9 more months. The length of one more pregnancy. We’ve already done THAT 4 times, so what’s one more?! It’ll fly by.
Otherwise, in what little free time he has, Skyler can be found taking the boys hunting or fishing (their current gig is weekly heading out to a private lake in West Salem for duck hunting), playing on a men’s indoor soccer team, and being a creative-genius-science-nerd whipping out some handcrafted organic soaps. It’s his creative outlet and he loves experimenting (and I think he just loves wearing science goggles).
Always the entrepreneur, Skyler has plans to start up his own local traveling clinic (think of a doctor visiting your house to prescribe your sick kid with meds verses a mother hauling all her kids into the clinic to wait around to be seen.) soon after he graduates and has been working on business details for all that that will entail. He is a big dreamer and I love the way he leads our family.
Kayla: I truly don’t know what to update about myself other than the fact that, oh yeah, I pushed out one more child this year! Ha. I can definitely tell the difference between 24-year-old pregnant Kayla (with Zeek) and 31-year-old pregnant Kayla. I am so grateful at the opportunity to birth 4 beautiful babies but I am also so grateful to be closing that chapter in my life!
Otherwise, this has been a year of figuring out this ‘homeschooling big kids while slinging babies around on my hips’ gig, of supporting a husband in one of his busiest years of school, of figuring out exactly what it means to raise a sweet, gentle-spirited daughter (NEWSFLASH: I haven’t figured it out yet.), of determining boundaries for 2 (soon to be 3) wild-at-heart young men to BE men, without also getting in trouble with the law (hehe), and of looking deeply at myself and what it means to be the mother of 4 and the central point of our family, gathering and holding us together in all of our life demands and otherwise would-be disorganization. It’s been a stretching year – and I’m glad for it. This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it! (Saying that to myself on repeat. Fake it till you make it, baby.)
Zeek is in 1st grade this year. He is a math and science whiz kid like his father which is NOT a trait he got from his language arts loving mama. He just started his second year of playing on a basketball team in the Upward league and he’s loving it! Basketball is his favorite sport and he’s a good little shooter – we love watching him play in his games with all his little buddies. If Zeek could go hunting and fishing every single day, he absolutely would. He never tires of it and asks Skyler near daily to go. I’m pretty sure he’s going to figure out how to be a “retired fisherman” for his job when he grows up.
Asher is in his 3rd and last year of pre-k. He’s enjoying doing school alongside his brother. Asher has always been our sweet little love bug and the addition of his little brother only brought that side of him out even more! He is always down for snuggles and proudly wears his “Free Hugs” shirt with outstretched arms. Asher is our little justice seeker and ‘ninja-in-training’ (as he would tell you). Between justice, his ninja skillz, and his nurturing and caring soul, I’m certain he’d make just the best little police officer ever when he grows up. As of now, that is his dream. He even proudly got a pair of his own “hand-cups” (hand cuffs) this summer and had a special grin and twinkle in his eye as he carried them around EV.ER.Y.WHERE we went.
Ellery is all of the drama and royal highness that our family never knew it needed or was missing. Girlfriend has a personality as big as the sun and as loud as …. I don’t know. What’s the loudest thing you know of? Because she’s two steps above whatever that is. But also into our home, she brings all the pink, and sparkles, and tutus and princess and all those things that just make every single one of our hearts turn to mush and go “awwww!!” She is 2 going on 28 and definitely, most definitely, wants to be a mommy when she grows up. She’s currently slinging around 3 babies and a teddy bear, clunking about in her high heels, has her shopping cart full of necessities like a phone, keys, a purse, a baby bag, some food, a superhero cape, a pack of wipes and butt paste that she ransacked and whatever else she has deemed important for her day. I say she nailed motherhood.
Alder is the most perfect and wonderful 4th baby that could’ve joined our family! (You know, except for that lack of sleep thing but that guy is seriously always happy, smiling and content so you really can’t be too annoyed even when he’s only slept for 20 minutes of the day.) He is almost 9 months old, not crawling (and mama is a-ok with that! I always love that sweet spot of babies sitting but not moving.), just popped his first tooth the other day, and is my most petite baby ever. There’s something everyone loves about big chunky babies, but oh this little skinny scrawny baby is just the cutest thing I’ve ever seen and makes my heart a puddle of mush. (shhhhh, please don’t tell my other 3. Don’t worry, I think they’re kinda cute, too.) He’s got a million nicknames (thanks Elle!), gets a million kisses from all of us, and there’s a million ways why we all love how he completes our family.
We hope this year has been one of peace and JOY for you all!
Love, The Andersons
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. – Philippians 4:4
Happy New Year, friends! Excited to get back to writing. You will be hearing from me again soon. 😉