Did I just type 2016? It feels like we just rang in 2015, I blinked, and the year's over. I'm still writing my list of resolutions for last year, and we're four days into January '16. What the what?! A lot happened in 2015, some of which I documented on this here blog, and many of which I didn't (cue the guilt trip), but one of my goals this new year is to blog more...at least once a week to be exact. I know, I know, you'll believe it when you see it, but I've got a new trick (laptop) up my sleeve (on my lap) that's going to help with the execution of that goal! No more late night internal struggles deciding whether or not I should drag myself upstairs and bask in the glow of the screen, holed up in the computer nook whilst the rest of my family is gathered in the living room, or sleep deprivation threatens my brain function. Nope, now I can take those internal struggles with me wherever I go, and find new excuses to interfere with blogging!
Here are some highlights from 2015 before I blinked, and the year was over...
In January, Audrie celebrated her 14th birthday just two weeks after Christmas. We also took the older two kids skiing for the first time, and ourselves skiing for the first time in 15 years. Now if there's two things I really don't like, it's heights and being cold, so you can imagine the stress I felt in the weeks leading up to this trip. I literally had a stomachache for two weeks. We skied Winter Park, Colorado, and the kids had a blast. In fact, they had so much fun, we're going again this year. Hello stress, my old friend.
February I attended the Austin SCBWI Conference, and gained some much needed confidence in my work, and had an amazing critique with picture book author/illustrator Tom Lichtenheld.
March meant a week of SXSW, an amazing, yet extremely exhausting experience. The highlight? Seeing Spoon perform, up close, and hanging out with the Mowgli's before they took to the stage.
Finn turned 9 in April, we celebrated Easter on the farm, and I attended another SCBWI conference in Houston and heard the delightful Kelly Light speak about her journey into children's book publishing.
You might have heard about our vacation to the Cayman Islands back in May, and Jonathan's passport fiasco. I'm not sure if enough time has passed yet for this experience to be funny.
In June, we celebrated Jonathan's 35th birthday, and we welcomed a new cousin-in-law to our crazy family. Thankfully, our nutty antics didn't scare Lindsay away. In fact, she just jumped right into the insanity and made herself at home.
Towards the close of June, our family suffered enormous heartache with the loss of my cousin, McLean. We grew up together, half of my childhood we lived right next door to each other. After high school, Mac went into the Marines, and traveled the world, and although we weren't as close in our adult life, those childhood roots ran deep. It's so hard to accept that he's gone. I've been so amazed, though, by the strength of his parents, sister, and fiance' through this grief. Even though we miss him terribly, we find solace in the fact that we'll see him again. Mac, you were, are, and will forever be in our hearts.
In July, we watched fireworks, went to a long overdue family reunion, and my baby boy celebrated his third birthday. Oh, August, you've added so much joy to our lives.
In August, Jonathan and I went on a spontaneous trip to Miami to celebrate 15 years of marriage, and also surprised my brother to bid him farewell before he moved to Mexico for a couple of years. "Cause, you know...two birds.
September meant the start of school, and venturing into the uncharted waters of homeschooling through high school. Sure, thousands of others have already made that journey, but it feels so scary when it's your own child. Audrie started taking some classes through a school called One Day Academy, and I'm happy to report that she's flourishing. Finn continued in Classical Conversations, and all three kids and I are still involved in our homeschool co-op.
By the end of September, I finished illustrating another picture book, Varla's Gift, by Jeff R. Smith. It's now published and available for purchase.
In October, Audrie attended her first homecoming dance, we went to the Space Center in Houston, and I started taking a picture book writing class with the lovely and amazing Liz Garton Scanlon. If you are an aspiring picture book writer, I highly recommend this class at the Writing Barn. Plus, we dressed up for Halloween.
November meant the start of phase two of a giant mural project for my church and the completion of illustrations for another picture book, which I will post more about once it's published. We made a trip to my hometown, I wrapped up my writing classes, celebrated my 29th birthday for the seventh year in a row, and dove head first into the holidays.
In December, Finn competed with a team of friends in the First Lego League Lego robotics competition. I am happy to report that they advanced to regionals!
Audrie and Finn wrapped up a year of piano lessons with beautiful performances at their Christmas recital.
We celebrated no less than six Christmases, some loud and crazy, some calm and quiet, but all worth it to spend precious time with family.
And finally, we rang in the new year with friends...dinner and dancing.
*blink, blink, blink*
...and here we are, four days into January, and I'm still trying to finish my New Years resolutions for 2015.
I don't want to blink and have another year zoom by. My main goal for 2016 is to be present and enjoy my time spent with these precious three...
Happy New Year! I hope the months ahead are filled with an abundance of joy!
I was asked quite recently when I was going to post on my blog, to which I responded, "What blog?"
The other replied, "The blog you've been writing for six years..."
Me: "I have a blog??"
I looked it up, and apparently, this is my long since forgotten blog. Who knew I had a blog?
Okay, seriously, I have not forgotten that I have a blog. In fact, I think about this little blog quite often, and with those thoughts comes an enormous pang of guilt... when I think about all of our adventures we've taken, all of the projects I've been working on, and all of the growing that my kids keep doing despite my best efforts to keep them little, and I've missed journaling them. Yes, I have evidence of these moments in the form of pictures and videos and artwork, but my blog held the stories that accompany those events. But all of those adventures combined with day to day life plus illustration jobs times homeschooling divided by three kids multiplied by the square root of...well you get the idea. I've been a little busy lately.
So what's a girl to do when an extremely long update post is necessary, and the thought of writing said post is so overwhelming it's migraine inducing? She says, forget it, and instead posts a bunch of Halloween pics.
I present to you, scenes from Halloween 2015 featuring a spider web, a ninja, and characters from Fantastic Mr. Fox:
On Wednesday, my youngest, my beautiful baby boy turned three. My strong-willed, funny, boisterous little boy is no longer considered a baby, has moved from the toddler stage, and has stepped through the door of preschool-dom [though, I still and will forever refer to him as the baby.]
People often ask if he was supposed to be born in August, inquiring as to why he was christened as such, but that was never the intention. His actual due date was today, July 31, so to say that I hoped he would be born in August would mean that I hoped that my pregnancy would last longer than the time frame assigned to my gestating child, and anyone knows that a woman, pregnant with her third child, struggling to walk, sit, eat, sleep, breathe with a ridiculously large beach ball protruding from her midsection does not wish to extend this relationship beyond that assigned date, especially not in the middle of summer, in Texas where temperatures were climbing to 110 degrees. No, I did not hope he would be born in August. In fact, I hoped he would show his face in mid July, and as the days passed with no sign of labor, I started to panic. My husband says I went crazy. I blame it on end-of-pregnancy hormones, but I thought if he were to be born in August, people might confuse his name for his birth month, not know his name, blah, blah, blah, [I don't remember all of my wailing rants], but I actually thought if my August were to be born in August, it would ruin his life. So, yes, I went crazy. It was August's fault.
And as the story goes, on July 28th, I set out to have a baby. I walked 3 miles in scorching weather, ran [waddled] up and down my stairs what felt like 100 times [probably 10], I ate shrimp, Mexican food, spicy food, spicy Mexican shrimp food, did jumping jacks, maybe cried a bit, and absolutely begged this baby to show his face. He arrived the next day, and my baby August was born in July.
On Wednesday, my beautiful baby boy turned three. I watched him smirk as he ate a birthday breakfast donut, I smiled as he admired his birthday chalkboard drawing of a turkey, bear, and giraffe as per his request, I laughed out loud when I discovered our kitchen floor covered in sprinkles and heard August yell, "Surprise! Trixie can eat them all!" and I tried to relish every part of that day.
August Huxley, you might have listened to me once, showing up when I insanely beckoned you to arrive in July, but you have been forming your own path ever since. You are extremely independent, and I love that about you, but things might be a little easier if you would take your mom's advice once in a while. You love to say "I can do it myself!" and most times you can. You've loved music since you were a wee babe, and that love of music has evolved into a love of singing and dancing. You are quite the dancer. You love, love, love to be read to and I have no doubt you will be reading on your own fairly soon because you are a determined little boy who can "do it [yourself]." You make us laugh out loud every day.
:: "Momma, my nose is falling off." [he had a runny nose]
:: Pointing to his butt, "Say hi to my friend."
Gus, with his butt facing me: "Do you want to go to the beach tomorrow day?"
:: Checking on Gus who was supposed to be napping.
Me: "August, where's your shirt?"
Gus: "It flew away. It's really dirty."
Me: "Why is your shirt dirty?"
Me: "Do you want to get up?"
Gus: "Uh, yeah." [gets new shirt out of his drawer] "Here's my shirt. It's really pretty."
:: I'm doing the hiccups, Momma!
:: I want to wear this hat for Finn. [translation: I want Finn to wear this hat.]
:: Gus: "Momma, smell this [Fortune Cookie] What's it smell like?"
Me: "Smells like a cookie."
Gus: "No, it smells like a spaceship."
:: [While covered with soap in the shower] "Something feels spicy."
Me: "Something feels spicy?"
Gus: " Yeah, on my butt."
Me: "Uh, okay."
:: Gus: "Momma, come look at my cars."
Me, looking at a collection of cars he placed on the floor: "Wow!"
Gus: "That was very nice for you to see."
:: [Upon seeing me unload his bike from the car, he questioned] When we get home, can I ride my bike right in here and I be a happy boy?"
:: Me: "Hey kids, what do y'all want to do tonight?"
Gus: "We need to drink chocolate milk, eat Pop Tarts and eat donuts and ring the bell."
:: Gus: 'Momma, you need to get Finn a spanking."
Me: "Why does Finn need a spanking?"
Gus: "Because he not let me play his bideo games."
:: Me: "August, do you want to go make a sand castle?"
Gus: "No, I want to build a hole, and put my head in it."
:: [Lifting his shirt to reveal his stomach] "Look at my abs!"
:: Me: "August, when I say no, that means you don't do it."
Gus: "When I say yes, that means I do it."
This little boy will be 3 years old next week. He certainly keeps me on my toes, but he's quite hilarious...and we love it!