Listen. I do NOT have time to blog. Currently there are four children five and under in my home, one of whom has the stomach bug and two of which are in the post-recovery whine time of the virus and have morphed into koala bears. Dare I say the recovery period of the bug is worse than the vomit spewing period? I do. Dare I say that the child whine time leads directly to the mom wine time? I do. Do you know what it means to have a one year- old koala attached to your extremities at all hours? It means Cabernet.
Anyway, the point is, I don’t have time to write BUT after popular demand and numerous requests from my five loyal readers (you know who you are), I think 2017 is calling for some blog time. I ended this whole thing last year after we moved from our farm in New Mexico to Matt’s hometown in north central Texas because our time as pioneers on the prairie had ended, and that was the entire premise. But I enjoy writing and Matt likes the chronicles of this time in our family life since is he’s working so much he doesn’t get to revel in it. Much like all dads everywhere. I’m pretty rusty, but let’s get started, shall we?
Happy New Year! Laurie sent me this clip of Chris Farley rolling down a mountain in the [now old] movie Black Sheep. At the end of a rough, violent fall to the bottom he stands up, looks toward the sky and yells, “What in the HELL was that all about?!?!”
And thus describes the year 2016 for the Bellah family. Following are images from what you missed the past seven or eight months, unless you are close friends and family, bearing witness to the wild ride down the mountain.
Starting the summer with a bang and a steroid infusion at Cook Children’s Hospital. Answered prayers with diagnoses for Claire and the best care we could imagine.
We survived an amazingly awful t-ball league. Perhaps all t-ball leagues are awful? I’m unsure how they could be good at this point. Matt was our team’s official coach and he made one or two games because…hospital stays. Also it was hot, dirty, I was eight months pregnant, the umpires rarely showed up, fire ants were in full force, and the games began at our kids’ bedtime. Awful, I say!
Claire having an awesome time in the hotel pool the day before her second hospital stay of the summer. Poor thing never knows what’s about to hit.
That time we had a baby after the worst night of L&D ever! Note to hospitals everywhere: not having a nursery to care for newborns is cruel and unusual. I plan to write an entire post about that terribleness and send it to…some people.
Pure sweetness in the form of a brand new baby boy. The highlight of the year.
And…Kate. She is a wild jungle child climbing and running everywhere and she makes me cry laughing on a daily basis. Anything you can do, she can “do it myself”.
Let’s all take a moment to praise the Lord that we survived 2016. Hallelujah Amen. Now for the reflection portion of the evening. I hate self-reflection as much as the next guy, but it’s necessary for growth, and I do believe that God gave us MUCH to grow on in ’16. There are things about life we all have to see for ourselves, the human condition and all, and we learned a lot. A few bullet points:
We learned that sometimes doctors are wrong.
We learned the miracles of modern medicine.
We learned the value of the village raising our kids.
We learned that 18 months between your 3rd and 4th babies is not very long.
Not very long at all.
We learned to trust God’s timing.
We learned to give our daughter subcutaneous injections.
We learned that the magic of childhood is in the city pool.
We learned that sometimes it DOES rain!
But the humidity is killer.
We learned how much we adore having more than our fair share of grandmothers close by!
We learned about four car seats in one vehicle. And you don’t even want to know more about that.
We learned about the weekly logistics of scheduling based on medical appointments at least an hour’s drive away that involved blood work, sonograms, high risk pregnancy, therapy evaluations, vaccinations, teeth cleanings, TB tests, urinalyses, X-rays, ophthalmologists, anemia, tethered spinal cord, and Chik-fil-a Frosted Coffees.
I had several epiphanies in 2016, and not just because epiphany is my favorite word ever, but because I really did come to several “sudden realizations about life.” But one of my favorite conversations of the year was a couple months after Brock was born (which was exactly one week after Claire’s surgery) – a really quick conversation with Matt’s aunt. She said that she had been reading Ephesians and something jumped out and she immediately thought of us.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Ephesians 6:13-15
She said that what we had to do all summer was to stand. We had on the full armor of God, and we just had to stand through everything. I feel like this is exactly what we did with 2016 and the surprises it brought. Our minds were kept in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3), and we didn’t have to do anything but rely on God and pray through the circumstances. Believer or not, you’ve heard the phrase “freedom in Christ.” To me, that sums up last year. We were free to stand, trust God, and find joy in the arrows shot our way, even those maybe caused by, say, a toddler tossing her cookies in Papasitos or a horrific reaction to an epidural. So many stories to write, so little time…
2016, you were super super good but also really mean to us; I’m so glad you’re gone. My resolution for 2017 is to jump on the kids’ new trampoline every day. As soon as the risk of being puked on is over, that is. Merlot, anyone?