So I’ve never done a “year in review,” but Elliott suggested it and it sounded fun… and then suddenly I was having the greatest time going back through old links and remembering the whole year! This has been a wonderful year, despite missing my sister and those hard early days with Gil. I was uplifted and so thankful as I saw each account of God’s faithfulness and goodness to us. I hope you enjoy this little spin back through 2013!
January was a huge month for our family! I started off 2013 by reviewing my 2012 goals and then audaciously posting a huge list of new ones. (Coming soon… those goals in review. Oy vey.) I also had a few honest posts about my final days as a mother of one and dealing with a complication at the end of my pregnancy, wrote a guest post for a large blog, and we took a healing hike to the orange groves on the first day of the year. And then… in five very quick hours… Gil arrived! Later, curled up next to my baby in bed at home, I shared his birth story at a military hospital and how we chose his name.
February was whirlwind of adjusting to our new baby. We savored days at home with him together (such a funny guy!), and then Elliott went back to work and I was flying solo with two kids at home. I took the double stroller out for the first time, and I also finally posted pictures of my final day at home with Lena.
March stretched us. A lot. Gil became increasingly hard to console, and we clung to our sanity and God’s grace as we got through those days. Reflecting this, I wrote about growing pains in this new life, a very messy trip to IKEA, and an attempted newborn photo shoot. I also shared 6 tips for sharing our bedroom with Gil, which continues to be one of my most popular posts. I did manage to break away from babies a little bit and enjoy life in Italy with a pasta recipe and a bruschetta recipe!
In April, the weather changed and Gil began to change too. We found moments of peace and perspective, and it helped that April is enchanted in Italy! We celebrated Lena’s second birthday with a party at the playground, and we welcomed lots of visitors: my family, Elliott’s parents, and even my grandparents!
I think we finally hit our stride with two kids by May. We had a major breakthrough with Gil’s sleeping habits, and I shared our secrets in a post about getting your baby to sleep in his own bed. Gil suddenly became impossibly cute. I challenged myself to savor these days. And we ate well with two new Italian dishes: eggplant cutlets and tiramisu!
In June we headed home to the States for a couple of weeks to see our family, which was the first time some of our siblings had met Gil. We managed to squeeze in another photo shoot of our now-five-month-old son, and I wrote one of my favorite book reviews yet about 5 ways to improve my parenting.
We were still in the States in July, so I added a couple of urban posts to this rather small-town blog: a whirlwind afternoon in Chicago and splish-splashy day in D.C. I also read and reviewed several books including French Kids Eat Everything and a great memoir that addressed excess in media, waste, and spending.
August was a wonderful month, although sad because we said goodbye to our dear friends the Arthurs. I wrote a post about transition and friendships and resolved to love newcomers in Sicily as I had been loved when I arrived. We went wild blackberry picking and I shared a recipe for wild blackberry tarts… yum! I wrote about a few favorite products for the kitchen and the beach. At the end of the month we went to Crete!
Elliott’s sister got married in September, so we went back to the States for her beautiful wedding… and were treated to a 24-hour layover in Scotland on the way! I also started a “new baby” series on my blog and addressed maternity clothes, newborn essentials, a postpartum survival guide, and my favorites for a 3-month-old.
While still in the States in early October, Lena got her first haircut and I finally donated my hair. I also wrote about my favorite book this year. Back in Sicily, craft fair season began and we went on a weekend getaway to a mountaintop castle and a seaside town.
October, November, and December were full of visitors, so we were busy! We went olive picking and wine tasting, and I also learned a new Italian pasta dish. On my 27th birthday I posted a photo series about our everyday lives in Sicily, and I know I’ll treasure those photos forever. On Thanksgiving we filled our table with friends.
December was a total whirlwind, and there are still photos I haven’t posted from a weekend getaway with Elliott and a trip to the mountains with my mom. I’ll post about these trips in January, I guess… better late than never! We did go on a beautiful hike, bought half a lamb for our Christmas dinner, and celebrated our last Christmas in lovely Sicily.
And now it is 3:49pm on December 31st, and there are just a few more hours left in 2013. The new year looms rather than beckons us at this point because we still haven’t decided whether to take the San Diego job or not. We are so torn. Either way, we’ll be leaving Sicily in July, and that will be one of those most bittersweet events of my life, I think. I’m thankful that I have such a strong testimony of God’s faithfulness to us as we wait for what the new year will bring.
And now I’d love to hear from you, my friends! What are you most looking forward to in 2014? Or most afraid of?