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2016 was a good to us. New house, new job, graduation, and new babies were some of the blessings the year brought. I didn't fully appreciate how sweet all these gifts were until Mark pulled up an email from 2012. Every year Mark and I celebrate New Year's Day by writing out goals. They have to be SMART - specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. 2012 was the last year that we saved our lists in an email. I'm so thankful we did!  

Here's my list:


1. Get on waiting list for adoption/home study

2. International Trip

3. Cultivate friendships in Raleigh

4. Take a sewing class

#2 and #4 never happened. I have no idea what inspired the sewing class idea. I realized a long time ago that I didn't have the patience to sew, and shockingly, marriage did not miraculously transform me into a domestic goddess. As for the international trip, I'm still waiting and probably will be for a long time (I traveled a lot before then so I'm not too bothered but Iceland, New Zealand or Alaska would be a dream come true...does anyone want to babysit??!). 

#1 is what surprised me most. I completely forgot about these goals and it's amazing thinking that this was where I was just four years ago. I was pretty convinced that our plan for children did not include my belly growing. We had visited two adoption agencies and it seemed like God was pointing us in that direction. 

Even though it was incredibly painful leading up to that point. I remember being excited and hopeful on that night. Mostly I just wanted to be a parent alongside Mark. It must have been about a month later that we got a positive result on our pregnancy test. Now after three full-term pregnancies, I have four children to parent. 

It's amazing how life completely changes in a moment and how years pass by in a blink. 

I am thankful for our path to parenthood, but I am even more thankful that I hadn't lost hope in God having a plan for us. Even when it wasn't what I always expected that plan to look like.

Tonight we visited this tradition again. We incorporated a new element by listing out our blessings (☺ on the chart below)  from the past year then writing our goals for the year ahead. Even the kids got involved this time. Levi's goal is to stop compulsively throwing his food on the ground (ok maybe that's mommy and daddy's goal for him) and Evy plans to ride a bike without training wheels. Mark laid out some good goals for the twins too, like being nice to their breastfeeding, sleep-deprived momma.

Here are some pictures of the kiddos' blessings and goals....

I hope we stick to this tradition. I'm sure we'll be surprised whenever we look at what we wanted, then see what came of it in the end.

Life seldom happens according to our plans. but it's so sweet knowing there is one and we can be hopeful in it always. 

Happy New Year! 

3 Weeks Old