A few of my personal highlights from the past year....
In January we rescued a purebred black and tan dachshund named "Jax" but in keeping with the family tradition (Angie, Annabelle and Andy) we renamed him Ajax. He is the perfect companion for my Angie - calm, sweet, gentle and the biggest lovebug. Ajax is most certainly a Daddy's boy and is incredibly protective of Natalie....and he also puts up with her shenanigans. The other day I walked into the playroom and Ajax was sitting patiently on the couch while Natalie "fed" him with a spoon from a saucer that belongs to her play kitchen. He has been the most perfect blessing to our family.
Natalie turned one on March 8th and we had a small family oriented "St. Patty's Day" themed birthday party to celebrate. It wasn't just a party honoring our little girl, but also a momentous achievement for Craig and myself - we survived the first year as parents. I SURVIVED the first year as a mother.
And with any momentous occasion, it had to be documented and we bravely decided to take family pictures with Natalie and the two pups.
We did have my mother on hand to corral Angie, Ajax, Natalie......or Craig......depending on who was acting up at any point in time.
I swam through mud and jumped over fire........after running three miles.
I allowed my picture to be taken looking like this.
In April my sister-in-law (named Laura as well) and I completed the Warrior Dash together. We made a good team - she was great on the obstacles while I was the runner. We had some great chats along the way and encouraged each other the entire time. It was a milestone for me because it felt like some sort of "reclamation" of my former self. Even though I am Natalie's mother I am still ME and can do fun (and challenging) things.
Summer vacation this year was MUCH more fun than in 2011 when Natalie was an infant. She was on a specific schedule and able to go and do lots of exciting things.
Somewhere along the way, she also developed a personality.
We discovered her love of the aquarium.....or maybe it was just her parent's love of air conditioning?!
We took our very first REAL vacation to San Antonio with some friends who have a daughter close in age to Natalie. We hit up Sea World two days in a row and stayed a great resort that was hidden in the hills surrounding the city.
Happy to be on vacation and enjoying our little family.
The fall brought our annual trip to the State Fair and this year my parents joined us. We were lucky enough to see Big Tex before the inferno.
This picture was taken on Halloween and it was the first time I saw the BIG girl that Natalie was quickly becoming. Perhaps it's the way I dressed her....or maybe it's her body language but I realized at this point that we were rapidly exiting the baby stage and hurtling towards little girl-dom.
And the things that weren't photographed.....
Craig and I had a rough fall....there's no doubt about that. Between a spontaneous, Natalie induced house remodel and numerous illnesses which culminated in an emergency surgery, there was a lot of stress that could have ignited some pretty intense fights. But we buckled down and drew upon what is our greatest strength as a couple - our ability to function and work as a team.
I had a FABULOUS group of both 7th and 8th grade athletes this fall. My seventh graders came to me with LOTS of previous volleyball knowledge and we were able to upset a few teams...namely my old school! My eighth grade girls might not be the most technically proficient volleyball players but they are RUNNERS and despite a nasty flu virus eliminating two of our best runners, my girls were still able to hang onto a second place finish (out of fifteen schools) in the district cross country meet.
And in between all the BIG events were the seemingly inconsequential moments....the times we were just sitting around our house watching Natalie develop the ability to create and imagine. Or seeing her relationship with her grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family friends blossom and grow - she is so genuinely excited to visit and play with all our loved ones.
Craig and I were also able to introduce Natalie to our love of all sporting events - from teaching her how to cheer on the swimming and track events during the Olympics to watching her run around the gym during volleyball practice while trying to shag all the balls. She has developed into such a well-rounded little girl - she is equally excited about playing babies as she is throwing the ball around or playing with her cars and trains. Reminds me of another little girl I used to know.
Because of Natalie's interest in flushing paper down the toilet, Craig and I got a spontaneous remodel on our living room and several rooms upstairs. Of course she chose the best timing and did the damage during the first week of school, right smack dab in the middle of volleyball try-outs. As most things do, it turned out to be a great blessing in disguise seeing as how I ended up being able to completely redecorate our living room which I had been yearning to do for some time.
And some of my favorite posts from the past year.
I watched my little girl while she watched the world.....and I also learned the peace that is brought with slowing down.
Another year in the record books and a year in the life of La La blogged onto the interwebs.