And can I just tell you... I will gladly kick 2016 in the rear when it parts us!
I don't recall in my 34 years of living a year quite like this one. It started off great with my dad's 60th birthday celebrations, then three days later, came to a quick, whiplashing halt. I will spare you all the details, but what I will say is this. If you are ever in or near the Havana, Kan., area, DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT drink the water. It's spread crazy across the entire county.
Now the one place I really had treasured visiting because it was my place of calm and peace is now the last place I want to visit.
But I will tell you my bright spots from 2016 and what I'm looking forward to in 2017!
This sweet baby is the No. 1 thing to come out of 2016! I couldn't wait for her to get here so I could get my attention off of what started the year off so horribly. And man, did she deliver! Our sweet Tess was born on February 24 after a long day of induced-labor. The girl would have stayed put another two weeks if I had let her. But I was done being pregnant!
The first few months were tricky with her because we could not figure out why she was crying so much. I had prayed for a healthy and happy baby because my Reece had severe acid reflux as a baby and was anything but happy! So I was definitely frustrated until we found out the poor girl wasn't pissed off, she had a milk allergy and her belly was hurting!
Once we figured that out, all was well! She has been so much fun to watch grow, though that has gone rather quickly. She is now crawling and all over the room, while Sloane is saying "Mom, can you hold her so she doesn't get in my stuff!" Ohhh, she has no idea what she's in for! :)
We all adore her, as does anyone that meets her. And man, am I glad that she was the bright spot in our 2016!
Sloane started kindergarten and turned six this year. I feel like both are these super momentous moments in her life AND ours. How did we get from zero to six so quickly?
She was SO excited to start school and really has loved it! Just now are we beginning to see some unlove for school, but it's perfect timing for a two-week break. A time to get re-energized and just enough time to drive mom crazy!
It's funny because I'm always the most scared to send him off to something new. NOT because he won't enjoy it, but because I fear the teachers just won't get him. By the time it's time to move on to the next school year or teacher, I've gotten the same response from his teachers. It literally makes my heart burst with joy because if anything, my kids are good kids and people like to be around them. And sometimes, in the end, that is what is most important!
This summer, we found out that my brother and his wife were expecting their first baby! I cried MANY tears of joy because my brother is the absolute greatest guy I know (I feel like I'm allowed to say this and it not hurt my husband's feelings since it's my brother) and I am SO excited for him to be a dad and watch him and Alex parent together!
He LOVES kids. Probably because he'd like to be one his entire life, but his patience and kindness and love for babies is amazing and watching him with his own will be a true joy in my life!
Baby Hills will be here in January and - as I told his wife, Alex, just last night - I'm SO ready for a new teeny baby to be here to snuggle and hold! I don't need the baby to be my own, but blood-relation will do just fine!!
And last, but not least...
Our family has news to share. For the last half of this year, we've been teetering through the unknown with Matt's job. His company got bought so he was in limbo as to what he might be doing for a job or where he would be.
At one point, we thought we'd be moving back to Minneapolis. At another point, we thought we might be staying in Bentonville. We were hoping he could find a job in Kansas City. And then, he was offered a new job.
What's funny is that we had always said we wanted to live in Chicago.
But here we are. Three kids later. And about to move to the third largest city in the country.
Sounds nuts, but I kind of think we are nuts, so when you think about it in those terms, it's not nuts. It's more traveling (again) back to Kansas, it's learning my way around a new area (again), but we are close to a lot of Matt's aunts and uncles and cousins, which we are thrilled about!
When deciding on taking this job, Matt pointed out how much we loved getting to know my uncle Blish's family better when we lived in Minneapolis and feel that we are close with them and how neat it would be to have the same experience with his family.
And it was hard to fight that one!
We are excited! The kids (or Sloane) are excited! Our families are .... ehh ... coming around to it.
My mom and dad are thrilled to have a fun place to visit, but not thrilled it's farther away (though Manhattan is five hours for us and Chicago will only be seven). My brother is already planning trips.
And my sister? Well. We don't talk to her much about it because Matt is afraid she will harm him in his sleep. She was desperately wanting us to move to Kansas City (as were we) and we are very hopeful that will happen!
We just have a stop in between!
So... that's it for the Clark's in 2016. It started off really rough and had many moments of rough in between, but when I look at what we have accomplished, I am proud.
I have a very hard-working husband who loves his family with everything he has and wants nothing but the best for us. I have three healthy and happy and good kids. And I have a roof over my head.
That roof is about to get much more expensive, but it's a roof, nonetheless.
2017 -- you've got your work cut out for you, but I feel fairly certain you can handle it!
Merriest of Christmases to you all and have a wonderful and safe New Year! Thank you for following along these past few months - this has been a newfound love for me and I appreciate each and every one of that read this.