2016 in 12 Photos

Thanks to Bobbi for hosting this link up.  

This is one of my favorite posts to do each year. It's always so hard to pick just one photo from each month, but it's a challenge I love. Looking through all my photos from the last year reminds me that no matter how crazy and hectic and difficult life may seem, it's also incredibly beautiful, and I have so much to be thankful for. 

So here's our Year In Review. 

JANUARY: Getting Johnny's ear tubes in and some of his hearing issues resolved was a big part of January. I also decided to do the 52 project, which, if you are a regular reader, you may have noticed I failed woefully at. We spent a lot of time staying cozy inside, and Johnny's love for trains began. 

FEBRUARY: With Lent comes Lenten resolutions. I got bangs again! We started Johnny with a new speech therapist, and it was really awesome to see his vocabulary expand. 

MARCH: We kept plugging away though Lent. I was adding names to the list of women I pray for. The end of winter gets so hard, so we tried to find fun things to do, like ride the train into downtown. I did some thinking about what it means to have spring come back, in nature and in my own soul.  And I got really good at building wooden train tracks. We had a lovely Easter...followed by a terrible stomach bug. Welcome spring! 

APRIL: So many long days with my babies that I know are turning into short years. Finally warm enough to be outside. And my little sister got married!!

MAY: BIG changes as Johnny started preschool a lot sooner than we had originally planned, which stirred up all kinds of motherly feelings in me. Lots of time out side, bubble blowing. And Johnny turned three

JUNE: I took the summer off from teaching and just focused on family and rest. We celebrated the anniversary of Johnny's baptism, and we had our first round of family vacation.  

JULY: Alex finished up his summer semester and we went on our second family vacation of the summer to Alex's family's farm.

AUGUST: We made it home from our family farm vacation. And then we went on our annual pilgrimage with our good friends. I turned 30! And we cranked out a few house projects before school started up again.

SEPTEMBER:  Johnny started school again, Alex started school again, and I started teaching again. All the busyness definitely left me feeling wornout and in over my head. I refocused my perspective on being a stay-at-home mom.  A big highlight was meeting many of the other Blessed is She writers and creatives at our first ever BIS Team Retreat. 

OCTOBER: Trixie turned one, and Alex and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. Alex started rotations, and I wrote this Mother's Act of Contrition because, you know, there's always room for improvement in world of motherhood.

NOVEMBER: We got sick, multiple times actually, and really just tried to keep up with everything.

DECEMBER: Lots of Christmas happenings, family time, and learning to navigate the season with small children. 

It's been a great, crazy, challenging, enjoyable, memory-filled year. We're going to soak up our last few days of Christmas break and then roll up our sleeves to greet 2017. Wishing you all a peaceful and joyful new year! 

2015 in 12 photos

I'm joining Bobbi over at Revolution of Love for a year in review link-up.  I am a rather nostalgic person so I love these kinds of posts. 2015 was a good year. It was crazy, but good. So here goes!

My word for 2015 was "less". The goal was to simplify, get by with less, be satisfied with less. Did I succeed? Well, I saw less of my husband (PA school) and we have less money (also PA school), so yeah. We'll call that a win.

Also in January, we got Johnny out of our bed and into his own.  This was a much needed transition, and the 20 months of co-sleeping that lead up to it may have changed my views on attachment parenting just a little bit. 

Alex turned 30 in February. Then lent started and we gave up TV. That combined with my no-sugar January made it a very sad winter. 

March held a pregnancy announcement! Then I spent the rest of the month on the couch battling morning sickness with the frozen mac'n'cheese from Trader Joe's while Johnny demolished the house and wondering if maybe we were just a little bit crazy for having another baby. 

I had jury duty in April.  It was not. fun. I hope you never have to do it. We also start to see some progress with Johnny's speech therapy that month.  Way more fun than jury duty. 

May was a big month for us.  We had a gender reveal, Johnny turned two, and Alex had his last day of work at a company he's been with for 13 years. Johnny weaned for good, and I got all emotional. Seasons ending and other seasons beginning.

June brought some major sleep issues which forced us to cry it out with Johnny.  It was really hard for me to do but turned out to be one of the best parenting decisions we have ever made. Alex started his PA program and the transition was hard. Being a stay-at-home mom became ever harder, and I realized my need for a "village" more than ever before.

July was hot and Alex studied a lot.  I got real up close and personal with solo parenting. And this post got more views than my entire blog gets in a month thanks for Jenny sharing it on her FB page.  I'm still like, whoa! 

I turned 29 in August, and had a mini crisis about being in the last year of my twenties. Alex had three glorious weeks of break during which we went to Chicago, visited the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine, and got a bunch of house projects done. 

In September I was large and uncomfortable.  Alex started his fall semester and I did a lot of knitting, packed my hospital bag, and tried to get some good birthing vibes going. 

October. Let's see, what happened that month.  Oh yeah. I HAD A BABY! The four days between her due date and birth date were the longest days of my life.  But then our Trixie was born.

I spent most of November trying to find matching jammies for my kids on Kidizen.  Just kidding.  Kind of. Actually, November was a hard month of infant, toddler and husband-in-grad-school all thrown together. But I have been working on offering up my own sufferings for those who are really in need.  

And then December.  Family pictures for Christmas cards. Trixie turned two months. I'm still feeling quite postpartum.  But Alex is on break and we have been enjoying Christmas with our two babies.

I hope you've had a wonderful Christmas and that 2015 has left you with many sweet memories.  Here's to a great 2016!


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//1 2 i n 2 0 1 4//

Another end-of-the-year link-up.  This one hosted by Dwija at House Unseen
12 photos, one from each month, so sum up the year we had over here. 
If you are new to The Hearts Overflow, I hope this will bring you up to speed.
If you've been reading for a while, I hope you will enjoy reviewing these memories with me!


We spent 16 days in the hospital with Johnny while he had his 3rd and 4th surgeries to take down his colostomy and then clear up a bowel obstruction.  It was by far our most difficult hospital stay, full of many set backs and much discouragement. But we made it through and got to take home our little man fully recovered.

Cloth diapering took on a whole new dimension as Johnny began having poopy diapers for the first time ever! So much excitement, and so many poopy diapers.  It was also the WORST winter of all time. I may have had one or two melt downs. 

Winter continued to be awful. And I got bangs.  After vowing 5 years earlier that I would never ever get bangs again. I guess I learned that I shouldn't keep my promises to myself? I also hosted a series called NICU diaries, a special salute to babies who have had a rough start.

We were finally able to go outside. (Though you can still see traces of snow.) Here is Johnny swinging for the first time.  

I celebrated mothers day as a mom for the first time. And Johnny turned 1! He has been such a blessing and answer to prayer, so we made 3 cakes and had all our friends over to celebrate.

Summer brought Alex's hardest semester of classes yet. He literally spent every night studying. That and the all the summer humidity made for a sometimes crabby mama.  I taught summer lessons and Johnny and I tried to be outside as much as possible. 

I finally fell into a good prayer routine over the summer. Johnny got hand foot and mouth, I enjoyed summer cooking, and Alex kept studying.  

Alex was between semester, and we took a family vacation to visit Alex's family at The Farm and in Pittsburgh.  It was so nice to get to spend two whole weeks together as a family with no homework or other concerns. Johnny loved being with his cousins.  Also, I turned 28. 

Harvest time. We so many tomatoes from the garden. I love September because we eat tomatoes basically everyday.  Also, Johnny finally started to walk on his own!

I did the October blogging challenge.  I though it might make me hate blogging, but no.  Turns out I really like blogging. Alex and I celebrated 5 years of marriage. I know it seems obvious to say they have been the best 5 years of my life.  But they really have been, and there's just no other way to say it. 

Winter arrived way too early! Silver lining: Johnny looks cute all bundled up. Alex was accepted to PA school. YAY! And we continued to fail at getting Johnny to sleep through the night. Boo. 

This month has been full of family and celebrating and love. I had to remind myself to chill out on the to-do lists and just enjoy advent and Christmas, and when I did that things went way better. Johnny loves being with family.  And his favorite game is peek-a-boo. 

All in all, 2014 has been a great year. Life may not always be easy, but it is always good. We are blessed beyond measure. We are ready to welcome a new year and all the new things it will bring.

Happy New Year everyone! See you in 2015!


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//14 things i learned in 2014//

Thanks to Gina, from Someday Saints, for hosting this fun linkup. I always get so nostalgic at the end of the year and love thinking back and remembering things. The good and the bad, the Fun and the difficult, it's all these things together that shape us and make us who we are.

Here's some of what I learned this year.

1. If I stay up late, Johnny will ALWAYS get up early. Always. End of story.

good thing he's so cute.
2. Poopy diapers are a good thing. We have changed SO MANY POOPY DIAPERS in 2014. I kind of wish I had kept a running tally so that I could give you an exact figure. I can't, but I'm guessing it was something like 2,400. BUT I am so thankful we had all those poopy diapers to change instead of a colostomy bag to deal with. 

3. How to knit cables. I've been wanting to do this for years, but always thought it was too advanced for my knitting know-how.  Turns out, cables are really easy. And I love them.

like what you see? check out my etsy shop!
thanks to my friend, Caila, for being my stellar model!
4. I like setting and achieving goals. I haven't done a lot of goal setting since graduating from college. I'm glad I don't have the stress of deadlines and performances anymore. But I think a little bit of pressure is good. Without it I would stay in my pajamas all day and watch BBC period dramas. Two of my personal highlights from this past year were getting my Etsy shop up and running, and participating in the October blogging challenge. Those may not be the most prestigious goals that were set in 2014, but it felt good to say that I was going to do them, and then see them get done!

5. Sleep deprivation is something I can get used to.  This summer we drove to eastern Ohio to visit Alex family. On the way there we drove through the night because we thought that would be the easiest was to take a 15 hour road trip with a one year old. The thing that surprised me though, was that I did most of the over night driving. And I didn't even feel that crappy the next day. I guess nursing four times a night for over a year is good for something!

6. I am a control freak. This not a good thing. I think having a baby has helped me see myself for what I really am: someone who likes to have things done HER WAY.

7. And closely related: There is more than one right way to (fill in the blank) a baby. Feed a baby, Change a baby. Bathe a baby. Hold a baby. Dress a baby. Play with a baby. I do it one way, my husband may do it a completely different way, and they are both. fine.

8. How to say no. We used to help with music at our church every week and lead bible study and host lots of parties and go see lots of people, and we just can't do all of it any more. It's hard for me to say no because I like to be involved in lots of things, and I don't like disappointing people, but I'm learning I am happier when we have less going on.

9. Why people stay home so babies can sleep. I never understood why people had to cut social engagements short, or decline them all together, because their babies had to sleep. Can't they sleep at our house? Or later? Is it really that big of a deal if they miss a nap? Johnny was a portable sleeper for a long time, but not anymore. And I now I understand. If the baby does't sleep, the baby ain't happy. And if the baby ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

10. 20 students is enough. I have more students this year than I have ever had! YAY! I'm so thankful that I get to use my musical training regularly, and that I can generate some income while staying home with Johnny. But 20 students is my limit. I don't know how some people keep 40 or 50 students. 20 students means that on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays the only things I get done are Johnny's nap and teaching. 20 is enough.

11. It's ok if everything is not fun. I like to have fun. This last year, however, has not been so fun.  Alex has been in class the entire year, some of his classes were really hard, and except for a few weeks of breaks, he's had homework to do pretty much every night. We want to hang out and have fun as a family, but after dinner Alex would go in one room, and Johnny and I in another. I just had to except that sometimes things might be lonely and not so much fun, but that we are working towards a goal and in the end it will be worth it.

12. I'm addicted to sugar. I love sugar and am always looking forward to the next time I can have a sweet. It's gotten so bad that I'm going sugar free for the month of January.  Pray for me.

13. I love family time. When Alex doesn't have homework and we can just hang out and play with Johnny, and watch him do new things, that's the best.

14. Patience is the hardest. I pray almost everyday that God would make me a patient mother and wife and almost everyday I have to ask forgiveness for my bad temper and lack of patience. Why is it so hard? I'm almost afraid to pray for it, because sometimes it seems like when I do, that's when all hell breaks loose in our house! Once again, pray for me.

How bout you? What have you learned this year? I hope you have some time to reflect on what has happened and how it has shaped you.


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