2012 in Review and God's Seemingly Random Plans

Two thousand and twelve was a year of adjusting for me.  It was a year that began with me quitting my job and finding my new "work" at home.  I knew when God nudged me to begin my blog shortly before Annika was born, that my job title would change from HR to SAHM plus something more.  God has stretched and encouraged me in blogging in this year, and has more for me in writing in 2013.  My fodder to blog about has been life, period.  My loves, my fears, my passions, my God, my kids, and my hubby - life as an adventure.  And two thousand and twelve was an adventure, a pretty good one as a family...  We had mostly ups and only a few downs, all of which I'll recount for you here. 

Annika turned one.  Isaiah turned three.  They both are exerting their independence in various ways, ones that can sometimes drive this momma mad.  But it's part of growing up.  Life is a separation process from the time that the umbilical cord is cut.  They grow, become independent and eventually self-sufficient, and it's your job to make it happen to the best of your abilities.  

Isaiah continues to expand and grow his vocabulary at a break neck pace.  He participated in his first group sporting activity, with a half hour of soccer every Monday for six weeks with Coach Sam.  He loved it.  So much so, that he wanted his daddy to come see him, and John did.  Isaiah has his best buddy, Josiah, and he loves cars, trucks, construction equipment, and is a caring and loving big brother to his little sis.  Annika is probably the sweetest little soul ever.  And the cutest.  She began saying lots of words in 2012, and says "bye, bye" with a sweet little princess wave.  Her voice is so soft and sweet.  And she is so sensitive, and cries when John is too stern with her or if mommy yells too much (what?! like that would ever happen...).  She began walking toward the end of the year and is just now giving up on crawling.  She is a very good eater, loves bath time, and adores her big brother and Minnie Mouse.  We only had two Emergency Room trips in 2012, one for each child, and both in the week before Christmas!  Exciting, exciting!  (Don't worry, everyone was fine!)

Breakfast at Bethany Beach

Breakfast on our balcony at Bethany Beach

What is this stuff??

Making memories with dad.

Sissy with her daddy

Flight lessons at Bethany Beach

We had our first big vacation as a family of four - a two-week long family
Hey, sissy! What is that out there?
vacation in September.  We spent one week with my parents in Bethany Beach, and one week with John's parents in Hilton Head.  It was awesome!  The kids had a blast, loved the beach, and John and I even had a few date nights out on the town!  Bethany had it's own adventures, as we got locked in our room and had to rely on Isaiah to let us in the front door of our rental unit.  (If you want details, you have to ask me about this one!)  In a  throwback to my youth, my parents took Isaiah crabbing, and he made some amazing memories with his Gram E and Poppy!  It was a sweet time, because we were supposed to take a similar vacation in 2011, but my dad was in a very severe motorcycle accident four days before we were supposed to leave.  We
My sweet baby - Hilton Head 2012
didn't go, and my dad's recovery was long and tough.  Vacationing at the beach with them was a sweet reminder that God is very good!  The drive to Hilton Head was extensive and wrought with it's own perils, but we arrived safely.  We had the most luxurious accommodations and spent a super amazing week in the lazy river and hot tub at our complex.  We also rented bikes (which I highly recommend) and biked all over the island, mostly so our kids could sleep.  Both destinations were incredible, and we really hope to revisit them in the future. 
Hilton Head 2012

Isaiah and Mimi - working on a puzzle
Child labor laws, what?

John's job has expanded, contracted and ultimately changed.  He began the year losing his mind at work, then moved into a sales position and became a much happier person.  Spiritually, his job had made it tough to focus on God and the job switch was a welcome change.  Mid summer, we found a suspicious looking mark on John's back, one that I suspected was skin cancer judging by the various marks that my father has had removed.  He didn't think a thing of it, and I was trying not to freak out.  We scheduled an appointment, and they biopsied it.  The doctor said that if it was cancerous, he was hiring me, due to my astute observation skills.  It was and they cut it off.  He goes back in February for a check up.  It was scary, but a huge reminder that God is in charge and is sovereign.  John had a disagreement with a friend that lasted most of the year, and ultimately dominated way too much thought time and date night time.  It was resolved, and we all learned somethings, as we should do through the sticky spots in life.  Life isn't always peaches and cream, but we learn and grow along the way. 

I spent the year cleaning the house, watching Veggie Tales and Yo Gabba Gabba, cleaning up puke, giving baths and making dinner.  It was a good year, but I have found that two children is quite challenging.  Getting out of the house is always tough, but I'm learning how to be closer to "on time", or a little less late.  I seem to lose myself in the snotty noses, laundry, and cooking, but I try to do some things that I can call my own.  I joined a gym and was finally able to read a book or two while using the elliptical.  I lost a few pounds of baby weight that I have been carrying, and I'm happy to be closer to my pre-babies weight.  I went to a photography class, courtesy of my sister Lauren, and have been really enjoying documenting our lives through photos (see above!).  

I picked up a blogging gig for the Carnegie Science Center and blogged for them most of the year.  I had a goal to write 1.5 blogs per month in 2012, which amounts to 18 over the year.  I felt it was a reasonable goal with two children under three years of age, and honestly, I didn't want to only blog about the Carnegie Science Center (they asked me to blog twice a month).  I was able to write 25 blogs last year, and that was a blessing.  Some about motherhood, some about the CSC, some about fun family events in and around Pittsburgh, some about faith, and some about heavy topics like abortion.  I often wonder if I should narrow my focus, or if what I'm doing is what I should be doing.  And God has funny ways of directing and redirecting us, to nudge us along His path. 

I went to a random Graco mommy blogger event at Toys R Us and God set up a neat meeting pointing to a new project for 2013.  I received an email invite to a Graco product demonstration and giveaway for mommy bloggers at Toys R Us in Monroeville.  I wasn't sure how I received an invitation to the event or if I really wanted to make the rather long drive to Monroeville.  I finally decided to go, mainly because they were giving away two car seats, and I have this odd obsession to want to win stuff.  It really doesn't matter much what the prize is, but I'm always entering random giveaways to win free stuff.  And in this case, my chances were really good, like one in four or a 25% chance of winning.  I arrived and immediately began chatting it up with the two mommy bloggers that appeared to be in charge.  They were great, and after more conversation, I realized that the one woman lived near me, knew my best friend and even went to my church.  Crazy.  Her name is Mandy, and she does Macaroni Kid for the South Hills and has a pretty decent web presence.  I didn't win, but I did walk away from that meeting really hoping that God would have me work with Mandy on some future web based blogging project.  I did know that more would come of the seemingly random God-ordained meeting, even if I didn't know what it was.  

Sure enough, fast forward a few months, and I received an email from Mandy about her feeling a stirring from God to start a women's blog focused on living out our faith.  Something like Proverbs 31 Woman or the like, and that she was to partner with a few friends who are like minded and hit the ground running.  So I knew that I was in, and here we are. So I hope you'll join my web presence in a new place, www.deliberatewomen.com.  I'll be joining with a few other women who love Jesus to learn and blog about "living out faith in God with purpose and diligence".  Subscribe and get involved in the conversation and community that you find there.  We are new, so bear with our growing pains, but we can't wait to see what God has for us (and for you) in the new year.

So looking ahead to 2013... While John, Isaiah, Annika, and I aren't sure exactly what the future holds, fun family adventures, cool God moments, and parenting challenges will likely be happening all year long.  There will be plenty to blog about, so follow me here and at Deliberate Women to find out how the year unfolds.  I'm sure it will be an adventure.  

Has God set up some seemingly random plans for you lately?   What new things is God doing in your life in 2013? 


  1. I love your description on the Deliberate Women blog, "mechanical engineer turned domestic engineer." Way to go, Alayna!

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