Thursday, January 17, 2019

Back At It After The Holidays

I cannot believe we are 17 days into the new year already. I also cannot believe that I am finally able to sit down and write after all the holiday festivities. Once 2019 rolled around, we got busy with doctor appointments, school activities, and getting back into our routine. In the last few weeks writing took a back burner to all of the things we had going on. Now, I am back at writing after the holidays. I hope all of my readers had a wonderful holiday season and that your new year is starting off on the right foot. When I last wrote, I summed up what 2018 was like for my family and I. Also, when I last wrote, we were in full swing for getting ready for the holidays.

We traveled to be with my husband's family for Christmas. Right after Christmas we traveled for my brother in law's wedding. In this post I will recap our Christmas break. I did not get as many pictures of Christmas and the wedding as I wanted to, but it is okay because we made a lot of memories! The memories we made will always stay with me. Just watching and soaking everything in made me realize, even more so than before, just how blessed I am to have a wonderful family.

Christmas
Let me talk about Christmas first! We left our house on December 23rd to head to my mother in law's house. We wanted to make sure we were there in time for Christmas Eve. December 24th is a hard day for my husband's family. In 2015 my husband's dad passed away on Christmas Eve. Ever since then we make sure we are all together on the 24th. We want to be there for my mother in law as well as each other. It is definitely an emotional day for us. We made the best of the day with our three older boys and my husband making buckeyes. That was followed up by going to a candlelight Christmas Eve service on Christmas Eve. Candlelight services are my favorite at Christmastime. It was beautiful and such a great way to kick off Christmas with my family. We have the tradition of opening one present on Christmas Eve. The tradition is everyone gets a pair of pajamas on Christmas Eve and we wear the pajamas to bed and spend most of our Christmas day in the pajamas as well.
My husband and our older three kids making buckeyes.
Our daughter in her adorable Christmas eve outfit.
Christmas day was just the most perfect day. We spent it with my husband's family (my husband's two brothers, our sister in law, our nephew, and my husband's mom). Our kids enjoyed opening presents. We enjoyed watching them open their presents (the best part of Christmas for me). The best present our kids received were Build A Bears. All 5 kids got one and we call them their Papaw bears. As I said, my father in law passed away Christmas Eve of 2015. The Papaw bears (their Build A Bear) has a voice sound of their Papaw playing a game with our older two kids. It is a very special gift that my husband's mom gave them. It means so much to them and to us. We are doing our very best to keep my father in law's memory alive to pass on memories to our kids. After opening presents we lounged around and ended the day with a big Christmas dinner. As I said, I didn't get as many pictures as I wanted to, because I was enjoying every moment and making Christmas memories.

After Christmas
Once Christmas was over we prepared to travel to Ohio for my brother in law's wedding. We went straight from my mother in law's house to Ohio (we were away from home for a whole week). My husband and our four boys were all in the wedding. The wedding took place on December 29th. The wedding was absolutely beautiful. Again, emotions were all over the place. It was hard because my father in law was not here to be at the wedding as he was for our wedding in 2009 and my other brother in law's wedding summer of 2015. We made it through with close friends and family by our side. Here are just a few pictures from the wedding. Like I already stated, I didn't take as many pictures as I wanted to. I soaked up every moment with family at the wedding.

Those are all the pictures from the wedding. Here are some miscellenous pictures from our trip. Our trip was great. Our kids did so well traveling. Our hotel was simply wonderful! We really soaked in the time as a family of 7 as well as the time spent with my husband's family.
At a rest stop.
Eating breakfast at our hotel.
Naptime in the big comfy hotel beds.
The kids all got baby shark t-shirts for Christmas.

There you have it, our Christmas break! We are definitely ready for 2019! So far our 2019 has been great!

As I said already, we are getting back into our routine. I am so excited to get back into writing. I am looking forward to 2019 here on my blog and all of the topics that I have planned to write about. My goal is to keep up with my blog more than I did in 2018. I hope you all enjoy reading about our family as much as I love writing about our family. I love sharing the adventures of our family of 7 and how we keep the faith, hope, and love in everything we do.

I hope 2019 is a wonderful year for my readers!


Saturday, December 15, 2018

Reflections of 2018

I hope everyone is having a good weekend! I have been busy disinfecting my home because a few members of family came down with a stomach bug. We just cannot seem to get rid of it. Hopefully this was the last round of it.

The holidays are fast approaching and my family and I will be busy this holiday season. This will be my last post of 2018. This is the time of year where people reflect back over their year. I thought I would join many other bloggers who are writing about their reflections of their year. If I had to give 2018 a one word theme it would be change.

Our family experienced many changes in 2018. Most of the changes did not happen until the last half of the year, but they were big enough to leave an impact on our year.

January through June, the first 6 months of the year, we did not have many changes, but we did experience several firsts as a family. June through December was when most of our changes took place which included a job change for my husband, a move for our family, a school change for three of our kids, and a new routine for our family. Below is our year in photos! Enjoy reflecting with me on what 2018 was like for our famly.

January
In January my husband invested in getting me a FitBit. I wanted to make changes in my life to better my health. I have Crohn's disease and my doctor was telling me to eat healthier and get more active. Getting my FitBit definitely changed my life and my year. In 2018, I lost 20lbs. I am not sure if you can tell a difference between the two pictures below, but I can feel the changes. I am going to keep this up in 2019. I am so glad I made the change in 2018, because it has paid off. I feel much healthier than I have in a long time.
February
In February our third son had his tonsils taken out. This was our first child who needed to have his tonsils out. We have 5 kids so we may have one or two others who may need a tonsilectomy. This was also the year for surgeries to take place. As you read on, you will understand this.
Also in February, our second son received his new BAHA (bone anchored hearing aid). He had srugery in December of 2017 to get an abutment placed on the side of his head where his new BAHA would click into place. As you can see in the second picture below, he was so excited for his new hearing aid!
March
In March two things happened. The first thing thath happened in March was that our daughter (our last baby) was dedicated at our church. It was bittersweet because she is our last baby which means we won't have anymore baby dedications.
The second thing that happened was our oldest son was baptized. We are so proud of the decision he made. This was our first child to make the choice to be baptized and follow God for the rest of his life. We know our other children will also make this decision. Our oldest son also got his first Bible. It was such a sweet and special day. My husband had the opportunity to baptize him. There is nothing better than seeing a father baptize his child.
April
 In April, I decided to turn my hobby of photography into something more. My photography is still growing and I hope it continues to grow in 2019.You can check out my photography page here: www. facebook.com/JessicaL.MartinPhotography. Also in April we got a new van. We had to get rid of my white 1997 Chrysler Town and Country van because it pretty much stopped working. Our new van is a black 2011 Chrysler Town and Country van, which we love! Obviously, we are commited to Chrysler Town and Country vans.
May
So much happened in May of this year:

We went on our first trip as a family of 7 to North Carolina. All of our kids experienced the beach and a boat ride for the first time. 


Our oldest son lost his first tooth.


Our last baby turned one!
June/July
June and July consisted of the 2017-2018 school year coming to a close. Our kids grew so much during that school year. Once school was out, we did our best to enjoy the summer as a family. The kids got a lot of time outdoors in our pool and playing at our local park. In July, I had to have me appendix removed (I told you this was the year for surgeries). Thankfully my recovery went quickly and I could enjoy the little bit of summer I had left with the kids before they went back to school.
Last day of 1st grade for Logan.
Last day of preschool for Landon.
Last day of Liam's first year of preschool.
Lucas wanted to hold a sign too.
4th of July.
Me after my surgery.
August
August was the month that changed how the rest of our 2018 would go. Our older three boys started school. At the end of August my husband had an interview at a high school. A few days after that interview he received the call that he got the teaching position in which he interviewed for. That started 8 weeks where my husband would leave on Sunday evenings and come home on Friday evenings. I was basically a single mom Sunday nights to Friday nights.

First day of school for Logan and Landon.
First day of school for Liam.
My husband's first day school.
September/October

September and October were the months where my faith was put to the test. After my husband took the teaching job, we had no idea when we would be back together as a family. I had to put so much faith and trust in God that living apart during the school week was only temporary. I dug deep into God's word. I listened to more worship music. Making sure I kept God the focus of our family, while the head (my husband) of our family was away during the week, is how the kids and I survived those 8 weeks. There are some days I still cannot believe I managed 5 kids, packing a whole house, and still blogged. Like I said, I did it because God was by my side the whole time. At the end of October we made our big move across the state of Kentucky. God is so very good! He came through for our family and blessed us so much with this big life change. The following Bible verses were just a few of many that helped me keep my faith in God during the time that my husband and I were apart.
Our new house.
November/December
We spent all of November getting settled and unpacked. I picked up blogging again after our big move. You can read my November posts if you browse my blog. Now that it is December, I can say we are definitely settled and getting more established in our new area. The kids love their new school. My husband of course loves his job. I am enjoying the new surroundings and making mom friends. We are currently preparing for the holidays and counting down to Christmas. We have been making ornaments, baking Christmas goodies, and watching Christmas movies. The best part, our Christmas shopping is done. We are looking forward to spending Christmas with family.
I hope you enjoyed reflecting with me on what 2018 was like for our family. It feels so great to end this year in our new home. The changes in this last almost 2 months have been amazing for our family. We really are so blessed and we are so thankful to God for always doing things in His timing.
 
I am so excited for 2019 and cannot wait to see what it will hold for our family. I cannot wait to see how else God will bless us. I am excited to continue blogging and to continue with my start in photography. I hope and pray that 2019 is amazing for my readers as well. As I close out, take a look at how much our family has changed in 2018.
2017
2018
With this being my last post of 2018, I just want to wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope 2018 was a great year for you. I am so thankful for your support as my readers. As you go into 2019 keep the faith, hope, and love! See you next year!