Happy New Year!: A Pictorial Journey Through 2012

2012 was a landmark year for us as a family. Being in a nostalgic mood, I went through last year's pictures and picked out 12 of my favorite photos and/or moments. Some of them are reruns on the blog, but some of them mean something more. I hope you'll enjoy a trip down memory lane with me...

January began with a one-day trip my husband and I took (sans kids) from LA to Sacramento and back, all just to get these special documents for our adoption. We were in the car for about twelve hours straight, with a stop in the middle for lunch with a friend. We left at about 4 am and got back at about 7 pm. This was definitely a memorable trip for us!

My husband and I started a new tradition: instead of buying Christmas gifts for each other, we decided to choose one gift that we both could use or enjoy. Last Christmas we decided on getting a Keurig machine as a step towards our dream of one day running a retreat center...someday. These mugs of hot chocolate are a symbol of that hope as we look together as a couple.

This is a picture of our temporary home in the church. Besides the adoption, the home remodel took over a lot of our year. It is weird to drive by the house now and think, "We used to live in there!" I like this picture with its open door because living at church allowed us to have people over a lot more frequently, which is something we really enjoyed in this season of our lives.

Although this isn't the most aesthetic of pictures, I like this one because it is a picture of what we are doing: not just enlarging our home, but enlarging our family for the kingdom of God. There are times when I wonder if we have done the right thing and if the expense is worth it. But then I think of the big picture and know that even though it has been costly in more ways than one, we are doing what God wants us to do, and that is worth all the expense.

In this Mother's Day photo, I am reminded how much I am thankful for my kids. Like all other kids, they do drive me crazy sometimes, but I also know that they have been a great gift from God.

I love this picture because it was a team effort. We found an idea, then we worked together to make it happen. The day was windy when we went out to the church parking lot (where we were living at the time) and it took several takes but this shot reminds me of how fun it is to create together.

We finally moved back to our house in July and this picture of the boys reflects the joy we all felt in coming back home. Even though there was dust and boxes and lots of cleaning involved, there really is no place like home. I especially like little Jon trying to do what his big brother is doing as well as Matthew's jump for joy.

There is nothing quite like purging your stuff. I was so proud of myself for clearing out everything in the garage and getting rid of a good 30-40% of it. One of the things we had to say good-bye to was our faithful Play-n-Go, which has served all three of my children since we got it in 1996. After almost 16 years, it was hard to let it go, but we also know that in letting go of the old, we are able to make room for the new.

This was the year I had to face the fact that I am growing old. The white hair was starting to really bug me so I took a jump and started treating myself to a quarterly cut and color. I look forward to this little luxury of visiting Stuart and letting him and his capable staff take care of me for a couple hours while I catch up on reading and just doing nothing. It's worth the trek out to Alhambra to visit PG & Co.!

My little baby is going to turn 5 in just a few days. This picture, taken in Beijing the day we left for Nanning, struck me because it reminded me how quickly he was growing up. And yet, he still is a little boy, holding on to his favorite stuffed lion. It is a reminder to me that even though he is growing up fast, I better seize the moment while he is still young and to not lose the opportunities I have with him (or any of the others!).

I know this is a re-run pic but I have to say that this is my favorite picture that we took in China. I don't think I even need to explain why.

There are days when I wish we didn't take the path to adopt Anah. It has been the hardest thing I have ever done. I am still going through a lot of grieving and sadness. I wish I didn't have to. But this picture reminds me that for better or worse, Anah is part of our family now and there are good things to come. I can trust that the God who is behind all this is doing something I would never be able to fathom or imagine.

Thanks for journeying through the year with me. I pray that this coming year will be a joy to you and your family. Happy new year!