Here they are:
1. Celebrating the Chinese New Year
It is one of my favorite times of the year. This year was the Year of the Goat or the Sheep, and we celebrated it at home and at school, with other families who are Chinese by birth or heritage or adoption. I took this photo at our local Families with Children from China event, where there is a lion dance every year. Each child is given a red envelope to place in the lion’s mouth, but not every child is brave enough to approach the lion–or even be in the same room with the lion. This year our sons were braver than usual, but still tentative around the lion. Who wouldn’t be? But he’s also gorgeous.
It was a year of watching our boys grow in so many ways. They tried new things–they both started soccer, our younger son moved to kindergarten, and our older son made his first Reconciliation–and John and I had the chance to watch them become even more capable and confident. As I was looking through my posts from the past year, this photo reminded me how proud I am to see them grow and how honored I am to be in their lives.
3. A Little Craziness
Not every day is blissfully perfect, but we laugh so much here. I took this picture on an ordinary walk with our children. I love that each of our sons has such a great sense of humor and can bring so much joy to life.
4. A Moment of Prayer
Let’s be honest. They might not be praying here. But they could be. And I know that they did encounter God on this trip to Emmitsburg on Holy Thursday. I love this image of them together.
5. He Ain’t Heavy…
I took this picture that same day in Emmitsburg. The boys were hot and tired from all the walking, but they also weren’t begging to leave. And, even though they were tired, they were still running well ahead of me. I spotted them walking together in step and supporting each other and had to smile.
6. Raising Butterflies
We don’t have any pets, but we added a cup of caterpillars to the family over the summer. They grew into butterflies, which we enjoyed until we had to release them. We had a butterfly release party for them and then set them free. That orange blur on the right of this photo is one of the butterflies taking flight. They were a special part of our summer and our boys showed remarkable maturity about setting them free.
7. Up and Down
One day this summer we took our boys to Dutch Wonderland. They didn’t want to do all the same rides, but this one they jumped on together. I am always struck by how brave they can be, and also by how willing they are to try new experiences. And I love how they want to be together. They are brothers, through and through, with all the bickering that comes with that. But they are also best of friends.
8. Summer Fun
Sometimes we talk about joining an actual pool, but for now our inflatable pool with a hose in the backyard is our boys’ dream come true. I love the simplicity of summer fun and that our yard can be their whole world. We sneak out for a trip to the beach and for other day trips, of course, but they can play and play and play. Then in December I have to explain why I won’t let them shoot each other with water guns in the yard. But it’s all so much fun.
9. The Best Way to See a Jellyfish
Again this year we participated in the Enoch Pratt Free Library’s summer reading program, and our boys earned tickets to the National Aquarium. We had a great visit there and we saw these jellyfish for the first time. They were gorgeous and lit so beautifully in the tanks.
10. A Self-Portrait
Our little guy started kindergarten this fall and he loves it. One day he brought home this drawing of himself. I asked him what he was doing, and he said, “Loving God’s creation.” We can’t possibly keep all the drawings and crafts and artwork that comes home, but this one? We’ll find a home for that.
11. Visiting the Cemetery
Our nephew and cousin Georgie has been in heaven for more than two years now, but our boys have a special relationship with him, and we go visit his grave at the cemetery fairly frequently. I’m so happy Georgie is such a presence in our lives.
12. Climb Every Doorway
Just a few months ago our younger son wasn’t able to climb this doorway, and now his legs are long enough that he can do it. That’s how 2015 was and it’s how 2016 will be, too. I hope you’ll tag along for the ride.
Happy New Year!