2012- A Year in Review

Someday I'll mail a real letter again, but for now here is my annual "year in review."

And what a year it was. 

[Click for 2011 : 2010 :  2009 : 2008]

January: The year started slowly for us, which was a nice change from the previous year. With no coaching obligations, I was able to attend basketball games with no responsibility…although by this point I had to bring along a padded seat because the bleachers were not too comfy for this growing mama. I started the year around 27/28 weeks pregnant, and continued to LOVE the journey of pregnancy. [Also, I just realized that I wrote down in a blog post that I wanted my baby to be about 6 lbs 5 oz when she was born because I thought that would be the perfect size…whaaaa?]

Brent continued running in the cold, and we started putting Blythe's nursery together. I was loving my classes, and finished up "The Great Gatsby" with my juniors and "To Kill a Mockingbird" with my sophomores.

My college "bestie", Renae, and her husband Jared, and their 1 year old Jaden came to visit. She was also pregnant, which was neat for us to share that moment together as being married and starting families was something we always talked about together. 

I continued to carry around my personal little heater, and Brent and I started baby classes once a week. We got to watch the basketball girls, and Torri, bring another District title to our little town! 

I also participated in 80s dress up day for Courtwarming at school. 

We finished up more of the nursery, and my Grandma made awesome bedding and curtains. 

And I kept growing and growing and counting down the days until we would meet our baby girl. 

And Brent and I celebrated our EIGHTH Valentine's day together and decided we deserved a little dessert date. 

Kali flew home with Ellie for my wonderful baby shower

March: Brent's family threw us another wonderful baby shower, and I discovered how to make an awesome Chicken Parm in the skillet. Changed our lives.

My coworkers also threw us a shower, and we were blessed again. 

I continued to be pregnant…and still believed I would deliver an April baby. 

We did something I never thought we would do and we broke down and bought iPhones. I am still not sure this was the right decision…but I do love my phone…and the pictures it has enable to me to capture daily.

Brent and I finalized a HUGE decision and I resigned and made it official: I would be staying home with our daughter. 

And then…THEN… 
On a beautiful spring day, our daughter surprised us. After a day of teaching, and five days before my due date, she came oh-so-quickly. 

We named her Blythe Kathleen, and adored all 6.5 lbs of her. 

Okay, here is the deal: I know April happened. It had to have happened, but it was a very, very foggy month for me. 

Most of this month was spent trying to figure out our new normal. For me it was spent realizing that delivery doesn't always end with rainbows and sunshine, and that I had a long road of recovery ahead of me. April was spent in excruciating pain trying to figure out breastfeeding. It was spent learning what mastitis was! Yikes. But April was also spent getting to know our sweet Blythe. 

Our hearts had never known such a feeling as this. 

I celebrated my 26th birthday [Brent treated me to a movie date - "The Hunger Games"- and my mom and sister watched Blythe.] 

Blythe met her cousins, Caroline and Ellie, and we shared Easter together.

And Blythe got all dressed up for her Torri's prom day! 


I finally finished OUR STORY. If you haven't read, wait until you have a little time [it got a little lengthy], and click HERE.

I finally got around to taking Blythe's one and two month photos. What a little peach.

And then I returned to school for the last week with my students. This was a bit emotional for me on several levels. I had grown very close to the junior class, having had them two years in a row. It was also difficult to know that I wouldn't be returning in the fall, having made my decision to stay home with Blythe. My students wrote me letters, and I cried through them all. I wrote them a letter.  I knew that my decision was still what I wanted to do, but I also was reminded how very much I love to teach, and the end of the school year was sad to let go.

One of my junior classes the last day of class
My classroom…all packed up. Sad moment.  
My classroom in the back of a truck. It will be unloaded again soon. 

We also took a quick trip up to my college town for a college roommate's wedding, and Aunt Linda couldn't stand to not put Blythe in some Dutch garb.


Brent ran another half marthon and did awesome. This officially kicked off the marathon training for him. What a guy. 

Brent and I went to Columbia, MO for a week of bank training-- well he went to the training and I chilled out at the hotel with Blythe. I love hotels. And Blythe bathed in the sink. 

We spent some time relaxing at the pool. Although she was still pretty little, when the water warmed up we let Blythe try it out a bit and she loved it! I'm looking forward to next summer. 


July came and we took to the road. Seriously…we LIVED on the road. Nashville. Kentucky. Iowa again. We were all over the place. Blythe lived in her carseat…which is maybe why she is so fond of it to this day. 

We visited Kali and fam. Wonderful.

ANd yes…that is a princess castle in the background. We know how to girl it up, folks. 

We married off one of Brent's besties [though I don't think guys call each other that?!]. Heather, Justin…I apologize I have no picture :( [It happened, people…TRUST ME!]

We visited our LIFERS in Kentucky and tried to entice them with our daughter and told them to move closer…it apparently did the trick…keep reading. And Meagan took some STUNNING pics of Blythe while we were there. [sidenote: she is an OUTSTANDING photographer and will be in OUR AREA soon if you want to book her :) Check out her website HERE. Seriously- check it out]. 

At the end of the month we dedicated Blythe at church, promising to raise her in the Lord. 


August brought more heat and softball season. I started my third season as the assistant coach. I loved it yet again. We tied the school's record for most wins in a season and had a lot of fun doing it. It was truly a wonderful group of young ladies. 

4 year all-state shortstop, Torri! 
And Brent just kept running and running and running, preparing for his marathon in October. I was AMAZED by him.

School started. It was the first time in 22 years that I did not go. It was tough. I started subbing some to "keep my head in the game." :) 

I took some senior pictures for some of "my" kids-- Torri being one of them. 


Brent kept running and I kept coaching and that is what our days looked like in September. Aunt Linda made a trip down to visit, which is always a treat. 

Blythe kept growing and she and I figured out the rhythm  of our quiet days at home together. 


The month of the long awaited Mother Road Marathon. Brent was unbelievable finishing at just over 3:30 and placing second in his age group. Blythe and I so proud, and he was just glad to be done :-).

We also carved pumpkins. 

Softball season ended with our girls making it to the district championship game. On a freezing day we ended with tears after a tough loss. 

This isn't a softball pic, but I took this is in October--- how sweet is she? 
Torri made the homecoming court and I got to doll her up and be proud of her again. 

And then Blythe and I took our first plane ride together out to Nashville on Halloween. We had some pretty scary girls, don't you think? Owl, Ladybug, Peacock. 


Blythe and I continued our stay in Nashville and, despite missing Brent, had a wonderful time. 
three cousins in a tub, rub a dub dub
Blythe and I came home to a very happy Daddy. 

AND THEN…we had a huge surprise when our lifers told us they were MOVING TO KANSAS CITY area! WHAT?! We had poked and prodded and waved the Blythe incentive in their faces enough, I suppose. Shane landed a wonderful job at a church and Meagan, well…YOU will be hiring her to take your photos soon, I'm sure. 

We celebrated Thanksgiving with lots and lots of family…and our little turkey who, yes, everyone is thankful for! 


At the beginning of the month my dear, and truly one of my best, friends Renae and family came for another visit. They met Blythe, and we met Jera. Do not be deceived, Blythe is 2 1/2 months older ;-) It was a great time. Though our time together looks very different than it used to [namely the fact that we are ready to go to bed by 10 pm!], it is still some of my favorite time. 

If you've stuck with me this long, here is a cute picture:

And last but not least-- we celebrated the birth of our Savior with our precious daughter. 

It was quite the year, with highs and lows like I have never experienced, but with the constant love of The One who holds us all in His hands. 

May your 2013 be exactly what He wants it to be for you. 

And may you realize I've been working on this blog post for a week and a half. 

And may you be amazed by that fact and leave wonderful comments to make it all worth while ;) 


MW Photo said...

loooooove it!!!!!!!

Linda Vander Zwaag said...

What a wonderful year! The arrival of beautiful Blythe has changed your lives forever. Hope to see you guys sometime soon!!

Anna Mae said...

Praying that your upcoming year is just as full with many many MANY more blessings! :) Happy New Year, friend!

Cathy Utley said...

I have tears in my eyes after viewing your wonderful, beautiful 2012 in review! I loved the photos, but mostly the words you put to paper (or screen!). You continue to amaze me by your love of life and family and your faith. I truly wish you a wonderful 2013. We will be welcoming our first grandchild, a baby girl, on January 22 (or thereabouts)! I cannot wait. God bless you and your beautiful family.

Kali said...

Definitely a big year for the Irwins! I'm so thankful we got to be together as much as we did in 2012. I'm praying for just as much or more in 2013!

Anne said...

I usually lurk without commenting, which I know is super annoying. But your year in review is fantastic, and your blog is always one of my favorites! Thanks for writing!