Since I barely blogged over 2016, I thought I would do a post compiling the highlights from each month. Here goes!

January

To kick off the year, I celebrated my 25th birthday. I had a Familia meeting that night and the church we met at had Adoration going on at the same time. Our meeting finished before Adoration was over, so I slipped into the Adoration chapel to say high to Jesus and literally tripped backwards into the confessional where a priest was patiently waiting for penitents. I took this as a sign that I was supposed to go to confession. It was a lovely way to kick-off my 25th year!! Apart from that, nothing extra special happened. Well, my parents kept the kids for that night, so I guess that’s something!

A couple of days later, my sister got engaged!!!! Her now husband used our place to cook her a romantic meal before taking her to private Adoration in a small town to propose. He decked the house with flowers and pictures and balloons, etc. It was pretty exciting being in the know!

Clara turned 3 a few weeks after my birthday. We had a real birthday party with a few friends. It was a princess theme and the troop of little girls played and danced to CatChat songs for the afternoon.Joy Observed - 2016 in a post

After the party, my sister picked up the kids and took them out to my parent’s place and Adam and I took off on our staycation! It was fun to spend two nights at a hotel, even if we didn’t leave our city. We stayed at the oldest hotel in our city, which was kind of cool. It wasn’t as awesome as we imagined it to be, but it was still neat. The walls were rather thin and our room was near the elevators, so we heared the *ding* of the elevator all night long. Oh well.

We went to weekday Mass and walked around the city, stopped for lunch at a gluten-free restaurant, napped, went skating in the dark and had sushi from the in-hotel restaurant. It was relaxing and a nice break.Joy Observed - 2016 in a post

I’m so glad we booked to do this when we did, because…

… the next day, for some weird reason, I felt like I should do a pregnancy test. I wasn’t even late, but I did one anyway and sure enough, it was positive; and that began the toughest pregnancy I have yet experienced.

I was so, so sick! I really don’t remember much from then until April. Maybe I blocked it from memory because of how sick I was? The nausea started earlier and went way longer than it had in past pregnancies. I managed for a while, rather poorly, but it got really rough and I was not coping very well. Shortly after the worst of the nausea hit, I called my Mom and she suggested that I come over for a sleepover so that I could get the rest I needed and have the help during the day. Well, that sleepover turned into many, many, many sleepovers. The couple times I tried to go home, I got so much worse without all the extra help, so I ended up moving in with my parents for over a month.  I am so grateful to them for letting me move back in with 3 kids, and adjusting their life to accommodate taking care of all of us! Praise God for wonderful, helpful family!2016inapost_post_snowman

I finally was able to manage the nausea with the highest doses of diclectin and gravol and moved home shortly before Easter.

Being away from Adam for that length of time SUCKED! The kids weren’t themselves. They couldn’t understand why Mommy and Daddy weren’t together. I really hope we don’t have to do that again.

April

On Divine Mercy Sunday we attempted a little liturgical living and had a dessert inspired by Divine Mercy colours.Joy Observed - 2016 in a post

It had cream cheese, whipped cream, raspberries and jell-o and it was a hit with everyone!

Oh, my heart! Lewis in the master bedroom of one of the first homes we looked at. The house was really sweet, but had absolutely nothing for a yard. It was off the list pretty quick... I really liked the quaint, two-story layout, though.

Oh, my heart! Lewis in the master bedroom of one of the first homes we looked at. The house was really sweet, but had absolutely nothing for a yard. It was off the list pretty quick… I really liked the  two-story layout, though.

We began looking for a new home! We were trying to not be too fussy. Our main criteria was 3 bedrooms up, 2 bathrooms, functional kitchen and a large yard. We looked at several houses and finally found one that we weren’t compromising too much on. It was mainly just the yard that wasn’t fenced and had this weird landscaping going on with strange trees and stones in place of grass. But the house was great!

I was so excited. Everything was falling into place and then CMHC wouldn’t cover us for insurance because Adam hasn’t been a contractor for over 2 years. Well, so much for buying a house.

Leading up to hearing about the outcome of the house, I really felt drawn to listen to a couple Lighthouse Catholic Media talks that managed to prepare me to receive this news. The theme of trust kept coming up and so when we got the news of not being approved for the house, I really felt peace (even though I was disappointed) and, due to lots of grace, was able to trust that God had something prepared for us.

And you know what, He did!

I put out word in a our parish’s mom’s group and was contacted by my friend, who I didn’t know had a rental property; she was pretty sure she had a perfect solution to our home dilemma. The best part was that we wouldn’t have to leave the community that we’ve come to love SO much because the house was in the neighbouring town, just under 10 mins away from where we currently lived.

May

So we packed up and prepared to move.

One of the last bike rides to the park right by our townhouse.

One of the last bike rides to the park, located down the street from our townhouse.

It was a full month with weddings, 100th birthday celebrations (Adam’s Great Grandmother!), and  purging/packing.

June

Such a helpful (almost) two year old.

Such a helpful (almost) two year old.

1st day of June, we moved into our new home; a large bungalow on a big lot. The house is huge! Way more space than we’ve ever had and it took a couple of weeks to clean everything, unpack (ok, fine. I still haven’t unpacked everything!) and feel settled.

My sister’s (the one who got engaged in January) wedding was mid June, and Clara and I were in the bridal party. It was a beautiful day! She and her husband had picked colours that correlated with the image of Divine Mercy and (due to the wedding starting a little late) they ended up saying their vows at exactly 3-o-clock! Too cool!

The night before the big day, my sister, who is right beneath me in the family line, and I pulled an all-nighter. So smart, I know! It was mostly due to there being several little things we needed to get in order, one of which may or may not have been writing the toast to the bride (ha! We’re not procrastinators at all!), but in hindsight it would have been smarter to close our eyes for at least a couple hours. Somehow we powered through! At least until the break between the speeches and dance, at which time my sister crawled under the head table and fell asleep. I would have been right next to her if I hand’t been 5 months pregnant!

Some days just knock you right out.

Some days just knock you right out.

At some point in the month we purchased our very first set of couches. The living room in this house is massive, so we went with one love-seat and two full size couches. They’re not fancy, but they are functional and comfortable. They should be able to do the trick for a number of years!

July 

On Canada Day we planned to go out to our friend’s cabin, but the weather didn’t cooperate. Instead, we took the kids to the theatre to see Finding Dory. The weather cleared up enough that we were able to go watch the fireworks in the evening. The kids thought they were the best. They talked about them for at least 2 weeks.

We had a family reunion on Adam’s side of the family. It was so much fun hanging out with all the Aunts, Uncles and cousins on his Mom’s side. I hadn’t seen everyone for quite awhile (and one Aunt was still missing…) because I missed the family reunion 2 years prior, due to it taking place so close to Lewis’ due date.

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Summer with a back yard is AWESOME! Lots of BBQ-ing, eating outside on the patio, and having campfires. We set up a kiddie pool and every now and then turned the kids’ slide into a water slide by attaching a hose at the top and laying a tarp at the base of the slide. It had to be a really hot day to do this because the water coming out of the hose was of course cold, cold, cold.

 

I love this moment. She loves her Daddy so much!

I’m so glad I captured this moment. She loves her Daddy so much!

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Lewis turned 2 and we had a little party for him. Just family, but that quickly becomes a large crowd. We’ve very much enjoyed having a home and yard that can accommodate such a big gathering.

We spent an afternoon at the lake with my sister-in-law, her two littles, my in-law & youngest brother-in-law. It was an absolutely gorgeous day! I wish we would have been able to do more outings like this. Hopefully in 2017!!

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August

We visited Adam’s brother’s family over the August long. It was a lovely, low-key getaway. Our children are the same ages and every time they get together they just play better and better with each other. One of the days we were there we took the kids to a u-pick/petting zoo/ice cream place in a neighbouring town. Clara wasn’t interested in the animals at all, but Marcus and Lewis were all over these cuuuute baby goats that had been born a couple of days before.

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The kids took swimming lessons at the local outdoor pool. Clara only went in the pool on the last day of the lessons. Marcus went in everyday! I was so proud of him. Some of the days were rather cool and some were even rainy, but he got in the water with minimal bribing. haha

My sister-in-law and I bought some absolutely delicious peaches from the farmers market and I found a spare moment to do some canning. I discovered that I actually LOVE canning and that my favourite type of jar is a wide mouth jar — at least for the type of canning I was doing! I borrowed my Great Grandmother’s HUGE canner from my Aunt. It was so neat to use something that my Great Grandmother used once upon a time. I canned the peaches in a honey and lemon juice syrup instead of the traditional white sugar syrup. The kids loved them. We only have 2 jars left and we’re saving them for a special occasion treat. I was happy with how they held their colour, too. They still looks as beautiful a peach colour as they did when I canned them.

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I also tried my hand at peach pie. It was quite delicious; I had never in my life had peach pie. Marcus was helping me and he dumped the cinnamon into the filling, so it was a little more brown than that beautiful peach colour.

We said farewell to a wonderful priest-friend. Fr. Clair was the first priest that I experienced having a real friendship with. In my grade 12 year, my family was living in a small town and Fr. Clair was there as well. He would come by our place to play cards and just visit. The most amazing thing about Fr. Clair is that he never forgets you! After we moved away, I figured that he wouldn’t remember me (maybe my parents, but surely not all the kids) but every time I saw him he would always say my name before I had a chance to reintroduce my self. I know that he prayers for our family and I am so grateful for the gift of this beautiful, holy man’s life, and that I got to know him this side of eternity.

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We traveled to Winnipeg for our friends’ wedding. Adam was the best-man and Marcus was the ring bearer, and since we had to be there a day early for the rehearsal, we decided to go even earlier and come home a little later, making it our family holiday. We brought Adam’s sister along so that I would have help during the ceremony and reception. It was a fun road trip! The kids are great travellers. But I’m thankful we don’t have another big road trip coming up in the near future.

The wedding itself was so fun and completely worth the long drive!

"Kids, look at the camera! Never mind, it's too sunny!"

“Kids, look at the camera! Never mind, it’s too sunny!”

Much better!

Much better!

While in Winnipeg we went to the children’s discovery museum. The kids really enjoyed the afternoon there.

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The rest of the time we just spent at the hotel and swam in the pool that was colder than an average pool. Unfortunately the hot tub was down for maintenance until our last evening there. But, the waterslide was working, and if one was going to be down for maintenance I am glad it was the hot tub. The kids had a blast on that slide! Adam and I took turns taking Lewis down it, but the older two were confident enough in their water-wing-lifejackets to go down on their own.

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Funny story: I grew so much in the three weeks between going to the beach and swimming at the hotel that my swimsuit top didn’t cover my belly anymore! Thankfully, Adam had an extra shirt that I could wear overtop of my swimsuit because this mama does not do bikinis. haha  We had quite the laugh over how revealing and just downright awful looking my swimsuit had become!

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Last ride in the “alligator”.

Adam’s sister and her husband built a house over the spring, summer and fall. It’s BEAUTIFUL! I love it! It has so many features that I would put into a house, which should come at no surprise, if you know my sister-in-law, because we have similar taste in several areas. Prior to moving into their lovely two-story, they lived in a fifth wheel and camped all through the nice (sometimes not so nice) spring-summer-fall weather. We went out to visit a few times and enjoy acreage life with them, but most of our get togethers this summer were at our home so that my sister-in-law could do laundry. So many good coffee/play visits!

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I just love this picture of my wanna-be farm boy! He is simply in his glory on this ancient tractor on their acreage.

We took the kids mini golfing. Marcus was super into it, but Clara and Lewis had had enough about half way through the course. They played in some little cars that were near the course and Daddy and Marky did the second round just the two of them.

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September

One of my younger sisters moved in with us. It has been so wonderful having her here. She and I have gone on a few adventures with the kids. A couple of my favourites have been going to the park for a picnic supper and staying until the sun went down and we were being eaten alive by mosquitos and a huge grocery trip to Costco and another store to find a Christmas tree. We tied the tree, rather uniquely, to the top of the van, and somehow it stayed there the whole way home. She’s a great sidekick and I will be sad when she moves out.

We began homeschooling! Marcus is only in Kindergarten, so it’s not a whole lot different than what we’ve been doing, but we do have workbooks for both Marcus and Clara. We’re using the Math-U-See program and that’s the only official decision we’ve made with curriculum. Both of them have really liked having a schoolbook to work out of. I can tell just from the Primer that this is going to be a great program for our kids. I’m excited to relearn math. I’ve forgotten so much!

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We celebrated our 6th anniversary by going out for supper at the gluten free restaurant that we have gone to for the past 4 years. We were back home and in bed by 9:30, because we’re just that fun. haha

One night, Adam decided to get a little creative after a before bed bath. The following was the result. Why did we bother washing their hair? He used at least half a bottle of hairspray!

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September flew by and somehow was also SO SLOW. I think my favourite day was the last day of September when we had our last campfire of the season. It was just a beautiful, warm fall evening. I told the kids the story of St. Thérèse, in preparation for her feast day the next day, and they were surprisingly engaged in it. I promised to show them real-life pictures of her after we got inside the house, but then the power went out after their bath and in the excitement of it all I forgot to show them the pictures.

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October

We made a chocolate cake to celebrate the feast of St. Thérèse, and the whole day I felt like I just wanted to not be around anyone. Hmmmm, that was probably because labour was going to start soon…

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That night at supper, Clara reminded me that I hadn’t shown them pictures of St. Thérèse yet, so we looked at pictures of her while we ate our chocolate cake. They thought it was so cool to see pictures of a saint from when she was a little girl. When St. Teresa of Calcutta was canonized, we showed them pictures of her and after showing them St. Therese Marcus piped up, “Do you remember you showed us those pictures of that really happy old lady who would hold little kids.” I’m not great at the whole liturgical living thing, but we try to talk about the saints regularly. I was impressed that he had remember St. Teresa of Calcutta. We got the kids to bed and Adam and I watched an episode of Last Man Standing, then we went to bed.

A couple hours later my water broke and… you’ll have to wait for a birth story post.

October was spent settling into life with 4 children.

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Pumpkin carving with Daddy. These kids would miss out on so much if it weren’t for Adam. He always picks up the make a craft, do a science experiment or just anything fun around here slack. haha Including making costumes for All Saints Day!

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St. Helen of the Cross and St. Edward the Confessor. Clara ended up not going to the kingdom party on the eve of All Saints, but Marky went and he had a lot of fun.

November

Adam’s sister had her baby before their house was finished, so she moved into our place with her 3 littles. They were here for just under a week, and even though we were very outnumbered by kids, and mealtimes were less than calm, it was a very pleasant experience.

Rosie was baptized on the 11th. We had family and few friends over for lunch and cake, following the baptism. Again, so grateful for the space in this house!

Rosie with her Great Grandmother (my Dad's Mom).

Rosie with her Great Grandmother (my Dad’s Mom).

Marcus turned 5 on the 16th, and he requested a ninja turtle cake. I’m not much of a cake decorator, so Adam picked up a ninja turtle action figure to put on top of the cake. Marcus thought it was great!

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December

Adam’s brother got married at the beginning of the month. It was a beautiful wedding, made more beautiful because of the woman we were welcoming. Sarah is a lovely addition to the Fahlman family! She also blogs. So, if you wanted, you could find out just how lovely this woman is, over at Sweet Spontaneity.

On the feast of Saint Nicholas, Dec 6th, the kids woke up to an orange, a candy cane and a few chocolates in their slippers, as well as a Brother Francis Nativity colouring book, a new storybook, The Legend of St. Nicholas, and a new  VeggieTales, Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas.

I tried to be more focused in my prayer life this Advent and purchasing the Blessed is She Advent Journal was sooooo helpful! Without it I think Advent would have flown by in an absolute shmozzle, which it still kind of did, but that’s just the month of December for you. Well, at least for me. haha

We alternate where we celebrate Christmas Day, and this year we were with Adam’s side. We draw names among the adults, instead of everyone buying for everyone. It works well for us.

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All the kids that have come in 5 years time, and there’s one more on the way. Cousins, cousins, cousins

We went to Christmas morning Mass, came home and had some brunch, then went downstairs and opened up presents. We do the Santa thing in our family, but in the chaos of so many kids opening up presents, I don’t think who it’s from really registers. For the kids we do a Santa gift, Mom and Dad gift, Grandpa & Grandma gift and Godparents gift. The adults draw names and then we do a spouse gift, too. In our off year we don’t draw names.  What do you do for gift-giving in your family?

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Having a baby really threw a wrench into our homeschool plans… or maybe it was the combination of a baby and the youngness of the other 3… Marcus and Clara have both taken off with letter and number writing, though. Marcus is constantly compiling letters and asking us to read what he wrote. He’s so excited when they do make a real word, like when he put h, o, m and e in consecutive order and couldn’t believe he actually spelled HOME. I hope to get a better rhythm with this whole homeschooling thing going, before the end of June. Speaking of the end of June; Adam found out right before Christmas that his contract will be extended until then. We’re hoping and praying it will be extended again at that time, but we’re so thankful that it’s at least been extended until June.

And that’s 2016 in a nutshell. Well, actually, a post. 😉 Sorry, not sorry for the photo dump. haha