It's that time of year again - writing Christmas cards, preparing for the upcoming holiday celebrations, and reflecting on the past year. To be honest, 2013 has had a lot of ups and downs for our family. It's been one of those years that I won't be sad to say goodbye to come New Year's Eve. Don't get me wrong, we've had our fair share of joyous moments this year, too. We'll try to focus on those.
For instance, who can resist these two ladies celebrating their first Eddie-Niedermeyer New Year's celebration?! I remember thinking at the time, "they're just growing up so fast!"
Days after the New Year, I had to say goodbye to the first car I'd ever bought, my Mazda CX-9. I still couldn't tell you exactly what went wrong with it, but faced with the decision of fixing it for $5000 and still having the possibility of the transmission going out at anytime or trading it in, I made the tough call of trading it in. As you probably remember from my post, this is how I became the proud owner of my first minivan. Hello, motherhood!
February was a definite up/down/up/down kind of month, starting with the "up" of my brother's engagement just before Valentine's Day. And we were so excited to celebrate our Annalyn's first birthday, complete with cake smash photos and all, but our plans got a bit derailed with the passing of my Grandpa Banghart just days before her birthday. We loaded up and made the cold, long trip to Nebraska and though not under the best of circumstances, we were blessed with some unexpected family time including an impromptu birthday celebration with my cousins and their kiddos. See what I mean? Up, down, up, down.
Later that month, I got to take Travis and Mallory's engagement pictures (in the snow!). It was freezing, but we ended up with some super cute pics!
March went a little smoother and we got to take a little mini-vacation to Nashville, TN for some much-needed warmer weather and time outside. We had a great time exploring downtown, buying cute boots, going to the zoo and country music hall of fame, and walking through some beautiful botanical gardens. All in all, it was the relaxing, fun trip we all needed!
April was a month of mostly downs this years. Michael's Grandpa Eddie was diagnosed with cancer and all too soon passed away. It was the third Grandpa we'd lost within the year and again we felt cheated and hurt. Getting to see our nephews, niece, and cousins' kids reminded us how much children help us to heal. Something about seeing the next generation grow is so comforting in times of loss.
May brought some more ups in the form of sunshine and beautiful weather, and later Josh & Ravelle's wedding. The ceremony was beautiful and we got to enjoy a weekend in Chicago with the family over Memorial Day. Not to mention, we got another sister and a niece! Definite ups!
Looking back, June and July were just a blur. Summer brought us more time as a family which is always a blessing, and thanks to family (aka free babysitters) we even squeezed in a couple date nights. We had a pretty big garden again this year, and ended up with lots and lots of tomatoes and raspberries especially. Thanks to our zoo membership, we frequented the Indy Zoo, even if just a for a couple hours to get a soft pretzel and some Dip 'n Dots, and maybe squeeze in a few animal exhibits.
August meant back to school for Michael and crunch time for me in preparation for two important upcoming weddings - our friends Jeff & Kinzie at the beginning of September (the one with all the pies) and my brother's at the end of September (the one with the Mario groom's cake). Somewhere between all the adjusting and planning, we snuck over to Butler for a walk and a photo shoot for Annalyn's half birthday.
Two weeks later, my little Travi said "I do" to the girl of his dreams, and I got another sister! All three of us got to be a part of the wedding party - for the first and maybe only time ever, so it was really special to us. It was a beautiful ceremony, and even our little flower girl danced the night away.