2015: a brief reflection.

It's hard to believe that the end of another year is upon us already. The first six months of the year absolutely dragged, but the last six months just flew by for me. It's crazy that I'm sitting in my bed, my two children beside me (the little is asleep; the big is still talking and trying to hang on until midnight), reflecting on another year gone.

Overall, this year has been more challenging than I expected it to be. I was hopeful that this year would be a bright spot in my life, but it honestly wasn't as bright as it could've been. My personal life was hard, which makes everything else hard. However, it was a good year, one where I saw personal growth and had a lot of great times.

Most people don't really know, but I took an interim assistant director position at work back in the spring and have been very, VERY busy in the office since then. I have enjoyed the challenge immensely, though, and have learned so much. My interim role has inspired me to go back to school and to find a way to finally start my master's degree in 2016 so I can work my way up through the higher education ranks. It took awhile to find a new balance, but I did find it and have enjoyed my new responsibilities.

The brightest spot of the year was my kids (not sure anyone is surprised by that). It's been a challenge with JJ because of his ADHD and developmental challenges, but we have found a balance with medication and a great IEP plan. We are fortunate to have a great support system, lots of patience, and people who believe in him (besides me, of course) - which has made all the difference in the world. JJ has grown by leaps and bounds this year, and 1st grade is going better than ever. I am so proud to be his mom and to see him overcome all of these obstacles; he is so smart and funny!

Mia has grown so much this year, too; it's insane how grown she is now! She started walking in February (and running soon after), talking phrases/short sentences during the summer, and she discovered this week that she can take her own clothes off (and choose not to put them back on). That girl has personality for days, too, lemme tell ya. She is my shining star, my diva, my mini me. I can't believe she'll be 2 next weekend.

I had all of these grand plans for 2015, but a lot of them didn't happen - and that's OK. I've spent the holiday break from work resetting my mind and preparing for the new year, and I can honestly say that I'm ready for it. I came up with 10 goals that I want to achieve in 2016, but these are really more like lifestyle changes I want to make and stick to as the years go on:

Bring it, 2016. I'm ready.
A big thing happening in the new year is that I'll be 30(!), and it's a huge milestone for me personally. I want to start my new age decade on the right foot, so this year will be about recentering, refocusing, and enjoying life. It's easy to get caught up in drama and feelings and the past, and I am determined to let a lot of that go so I can find true happiness again. I'm starting the 21 Day Fix on Monday to get myself back into shape, along with Couch to 5K; that's just one step in my journey to a happier, better me. 

I learned a lot about myself in 2015 and pushed some boundaries, but I want to do even more in 2016. I am genuinely excited for the new year and can't wait to see what it has in store! My word for the year: unstoppable.
Happy New Year from me and the rainbow!


When there's a hole in your heart at Christmas.

I really don't mean to be all down in the dumps on Christmas, because this is one of the best holidays of the year. It's actually my favorite holiday. It's also the holiday that seems to hurts the most emotionally, because it is a constant reminder that there is one missing from our holiday gathering.

I am a very lucky woman. I have a wonderful family, fantastic parents, a place to go for the holidays, the means to provide a Christmas for our children. But I also have a child who is no longer living, and sometimes, that trumps everything. This will be my fourth Christmas since Devon died, and I honestly can't believe that I've made it that many Christmases. That first Christmas after his death, I felt so empty, so lost, so angry. I was so mad that my son was in Heaven and not in my arms, that I had to experience such a debilitating and life-altering loss. That was the only Christmas in my life that I absolutely hated.

As the years have gone by, the pain has lessened - but the hole is still there. There should be three sets of gifts, three stockings, three kids trying to sneak a peek at their presents, three kids on our family Christmas card. It becomes glaringly obvious during the holiday season that there is a little person missing from my life, a little person who never even got to experience his first Christmas - his mommy's favorite holiday.

To fill that hole, we adopt an angel from one of the local angel trees and buy the presents for that child that Devon will never get. Doing so has helped me cope with his loss, because it makes me feel good to give back to someone who may not have had a Christmas if the kids and I hadn't bought presents for him or her. It does not replace him, by any means, but it does help.

So on this day, our fourth Christmas without him, I want to say this: I miss my son. You all will see pictures of me and my two beautiful, amazing, wonderful living children, and you will see my smile and my joy - because they truly bring me joy and love that I never imagined could happen. But on the inside, I will be shedding tears throughout the day because I miss Devon so terribly much. I always wish he was here, but I especially wish he was here on a day like today, a day that means so much to me personally.

To all the parents out there who celebrate Christmas and are missing a little one today, please know that you're not alone in your grief. Whether you're vocal about it like me, or you choose not to say anything due to the pain, know that I'm thinking about you and sending you love and hugs. I hope your day is still magical, still wonderful, still gives you a reason to smile.

I love you, sweet boy. Merry Christmas in Heaven. I know it will be the most magical experience. <3 p="">