As 2011 comes to a close, I can't help but reflect on all of the many blessings I received this year as well as the many lessons learned. This has been a year of many smiles as well as many challenges. It has been my first full year as a mother and, trust me, I've had to learn A LOT! There have been many sleepless nights, diaper disasters, and breastfeeding challenges. There have also been many, many times when I look at Daniel and can't help but smile. I love my little guy so much and he never ceases to amaze me. He has changed so much this year. He went from being completely dependent on me for everything to starting solids, learning to crawl and then walk and even learning how to communicate with me non verbally and using some short words! He has turned into such a big boy what seems to me like overnight!
This year has also been a challenge for my marriage as my husband and I have learned to adjust our lives, schedule, finances and relationship to include a third, wonderful little person. On top of that, I also became pregnant with our second baby this year so our family is expanding even more! This year I also became a blogger and have been working on a project to help normalize breastfeeding and I have learned a lot in the process. Daniel and I participated in the Big Latch On and the Target Nurse-In this year as well. I started out the year as a very self-conscious breastfeeding mom and have blossomed into a total lactivist!
Although this has been a challenging year in many ways, I am very thankful for the many smiles, laughs, and joyful moments. I am extremely thankful for the many small victories such as every time we overcame a breastfeeding challenge. I am thankful for having a wonderful husband who loves me and supports me in everything I do and I am thankful for my sweet, very special baby boy as well as his baby brother who is on the way. I cherish every memory of waking up next to Daniel and having him give me a super sweet good morning smile as well as the joy of watching him meet new milestones, seeing him learn and grow. I am thankful for God and how much He has blessed me. I am thankful that our family has had a home and food and that my husband has a job at a time when so many are doing without. We may not be rich or have our house full of stuff we don't need, but God has provided everything we need. We also have each other and that is the most important thing. I am thankful for our extended family (parents, grandparents, etc) as we have forged deeper relationships this year and have received so much support. I am also thankful for the new relationships we have developed this year and for the many lessons learned. Although some of these lessons have been hard, they were definitely necessary and have only made me a stronger, more mature person.
I am very much looking forward to 2012. I look forward to new opportunities, going deeper in my relationship with God, a stronger relationship with my husband, even more special times with Daniel, watching him learn so much more, and the arrival of his baby brother in April, of course! I am looking forward to getting into the field of breastfeeding support and counseling as well as seeing my project completed and watching my blog reach and help many more parents. I am looking forward to many more lessons as a mother of two and to tandem nursing my two little boys. I am sure that 2012 will bring with it many more challenges but I am looking forward to the many lessons I'll learn, the many new relationships I'll form, the many people I can help, and how much stronger and confident I'll become!
I hope all of you have as much to be thankful for in 2011 and as much to look forward to in 2012 as I do. For those who have had a difficult 2011, may 2012 be a much better year for you. Enjoy the day with your family and friends in which ever way you celebrate and stay safe and healthy. Happy New Year to all of you. May you have many blessings in this new year to come!