I asked my Livia this morning if she thought I could come up with 26 things I did or things that happened in the last 365 days, or my 26th year of life.
She kind of giggled and then proceeded to remind me that I didn’t have an average year. True. But 26 things is a lot! But lets give it a go anyways.
- I celebrated my 26th birthday with a group of kids that I absolutely adore. They SURPRISED me with a dance routine and slide show. It was so thoughtful and unforgettable.
2. Ray and I got our first look at our little miracle baby.
3. I had the opportunity to be a presenter on a discussion panel at the 2015 South Dakota Indian Education Summit in Pierre. My mom came to support me ❤
4. I announced our big news to my students through their journal writing assignment! I wish I could have recorded that entire day!
5. Ray and I spent Thanksgiving 2015 in Cheyenne, WY with Ray’s mother, most importantly though, our Nephew Trysin and Niece Azirah. We also spent a day in Kimball, NE with my grandparents.
6. Started the 2015-2016 Newell Basketball season with the biggest and greatest team to date. They were so talented, excited, and determined. I will absolutely never forget that season. Coach’s Dream Come True. AMAZING!
7. Christmas 2015 ❤ The last Christmas of just Ray and I. Our holidays will never be the same and that is just a-okay with us.
8. It’s a GIRL! Ray knew she was a girl from the beginning, but I was like 99.9% sure we were having a boy. I was wrong and I’m okay with it. 🙂 I also told my students by giving them a fake spelling test. It was devious and worked out so well! 🙂
9. I kissed a cow and I lik…. mmmm maybe not so much Katy Perry here… But, I really did kiss a cow and I really do love cows. However, not so much a fan of crazed, rabid, creatures that only appear to be cows while I am 7 months pregnant. But whatevs… it was all for the Ag program at Newell and I just can’t say no to helping them out.
10. I was blessed with 2 baby showers! My mom and sister Megan put one together in March while my sister Carli was home. I can’t remember how many people showed up but it was insane! We felt so loved and it assured that our baby was coming into the world so loved as well. One of my best friends, Jessica, organized a surprise shower for me with the Newell Crew. A lot of my cheer and dance kids were there along with my friends from that area.
11. The Dance Team, Jessica and I pulled off the most epic dance recital at the beginning of April. Literally blood, sweat, and tears went into that night and it was so worth it. 8 months prego and I still made it to the dance floor that night. ❤
12. My sweet friend, Jessica. Seriously. I don’t even know what I can say about that girl that would do her justice. She was such a huge part of life this past year! She was my assistant coach, my best friend, and my photographer. Maternity Pictures ❤
13. Whew! Halfway there! Ray and I had decided what was going to be the best thing for our family and with that meant some heart ache. Possibly the hardest thing I had to do in the last year is say goodbye to the people who played such an important role in the beginning chapters of my professional career. The handful of colleagues that I loved so dearly understood our decision and our friendships haven’t wavered one bit, thankfully. Saying goodbye to my students on the other hand was so incredibly hard because it was difficult to explain our reasons and also because they were so much a part of who I was as a teacher and a coach. They were MY kiddos. Still are. But thankfully we live in a world where miles are just miles and we can and do keep in touch with technology.
14. IMPATIENTLY WAITING FOR PRINCESS A TO ARRIVE! Ray and I and every one that we knew could hardly stand waiting for our lil baby to be born and she made sure to keep everyone waiting! While driving the rough back roads to try and kick start labor, Ray got to go fishing and I snapped some beautiful South Dakota pictures.
15. My sister Megan graduated from SDSU in Brookings on Abbi’s due date. 40 weeks pregnant and a road trip to the other side of the state seemed like the right thing to do. I started having contractions every 6-7 minutes about half way there. It was really important for me to be there for my baby sister, so we kept going! I got to watch her get her nursing pin and go through her Honors College graduation on Friday evening. We missed her big SDSU graduation on Saturday morning because I was still having contractions and they were getting stronger. We headed back west and I was just sure that we were gonna have to run every red light to get to Rapid City Regional in time. Butttt…. we didn’t. Got a little over half way home and my contractions vanished! Should have known then it was going to get complicated!
16. First Mother’s Day! — without a baby! But Ray and Livia made it special anyways!
17. ABBIGAIL is here! 10:23 PM on Monday, May 9th via C-Section Most terrifying and yet greatest moments of my life. So Much Love!
18. We had a lot of visitors at the hospital and those first few weeks! Abbigail has to know she is the most loved little kiddo ever!
19. This little gemski officially completed our family! I don’t know how we survived 17 years without her because heart became whole that day!
20. Ray, Livia, Abbi and I moved!
21. Abbigail was baptized and has the grooviest set of Godparents ever!
22. We hosted a 4th of July gathering at our house! Also, Abbi and I attended a Schneider family reunion that same weekend.
23. We discovered Abbi’s LOVE of water!
24. We lost a man who was a wonderful grandpa and center of our family. I love my grandpa very much and miss seeing him.
25. We have made three trips to Kimball, NE since Abbi has been born. Each trip is just a little more fun! My Grandma and Grandpa Story continue to be a light in my life and are laying a strong foundation to do the same for Abbi.
26. When I left Newell, it felt like a bad break up. My heart hurt and still does sometimes. I felt like I would never be able to love teaching the same way or that I would never be able to open my heart to people I work with again. This change in my life has actually been far easier than I ever imagined and I have found some really great and supportive friends already. And I have even caught myself calling my new students, “my kids”. 🙂
Livia was right. That wasn’t hard at all! I can only hope that year 27 brings me even a portion of happiness that year 26 brought me. It is off to a healthy start thanks to my family and new friends. Can’t wait! God is good!