2018 has been a year full of blessings and hardships, sadness and joy, and lots of huge life changes. It has been both one of the hardest and one of the best years of my life.
On January 2, the day Sam and I left Mississippi to return to Romania, I found out that I was pregnant. It was unexpected and I was terrified, and it definitely made it hard to leave. Not long after we returned we decided to return to the States before our baby was born, but there was still so much unknown. Where will we live? What will we do? It was a difficult time for us, but God always knows best and He helped us through all the uncertainty.
I was sick and depressed the first several weeks of my pregnancy, which did not help the situation. Plans started coming together and Sam and I tried to stay encouraged with the work in Romania as we continued to volunteer, attend events, and host studies.
Things started getting a little better. I started going to the store by myself, which was a huge feat! Sam turned 25 and I made him a birthday dinner, though I’m pretty sure I ended up just eating toast or a potato as I was still feeling sick from the pregnancy.
By the end of the month I began feeling better and I started back running, slowly, but surely. Sam and I checked off our bucket list to go skating in the Craiova center!
We traveled to Brandon, England for Sam to do a week study on evangelism with the church there. We enjoyed our time in England and got to visit a dear friend from Florida College in Cambridge where she was attending school.
We travelled again, this time to Israel! I was still feeling slightly nauseous at times, but overall things were getting so much better.
Sam and I began volunteering at an after school organization, teaching English, and I also began leading an English book club at the local library.
We traveled to Moldova on an overnight train (an adventure for sure), and when we returned to Bucharest my family flew in for a visit! It was absolutely wonderful to show them where we lived and take them on all sorts of adventures. Daddy, Clay, Sam, and Sam’s dad all ran a trail race at Transylvania to add to the adventure of the trip.
Sam and I celebrated our one year anniversary! It is still hard for me to believe that we’ve been married over a year now. Our first year of marriage was challenging, but it was wonderful. For our anniversary we took a trip to Bulgaria. Our list of countries visited had grown quite long over our year of marriage!
We also had two evangelistic events this month in Craiova. Sam and his dad tirelessly advertised, spoke to people, planned and taught the lessons, and we had a great turnout both times!
We returned to the States when I was 32 weeks pregnant. I turned 21 the day after we got back! I went to the doctor and we found out we were officially having a little girl! I was told my baby was “probably” a girl at 13 weeks when I was in Romania, but it was good to have confirmation. We spent this month trying to get settled with life back in the States and we lived with my parents while we looked for a place to live. Sam began preaching and also began a full time job as a healthcare corporate data analyst.
We found a house and closed on it August 22! Then on August 24 our lives changed forever when I was induced and our precious, perfect baby Mae was born. We wanted to do some work on the house before moving in, and I wanted to be near Mama for the first couple of weeks after Mae was born, so we continued to live with my parents.
Sam’s parents and two of his brothers and their wives (and Mae’s cousin baby John!) came to visit. They also helped a LOT with preparing our house to move in, and towards the end of the month we officially moved in. I thought the timing was perfect, because by the time we moved in I was feeling much more confident with caring for Mae by myself. I was so spoiled the first 2-3 weeks of Mae’s life because Mama would rock her to sleep every night, allowing me to get a few hours of sleep before she would need to eat again.
Sam preached a Gospel Meeting at Rienzi, the church where he preaches. We continued to get used to our new life with a new baby and Sam’s new jobs. Life was so good, but it was also really hard at times. We had so many life changes at once. But we also had so much support and help that got us through the harder times. I went through a hard phase with breastfeeding Mae, and for a time I thought I would not be able to breastfeed exclusively. Again, with lots of help and support I was able to boost my supply and Mae began gaining as she should.
Mae continued to grow like a weed! She was developing and growing into the sweetest personality. Some days were hard for sure (and still are!) but I feel like every day I get to know her more and enjoy her more. It is all going too fast!
I started back doing online school to finish my Bachelor’s degree. It was a struggle at first. I felt very torn between finishing my degree (I was so close!) and wanting to quit and completely focus on being a wife and mama. I have amazing support in my parents and in Sam, and I am learning how to balance it all. I will be so thankful when I finish if I stick with it!
Mae had her first Thanksgiving at Mimi and Pop’s house (my parents, and I think they finally decided on these grandparent names!). We also had two more Thanksgivings, with Daddy’s siblings and family, and then with Mama’s brother and his family.
We began the month with Sam working diligently on his master’s thesis and me trying to stay motivated to do school. Mae started laughing and continued to grow and be the happiest, sweetest baby!
We had our first Christmas together as a family of three and it was wonderful. We are so blessed. We are so thankful. We have a wonderful life! I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us in 2019.