Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Highlights

Every year I like to go back and do a re-cap of each month with something particularly memorable that happened. I'm still planning to do that in this post, but I feel it would be dishonest if I just carried on like this wasn't a challenging year for us. In fact when I saw this meme popping up all over Facebook I couldn't help but relate. :-/

There was a lot of uncertainty about where we would end up back in March when Jason's contract in Norway finished and neither of our companies could guarantee us a position in the US. We opted to take the concrete job Jason had been offered in Baku and while I knew it would be different and the adjustment to staying home full-time would be hard (I miss working!), but I greatly underestimated just how hard.

I don't want this post to turn into me complaining about the year - suffice it to say that things have been challenging and unfortunately I haven't handled the challenges very well. I wish I could say I was handling them with patience and grace and trusting in God's plan for us, but to be frank I haven't. I've spent the latter half of the year being angry and upset and annoyed (some justified and some not). I am tired of hearing people say that God puts people in Baku for a reason. I know it's meant to be encouraging, but I'm not there yet. I know that our 2016 was nothing compared to the challenges others faced in the year and I am trying to keep things in perspective.

I have a lot of work to do in 2017 on my attitude and my heart and I pray you'll stick with us as we hope for a smoother year. I am grateful that we have found a new house to move into after the new year, that my husband has a stable job during this economic downturn and that he continues to work so incredibly hard for our family. I'm thankful for our three beautiful daughters that are so full of joy and laughter and overall in good health.

Here's our #2016bestnine -

And the monthly highlights for 2016 -


We returned home just after New Year's having spent a month and a half in the US with the girls visiting family. Big Sis-Little Sis: LOVE these girls and their friendship! Madi is crazy about them and it's precious!


We had trips to Lisbon and Manchester and enjoyed dressing up the girls for Valentine's Day.


We were finally able to share the news of our move to Baku and we were able to go on a site visit to Georgia and Baku together because my mom flew in last minute to watch all three girls. It was the longest we had been away from the girls and enjoyed our time together, but missed them.

We celebrated Jason's birthday and spent Easter weekend in Berlin and celebrated when we arrived back to Norway late that morning. (I'm noticing a trend in these pictures - ha!)


This month was challenging. Jason was in Baku starting his new job and I was back in Norway with all three girls. I had massive support from our amazing church family, which was critical when Olivia landed in the hospital with her egg (and nut) allergy. I wasn't able to blog much during the month, but I collected some great pics for an April Wrap-up.


We had some amazing family photos taken in Gamle Stavanger during Jason's short visit back from Baku. Our house got packed up and shipped out, but since we didn't get the girls' visas in time Jason had to return to Baku. Unfortunately he missed the twins' first Mother's Day and I ended up flying solo halfway to Baku once we did get the visas the following week, but we all survived!


Jason times his new job just right to make the first year of Baku hosting the Formula One race (coincidentally over Father's Day weekend - easy gift giving!). We had a fabulous Princess party for Madi and spent lots of time outdoors enjoying the pool, sun, and playground.



This was a busy month for us! We had received our shipment towards the end of June and got the house sorted. We also started exploring more of Azerbaijan with a holiday weekend in Naftalan. We celebrated the Fourth of July and Madi proved she was potty trained. Our biggest celebration was the twins' First Birthday and I was so happy with how everything turned out! Shortly after the party we flew to Germany and met up with friends from Norway for a week long road trip.


I think the lack of blogging for this month could partially be attributed to the fact that we had two new walkers in the household making things significantly more chaotic. ;-) Jason and I celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary and enjoyed an evening out on the town just us.


Madi started at her new preschool this month and we adjusted to the routine of taking her to school and picking her up. We also had another weekend away and visited Ganja. I continued to fail in my blogging (a trend that you'll notice carried the remainder of the year) so a September Wrap-up was in order once again.


We got into a routine of school and after school activities and the time passed quickly. Madi celebrated Halloween the week before and we took a trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi over the actual holiday.


I caught up on blogging for the month of October - ha! We also attended our first ball - the Marine Corps Ball - and enjoyed getting fancy for an evening. We spent the US Thanksgiving holiday and my birthday in Phuket, Thailand enjoying the sun, but battling hand, foot, and mouth disease for half the trip. #goodtimes We had some precious family pictures and video taken (thankfully before the sickness set in). I moved from bi-monthly to once-a-month wrap-ups only getting a November Wrap-up done, yikes!


We were blessed to have my mom visiting basically the entire month. She arrived shortly after we returned from Phuket (and fortunately weren't contagious anymore!) The month was filled with sleepovers, gingerbread houses, safaris, games, and sightseeing in Baku. We had a relaxing and fun Christmas.

Goodbye 2016 and here's to a fabulous 2017! Happy New Year!

Highlights for 2015 2014

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