a pretty good year

Well.  That’s an understatement.

2011 was an incredible year for me.  I hardly know where to start and am amazed just thinking about all that happened over the course of the past year.

At the beginning of 2011, I was very pregnant – due with sweet baby Gus at the end of the month.  It is really hard for me to imagine that we did not even know that he was a boy, because now of course I can’t even fathom our life without him being exactly who he is.

I remember those last weeks of my pregnancy – feeling so big, so tired and so ready to meet my little baby and welcome him into our family.  I remember not wanting to rush it even though I felt so ready, because to be pregnant was such a gift and I knew it would be the very last time I would ever experience the blessing of carrying and growing a sweet little life inside my body.

a miracle waiting to be born

My due date was January 28th, and the day came and went without baby’s arrival.  I kept my spirits about me.  My running had turned into more of a waddle, but I still got myself on my treadmill for speedy walks almost every day.  It wasn’t easy, but it really, really helped me.

still moving at 40+ weeks

 And then, on February 2nd, my family was complete when sweet Baby Gus entered this world.

i cry happy tears whenever i look at this picture

From the moment he was born, my whole life changed.  Don’t get me wrong, things were good – wonderful even – before he was born.  But after he was born everything in life became more vivid, more colorful.  More ALIVE.  I am thankful beyond words.  Speechless.

Life as a family of five can best be described as an adventure.  There really truly is never a single dull moment.  It is a busy life, but the blessings do not go unnoticed.  Simple things happen every day that keep me going.  Keep me wanting to slow time down.  Like the moment my son Will met his baby brother.  Will was 4 1/2 when Gus was born.  The entire time I was pregnant, any time we would talk about the baby Will would call it “the stinky baby” and he wanted to hear nothing about it.  But when Will came to meet Gus at the hospital, he was mesmerized instantly.  He wanted to inspect every inch of his baby brother and he whispered softly into my ear “Mommy, I’m really into babies now” and from that moment he has adored him whole heartedly.  I frequently hear him say to Gus “Well Hellloooo there,  my best friend!” and every time I hear it, my heart melts.  Abby is equally enamored with him and is claiming that she is going to teach him everything he ever needs to know.  She cares for him so deeply and is so sensitive to him, it is incredible to witness.

my three miracles.

And over the course of the last year, as I have gotten used to being the mother of three children, juggling responsibilities of being their mom with managing our home and my work and just life in general, I have also been running.  And running has kept things in balance for me – an internal balance physically, emotionally and mentally that is all my own that carries forth to making life balanced for everyone in my family.

Because a happy healthy mom makes a happy healthy home.  And running keeps me in touch with who I am and what is important to me.  It helps me see everything more clearly.

So I have been dedicated to making the time for my running, as hard as it has been at times.  I went for my first run of 2011 on February 27th.  Since then, I have run 1,062 miles this year.  Every single race I ran (except for the first one, which was a 10 miler on my 35th birthday, less than 10 weeks after my baby was born) was a new PR.  I ran several 5ks, a 10k, a 15k, two 10 milers, a half marathon and 2 full  marathons.  All while nursing my baby (he has never had a drop of formula) and balancing the responsibilities of being a mom of three.  I look back at all of this and am simply and truly so amazed and grateful.

VA Beach Rock n Roll Half Marathon

I’m thankful that I didn’t ever give up, even though there were so many moments when I thought about it.  I remember early mornings last winter, pumping before heading out for a 3, 4 or 5 mile run.  I was uncomfortable and every step took so much strength – physically, yes (running was SO hard again!) but more so, emotionally.  Every single run was like a marathon in those first few months after having my baby.  I didn’t give up when faced with a back injury, a weakened pelvic floor, muscles so tight and achy I couldn’t believe it.  I refused to feel broken.  I kept on going, moving forward.  And it was worth it.

fighting to the finish

2011 taught me that good things are always worth fighting for.  That daring to dream is a necessity.  Because at the beginning of this year I never would have thought this is where I would be today.  And I would not have gotten here if I had given up, plain and simple.

I cannot wait for the year ahead and am so very grateful for this precious life I have been given.

Right now I make a promise to myself – I will live each day to its fullest.  I will never give up on the people and things that I believe in, and I believe in me.

Was 2011 a good year for you?  Are you dreaming about the year ahead?

10 thoughts on “a pretty good year

  1. This is such a lovely post! I LOVE your pregnancy pics…you look AMAZING! Good for you for staying fit and getting back in the game AND being such a great mommy 🙂 Here's to a wonderful 2012!

  2. This post brought a tear to my eye. Babies are such blessings. While I don't have children myself, I can imagine that pregnancy and motherhood are beautiful, unmatched experiences.

    Thank you for inspiring! The pic of you on the treadmill on your due date is amazing! If that doesn't scream inspiration I don't know what does.

    I'm looking forward to 2012 but deep down I hate goodbyes so I'm a little sad to see 2011 go. I turned 31 this year, ramped up my running and had some fantastic races to be proud of. I'm hoping 2012 is even better!

    – Kristin

  3. You are amazing and I love your blog. Sometimes after I read your posts I want to comment, but I'm sort of speechless (in a good way). It's hard to explain. Your posts convey this sense of inspiration, love and courage that is so infectious. The last few posts in particular left me with this heart warming feeling, and so I felt sort of silly commenting “oh how heart warming” but really it's true. No matter what you blog about, it always leaves me with a feeling of excitement and inspiration for my own journey as well 😉 So I thank you for your awesome blog. I wish you and your babies a fantastic New Year! I can't wait to read what 2012 has in store for you!. Happy New Year!!
    Danielle Johnson

  4. First of all, THANK YOU. I got your package today!! Can't wait to test it on my next run 🙂

    You had a wonderful 2011!!! What a great post and your kids are too cute!! Happy New Year!!

  5. You may have had the best year of all the good years I've been reading about. And your 2012 is going to be amazing too. Congrats on going from brisk walks at 40 weeks pregnant to PRs, and from mom-of-two to mom-of-three. You almost make me want to be pregnant again, and I HATED being pregnant. :^)

  6. this post gives me chills!!! you have had an amazing, inspiring year and I can't wait to follow what 2012 brings for you!! you are an amazing mom and runner!! Keep getting after it, Jessica, you continue to inspire.

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