Merry Christmas! A Look Back at 2016

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Merry Christmas! This is the card we printed and were able to send out to some. I managed to lose a few. The only thing I can come up with is that sometimes static electricity kept two stuck together, so maybe I sent two to some people? If you live nearby, I’d love to have the extra so I can send a few more!

Printing and mailing cards can get pricey, so I thought here would be a good place to share the card with more people and also have letter of sorts attached to share how 2016 went for the Krolls.

January began with me 7 months pregnant, teaching 3rd and 4th grade, and Ezekiel managing a thrift store. We spent the first few months of the year working hard, preparing for baby, and enjoying lots of eating out together for our last times alone.

 

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The curious case of the balloons: There were pink and blue balloons left from our shower at school. The next morning, all the pink balloons fell. A sign?

Tuesday, March 15th, the day our lives changed in unimaginable ways. I woke in doubt that labor had started and slept for a few hours (waking up every once in awhile with a contraction). Finally by 6am I believed I was in labor (okay, actually, my midwife told me I was) and after failing to get the hose to hook up to any of our faucets, I labored 6 more hours in the bath tub and then the bed, where I gave birth to Oliver. That bed became my buddy for the next 2 months as I spent most of my hours there, resting and learning about my little baby.

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Weighing in at 8lbs 14oz.

In God’s perfect timing, Ezekiel began a full time job assembling pipes which allowed me to also use my unpaid maternity leave so I could stay home for the rest of the school year. We also had the blessing of Ezekiel’s mom, brothers, and eventually, dad to stay and help around the house throughout the spring and summer.

I finally completed my Master’s degree in May. Education with an emphasis in Special Ed. I took my comprehensive exam just 2 weeks before Oliver was born and was so happy to be walking across the stage in May.

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Me with my brother-in-law, Josiah, who finished his undergrad.

Our silly Oliver tried to worry us by losing too much weight in the days after birth, but no one would guess that now. My milk made him sleepy, but I also didn’t eat much in the exhaustion of newborn life. Hours would pass by and I wouldn’t realize. Thank goodness for Ezekiel and Mama Kroll to make and bring me food all the time.

I got to enjoy lots of great time with Oliver as he grew. We got to spend a lot of time visiting places on weekends, such as MOA, Gibbs Museum, Greyhound buses, a few weddings, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Ezekiel turned 24. I had a small surprise party with his parents. And look at this vegan Oreo cake? Awesome, no?

I competed in my first event since having Oliver (my last was a 10k at 18 weeks pregnant last October). It was a sprint triathlon in North Mankato this August. Very fun!

We moved out of a big (by out standards) townhouse, into a perfect sized apartment. Now we live by the Northstar and have made good use of it. Oliver and Ezekiel went to their first ever Twins game :

dscn5043By the end of August it was time for another school year to start. However, thanks to Ezekiel’s new full time gig, I was able to take a super part-time position, working just 6 hours a week. My sister, mom, friends, and coworkers help watch him as I work, which I’m very thankful for, because I would be sad if I had to put him in a daycare. I do RTI; response to intervention. Basically, giving extra support through individual and small group instruction with kids who need a little extra practice.

In September, we were able to return to our Alma Mater for Fall Festival where I competed in a 5k, we laughed at Theater Physics, and found out a friend from South Korea was attending Sem.

In October I got to do another race. I did the half marathon in Mankato (my 3rd time with the distance and 4th year in a row competing in that race weekend). It was very difficult, but I’m glad I did it, coming in just a minute slower than my PR from a couple years ago.

November and December were busy with work and quite stressful, but thankfully, a break has the perfect timing. We will be heading to Cameroon with Ezekiel’s family for a couple weeks just hours after this is posted. Of course, I will share about that when we come back. I’m looking forward to ending 2016 with relaxation and time away from the usual stressors. I’ll get to focus on my family without all the distraction of daily life.

Have a blessed Christmas. Remember Jesus is the reason for the season. I wish everyone a great year in 2017! It will be filled with surprises for us; ones that I don’t even know the details of yet!

 

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