I got an email this week from WordPress telling me that they had my 2015 annual report ready.  It’s the post that puts together all the stats and whatnot for the blog.  And, looking back on 2015, I’d have to say that it was a pretty easy post for them to put together.  I posted three, that’s right, count ’em, three blog posts all year long.  And I think all of them were a result of me being fed up with things, so I sat down to process through them in a more reasonable manner – you know, instead of just spouting off on social media like so many people tend to do these days.

If you were to simply use my blog as the gauge, then you would think that 2015 was a rather bland year.  However, the reality of the year played out much differently than that.

At the end of 2014, my wife Katie and I found out that we were very unexpectedly expecting once again.  For those who do know a bit about our personal history, you won’t be surprised to know that we weren’t terribly excited at the time.  We had lost four pregnancies in about three years time, and didn’t have any reason to expect that this one would be any different.  For us, it was really a matter of putting off our adoption process, which we had started in April of 2014.  However, going into 2015, we were still expecting, and the little one was growing, seeming to do well.  Because of our history, we were having frequent check ups and the doctor was keeping a close eye on things.

As we hit week 14, 15, 16, we let ourselves get more and more excited about the pregnancy.  When we found out that we were going to have a little girl, we were over the moon, and looking forward to welcoming our Hannah Jean into the world in August.

As mid-April hit, I had a first in ministry.  In one day, I had two people pass away.  Katie and I ended up cancelling our planned vacation so I could minister to these families in their time of need.  Not long after, another person in the congregation had passed away as well.  Three funerals in just a couple of weeks is always difficult, and in the middle of it, something else happened.

Katie went in for a follow up appointment with the doctor.  They were going to do a check on the baby’s heart just to make sure she was developing well.  She was.  However, there was a complication.  We discovered that Katie was already dilated 2 cm.  This was not good news at 23 weeks into the pregnancy.  The doctor immediately admitted Katie to the hospital, and she was to be on bedrest… for the rest of the pregnancy… another 17 weeks if we were to go full term.  To make matters worse, it was at a hospital 45 minutes from home.  I joked with some people that we had a northside apartment, but the reality was that we did.  I split my time between living at home by myself and living at the hospital with my wife.

On Saturday evening, May 2nd, Katie’s water broke.  The thought at the time was that they were going to try to prevent the birth for as long as possible, but anything could happen.  By the evening of Sunday, May 3rd, Katie was having full blown contractions.  There was no stopping this baby from coming, 15 weeks early.  On Monday, May 4th at 7:36 a.m., our Hannah Jean made her appearance into the world at 1lb 10.8oz and 12.75 inches.  She was doing so well right after her birth that the NICU team let Katie hold her for a couple minutes before taking her away to do some more work on her.

Kangaroo time holding hands first mothers day












One thing we learned right away about our little girl is that she is a fighter.  They were able to extubate her before we could even make it up to the room to see her, and through 117 days in the NICU, we were constantly amazed by her.  That is pretty much how our next three and a half months were spent.  We were able to spend every day with her during her stay in the NICU.  There were a few bumps along the way, but she never had any major problems while she was in the hospital.  We finally got to bring her home on August 29th.

It has been so much fun watching her grow up.  She’s closing in on 8 months now, and she constantly amazes us.  She is a pretty happy baby.  She has started sleeping in her own bed… though, some nights calling it “sleeping” may be a bit of a stretch.  Our first Christmas with our child was awesome.  She loved playing with the tissue paper, and seems to really like some of her new toys as well.  Her cousins adore her, including her newest one, Matthias Andrew, who was born on December 7th.

We got a call last night from our oldest niece, who just got engaged.  It seems crazy to think that she is going to be getting married in the next couple of years because she seems so young.  But she’s 19 – older than I was when Katie and I got engaged.

My mom’s parents are both struggling with their health right now.  Grandpa is in the nursing home and has been for a few months, and Grandma has been in and out of the hospital for the last couple of weeks. So, certainly that is weighing on our minds, especially since we need to make the trip to Illinois so they can meet Hannah.

Without a doubt, 2015 has been a year all about family.  Now, maybe the blog stats won’t say a lot about it, but 2015 was far and away one of the best years of my life, and I can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store for us.