Monday, January 5, 2015

2014 In Review

I missed updating my blog in November.  It's the first month in almost two years that I haven't written.  But I am back on the train and excited to look back, remember, and evaluate 2014 in the eyes of the LaPortas. 

I can say without a doubt it has been the toughest year we have seen.  It was a year of minor and major changes and adjustments.  We have had to constantly stop, re-evaluate, and make changes in order to not just survive, but to hopefully thrive.   

There are three major things that come to mind when I think of 2014...

The first is baseball.  We began the year jobless, but still hopeful.  And then it happened.  The Baltimore Orioles called and wanted Matt to come to spring training.  We were thrilled, and felt like this was his big opportunity.  We were ready to pack our bags and head to Virginia for AAA, with big dreams of getting that call-up.  And then we were back to square one when they released Matt during the last week of spring training.  To be honest, we were shocked.  We hadn't really entertained the possibility of him not making the team.  It felt surreal, and still does.  

We agreed that Matt needed to go to Mexico if not for any reason, but to test the pain levels in his hip.  After two surgeries in four years, his hip has continued to give him pain.  He played quite well in Mexico, but not without pain.  He came to the very difficult decision that the pain in his hip would never allow him to play up to his potential and at the level he dreamed about.  So he retired and came home.  

It happened so fast.  We knew his career was potentially winding down in the next few years, but not THIS year.  Not so sudden.  Not without at least one more opportunity to prove himself.  But here we are and there's no going back.  It really is over.  In difficult moments, the pain and loss of this dream can still take my breath away.  It is the death of his dream turned OUR dream.  The visions we had of bringing our boys to his games, of cheering him on in the All-Star game, of watching him hit balls out of the park, of spending time together traveling to different cities to watch him play are over, and that is hard to swallow.

But you know what's interesting?  In our world, this was one of the worst scenarios we could have imagined, and guess what?  We are still here.  We are still trusting God.  We are still outrageously blessed and happy.  The loss of baseball was an unexpected and extremely difficult trial, and we are not completely healed yet, but we are doing better than I ever could have imagined considering.

The second thing I think of is Beachbody.  On January 5, 2014, I signed up to be a Beachbody coach.  I was scared, skeptical, and even embarrassed.  But I put one foot in front of the other, and slowly, but surely, I have gained confidence, belief, credibility, and built an income greater than I could have imagined in my first year.  Beachbody has added a certain level of busyness to my life, but it's made me more productive and effective in other areas.  As we laid down the dream of baseball, God birthed a new dream for our family in Beachbody. 

The third thing I think about are my children.  I am busier than ever this time around, yet I feel like on most (some) days, I am doing a better job of taking it all in, and enjoying the precious time that my babies are actually babies.  Don't get me wrong, it has been tough.  We get burnt out.  We have days when we don't want to be parents anymore.  It is rare that I get a full 24 hours away, and boy, do I miss waking up in the morning with NOTHING to do, NO ONE to feed or change or entertain.  But they are my treasures. 

Sienna is social.  She hates to eat alone.  She thinks everyone wants to be her friend, and can't understand why someone wouldn't want to play with her.  She loves going to church.  She has several "best friends".  She is abnormally sensitive to what those around her are feeling.  She seems very smart.  She talks a LOT.  She loves to explain things to you in a very adult manner.  She adores her brothers.  She is always taking care of her "babies".  She loves Frozen, Mickey Mouse, dressing up in dresses, reading books before bedtime, playing "restaurant" (especially now that she has a her own cash register), sweets and treats, and presents.  She is as spunky as I've seen.  She loves to be in charge and boss everyone around.  She is a leader.  As soon as we say "No", she begins her negotiations.  She loves her grandparents.  She is extremely active and quick on her feet.  She is fearless and loves to jump off of apparatus' that in my opinion are probably too high.  I couldn't have imagined a more vivacious, lively, beautiful, fun, and kind little girl.  

Price has a sweetness about him that I can't explain.  Maybe it's his cherub(esque) face or those big puppy-dog eyes, but he is incredibly tender and gentle.  He freely gives big, open-mouth, sloppy kisses to nearly everyone, but Sienna receives the most.  He is by far the most affectionate of all three of my children, often initiating hugs and kisses with his siblings.  He grunts and groans and pants and huffs as he crawls, walks, and climbs.  While Sienna and Maddox are off to the races  at a playground, Price is content to just sit with Mama and watch everyone.  He is a huge open-mouth grin.  He took his first steps at 13 months, and just now at 14 months is he really comfortable walking, although he walks with one hand in the air.  He points at everything that interests him.  He loves to stand up on the couch and look out the window at the cars driving by.  Both Price and Maddox, LOVE to be outside.  If the front door is open even for a moment, they race over, planning their escape, and then cry when I close it.  Price eats more than any baby I've encountered.  At 14 months, in one sitting, he will eat 1/2 peanut butter and jelly sandwich, 1/2 avocado, 1 banana, and a slice of cheese.  He is not picky, and if their is food on the table, he will eat it.  Price doesn't cry as often as Sienna or Maddox, but when he is upset, HE.IS.UPSET.  He has a bit of a temper on him!  I believe Price will be my peace-keeper and my rock amidst the chaos.  

Maddox has an infectious, mischievous grin.  He always looks like he is "up to something".  He reminds me the most of Sienna, very alert and observant, and always wants to be in the middle of things.  Maddox loves his mama.  Typically, if I am not the one to pick him up out of his crib in the mornings, he gets upset.  He loves his blankets, clutching one in his fist, and holding it near his cheek.  Despite his constant activity, he is the only one who will really REST in our arms, especially is he has a pacifier and blanket in hand.  Matt and I treasure those moments of Maddox cuddles.  He is very emotional, probably more emotional and sensitive than Sienna was.  Like her, he wears his heart on his sleeve, and you always know how he is feeling.  He is either the happiest boy in baby on the block or the saddest.  There is no in between with Maddox.  Both Price and Maddox love smacking their lips together, and in Maddox's case, it means he is hungry or thirsty.  Maddox loves breakfast, and eats 3/4 cups of oatmeal with peanut butter and honey!  The problem is, I think he consumes all of his calories in the morning, as he doesn't eat nearly as much at lunch or dinner.  Maddox has the best laugh, and Daddy makes him laugh the most.  Maddox is going to be a charismatic leader, like his Daddy.  As a matter of fact, between his physical appearance and personality, he is by far, the MOST like his Daddy.  

Watching my children grow up, interact, and feeling my heart expand to love each one wholly and fully has been my greatest gift this year.  Really, I couldn't have imagined two greater additions to our family, than Price and Maddox.  


Friday, November 7, 2014

October 2014

Is it me or am I getting later and later when it comes to blogging about our month!  But I think I am being hard on myself.  Since January of 2013, I resolved to blog once a month, and I have!  I am very proud of myself, and though I wish I could record more, this will have to do.
October went fast!  Am I right?  I just can't believe that it's November 5 already.  And we all know how quickly the rest of this year will go by.  Yikes.  I don't know if I am ready!

This month, Matt had the opportunity to go to Germany with an organization call UPI.  UPI reaches out to professional baseball players and was an organization that served us so wonderfully when Matt was playing.  He and one of his good friends went to Germany to hold baseball clinics, and at the end they were able to share their testimonies and talk about how Jesus has changed their lives.  Matt had a wonderful time, ate some delicious food, and had some great experiences.  I am so thrilled he was able to do something like that, but boy am I happy to have him home.  He was gone for eight days, and my family and friends were so incredibly helpful to me!  I seriously don't know how people have babies without their families nearby.  And as always, when I am alone with the kids, I am reminded of the incomparably huge responsibility that single mothers and fathers have.  

I blinked and Sienna became a little girl.  I don't know how or when it happened.  Wasn't she just two?  Wasn't she just learning to eat by herself?  Didn't she just start talking?  Sadly, no.  She is independent and strong and more capable than I would like to admit.  You know what I miss?  I miss her mispronouncing words.  She is so grown up, there are very few words she doesn't say perfectly!  She still calls hand sanitizer, "hanitizer".  Up until a few months ago, she called bananas, "samanas".  See...when did she learn to say it right?  At the moment, I can't even think of any other silly words.  Man, I miss that.  

My little boys turned one year old on October 28th and they love me so much.  I don't mean to brag...but they just do.  They need me more and depend on me more than Sienna ever did.  I have to admit, I love it.  It's a little overwhelming when they both want me at the same time, and little tears are falling as they look to me and hold their arms up to be held, but secretly I love it.  Don't tell though.  They are just so sweet and affectionate and beautiful.  I will miss this age.  

We took family pictures this month, which went just about how you would expect them to go.  I think we got great individual shots of everyone, but I am pretty confident we did not even get one picture of all three kids together.  And believe it or not, Price was the worst!  He was just not happy.  Oh well : )

Sienna Spotlight: 

I did not do a good job of writing stuff down, so I promise I will do better this month!  But here are a few gems...
I was wearing a thong, and Sienna confidently informed me that I had put my underwear on backwards.
Often, after I tell her what to do, she says, "Listen, I have a better idea..."

Double Trouble: 

Price and Maddox eat a ton!  They are no longer on formula or baby food.  They eat all real food.  They are not even teenagers, but I feel like they are eating me out the house already!  
Price waves and gives big, sloppy, open-mouth kisses.  
Maddox took his first steps right before his birthday on October 27.  He claps his hands, and says "Buh", for "Bye".  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

September 2014

We started September out celebrating Sienna's birthday, and Matt and I finished September by celebrating time away in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic with amazing friends.  
My baby girl is three years old!  I can hardly believe it, and the worst part is she seems much older than three! : (  With the way she walk and talks and her attitude and sass, it's hard to believe she's ONLY three some days.  She still keeps on our toes and reminds me everyday how much discipline it takes as a parent TO discipline your chidden.  How can she be so charming one minute and the next make you want to pull your hair out?!  I've decided it's a special gift God gives toddlers.  
We celebrated her birthday on a few different days (of course), and she loved every second of it.  She loves getting gifts and she loves cakes and she loves knowing it's all about her!  
Something I did starting on her third birthday is ask her a list of questions that she of course answered.  I recorded it and I can't wait to ask her the same questions every year until she's...18?  
Here are the questions: 
1. Favorite Toy: Play-doh
2. Favorite Movie: Aladdin
3. Favorite Food: Chicken and oatmeal
4. What you want to do when you grow up: Play with play-doh
5. Favorite Outfit: Dress (the dress she was wearing in the video)
6. Favorite Game: Her new car
7. Best friend: Daddy...and Mommy
8. Favorite Animal: Doggie
9. Favorite Song: Frozen
10. Favorite Book: Jesus
11. Favorite Thing to Do With Mommy: Play with play-doh
12. Favorite Thing to Do With Daddy: Go on a date
I can't believe that she stood there for so long and answered all of our questions.  Obviously some answers don't make sense, but that's what I love about it.  She is the best.  
Our trip to Punta Cana couldn't have come at a better time.  I feel so blessed that my best friend's husband, Mark, invited us to go!  Mark's company was working the Lady Antebellum Get-Away event at the Hard Rock Resort there, and we got to go for FREE!  Crazy.  God must have known we NEEDED it and He was right.  Before our trip, I honestly couldn't fathom getting to sleep in every single day and not take care of anyone, but myself.  It was unimaginable!  But for seven straight days, I got to do exactly that.  It was heaven.  By day 5, I definitely was really missing the kids and even ready to get back to my routine, but 7 days was the perfect amount of time.  Any sooner, and I wouldn't have been ready, but any longer, and I would have become anxious and bored.  Spending that time with my husband and best friends was exactly the refresh I needed during this very busy, stressful, and overwhelming phase of my life.  
Sienna Spotlight: 
Sienna prayed the "God is good..." prayer at dinner, and it made me cry.  She asked why I was sad, and I quickly reassured her that I was happy!  Then she said, "But your eye is dripping!"
Sienna choked on a piece of chicken, causing her eyes to well up, so she said, "Oh my eyes look sad."
We were in the car one day when she saw a billboard for the Tampa Bay Rays.  She quickly started talking about baseball and how Daddy played baseball and hit the ball!  Then she started talking about how he showered at the field, and walked up the stairs.  This is significant because the last time Matt showered at any field and walked up the stairs (in Columbus) was over a year ago!  She wasn't even two years old the last time we were with Daddy at a baseball field.  We found it astonishing that she remembered all of that from so long ago.
My Dad was talking to Sienna and he told her that Mommy and Daddy were the boss.  She said, "No, just mommy."
Sienna wouldn't cuddle with Matt, so he told her that he wasn't going to be her daddy anymore (I know, very mature).  Sienna just looked at him and simply said, "That makes me sad."
Double Trouble:
Maddox will still shake his head back at you.  He thinks it's hilarious.
Price loves being chased around the house.  He crawls as quickly as those fat little legs will let him!