1. This guy.
Sean Adam born on November 1st. He's already bought out the best in all of us.
2. This guy.
Quinn. He's so responsible, helpful, and a smart one too. He never ceases to amaze me.
3. This guy.
Liam. He's caring, empathetic, and loves to make people laugh. He's turning into quite the big brother.
4. Mike. This past year proved his strength and love for his family.
5. Close Family. From grandparents to aunts and uncles. Our family has really stepped it up since liams stroke.
6. Distant family. Cousins, aunts and uncles... People I'm not sure how we're related. We received so many well wishes from distant family members after Liam's stroke. So good to know we're loved and thought of.
7. Old friends. There for us to watch Quinn, do some research for us, and listen to us vent.
8. New friends. I'm amazed at this one. Parents of Quinn's school friends I know now are friends I can rely on. From ice cream being left for us to watching Quinn while Liam has therapy. And now.... My new friends are helping out with the baby by bringing Quinn and Liam home after school.
9. The ability to ask for help. I had to work on this and continue to work in it. I'm usually the one offering help not seeking it out. But I've gotten a million times better and am so thankful I can do this (and that we've got an amazing network of friends and family to help us).
10. Good health insurance. It hasn't been easy, but our insurance is covering all of Liam's therapy (unlimited visits til he's six).
11. Health advocate. Mike has a health advocate at his work that has been our go between with the insurance company. She's been great at making sure things get covered.
12. Mike's forethought. Or his ability to make sure our family is prepared. He took out "catastrophic insurance" on all of us. We were able to file, and receive, a claim for Liam's stroke.
13. Doulas. Having a doula at the birth of Sean was one of the best decisions we've made. It was wonderful having another support person in the room with us.
14. Birth photographer. Another excellent decision. The photographs captured that day are priceless.
15. Placenta encapsulation. Look it up. I've never had such a good recovery after any of my kids births.
16. Early darkness. Allows me to go to bed at 7pm and get some much needed sleep before my "shift" with Sean begins.
17. The nursing instinct. Amazing how when the doctor places Sean on my chest and he instantly started rooting. These babies know what they're doing and it's such an amazing thing.
18. Coconut oil. For sore nipples. That's all I'll say about that.
19. Hot showers. When given a choice between eating, sleeping, pumping, or showering I'll almost always choose a nice hot shower. Makes me feel like I can get through the day.
20. Quinn's teacher. She realized in which areas he needs to be challenged and is the first teacher to truly challenge him.
21. Liam's therapists. From the private therapists to the school therapists. They're all working together and I agree with all of their methods.
22. Liam's teacher. She's been great with him and at the beginning of the year really made us feel welcome to the classroom. She's honest with us an is challenging him while still keeping in mind his areas of weakness.
23. Navistar. Mike's worked there for almost twelve years. Even though he used most of his vacation days post stroke, his boss has been understanding about any sick days he's needed since then. Also - the good insurance I mentioned earlier comes from here. Also, the hours are flexible, so mike goes in early and comes home early.
24. My moby wrap. Totally helps with Sean's fussy hours. Put him in. Vacuum. And voila. He's asleep!
25. Christmas lights. We might just leave our tree up all winter long. I love the light given by the tree in the middle of the night while nursing sean.
26. Online shopping. That's how it's getting done this year.
27. My iPad. Makes it easy to read a book while nursing.
28. Our local library. We've really taken advantage of it this past year. Movies, tv episodes (currently on season five of mad men), and books (both digital and "real") for me and the boys - I love it.
29. Vacations. Mike was complaining about using too many vacation days for all out vacations this past year. An then we realized, if there's anything to complain about too many vacations isn't so bad.
30. Our health. We've definitely had a hard year. But, overall, we're doing well. And for that I'm thankful.