Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Year In Review

Usually, I don't mind saying goodbye to the year and looking forward to the next. However, 2015 was a HUGE year for our family and I'm actually a little sad to see it come to a close. My life changed in so many ways this year. I changed. And I'm still reflecting and thanking God for every bit of it and the ways He has carried me and blessed me. Beyond my dreams. 

On February 2, 2015, I became a mom! Marshall was born, on his due date (not quite the way we anticipated), and our lives have been changed ever since. He is more wonderful than we ever could have imagined. Our God truly gives such precious gifts and His grace is beyond amazing! Being a mom has made me a different person, in ways that I can't even describe. And yet, I know this is who I was meant to be and I feel like my heart is complete. A piece that I didn't even realize was missing, has been made whole. I could write pages and pages about how life-changing this year has been. There have been challenges and adjustments and lessons, for sure. And this is only the beginning. But the joy has been overflowing and so very sweet. Definitely the BEST part of our entire year! 

I quit my full-time job to be a stay-at-home mom. This was a VERY big change for me. It was one of the hardest and best decisions. For nine years, I have been blessed to work as a graphic designer for two really wonderful companies. I got to do what I love and work alongside people that became such close friends and really like family to me. I couldn't have asked for a better career. It was difficult to leave all of that behind. Not to mention, a leap of faith to switch to one income. But, when Marshall was born, I knew in my heart, that my new "job" as a mom was my true calling. I also knew that God would make a way and that He would take care of our family. I can honestly say that have not regretted this decision. It is actually a dream come true for me to be a stay-home mom. 

Andrew and I celebrated TEN YEARS of marriage! For our anniversary (July 9), we hired a baby sitter (for the first time!) and went to a new restaurant in town (Grappa), followed by a few games of bowling, in honor of our first date. It was such a fun evening. It's hard to believe that TEN whole years have gone by, and now we have our sweet baby boy, making us a family of 3. I love the man I married more and more everyday. Not only is he the best husband, he is an amazing father. I am so grateful to have Andrew by my side. 

In November, we underwent a MAJOR home renovation. Our first floor ceilings were torn out and replaced, due to water and ice damage from last winter. It was a HUGE project (and a total mess) to say the least! I have yet to share the details and the before and after pictures, because we still have some painting to finish and I'm not quite done putting what felt like our entire house, back together! BUT, it looks beautiful and I'm so thankful for new smooth ceilings and that we were able to get it done (largely thanks to our insurance). 

I am now freelancing as a graphic designer and art director (yay!). My business, Sohl Design is in the final stages of "officially" getting up and running. This has been a long-term dream of mine, to be able to work from home and still take on creative projects. I am thrilled to have done a few projects this year and I'm even more excited to take on more work in 2016. Stay tuned! 

That's a pretty BIG year if you ask me! God has been so gracious and so very good. I'm still taking it all in. It feels like Marshall was just born, yet somehow, he's about to be 11 months. And then before I know it, we'll be celebrating his first birthday. Gah! 

Thank you, readers, for following along, even though my blog has taken a backseat this year. 2015 has been exciting and memorable and full of firsts. I am looking forward to 2016, for sure. 

Thank you, Lord, for your love, for your blessings and your many gifts. You continue to be so good to us, and we are so humbled. Thank you for all this year brought to our lives. We love you and we look forward to what you have in store for us in 2016.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Marshall's First Christmas

It's hard to believe we just celebrated Marshall's very first Christmas! We woke up Christmas morning in the house where my husband grew up (Marshall's Gigi and Poppi's house). We had such a wonderful time. There was a beautiful tree, too many presents, delicious food and best of all, family. We got to enjoy the entire day together. Marshall and his cousins, Sydney and Morgan, got to play together and make sweet memories.

The next day, the (almost) entire Ohl family got together for a bowling and pizza party. What fun! I think this may need to be a new tradition. I love that Marshall (and us) got to see aunts and uncles, cousins and his great-grandma.

We almost headed home without taking our yearly family photo. We can't skip that! 

It's always bittersweet to see our time togetherend after some very fun-filled days. But what wonderful memories we made! I know Marshall might not remember it all, but I know he had a great time. His first Christmas was certainly special and surrounded by lots of love and joy.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Monthly Marshall Moments: Ten

Ten. Months. 

Double digits, guys. 

It feels like Marshall grew leaps and bounds this month. He went from learning to crawl to standing and balancing on his own, to holding onto furniture (and us) while taking a few steps. He is always on the move! His face is changing and looking less "baby" like. He has such a fun personality and cracks us up. 

Trying to take these 10 month photos was a joke! He barely sat still and wanted to be anywhere BUT on the cute Christmas fabric. I'm thankful for the couple I was able to capture. 

November was an interesting month for us. We underwent a major home remodeling project, which only left us our bedrooms and office to spend time in. We played in Marshall's room A LOT and thankfully spent most days at my sister's house. I didn't take as many photos as usual, but still managed to document some fun moments. 

We were blessed with unseasonably lovely weather and were able to take walks, all bundled up.  

Marshall has been testing the waters with some new foods and likes feeding himself. He's tried squash, banana (not a fan), potato, avocado and honeydew melon. He loves puffs (baby cereal snacks). 

He celebrated his first Thanksgiving with Gigi and Poppi, visiting from Pennsylvania, and was dedicated at church the same weekend. It's been a busy November! 

Crawling all over the place
Likes to stand and take a few steps while holding on to things
Especially interested in the DVD player, remote control and technology (oh, boy)
Gets excited when he sees our cats and follows after Chancho (look out, cats!)
Loves going for walks
Likes to explore garbage cans
Thinks unexpected sounds and funny noises are hilarious 
Has the best giggle and laugh
Favorite baby shows: VocabuLarry, The Notekins, Hide 'N Seek 
6 teeth coming in
Has the cutest little voice and likes to babble and mimic sounds
Gets bashful when meeting new people 

 He's is the best.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Marshall's Dedication

On Sunday, November 29, 2015, we participated in the Parent and Child Dedication service at our church, Northridge. For those who may not know what a "Dedication" is, it's a commitment that we, as parents, are making, to lead our son spiritually as he grows up and teach him to know and love Jesus Christ. We are committed to being examples of Christ to him and teaching him God's Word, the Bible. Through prayer (lots and lots of prayer) and doing our best to teach Marshall about the Lord, our single most important desire that he will one day accept Jesus into his heart, love God more than anyone or anything, and serve him with his life. If that's the only thing we accomplish as parents, we will have succeeded. 

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

It's also a way for us to publicly acknowledge that Marshall is a gift from God, and to thank Him for entrusting us with the honor of being his parents. One year ago I was quite pregnant and waiting with much anticipation for our little boy to arrive. I never could have dreamed of the beautiful boy God would bless us with who fills our life with so much joy!

We were one of about 14 families at our service, but there were a total of about 50 families participating at all locations. I love the way our pastor and our church supports parents and encourages them to be the primary influence on their children. What I didn't know, until we received our gift bag, was that a letter was included for Marshall to open after he makes his own commitment to Jesus and is baptized. I think that is such a wonderful gift!

Many of our closest family and friends were there to witness and support us, which was extremely special. We had a celebration afterwards and Marshall enjoyed all the attention. It was wonderful to be surrounded by our loved ones on this special day. 

It's certainly not easy being a parent. I'm so thankful for grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and dear friends that are part of our circle, cheering us on and encouraging us. 

Just as your cake said, Jesus loves you, Marshall, and so do we! May you know how much God loves you, and love Him in return, all the days of your life.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

This Thanksgiving was extra special because it was Marshall's first one! I really wanted to host and cook the meal, so Andrew's parents drove from Pennsylvania to be with us. Our first floor had just barely completed a major ceiling renovation (more to come on that later!). I wasn't sure if our house would be put back together in time for guests, but the kitchen was back in business just in the nick of time! Nothing like a holiday or a family gathering to spur the completion of home renovations. True Ohl style.

Thanksgiving really is one of my favorite holidays. I love entertaining, preparing a special meal, decorating the table and having guests gather around to enjoy food and conversation. I didn't take photos of the food but there were a few recipes from the Pioneer Woman at our table. Namely, a certain pumpkin cheesecake that was out of this world. I wish it was still here.

Marshall sure enjoyed having Gigi and Poppi here! They had lots of play time together. Even a wagon ride around the yard (his favorite). A little rain didn't hurt.

As I reflected on this year, my list kept getting longer and longer of how much I have to be thankful for. And yet, somehow, I loose sight of that, far too often. In the midst of my petty inconveniences and embarrassing complaints, I have to stop and remember how gracious God is and and how good He is. His love never fails. His mercy never runs out. His promises are always true. He loves me unconditionally. What a humbling thought. I don't deserve any of His love. But He loves me anyway.

I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and remember how much we truly have to be grateful for.