Happy New Years from the Biddingers!!!
Major highlights of our year:
- The birth of our baby girl, Emma Louise. Emma was born on April 19th, 2018. Leading up to her birth our family seemed to be hit with all the lovely wintery sicknesses that we could get. Andrew and I both got really sick with bronchitis, and Oakley got the flu, a cold, and the chicken pox all in a row as we were both sick. Lol! Yes, lots of sickness and very interesting being almost due and all being down for the count. It was a little scary as I could barely breathe and could not seem to rid myself of the bronchitis, but we received so much love from our church family as they organized meals for us and sent love, texts, and prayers our way. Andrew’s mom was such a lifesaver and came and stayed with us for a couple of days. I look back and am so grateful for those people and the way God showed His faithfulness to care for us. Praise God I recovered (and Andrew and Oakely too!), and Emma stayed safely inside her little cocoon until all the sickness left our home. I really did feel that God kept her inside till the perfect time – 4 days late. 🙂 Her labor was a fast 6ish hours, and then we met her beautiful little face. She is so much fun and a little ball of happiness, chubbiness, and energy.
- Oakley’s second birthday was in May, less than a month after Emma was born! This has been such a fun year with him. Seeing the ways he has developed and grow into a little man already in the last year has been amazing and so fun to watch. He talks in full sentences, is a complete goof, is cuter than ever, is very imaginative, talkative, and friendly, and a fantastic brother. I love to hear and see the new things he says and does every day. He says the cutest things to Emma (like a few weeks ago when he grabbed a burp cloth, wiped up Emma’s spit up, looked her in the face and said, “You a messy girl Emma, a very messy guurl.”) and gives her lots of kisses! Even though he’s the cutest ever to this biased mommy, this year has stretched and grown me (and is still) in patience as toddlers all have their challenging moments 🙂 and desiring to demonstrate God’s love and care at a daily, toddler level (which I feel very far from at many moments). It has made me thankful that get to be home with my two kiddos every day as I get to care for them and see all the cute, funny and smart things they do every day, while at the same time challenged me to pursue greater abiding in Jesus for the energy, joy, love and patience I need to extend grace to two little people every day.
- We bought and moved into a new home in the summer! This has been a ginormous change for us this year! For the last almost 4ish years, Andrew and I have lived in an apartment complex in Grand Blanc. We had both of our beautiful babies there and made lots of memories together as a family, but this year God opened up the opportunity to look at a home recommended to us by a friend and everything seemed to fall into place as we pursued buying it. Now we have a beautiful home to call our own in Flint, Mi. We have worked countless hours since on it, fixing it up, making it our own, and of course doing things like repairing clogged kitchen sinks – something we didn’t have to do with apartment maintenance to come to our rescue! We took about a month to take down wallpaper, redo a couple of the hardwood floors, paint basically everywhere till we wanted to never see paint again, and clean before moving in. After we moved in, we did a ton of yardwork to clear space in the backyard for grass and free space for the kids (and adults 😉 ) to play. Previously the yard was filled with plants, vines, and a fenced in dog area that wasn’t conducive to such things! Recently, we just tore out old shelving in our basement, wiped away (most of) the cobwebs, washed the walls and floors, and organized our basement a little better to make a play area downstairs. It worked out to be great space for the cousins to hang out and play when we had our Biddinger family Christmas here last Saturday. It was really fun having all Andrew’s family here and a couple of friends and filling up the house to the max with people, not to mention wrapping paper. 😉
Andrew has been in church-based seminary for 2 years now and continues to plug away at his studies each week! He and his team at work continue to provide website design and consulting to different clients near Detroit. And Andrew and I both continue to work in the youth group. Andrew normally teaches weekly, and we just had a fun overnight conference with the youth that we attended in November and a hoppin’ Christmas party in December full of minute-to-win-it holiday games, worship of Jesus, and treats of course. 😉 It has been a fun, full, momentous, and hardworking year for us and we look forward to what’s ahead. We have a nice fenced in yard now that I know the kids will love playing in in the summer. I know Emma will be covered in dirt as she toddles around and that Oakley and Emma’s brother/sister friendship (and dose of rivalry;) ) will continue to bud and develop. I think they are going to be the best of friends.
Something on both Andrew and my hearts as we head into the new year is adoption. We have talked about this since we were dating as a desire for us and something especially for me that has been close to my heart for a very long time. It may still be a bit out in the future that we will be able to bring another little person (or maybe not so little – we will see) into our family, but we want to begin prayerfully gathering information and pursing the process. At this point we are thinking we will adopt locally through the foster care system. We would love your prayers as we more fully prepare our hearts and home for the kids God has in keeping to become a part of us, even if that is still a few years from now.
Thank you so much friends and family! We hope this year has been a great year for you as well and that you have experienced God’s comfort, love and faithfulness through all the ups and downs, lonely and full, happy and sad times that 2018 has brought. If not, Jesus wants to head into 2019 with you. He is a God who wants to be found and loves to show his crazy love for you through all the mess and beauty of this earthly life.
Sending lots of love your way and wishes for the New Year.
Andrew, Susanna, Oakley and Emma