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From welcoming Elena, moving a couple times, and everything in between, 2018 was full of changes, and 2019 is sure to be no different!

2018 was filled with several surprises, transitions, moves, and so much joy! The first couple months of 2018 were great, morning sickness had passed, David was in Korea for the Olympics, and I was able to enjoy the Chicago winter (as best as I could!) with friends.

The first time Eva met her baby sister!

March came, I successfully pulled off a huge surprise 30th party for David, and a week later, we greeted Elena. Although we did everything we could to keep her in, she was anxious to meet the world 7 weeks early! After a 3 week NICU stay we brought her home, and were amazed at every little thing she did, as most new parents are. The transition was strangely easy for us, and David and I took everything in stride. The hardest part during this time was saying goodbye to our German Shepherd Eva on mothers day of all days. As soon as we got into a rhythm with Elena, we began the process of moving to the DC area.

This rainbow appeared as we were in the middle of our move, and it was a great reminder of God’s provision over us!

If you ever want to declutter and minimize your life, try only keeping what you absolutely need and what can fit in your car, then move! For us it was into my moms house, then a hotel, and finally into our DC area apartment! Talk about stress, but weirdly I kinda enjoyed the challenge.

Then we began French language courses! It felt like David and I were back in college, as we left each morning, book bags in tow, jumped on a bus, and spent 6 hours learning and studying le Francais. After 16 weeks of that, I feel prepared enough to get around any French speaking country, have a general conversation in french, and prepare a short expose.

And so that brings us to today, January 3rd 2019! We are weeks away (however many that is we aren’t quite sure yet) from departing to Africa. This year, much like 2018 will be filled with a ton of unknowns, major transitions for all of us, a little stress hopefully followed by a lot of growth, and the joy of all being together. Many of our friends and family had babies, and it’s a blessing to go thru this season of life with loved ones. We are excited for what it has to bring, and all the things God is going to do along the way.

For Amber Renee Design, I’m still figuring out exactly what 2019 has in store. I will be back to working, after taking 2018 off. I am currently working on a couple website designs for other creatives, and that is something I would love to kick off in 2019. Along with branding products, photography editing outsourcing, and maybe shooting a few weddings here and there in Africa or France (especially now that I speak French). I will also be re-designing my website for these new endeavors and creating a new blog for more of the personal stories that take place on our adventures.

If there’s one thing we learned in 2018, it is that we need to have patience with ourselves. Projects, cleaning, packing, working, studying, you name it – it all takes a little bit longer to get done these days because Elena takes up so much of our time. And we’re not complaining, because she is worth it. So for 2019, our goal is to have patience with ourselves and each other!

Until the next blog, enjoy some more pictures from this past year!

Celebrating Easter in the NICU
first walk after coming home from the NICU
Elena was present for her first baby shower
Eva on guard dog duty!
due date picture!
childhood friends and our baby girls
family!
world’s best dad!
Elena’s first Christmas!
best friends, bridesmaids, sisters!
The joy of Christmas morning with a child!
Silva Family reunion
Christmas in Florida!
The happy grandparents