2014 was one of the best years of my life…..actually probably the best! I sure hope 2015 can compete! While tomorrow I will work on goals for 2015, today I want to reflect on the unbelievable events of 2014. Here is a list of my favorites moments:
1. Holding Bo in my arms for the first time!
2. Speaking in front of three audiences of some the smartest people in the world about my passion, Down syndrome. It certainly didn’t hurt that I was able to give these talks in Monaco, Zurich, and San Francisco. I hope I am able to continue this work into 2015 and beyond!
3. Kissing MJ from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
4. Taking the best awards trip that MJ earned to Bali. I loved everything about Bali. I certainly hope that someday I am going to make it back to this beautiful, spiritual island.
5. Walking on the Great Wall with Elle, Gabe, and MJ. I also loved meeting Amy Doerring in a Beijing park to take pictures of Elle amongst the lotus blossoms.
6. Meeting Renee Booe in the Zhengzhou airport. We became instant friends, and I love her heart and mission in life. I hope to be able to partner with her more to help make a bigger impact to help orphans.
7. Opening the new GiGi’s Playhouse Des Moines. While this task seemed to consume all of my “free” time and I think nearly killed me in the process, it has been great to see all the families taking advantage of what we have created. The sky truly is the limit for individuals with Down syndrome, and we are on a vertical trajectory straight up! Thanks to all who helped along the way!
8. Wandering around Monaco with my love on one of the best days ever. While we were soaking it all in I received updated pictures of Bo via email.
9. Any time I was able to see Gabe play basketball. He likes to say my tiger mom pops out when I watch him, and I think I have to agree! He says he likes it….someday that will end….I know.
10. Exploring Lucerne, Switzerland and going to the top of Mount Pilatus. I met a new friend during that adventure, and we ended the day enjoying some delicious fondue. What a beautiful city!
11. Watching Carsten play baseball, and seeing how awesome his coaches, teammates and the community are to him! That kid’s smile melts my heart!
12. The moment we came down the escalators in the Des Moines airport and embraced Carsten, Griffin, Mae, Bo, Elle, and Gabe all at the same time. Finally we were all together as a family of 8!
13. Watching Griffin create the best sidewalk chalk pictures I have seen since Mary Poppins! I don’t know where he got his creative brain, but it is BEAUTIFUL!
14. I loved watching Elle blossom into a confident, keep up with me if you can 5 year old. Whether that has been at school, during softball, or while playing with her siblings. Elle is a force to be reckoned with!
15. Listening to all of the crazy, sassy, and hilarious things Mae Mae says. I now finally know what it means to have a toddler daughter. It’s like someone is constantly popping quarters in her. She is either talking or sleeping…nothing in between. Luckily what she has to say is brilliant, funny, sassy, and honest….four things I can never get enough of!
16. After being home one month, Bo started writing his name, and saying, “B-O, Bo!” Then he points to himself excitedly.
17. Taking the kiddos on our first road trip to the Black Hills. While we had some crazy moments, they all added up to a fun and memorable Christofferson Road trip. Our new goal is to do one of those a year.
18. Partaking in the happiest places on earth at Disney World in Florida with the whole family and at Disney Land Hong Kong with Gabe, Elle, Bo, and Matt. I just can’t help but let my inner child out when I am there. I am like a smiling fool!
19. Hong Kong….I don’t think a week goes by without Gabe mentioning something about Hong Kong, and how much he loves it there. We agree with him. Hong Kong is the cat’s pajamas!
20. GiGi’s Playhouse “i have a voice” gala. This is one of our favorite nights of the year! MJ and I love it! We have so much fun with all of our friends and family. Every year we have had more and more people join us there to celebrate Carsten and GiGi’s. Last year there were 74 Carsten’s Crusaders there dancing the night away! That’s 74 people that travel from across the country to show their love and support of us and Carsten! MJ and I are so blessed to have you all in our lives. We can’t wait to celebrate with all of you again on February 28, 2015. This will be our first year to celebrate Carsten AND Bo, and give our financial support to GiGi’s Playhouse Des Moines. Thank you!
21. My cousin Sean is official moving in! The kiddos all love and adore him, and he is such great help to have! OK…MJ and I love and adore him too! He is the perfect 9th member of our family. 🙂
22. Waking Gabe up in the middle of the night to watch a meteor shower. We actually never even saw a shooting star, but we had a great time anyway.
23. Having Jo (my mother in law) move to Johnston. I know! It’s weird how much I love my out laws….I mean in laws, but I do. Jo and Brooke have been great helpers this year with the kiddos. Scott, Jen, and Brooke are always the first to travel back from NC and AZ to attend the gala and Buddy Walk. They are awesome, and they somehow tolerate me!
24. Taking an 18 mile bike ride through rural Bali with MJ and our guide. We were able to meet local rice farmers out at their rice paddies, go through a forest filled with monkeys, visit a Hindu temple, and we visited an orphanage. The man that ran the orphanage had over 80 kids living there, and he only had volunteers as helpers (which of course is inconsistent at best). He himself was in his 80’s. He was so inspiring. Whenever I think I “can’t” do something, I think about him. As I tell the kids, can’t never did a dang thing. Can’t and the Christoffersons have nothing in common.
25. Being out hearted by my 11 year old. The morning after visiting the orphanage in China we went down for breakfast. MJ and I could barely speak because our hearts hurt so much. Then through the silence Gabe said, “Mom I have been thinking. With a few modifications to our house, we could adopt that little boy in the wheelchair that didn’t have any legs.” WOW!!! Gabe doesn’t seem to have a selfish, shallow bone in his body. He never worries if doing the right thing….the hard thing…would somehow take away from him. His heart impresses me. It’s so genuine and natural. I can say at 11 years of age I was no where near his level of enlightenment….I still am not sure I am at his level. I can’t wait to see what he does in this world.
Now 2015….time to plan for how I will make you as awesome as 2014!
Happy New Year everyone!!!!! Cheers!!!!