2018 was definitely not what we expected it to be, nor was it calm! On New Year’s Day 2018 we discovered that we were unexpectedly expecting another child! To say we were in shock is an understatement as we’ve never conceived without fertility drug assistance. Gerard’s sister, Mimi, popped the question that got us searching Zillow, “So, are you going to move?”

In summary, what followed was anything but calm: prepping our house for sale while battling respiratory flu, 17 showings in a 20 day span, having one house fall through at the inspection phase, receiving two offers on our home & nailing down a contract on the home we wanted to move into. All in the midst of show choir/solo contest season, hospitalizing Ella for the gastrointestinal stress & eventually miscarrying for a 3rd time. I’ve heard that moving can bring about mixed emotions & packing up our home of 10 years was very mixed. Throughout the past 9 months, we’ve done a few cosmetic projects & 1219 Parkhill Dr. is steadily feeling more like our’s.

12 hours after we signed for our home, Gerard left for Florida with ~100 choir students to Disney World while I unpacked boxes for the kids to play in. We could not have gotten through this season of our lives without the help of a 30-person moving crew from our church in addition to more friends who continued helping me while Gerard was away. Aside from Facebook posts, this is the best way I can publicly say “Thank You!” February through April was one of those times in our life where we had to “faith” our way through. If not for the Gospel and our friends & counselors pointing us to it, I’m not sure where we’d be. It still surprised me (Carrie), even having experienced two losses before, that pain & joy can coexist & be true in the same moment. Our good God is sovereign in both the pain & the joy. What a gracious God we have who gives us sources of joy to soften the pain! Joy is proof that He doesn’t withdraw from us in  difficult times.

The spring season found us pushing through the dark, applying the Gospel to our lives in new & fresh ways while enjoying soccer (Laidy) for the first time Lochlyn running the field to cheer her on. We also became part of the ICubs “Knothole Gang” season ticket holders for their Sunday home games which built in a Daddy-Daughter or Mommy-Daughter Date with Laidy while the other parent napped with Loch at home. May was a month of celebrations as Laidy turned 5 & “graduated” from pre-school. We combined our Annual Krupke Memorial BarBQ with a birthday party for Laidy. We were blessed to have all 4 grandparents in attendance (thanks Moms and Dads!) and it felt like our new home was  more our’s. The shadow of loss bringing us to this home was a little lighter.

The summer season was full of photo shoots (Carrie), home projects (Gerard & Laidy) & a consistent routine at pre-school (Loch) whenever we weren’t traveling. We took our first ever Krupke Family RoadTrip: 12 days included Mt. Rushmore, Badlands, time in Salt Lake with Carrie’s sister’s family, Moab & Arches Nat’l Park, Denver, & the Omaha Zoo. Thanks be to God for Moana, Charlotte’s Web, & Cars 1. I’m fairly certain we can attribute Lochlyn’s rapid vocabulary growth to being able to quote from these movies & sing along to their soundtracks. Laidy is, for now, following in her parents’ footsteps in the teaching department. Holy smokes, can the girl teach Lochlyn well and read to him for a long stretch of time!

The bulk of summer was spent with family, be it the Brogla Bash in Nashville with Gerard’s family, or time with my parents in New Providence. We also had the joy of celebrating our 11th anniversary by attending Hamilton when it came to Des Moines! It seemed as though July was the month of the Hamilton musical because I (Carrie) had the fun of conducting ‘My Shot’ at Norwalk Middle School’s annual summer band camp (complete with students rapping while the band accompanied them). It was a wonderful feeling to be on the podium with my parents in the audience & hear Lochlyn saying, “Mommy’s up ‘dere!”. Lochlyn also learned how to cheer for Daddy while on the frisbee field. Gerard definitely noticed signs of aging, but as he put it, “Play smarter, not harder”! He ran his way through the season as a “senior” player with a side order of ice packs & Ibuprofen.

We braced ourselves for Kindergarten in August by adjusting to life without an afternoon nap, writing various Bible verses in our devotional journal, & reading anything Laidy could get her hands on. Because our calendar year had started the way it did, & our 2017-2018 school year had been one of the most difficult of our careers (Gerard has entered his 14th year and I my 12th year teaching), I found myself bracing for the unexpected for this school year. We mapped out our fall season with scheduling, meal & lesson planning (Carrie’s now teaching a digital photography course at NHS in addition to band lessons at NMS), and fall soccer (Laidy). I decided to go on what I call a “School Year Sabbatical” from Carrie Krupke Photography, knowing I’d be building the NHS photography course curriculum from the ground, up. The creative freedom was all at once daunting & invigorating to build lesson plans & brainstorm with mentor teachers (another public “Thank You!”!). If last school year was the roughest of our careers & I was only part time, then what could we expect being full time?

Thankfully, it’s looked really good!! As difficult as it was to place my photography business on hold until summer 2019, we know it was the right decision for the sake of health & family as we knew that this fall would be very busy for Gerard. We would need our weekends (& evenings) free from photo work so Carrie could be the Parent-On-Duty(POD). Gerard was asked to conduct the Opus 9th Grade Honor Choir: for those of you reading this not from Iowa, this choir is made up of the top 180 ninth graders in the state. It’s such a high-falutin’ event that Gerard rented a tux with tails!! This was quite an honor & a career highlight for him being his 20th conducting of an honor choir event. The night of the concert went really well as Laidy sat with me & Grandpa (Gerard’s Dad) through the 2 hour concert knowing that Daddy would be conducting at the end of it (9th grade was the last to perform). In addition to the honor of conducting Opus, this was a Madrigal year at NHS for Gerard amidst the regular show choir rehearsals. The free weekends we had afforded us opportunities to watch the Williams Century Farm be harvested from the front seat of a combine (Loch was in silent awe the entire time!), visit with Carrie’s parents in New Providence & Gerard’s high school best friends in Kansas City as simple “get-aways” & enjoy watching Laidy walk down the aisle as a flower girl for Colby (former NHS student) & Jenny (a Webeler cousin of Carrie’s). In the midst of Gerard’s busy season, Lochlyn learned the sentence, “Daddy’s at work.” quite well & Laidy took it in stride while we started her in a tap/ballet class that she is enjoying. She has also tested into her school’s Gifted & Talented program for reading.

Our 2018 calendar year is wrapping up well, save one trip to the ER for Loch to get 5 stitches in his forehead. This kind of event revealed his character even more to us: brave yet silly, kind and gentle. He freely gives kisses, hugs & his dimpled smile charms. Not needing a haircut until well after his second birthday, Loch not only shares his Daddy’s “toe head” status as a child, but also enjoys just about anything that has wheels or flies. We’ve greatly enjoyed how he analyzes the way things work (future engineer?) & that he is initiating conversations about Jesus & prayer. Laidy has initiated conversations in the last week regarding divorce & how God puts babies in a mommy’s tummy--we are open to advice on how to answer these insightful questions!

There were many very challenging parts of 2018, but there were also immense joys & successes. No matter what 2019 brings, we know that God is with us, for us and is a good, good, God. We hope your expectations & hopes for 2019 involve a relationship with Him as we celebrate the birth of His Son in this season.

Merry Christmas & Happiest of New Years,

The Krupkes

PS Below, please enjoy the different drafts of our official hard-copy-Christmas card options:

Photo cred: Austin Day