– Ben Martens

2012 Year In Review

No matter what I write in the following paragraphs, the one thing I’ll remember from this year will undoubtedly be that Tyla is pregnant! Baby Martens isn’t going to arrive until next summer but is already shaping a good portion of our thoughts and daily activities. From doctor appointments to baby classes and baby books to nursery decorating, we’re gearing up for full baby mode. I’ve been told by many parents that I can’t imagine the effect this baby is going to have on our lives, so I’m not even trying. If I’m going to be shocked no matter what, why stress out about it? We’re doing our best to prepare and then we’ll enjoy it as it comes and learn as we go.

The baby isn’t the only news of the year though. Early in 2012, I wrapped up a major project at church as the property deacon there. We hired a contractor to do a major renovation of the parsonage on the property and after a few months of work, the contractors finished up. It didn’t end there though as we took on the landscaping portion of the job ourselves. It took a lot of time and effort, but the end product looks fantastic. For a volunteer organization, getting anything this big done is a major accomplishment. During the spring and summer the work at church continued as I oversaw the installation of a new fire alarm system. Once that finished up I started helping out with our new church sign project. It’s great to see this major improvements happening at church, but it also feels good to get them out of the way before Baby Martens arrives and my attention is diverted.

The year started off with some fun ski trips. Tyla came out with me a few times and we also got to ski with Andy and Stephanie for the first time. The highlight of the ski season was going out with a ski photographer for a day of photography. This was my second time doing that and he got some fantastic shots that make me look a lot better than I really am!

Ever since our honeymoon, Tyla and I have talked about going on another cruise. With hopes for a baby on our minds, we decided to go for it. We spent ten incredible days in the eastern Caribbean and memories of those wonderful, sunny days still hijack my thoughts on a regular basis.

Tyla works out quite a bit and this year she ran both a 5k and her first 10k. I happily watch from the sidelines with my camera in hand capturing her accomplishments.

Mom and Dad came out twice this year. The first visit was over Easter to celebrate the holiday with us and also to see our new house. Usually when they come out we end up traveling all over the state, but this time we stayed pretty close to home. The one big outing was snowshoeing around Stevens Pass. We found the perfect spot for lunch in the pristine snow with an incredible view high in the mountains. Their second trip was over Labor Day and the bid adventure from that trip was a hike around Crystal Mountain. It provided a great view of Rainier and also showed them where I love to spend my time in the winter.

There were a few camping trips with Tyla’s family to Lake Chelan, Fall City, La Conner, and Bay View State Park. They have a great camp trailer which makes is very convenient. They were always great hosts and welcomed us into their campsite for random nights during their stays.

At home we were busy with lots of projects. The home theater was the most fun for me. I mounted a projector and a 120” screen and then ran all the video and power cables inside the walls. The speakers also got wall mounted with their wires run inside the walls. A paint job really gave the room a nice finishing touch. We spend a lot of time enjoying movies in the comfort of our own home.

2012 was Tyla’s second 29th birthday and I planned a weekend full of surprises for her. On Friday night, we drove to a local bed and breakfast that has tree houses for guest rooms. On Saturday we headed into Seattle where I had reserved us seats with a great view of the SeaFair airshow and hydroplane races. On Sunday afternoon, I told her that her family was coming over for dinner. That was true, but what she didn’t know is that a big group of our friends were coming too!

I opted in to some medical procedures this year which had me going under anesthesia twice. The first was to remove one of my wisdom teeth. While it wasn’t pleasant, that turned out to be a lot easier than I had imagined. The second was sinus surgery to correct some stuff inside my nose. The end result is fantastic, but the first few days after the surgery were miserable. Both have proven to be good decisions so far and I’m thankful for good health.

The motorcycle got a good workout this year. I took two long rides with friends Doug and Frank from church. The first trip was a three day ride through British Columbia with some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen from my motorcycle. The second was a long one day ride out to Dry Falls and back through an enormous active forest fire area. There’s already talk of going on another ride next year so we obviously all had a great time.

Last year, friends AndyD and StephanieW climbed Mt. St. Helens in the fog and wanted to do it again in sunshine. They got us forest service passes, organized the whole trip, but then had to bow out at the last minute for personal reasons. Tim, Chelsea and I decided to carry on without them, and though it would have been nice to have them along, we still had an amazing trip. It was the hardest hike I’ve ever done and I couldn’t walk for a day or two afterwards, but it was completely worth it!

But as I said at the very beginning of this post, all of that plays second fiddle to the moment that Tyla walked into our bedroom with a positive pregnancy test. Since then we’ve had a number of doctor’s appointments where we get to hear the baby’s heartbeat. I find myself staring at Tyla in awe of the life that God has created inside her. We are so excited to meet our new child!

As first time parents, we were super excited to share the news with everyone. When the doctor said it was finally ok to tell people, we told a few local people and then flew out to Indiana to share the news with my family in person. In retrospect, flying with your pregnant wife in her first trimester isn’t a great idea, but Tyla did great on the trip and it was worth all the miles to see their faces when we shared the news!

For the next six months, we’ll fill our time with various projects knowing that after June we won’t have nearly as much time to paint rooms, remodel the bathroom, or fix up the yard. We’re really just killing time as we anxiously await the arrival of our child! It’s a pretty helpless feeling for both of us knowing that so many things can go right or wrong with very little input from us during pregnancy, but thankfully, it’s all in God’s hands, not ours.

Previous Year In Review Posts: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011