Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 Year in Review

This year. Wow. It has been incredibly difficult and wonderfully joyful. We began the year deeply in grief after Chris' passing, but also surrounded by family and community. Now we exit the year on the heels of another great trauma, but again, surrounded by love and support. Here's to 2017.

  • jb started a new job. We started the year unsure where we'd end up geographically. Luckily jb landed a job that allowed us to stay in Philly and in the movement. Yay!
  • The preschool I was teaching at (and Zoe was attending) closed. This was sad for us as we both learned a lot from being a part of that community, but it has also been nice to have more one on one time at home with Zoe. We considered finding another preschool, but this is Zoe's last year before kindergarten and we both decided we wanted to spend it together with as much free time as possible.
  • Pittsburgh trips are fewer and farther between - With Leo being in school we haven't been able to travel to Pittsburgh to visit my family as often (or for as long), but we still really cherish the time we do get to spend there.
  • Color Run - The kids and I participated in a 5k together. There was a lot of walking (and some laying down) involved, but we made it! And they were so proud of themselves.
  • Mexico - As usual, we spent July-August in Mexico. The kids attended a nature camp, we climbed the Tepozteco, and enjoyed time with family and friends.

  • Camping with PFP - We did the annual camping trip with Philly Family Pride and had a great time sleeping in a tent, roasting marshmallows and swimming.
  • Leo started first grade - And loves it! He really likes his teacher and has been excelling in his classes. Zoe has been telling people she's taking a "gap year" between preschool and kindergarten.
  • Aunt Fanny got married - and I officiated! - and we all went to California! It was a wonderful trip (though it was the first week of first grade, so we made it abbreviated). It was such an honor to be part of Aunt Fanny and Uncle Nate's big day. We had so much fun and really enjoyed seeing the Southern California coast.

  • jb got mugged - This sucked. Jess was out walking our dog and checking her email on her phone. A kid came up and slapped it out of her hand. When she bent down to pick it up two more kids (teenagers, I guess) came out and beat her up until she let it go. At first I was frustrated that she didn't just hand it over right away - a phone is not worth getting beaten over...but it was Chris' phone and I can understand how hard it must have been to let it go. She had a black eye and some bruises, but was otherwise ok. Still, what an awful thing to have happen in your own neighborhood.

  • Beyonce! - Through the generosity of a dear friend, I scored a last minute ticket to see Beyonce in concert. It was cold and rainy, but totally worth it. 
  • Kids started swim class - At first they both found these classes terrifying. Like crying and screaming and begging not to have to go back. They were used to "swimming" with a life vest on in Mexico, and it was scary for them both to get in the pool without one. As the weeks went on, they both really thrived in the classes. Leo in particular amazed me in how hard he pushed himself. Usually, he gets discouraged when skills don't come to him easily - but this time he was so determined to work hard at something that really challenged him.
  • Talula crossed the rainbow bridge - Our pug had been sick all year. At first we thought it was "just diabetes" but as we struggled to get her blood sugar under control over months (twice daily shots, special food, and regular monitoring) it became clear there was another underlying issue. The vet diagnosed cancer and since she was losing weight rapidly and not responding to treatments there wasn't much more to do. It was very sad to say goodbye, but we are so grateful for the time we had with her. Over a decade. We miss her. 

  • Hosted Thanksgiving - This was our second year hosting Thanksgiving and it was so so so very lovely. We had both sides of our family over and deep fried a turkey.  We had a zillion sides and gazillion desserts. We pondered our blessings and shared our bounty. Even the neighbors came by for a bit. 

  • December marked 10 years since jb's mom passed away and one year since Chris left us. - Decembers can be long and dark and challenging - but we did our best to create our own light to share (thanks in part to the Darkest Days of Winter calendar) and gladly received the light others reflected to us. 
  • Election - Our whole family was very invested in the election (Presidential, Senatorial, etc.), but jb especially worked so hard to get progressive candidates elected...and we really got clobbered. We are all shocked and worried about what will happen over the next four years, but more determined than ever to be part of the right side of history.

  • New cousin!! - Uncle Jared and Aunt Mallory had a baby, Elise Elizabeth, and we are all head over heels in love with this little nugget. Both Leo and Zoe love holding her. Ok, fine, so do I. 

  • Leo started second grade math - Leo's class has an advanced reading group that he has been participating in, but they don't have an equivalent for math. Math is Leo's favorite subject and he has been eager to keep learning new concepts so his teacher arranged for him to visit the second grade's math class. So far he is enjoying it, though it does take some schedule juggling. He goes to lunch and recess with the kindergarten class and then math with second grade, and spends the rest of the day with his original class. 
  • Survived terrifying car accident - On our way home from Pittsburgh after Christmas, as we were driving on the turnpike, the back wheel came off our car causing us to lose control, drive up a steep hill and tumble back down flipping three times and ultimately landing upside down. It was scary and traumatic, but thankfully we all were able to walk away. Since then, we have been counting our blessings and snuggling at home while our bumps and bruises heal. We have seen an incredible outpouring of love and support that has turned one of the worst experiences of our lives into evidence of of how fortunate we are.

  • Set a date - After 15 years together, two children and life experiences that have included our highest highs and lowest lows, jb and I have decided to have a party to publicly exchange vows and celebrate our love story. We are legally married, so we aren't sure if it's a wedding, anniversary party, or vow renewal. Whatever it is, we are very much looking forward to celebrating with our family and friends. 

Happy New Year!

Past years in Review: 200720082009201020112012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

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