Wednesday, December 31, 2014


I can hardly believe that 2014 is coming to an end.... Last year, I held strawberry lemonade in a Hello Kitty glass and decided that it would be a year for me to "do me". It sounds silly and selfish, but I felt like I needed to take a moment for the small things that make me happy. I give, give, give and work, work, work to the point that I find myself in last place--a place I happily assign myself to--but just a few things focusing on me would make us all a lot happier.

I'm not sure that I was doing a great job of this until it all culminated in October. After working so hard for so long, I finally finished my dissertation and graduated as a doctor. Without the added stress of being in school with two small children, I took up a few hobbies. I started running three times a week and made a lot of progress. I've run two 5ks and am signed up for a half marathon in March. I started drawing at night when the kids were in bed and wouldn't try to take my pen away. I have made a few comics and have also made prints that I hung in our bedroom. And most recently, I was hired to teach English as an adjunct at a local community college. It seemed like I finally was doing things for myself.

Looking back, 2014 was an awesome year. Eliot turned three in January and Jack turned from a baby into a toddler. They're both completely different kids now, and it keeps getting more and more fun. We enjoyed a vacation to Florida in February.

And though it was too cold for too long back home, we did have some fun in the snow at least.

We spent the spring and early summer in our version of the tv show Yard Crashers by digging up holly trees and trashing old sheds to build our own personal tropical oasis. Since we got a pool heater, we were able to enjoy the pool for six whole months (and I didn't freeze!).

In the fall, Eliot played soccer and started school while Jack's interests and personality continued to grow. I defended my dissertation in the fall, and we came back home ready to plan and host both of our families for Thanksgiving.

I started running at the end of October, and Chris and I did some races. While we were all sick on Christmas, we still got to see both sides of the family. And that was 2014....

In 2015, I'm looking forward to organizing the house during the cold months and starting my new teaching position while continuing with my online teaching. As the weather warms up, I'm sure we'll be outside all the time playing in the pool, going to the beach, and going to Eliot's soccer games in the spring season. My goal for 2015 is to take time (to live, relax, enjoy the days together) and get in the picture more (I literally mean taking more photographs and allowing--or asking--others take pictures with me in them too).

Friday, December 26, 2014

Dear Jack: One Year, Six Months

Dear Jack,

From here on, you are closer to two years old than one year old. I can't believe it. You will always be my baby. Always.

We have just celebrated Christmas with you, your second Christmas but it has been one that seemed more "real" to you, I think. Of course, you didn't understand all the way what was going on, but you were pretty happy to dig into the presents and rip off the wrapping paper. For Christmas, we bought you all kinds of wooden toys with shapes, animals, and trains and barns for the creatures. You love animals, especially farm animals.

At 18 months, you are still the worst eater in the world, but you do like pizza.

Despite your bad eating, you make up for it with sleeping well. You usually sleep an easy, uninterrupted 12 hours a night and take one, reliable nap a day. That is pretty much a miracle for me.

Bathtime is your favorite ever. You love playing in water. As your language grows, so does your understanding of what we are saying. If we say "bath," you go running to the bathroom, ready to play in the tub.

For the longest time, I felt incredibly guilty about you, Jack. I felt like I did not read to you as much as I read to Eliot as a baby, so I worried that you wouldn't like books. However, I must have not messed up too badly because you just love books. We read Goodnight, Moon together and you put my finger on the fire for me to jump back and say, "Ow!" We pet the kitties together and put on the mittens.

It amazes me how different you can be from your brother. You have this independence that he just didn't exhibit. You wander off on your own. You play by yourself. You are brave. Of course, you love to interact with us and to have us read to you and give you attention too, but you don't mind being on your own either. Your independence gets you in trouble sometimes, though, as you go off to explore and scoot chairs all around the house to get exactly what you want.

Jack-bear, you keep on growing even though I can't comprehend how fast time is going. There is something to becoming a parent for the first time and experiencing everything for the first time with a new baby. It's scary and beautiful all at the same time. And then you have a second born, and you worry about making everything equal and whether you can show the same love to the second baby. Jack, you are our second boy and likely our last. So, there is also something (something I didn't expect) to experiencing everything for the last time. Each milestone you reach fills me with pride and also crushes my heart. You, our baby, are growing so fast. And it is so beautiful.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I am so late on all of this, but I felt like I should write about the seasons before they pass me by.

We're all always so busy, and I say that constantly, but life has been going by so quickly in a good way. There were times when the days seemed to drag without structure. I have always appreciated the time with my family; however, I felt like we weren't making the most of our time. My hands felt full and my brain boiled over with things I needed to get done (dishes, work, writing, laundry...), yet I simply couldn't. Lately, though, that hasn't been as much of an issue. With Eliot being in school, we are going, going, going with all sorts of plans. And I have a really consistent running routine set that has helped me have something to look forward to during the cold months when I usually drag myself through the dreary days.

But, back to Thanksgiving...

We hosted again this year, which was a lot of fun. Last year, we were so excited to bring both sides of the family together, but both Chris and his sister got very sick (like, flu, throwing up sick) on the morning of Thanksgiving. Suddenly, I was trying to clean the house, roast a turkey, and cook everything else while watching a then almost-three-year-old and a five-month-old (who couldn't even sit up yet). Speaking of limitations, the turkey was too heavy for me to take it out to baste it, even! So, that was pretty stressful.

It was completely different this year, though. We fried the turkey instead, which saved a lot of time. I had done almost all the cleaning the night before. Eliot and Jack could play by themselves enough for me to cook. Chris's parents and sister beat the traffic and were able to play with the kids. AND Chris (and Elizabeth) were not throwing up. Everyone seemed happy with the food and liked the turkey. A win, I'd say.

Waiting for Mawmaw, Granddad, and Aunt Elizabeth

The food

Chris's family stayed the night, which was awesome since they weren't able to last year due to Elizabeth getting sick too. In the morning, we all went for runs and walks because we're weird like that and then had breakfast at Cracker Barrel, an Eliot and Granddad tradition.

My only regret is that we didn't take any family pictures, just the few shots on my phone above. I was so busy, though, prepping, doing dishes, and all that I didn't see a moment to take a photo when we were all together. Ah.