Sunday, January 10, 2016

Happy 2016! (and 2015 Highlights)

In keeping with tradition, this New Year's post is late. This was the year I finally came to terms with the fact that I’m just not a Christmas card person. I guess I’m an email person (family and friends, be on the look out!). Or apparently, a week-after-New-Year’s blog post person.

Don’t get me wrong, I love getting Christmas cards, but do you ever get an email from a friend around the holidays and think, “Sheesh, send me a REAL Christmas card, why don’t you?” Most likely not. In my view, electronic greetings can bring just as much holiday cheer to loved ones as Christmas cards.

And so I’m determined to embrace my reality and make the best of it. I’ll still keep my addresses updated (something I do every Christmas to stay organized), and who knows, maybe some years I’ll send a “real” card, but in keeping with what’s become a tradition, here’s our yearly New Year’s greeting and highlights.

Ben has been pretty busy this year, managing the pharmacy where he works since May. He loves what he does, which is making specialized IV treatments for patients at home, and we’ve been trying to find ways to grow the business and support the team he works with. It’s a lot of late nights and weekends on call (not to mention a crash course in management), but it’s an adventure, and one we’re very grateful for. He also works as Assistant Clerk in the office at our church (pro bono, so to speak, as clergy and personnel are unpaid). In his free time, whenever that is, he’s planning to take up woodworking and tackle some projects around the house.

Caleb is busy, busy, busy, too. At age 2, he loves all things construction, knows all of his letters, most of his numbers through 10, recognizes a handful of words by sight, talks nonstop, plays pretend on his own now, and explores constantly. I can barely keep up with him! (Read about Caleb turning 2 here.) He looks out for his little sister, and he can make her laugh like no one else can. By next year, I’m betting they’ll be best buds.

Lydia is growing fast! Has it really been 6 months? (...I guess I should stop telling people I just had a baby…Read about Lydia’s arrival here.) She’s sweet, sunny, and just slightly sensitive. She’s active like Caleb, too--she can roll across the room in a matter of seconds, loves sitting up to play, and she’s starting to scoot around on her tummy. Her favorite pastime--aside from talking--is grabbing anything within reach, including toys, people’s faces, and plates full of food. We really have to keep an eye on her now (she wants to put everything her mouth), but she’s so gorgeous, we can’t take our eyes off her anyway.

Jenny (that’s me)...I’ve had a busy year just trying to keep up with the rest of the family! Oh and you know, I had a baby in July. (Read about my pregnancy here.) I’m exhausted, but I’m having the time of my life. It's been a miraculous experience to become the mother of two, and I'm loving this time to teach and learn at home with them. And I have "my girls" at church, too, where I work as the Second Counselor in the Young Women's Presidency (i.e. youth leaders, also an unpaid ministry). Those girls never fail to brighten my week! Blogging continues to be a therapeutic hobby for me, and I hope to do more in the coming year.

As a family, it was a big year. In January, we visited my family in Georgia while Ben tested for his state license there, and for spring break in March, we spent a week with Ben’s family in Idaho Falls. After a couple trips to the hospital for false labor, followed by house rest (doctor's orders), we swore off traveling and settled down at home to get ready for our baby girl’s arrival.

Over the next few months, we finally got the rest of our boxes unpacked, painted and put up shelves in the front sitting room, moved Caleb into a new room with a toddler bed, refinished furniture and set up a guest room, painted and organized our master bedroom, and painted and put together Lydia’s nursery. We worked hard (actually, we overdid it), and by the end of it, I could barely move--not that I could move anyway, being 9 months pregnant.

In July, we welcomed Lydia Grace. My mom spent a few weeks with us (and my dad surprised me by flying in for my birthday, too!), and a few weeks later, both sides of our family came for her blessing day.

This fall, I helped start a preschool playgroup with a few friends in the neighborhood, and it’s always a highlight of Caleb’s week. A highlight of the year for all of us was hiking to Jump Creek Falls, and we can’t wait to explore more of Boise’s best hiking spots this summer.

We had a fun Halloween as the Flintstones and a wonderful Thanksgiving with Ben’s family in Idaho Falls (in spite of traveling in a deadly blizzard), but the most memorable part of the holidays was definitely my brother’s wedding. We love his beautiful new bride, Bailey, and we’re so happy for them!

We had a White Christmas at home with just our family, and my cousin Alan and his family joined us later that day for Christmas Dinner. We’ve been on the road this New Year visiting my family and Ben’s brother Adam and his family, and we’ve had the best time, but we’re also excited to get home and see what this new year brings. We hope it brings the very best of blessings to you and yours!

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