One of my yearly traditions is to post our holiday "letter" on the blog. You can read previous ones here if you're curious.
I'm writing this one from sunny Southern California (75 degrees people!!!) on the last day of our Big Family Vacation 2014. Unfortunately, it seems that all Big Vacations in our family involve illness and vomiting, but we're nicely recovered now and hoping that 2015 is the year we break free of that particular "tradition".
This was our first big trip since M was born in 2012 and we have reconfirmed that our vacation limit is 2 weeks, though we had an awesome time at Disneyland, California Adventure and Legoland, visiting some close friends in the Bay Area for an evening, and hanging out with TJ's parents and sister for a long weekend. It has also been nice to see the sun, since the cold, dreary, wet and grey season of Seattle has begun.
At the beginning of the year, we were still living in two places - our home at night and my parents' place by day, waiting for the Big Remodel to be completed. Luckily we did not have to wait long - we moved back in February, after 4 months of construction. We are still giddy with excitement (really) about our new living space - it is exactly what we hoped for, and the process was not nearly as painful as it could have been. (#firstworldproblems, of course.)
In the end, we gained about 1000 square feet of space, but more importantly, we changed the living space a little better to suit our lifestyle - the girls now have bedrooms and a new bathroom upstairs on the same floor as the master bedroom, TJ and I have a bathroom that actually has enough space to shut the door while you're standing in it, we have a real guest room, I have a craft room/happy place/sanctuary that I adore, and TJ has an office with a door that now allows him to work from home on most days. Life is good.
Unfortunately, the stress of the remodel took its toll on all members of the family. Our 13 year old beagle Spike had been diagnosed with kidney failure and a bladder tumor late last year, and he really slowed down the last week of 2013. We had to let him go on January 2, and it was heartbreaking.
Exactly two months later, we found ourselves in the same place with Peanut, our 11 year old Rottweiler mix who came to us when he was just 5 months old. He was starting to have a lot more trouble getting around, and we think his spleen may have ruptured. March 2 was the saddest day of our year. All of us still talk about him often and miss him.
In happier news, T started at a new Montessori preschool in January and the transition was a non-issue. While I am still very sad about having to pull her out of her (unsafe!) Spanish immersion preschool, I am thrilled at how well she's doing at her new school and her teacher is phenomenal. She will complete the "Montessori 3 year cycle" and stay in this same class for Kindergarten next fall.
M started part-time daycare at 18 months when I went back to work in May as a contract project manager for Microsoft. She had a week of rough drop-offs but also adjusted beautifully, though our sleep suffered for a bit as she got used to the new nap schedule and activity level. She's a social, friendly kid and we can already see so many things she's learning from being in that group "classroom" environment - how to put away her things, take off coat and shoes, wash her own hands, etc.
TJ is still loving his job at ESPN (not to mention the perks of working for a Disney-owned company). It's great having him work from home, which means he and I can trade off morning kid duty, getting the girls to and from their respective school/daycare, and being home during the day for package delivery, repairs, etc. It does feel weird to drop off the kids then come back and work at home in our own separate offices. Hours will pass before we see or talk to each other in the "cafeteria".
TJ's parents came to visit in May and were the first to stay in our new guest room. My parents came to town in June, and stayed at their "summer home" near us through October, which was great for everyone (#somuchfreebabysitting).
We were especially grateful for their help when I had a week-long business trip for Sage Summit 2014 in Las Vegas. TJ was able to come with me for the weekend and we enjoyed our first kid-free trip since M was born.
We have not escaped the Frozen obsession. It's currently both girls' favorite movie. (I cringe to think my 2 year old HAS a favorite movie, but I guess that's the Way of the Second Child.) We have listened to "Let it Go" and "Libre Soy" (Spanish version) more times than I can count, and M gets a daily dose at daycare as well.
T chose to be Princess Anna for Halloween. At the last minute, M decided to reuse most of her sister's ladybug costume from 2012 after vehemently rejecting the warm and fuzzy fox costume I had purchased for her.
I could ramble more, but I think that's plenty. We are blessed, lucky, and happy, though we miss our dogs.
We wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015!!