I’ve been trying to figure out how to summarize last year so that I can move on to other things, so I’m borrowing (well, stealing) this idea from Laura. Chronology is a lot easier than assigning meaning to anything :)
Here are one or two memories from each month of 2015!
January: As with most years, I started with a renewed “commitment” to “exercise” that mainly involved walking on a treadmill every day slowly enough to read at the same time. I’m not sure that lasted more than a month, but I finished the following books:
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: Keep only the things that bring you joy, and you’ll truly be able to have a place for everything…because you’ll have so few things. I’ve been working toward that idea ever since.
- Being Mortal: About balancing the lives that medicine enables with the lives that patients actually want. A really good read.
- You Can Buy Happiness (And It’s Cheap!): How someone simplified her life and ended up in a tiny house. Not as affecting as the other two books.
February: We found out we were having a baby! Jonathan made us steaks to celebrate (because I asked him “would you make me a steak if I told you I was pregnant?” And he said yes. So I told him I was pregnant). We didn’t tell Talia until we told the rest of the world a few months later. I also started working significant overtime to develop a hefty training series for work. Despite the extra hours, it was kind of invigorating to be working on a project like that.
March: I maintained my time-and-a-half work schedule throughout the month, and I generally felt blah because of the pregnancy. Ergo, no more walking-and-reading or really much of anything other than work.
April: I finally delivered the 2-week training series and returned to a normal work schedule, so the second half of the month was a lot less stressful. We found out we were having a girl at 12 weeks because her due date was immediately after I would turn 35, so I qualified for early testing. Advanced maternal age FTW!
May: I don’t actually know what happened in May, so I had to look in my daily sentence journal. Seems that, inspired by that magic cleaning book, we had a garage sale. I’m borderline addicted to having garage sales…I always swear that each will be the last, but this was our fourth. And last. Jonathan and I then spent many evenings playing Paperback, a word-building game that works just dandy with two players. We have a vested interest in finding in-home entertainment like this for the next several years.
June: Jonathan and I took a kid-less trip to Toronto to coincide with a scrum training that he was giving. We visited the CT Tower, Casa Loma (North America’s only castle! From the same time period as Downton Abbey (sort of)!), and Niagara Falls. When we got home, we were inspired by the Ryckmans to start searching for a different house, an idea we’d floated but dropped earlier in the year.
July: We all drove to New Orleans for the 4th of July. There, we took Talia to the zoo (somehow, we only go to that zoo during the summers when I’m pregnant). For the rest of the month, we spent our weekends going to open houses to no avail. However, I stumbled across a house with the loveliest floorplan in Leander, arranged to see it (we hadn’t hired a realtor yet), and learned that we could build one of our own in Pflugerville. Not that Pflugerville was our dream destination, but it was significantly cheaper than Leander, and the drive is a little more fluid.
August: We signed the contract to start building that new house in Pflugerville and then spent all our free time trying to pick out finishes for it (counter tops, backsplashes, floors, etc.). I should print out all the spreadsheets we created…they’d make a riveting scrapbook. We also took Talia to see Greg in the Austin Summer Musical for Children, her first experience going to a “show”. Having volunteered several times to sell tickets and other paraphernalia at that event before having kids, it was neat to be bona fide audience members for once. Last, the 23rd was my fifth NI-versary at work, at which point I officially had been a tech writer longer than I had been a teacher. Weird.
September: Over Labor Day, the three of us drove to Cache, Oklahoma, to visit James and Kristen. We probably got food poisoning at the Cracker Barrel we ate at along the way. In Cache, we drove up to the top of Mt. Scott, ate pears off of James’s mystery fruit tree, and played early ’80’s Candy Land, which is far superior to modern-day Candy Land (which I’d sold at our April garage sale). I was also increasingly uncomfortably pregnant, so I think Jonathan took over bath/bedtime duties with Talia during this month.
October: Forevermore the busiest month of the year. We had another final garage sale on the 10th, Talia’s 3rd birthday party at Kiddie Acres on the 11th, my birthday on the 22nd, a new baby on the 23rd, and Halloween on the 31st (no party for us this year, but Talia went trick-or-treating as Oscar the Grouch). I won a trainer award at work, which was a nice way to wrap up a busy year before maternity leave. Baby-wise, Liana proved to be a very calm, predictable newborn with nursing superpowers, so we got off to a smooth start, even getting to sleep 2 hours at a time.
November: Jonathan’s mom stayed with us right up until Thanksgiving to help with Talia and Liana. That gave me a chance to complete some odd projects like baby books and sleeping. My friend Chad came to visit, and we stood in line for Franklin BBQ with the baby. For Thanksgiving, we stayed here and had dinner by ourselves, ordering food from Whole Foods. That food tasted pretty “whole”, i.e. not salty and overly healthy.
December: I kept busy with Christmas stuff throughout most of the month: making cards, writing letters, decorating, not baking. Meanwhile, Jonathan installed a new cooktop and microwave to finish stainless-steelifying the kitchen to improve resale value. That was a lengthy battle that he won just in time for Christmas. We hosted three Christmases at our house: the Mendezes, the Dovers, and Santa. Talia had lots of fun. Liana may have slept for five hours once. The rest of us are still waiting for our long winter’s nap.
And, since I know everyone’s on the edge of their seats, here’s our Christmas ornament for 2015:
Yeah, that probably wasn’t a surprise, but here are some fun facts for posterity:
- Talia helped make the dough.
- I was going to paint it white like Talia’s, but then I realized I’d sold the white paint at a garage sale because it wasn’t bringing me joy.
- The lack of hanger in this picture betrays that I didn’t finish this in time to actually hang on the tree.
- In addition to this ornament, we also got a lacquered maple leaf on our trip to Toronto because we decided that ornaments might be a fun souvenir to start collecting from our vacations. Vacation ornaments won’t displace our “ornament of the year”, but they do increase the story-telling power of the tree. I actually kiiiind of started this last year with a buffalo ornament from our trip to Woolaroc on Talia’s second birthday, but this is the second year that I misplaced it before decorating the tree.
One last thing about ornaments. Talia took an interest in them this year, so as she handled each one, I told her where it came from, who made it, why we have it, etc. There were commemorations of adventures that Jonathan and I had had, baby’s first ornaments, and handmade trinkets from multiple generations. Suddenly, and without careful planning, the Christmas tree had become the device for an oral tradition that I’d always kind of hoped it would be. And so, as we continue building our own traditions for the holiday season, I’m pleased that Christmas can be a time of remembering and sharing the people and stories that have shaped our lives.
Now, on to 2016!