Monday, January 18, 2016

2015 | A look back

Before I started writing this post I went back and re-read my post about my intentions for 2015. I was surprised by how spot on I was with what I expected. There were many, many wonderful moments and I feel like I did my best to soak up the good in this stage of life. But it was also very, very hard. Here are some highlights from the year in list form:

  • Neil and I both turned thirty.
  • Neil applied for and got a job in Bloomington, Indiana.
  • We celebrated six years of marriage.
  • HP turned three.
  • We moved across the country.
  • We sold our house.
  • E turned one.
  • Neil studied for (and passed!!) the Professional Engineering (PE) Exam.
If I were to summarize the thoughts/sentiments/activities that dominated 2015, they would be:

Parenting two small children

Raising an infant and a three-year old is hard work. I frequently needed to remember my words for the year (this moment), take a deep breath, and embrace what was right in front of me: exhaustion, joy, craziness, frustration, sweetness, and chaos--I experienced them all, often in the same day or hour.

Having a baby again was both a challenge and a joy. So many things were easier the second time around (we know what we're doing!), and also harder (there are two of them!). We know that E is our last child, so were able to appreciate her in all of her lovely infant-ness. One of the biggest highlights of the year was watching her and HP interact as she has grown. As much as I loved her infancy, I am thrilled to be leaving the baby days behind and moving into the next phase of life as a family of four.

Moving

At the start of the year, I had no idea that our days in Austin were so numbered. Early in the year we decided that Neil would start actively looking for jobs elsewhere (here are some of our reasons why), but we were very particular about the type of place we wanted to move and did not know when the right thing would come along. But here we are, and happily so.

Solo-parenting

Neil taking the PE dominated the last half of our year. From August until the end of October he was studying in every spare moment. I wish that statement was an exaggeration, but it's not. Every night once the kids were in bed he would pull out his books and study. Same thing on the weekends. I ended up picking up the slack around the house, taking over dish duty (usually his responsibility), and doing more parenting on the weekend so he could study. 

Really, the whole year felt like a lot of solo-parenting. In Austin I took on more childcare because he was applying for jobs, then applying for the PE, then fixing up the house to sell. Once we moved, he went right into studying for the PE. It is only in the last two months of the year that we've found any kind of new normal. I am looking forward to continuing to find a better balance in the evenings and on the weekends in the upcoming year.

Sleep deprivation

So very, very little sleep was had in 2015. A week or so ago both kids slept through the night and I turned to Neil and asked, "Has that ever happened before?!" I know it has, but I can count the number of times on one hand. And I wouldn't need all the fingers. E has been our early riser (oh, hello 4:45 a.m., how are you?), and HP has been waking up multiple times as night. Sigh. I do see a light at the end of the tunnel. 2016, may you be filled with many hours and nights of uninterrupted sleep.

The next thing

There were many times this year where it felt like we were waiting to get through "one more thing" before life could return to normal. Applying for jobs, packing up the house, applying for the PE, moving, unpacking the house, taking the PE... And now we've arrived. Thank goodness.

Good

Despite all the craziness, the lack of sleep, the big life changes, and the never-ending needs of two small children, things have felt good. Sometimes in the evenings I will just look at Neil and say, "Isn't life good?" We have two amazing kids, we have found the place where we want to put down roots, we have a supportive community of friends and family... Quite simply--we are happy.

So if 2015 brought that much happiness and joy, I can only imagine how amazing 2016 will be. Right now, it looks shiny, new, and full of possibilities.

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