In happier news, Christmas was low-key and lovely. HP is still so sweet about opening each gift and wanting to play with it for awhile before moving on to the next one. It was just the four of us so we had a lazy morning and took our time. When E needed a nap, HP and Neil headed to the park and played for a solid two hours before returning home to do more presents. The biggest hit was the used wagon. Both kids loved to ride in it. I loved hearing HP say, "E, get in, E! I'll give you a ride! I'll hold it still for you to climb in!"
I recently finished reading The Last Child in the Woods after reading Kelsey's list of parenting resources. Many of the books/sites I have found most helpful were on her list, so when I ran across one I hadn't read I put it on hold at the library. To be honest, I found the writing to be a bit of a slog to get through, but the content was fascinating. We've always loved being outside with the kids, but reading it has renewed my desire to find nature in our neighborhood and explore. It has also made me think about the type of property we want to own in terms of access to natural places.
Speaking of buying a house, we are in the process of getting pre-approved for a mortgage and comparing closing costs and rates across companies. Not exactly fun, but exciting to think about and plan for buying our (hopefully) forever home.
And the biggest news: I am taking a three-day trip away from both kids to visit a good friend from college. This will be the first time I've spent more than a handful of hours away from E. She will be 15 months, which is about the same age HP was the first time I left him (also a three day/two night trip, that time to NYC). I cannot put into words how excited I am to talk, eat delicious food, go on walks, and talk some more. Of course the best part will be catching up with Abby, but I have to admit that I have been day-dreaming about the plane ride (no wrangling kids! the luxury!) ever since I booked my ticket. Also: two nights of uninterrupted sleep. Priceless. Sleep has been less than ideal (read: terrible) at our house and I am not sad to be leaving that behind for a weekend.
I have lots of thoughts on 2015 and goals for 2016 that I'll share soon. The turning of the new year always carries with it such optimism and motivation. Our family has gotten off to a slow start this year, but we are now on the mend and I am ready to turn my focus to harnessing that positive new year energy and making some changes.