It’s time for the 5th Annual Year In Review. I’m your host, Jonathan, the Once a Year Blogger.
In January Samuel celebrated his first birthday! The theme was The Very Hungry Caterpillar, one of Samuel’s favorite books, and one that has literally been loved to pieces and is now held together using only packing tape and adoration.
Samuel’s really transformed into a little boy this year. He started walking right around his first birthday and soon after realized that running was much faster, so now he mostly does that. He’s a huge gigglepants and loves to laugh so much that he will yank your hand onto his belly for at tickle. He gives hugs and kisses and will chase his “Sissy” around the house for a goodnight hug at the end of the day.
February is a little rough around here, because everyone is starting to get tired of being inside, but it’s still a little cold to go outside. We make up for it by having lots of fun inside. This was one of Bea and Sam’s favorite games early this year: when Samuel woke up, Bea would entertain him by pushing books through the slats in his crib, and once the local supply of books was exhausted, she would ask to be set in his crib so they could “read” together. Adorable? Yes.
It’s hard to believe, but Bea is now 3! Her birthday included almost every one of her favorite things: The Pigeon, hot dogs, cake, family friends, and even Grandma Barbara. It’s the first time she really understood and anticipated the birthday celebration to come, and she had a wonderful time.
Bea is turning into a caring, careful, and of course precocious little girl. She’s getting the knack of reading and can sound out simple words by herself. She has developed a love of crafts and will spend hours coloring, cutting, and gluing. She has a keen (if unpredictable) sense of What is Beautiful, and can always be relied upon to choose–or create–something that is Beautiful. She loves her little brother and the two usually perform a dance in matching pajamas at the end of the day.
We had many family adventures! Here’s a photo from our trip to the zoo, in which our children became preoccupied by a play nest. (They are obsessed with nests and will often ask us to construct large nests in the living room, using every blanket in the house.)
In April I left my job at Microsoft (where I’d worked for almost 9 years!) for a new gig at a very small startup called RStudio. It was a bit of culture shock going from a company of 95,000 employees to fewer than 20, but the work is very technically challenging and rewarding and it’s been a good first few months.
Here was one of our favorite outdoor games, which Kelly invented and we played nearly all summer. It’s called “Leaf Poke”. First, you find a dead leaf on the ground. Then, you poke it into a storm drain. Then you find another dead leaf and poke it into the storm dream. Then you find another dead leaf…
It’s hard to describe just how much our children loved Leaf Poke (and really being outside in general). Some days I would come home from work and take the children up to the storm drain on the top of the hill to play Leaf Poke with them while Kelly made supper for us (did I mention she’s the best?). When it was time to eat I’d have to physically drag them back to the house, so great was their desire to push additional leaves into the sewer. They love nature!
Ah, June! June is for eating outside all the time, for barbecues down in Auburn with Kelly’s parents (pictured: Sam in a rare “not naked” moment), for mulching and yard work, and generally soaking up the sun.
A highlight of July was visiting our friends in Oak Harbor overnight! Bea and Sam love Uncle Dan and Aunt Carrie and are very excited every time we visit them. July was also the month I went on my first international business trip, spending about a week in La Mancha, Spain.
We also spent lots of time in July looking at houses. Which leads us to August…
We bought a house! We looked at houses casually throughout most of 2012, but the market in our area was really crazy–we put down offers on at least 5 homes before finally landing one! The story of how we came to be the owners of what the kids call “the Red Door House” is too long to share here but it was definitely the hand of the Lord that brought us there. We’re delighted to have a good neighborhood for the kids to play in (they’re already making friends with the kids and older folks in the neighborhood alike) and have spent much of the remaining months of the year getting our household established.
September is practically guaranteed to be perfect in Seattle, and this one didn’t disappoint–it hardly rained a drop! We watered our new lawn and the kids mysteriously shed their aversion to damp clothing and cold temperatures and got completely soaking wet almost every time they saw the sprinkler out.
In September we also celebrated the marriage of Katherine (my sister) and Joshua, and sent Beatrice off to her first day of preschool. She’s growing up so fast…
In October the kids went trick-or-treating for the first time! They were a penguin and a dinosaur, respectively. They love dressing up in their costumes and often asked to wear them even when it wasn’t, strictly speaking, Halloween. In fact, Beatrice was very excited for my birthday, because she was allowed to dress up in her penguin costume and be my Birthday Penguin. If you have never before had a Birthday Penguin, I recommend getting one for your next birthday. They are wonderful.
In addition to a Birthday Penguin, this year I received the fulfillment of a lifelong dream: my own real piano! We gather there every night as a family and sing an Evening Hymn together.
In November we hosted a Thanksgiving feast, and were honored to have my sister Mary join us all the way from California! (Picture is actually of my sister Katherine.) As is family custom, Kelly’s father and I cooked the turkey on the barbecue. This year the kids shared the tables with us but we can’t be more than a few years away from having a kids table! The unexpected, and slightly unpleasant, surprise of November was a small fall that caused Kelly to fracture her foot. Needless to say, we are very thankful for our friends and family who all helped with the preparations (and dishes!) for our Thanksgiving feast.
And here we are in December. This year the kids did more than just tromp around with us in the tree lot–they actually picked out the tree! Beatrice found the largest tree in a 500-foot radius and said she loved it and so I sawed it down and managed to get it up the stairs into our living room. They actually decorated the tree, too, and although you can’t see it in the picture the bottom 3 feet of the tree received markedly more adornment than the remainder. We even decked out the house in white Christmas lights, so as to save the colored ones for the tree (the colored lights are Beautiful).
For Christmas this year we gave the kids their first real ride-on toys; Bea received a Big Wheel and Samuel received a tricycle. They were delighted and are getting the hang of pedaling. We’re excited for family bicycle trips to come!
2013 brought a lot of changes into our family for sure, but one constant has been the Lord’s grace and blessing on our family. We hope you and yours had a merry Christmas and are well on your way to a happy New Year!