Saturday, December 31, 2016

2 0 1 6 in review

2 0 1 6 : this is our year in review. from january 1st to today, december 31st, we have had many things for which to be grateful and 2016 has been a year of progression and change.
asher was 3.5 months when the 2016 started. he was a rotund and pudgy boy who smiled and ate (and, though perhaps looking "thinner" now at 30 lbs, he is still so smiley and happy to eat). he began solids in february. he rolled around starting in march. he slept through the night that same month too after sleep training for two nights (regret: not doing it sooner). he began crawling in april. he started pulling himself up in may. he began walking in the beginning of august. he then began solidly walking, and he now walks really fast. he gets his curious hands into everything. he is determined and sweet and has an easy laugh. he has become a big lover of the occasional "pillow pit" and is a fan of the pots and pans and pulling the sriracha sauce out of the fridge. he has a varied vocabulary - wallet (uh-oh!), car, mama, daddy, step, all done, all gone, remote, dance, christmas tree, food, cracker, cheese, milk, bottle, diaper, blanket, lights, etc. he is a happy, wiggly little person.
simon began the year as a newly-minted 2 year old. our quiet boy became not-so-quiet as he began to talk more halfway in the year, and he has kept going. he began a two-day-a-week preschool and reports, when I pick him up, that "I played with purple trucks and ambulances and cars and dump trucks..." as well as the drama of his slide and swing escapades. he is interested in nature -- a lover of leaves and sticks and taking walks. he is never without one of his birds in his arms (mostly "kale" the quail) or his big army car or one of his "red cars." he lines things up in a row, sings his abc's, counts, has books so well-read and loved that he can recite them (and, subsequently, so can we - ask him about "goodnight, moon" or "the day the crayons quit.") as much as he loves baby asher, I can see that he has come to enjoy when he is playing by himself -- setting up his toys in just this way or that way with a soft smile on his face. an especial favorite activity for simon in 2016 was painting with water by himself on the deck. he is a content boy who loves to be "nice and warm" under a blanket and snuggling. he also has the sweetest soft spot for his uncle and aunt who live nearby. he celebrated his 3rd birthday last week with "donuts and nuggets and fries" as requested. you now know what his diet would consist of (plus ketchup. that's a given.) if he were in charge.
phil got really into baking and cooking this year. pastries, pizzas, breads, delicious dinners, and culinary delights galore. when phil is around, I am, more or less, exonerated from cooking in the kitchen, he'll wake up many mornings with ideas on what he wants to cook that day for dinner or what he is going to bake. he has enjoyed sharing his cooking and baking skills (especially pizza!) with others and we are lucky to have friends and neighbors who will come over and share in the abundance of bread and crusts and sauces and cooking experiments. we have spent much more time around the dinner table than in years past and we are eating better than ever thanks to our live-in chef. though, we would never turn up our nose to a proposed dinner of cook-out or wendy's. phil is also in his 2nd year of a a phd and is currently in research mode, working on a few exciting statistical projects with his advisers. much of his research can be done at home, and, because of that, it has been nice to have him work at home more this year. the boys love it and I love it even more.
I've been at home full-time with our little men this year. they keep me on my toes, especially the ever-curious asher dasher who upholds without fail the mottos of "never let the playground wood chips go untasted" and "why not try and squeeze my body through the deck railings?" it hasn't worked yet, no worries. I ran a half marathon with a friend in april, though I was thoroughly under-trained (for the love of sleeping in!). in a time where I was searching for more things to do with myself, I created a small business (emphasis on "small") where I experiment new (to me) art forms and sell what I make. it has, so far, been a soul-satisfying venture. I still enjoy photography, though I do it ever as a novice and for the love of [trying to create] beautiful images. we acquired a piano in june (from craigslist!) and I've been practicing, trying to bring more music into our home (other than our pandora stations) along with phil who plays the guitar. as I reflect on my 2016, I see that I've been forging a path of trying to find (and finding, more often than not) happiness in motherhood and personal contentment in the things that I am able to accomplish. like any journey, it has and continues to be marked by real joy and by down-right, fatigued struggle. but, like so many things, both those aspects are what makes it worthwhile and human and beautiful.
phil turnd 27 at the beginning of the year and I, 29, at the end (I am a proud craddle-robber). we celebrated four years of marriage in june on a camping trip to carolina beach with both boys in tow. in may, we moved to a new place in the same city where we have more space. a "snowpocalypse" hit us in february and we enjoyed the snow and ice that came with that. we loved the north carolina springtime with its incredible amount of blossoms and, with them, daily layers of yellow pollen.we visited friends in dc in june and our family in the west in the late spring to celebrate the wedding of my sister and to spend time with those we love out there. we have enjoyed exploring beautiful north carolina by visiting the outer banks in march and november and asheville in october. we have often gone driving and on walks with the boys to see more and more of the beauty of this state. the fall brought particular loveliness to our area with the incredible changes in the foliage paired with the much-anticipated respite from the hot and humid summer. while phil was at school this year, the boys and I have made a point of doing a little outing every day: we have visited many parks (there are a TON here! all the mamas thank you, durham city!), the museum of life and science, target, sam's club, the NC MOA, and the many walking paths that doodle about like spaghetti through the city's map. some days ended up being an outing onto our street for a walk to pick up phil at the bus stop (our neighbors are familiar with us and our old, blue double stroller), but getting out every day has been beneficial, and many times, essential for our daily well-being.
2016 has been a happy year, but we've had our share of difficulty and have shared in the struggles of others we love. a sweet, baby niece was born into our family in june and passed away just days later. we feel glad to have meet baby bridget and are sad in her loss. this year we have had health and personal struggles, as all do, and have had times that were sad and lonely. despite our challenges in 2016, the good out-numbers and out-powers the bad by so much. we can look back, happy in all that has transpired and led us to today where we are alive, well, and glad to have friends and loved ones who support us. we hope and plan that in our 2017 we will be kinder and more thoughtful to those around us. most importantly, we hope that in 2017 we will become more and more grateful for our most good God, who loves us and blesses us in so many ways that we can see and in others that we do not yet realize.
may it be a happy 2017 for you all.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Monday, November 28, 2016

outer banksgiving

we spent thanksgiving break with friends and family at the outer banks. thus, an "outer banksgiving."



Tuesday, November 1, 2016