December 30, 2015

Happy Holidays, 2015!

In many ways, 2015 was one of the hardest years for my family. Chris's stepdad died. Our beloved Speck did too. We tried but were unable to find the perfect second home. We began planning to get pregnant again which resulted in my catching a chemical (early) miscarriage. Emilia had her first illness that required antibiotics (a particularly stubborn ear infection). And the illness plus side effects from the antibiotics combined with her two-year-old-ness to create a perfect storm of weight loss, food aversions, and newfound pickiness from which we still haven't recovered completely. She *is* happily back on track growth-wise and in double digit percentiles again but the stress over her food refusal defined my first few months of 2015. And that wasn't the only source of stress. Chris continued to travel far distances for weeks at a time and work under tremendous pressure for his job. And I was under my own intense work pressures. I knew that 2015 was my last chance to boost my tenure case prior to dossier submission in 2016. So I worked even harder than usual to progress as much as possible on research projects, manuscripts, grants, and university service in order to feel ready.

But in 2015 there were also many milestones. Emilia got her very own passport and we went on our first international trip as a family. We also took trips to Cleveland, Ohiopyle, Washington DC, and Disney World. I was awarded a generous internal grant for my research and submitted other grant proposals that are still pending. My book is under contract with a desirable university press thanks to a very enthusiastic acquisitions editor who has been amazing to work with. Chris and I celebrated 5 years of marriage and grew closer as we shared in happiness and loss. Chris managed his stress and his travels with incredible grace and organization. I also didn't feel the same pangs of dread as his planned trips loomed, knowing that we can do this. Emilia thrived in many activities (music, swimming, library/crafts) and tried but wound up deciding to postpone dance classes and tumbling (which were structured to best suit the older children also in the class).

I felt strong bonds with my parents and siblings as well as my in laws. Our families rallied to support us whenever hard times arose. We made some home improvements including upgrading our kitchen counters, hanging new drywall and painting our bedroom (ok, that was all Chris), installing a new water heater (Chris plus his dad), resurfacing the back patio (Chris too), and probably others I am forgetting. All of these will prepare us to sell if we do find a home we like enough to buy in 2016.

In 2016, we will also welcome a new baby provided everything continues to go well. I am happy to be 12 weeks pregnant even though I have been much more sick and exhausted than I ever was when I was pregnant with Emilia. Being sick is reassuring in its own way and the pregnancy is definitely a bright spot amid the losses of loved ones in October and November. 2015 was difficult but there was also a lot of good. I'm sure 2016 will bring its own challenges and triumphs. I hope your own triumphs are what define your 2016. Happy New Year!

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