Wednesday, December 31, 2014

End of 2014

In last year's end of the year post, I wished that 2014 would be a much less exciting year than 2013... with all of the kids arriving and figuring out how to become a parent of first one then two kids.

I think I got my wish. As I looked back over the blogs of the year and then went through my annual jar of mementos, I made a few observations.

This year had big moments for other people, but not too many for us. My brother and sister in law got married, and I had two cousins have their babies. Huge events (invites featured in the top left) for those people, and events we were excited to celebrate with our family, but not big events for us personally.

In the top right you can see three race bibs (much less bibs than those featured in the 2012 end of year post), but the funny thing is that none of them carry much significance to me. The 2311 race number is for a race I did to try to get a good time for the Avengers Marathon (the 2360 race), so I could be in a good corral to start (which I did). Trouble was, I managed to break my toe a few weeks before the event, so though I did it... and finished... I walked it. Best thing about that day was having fun with my sister in law, bonding with her, and being in a superhero costume. But definitely less than the "I ran a half marathon" feeling. The little race bib is Remington's. It was for his first race, but even that was a dampened affair. Grace was supposed to do the race with him. They were both signed up to do the inaugural Avengers Kids race together. But the night before... Grace got a fever. A minor one. But enough that we had to do the whole ER visit, late night, blood draw evening, instead of the night before a race evening. It also meant that I went with Remington, but Blake wasn't there for his son's first race, and Grace just missed out on the fun. (For the record, he needed a lot of encouragement and some hand holding, but he did the whole 100 meters on his own two feet). I hope that in one month from tomorrow, I can officially say that I did my marathon, and that will be a race bib of 2015 to be proud of, but the race bibs of 2014 are all somewhat dampened for me.

On the left bottom you can see a category of mementos that seems to keep growing- sports stubs (and there were many more that never even made it to the bottle). We went to two baseball games, a football game, and many hockey games in 2014. Blake is becoming more and more a sports guy and I seem to be pulled along for the ride, and am finding myself enjoying these sporting events right along with him.

We have mementos of some of the stand out events of the year- Grace's first recital (a disaster in which she did not appear on stage), our family vacation to San Diego, OC Fair, my 30th at the House of Blues, first family trip to Disneyland, and seeing a musical. (Two less significant mementos- movie stub and carousel ride stub).

But one of the observations I made on this trip back through 2014 is of the big things that don't have any physical marker for them in the jar. This includes events like Blake's 30th boat ride, the girls karaoke night, and the trip to California Adventures, but it also includes things that I would say mark 2014 the most.

At the end of 2013, Remington was little more than a blob (a cute adorable blob) who had just learned to roll over, but he couldn't do much when you put him on the ground. Now, he is almost running, and is able to very much communicate with us, with several words! 2014 marks the year he went from baby to toddler.

Pretend City is another big one. We got a membership in March, and went countless times in 2014. I have seen both kids play with every area of that place in many different ways, and we have tons of memories made there this year.

If you had asked me back before I reread my year's blogs if Grace has drastically changed this year, I would have said no. But I would be wrong. Conversations with her in early 2014 were mostly run by us with her adding little bits. Now, Grace is saying many full, long, complex sentences and stories. For example, today on the ride home from some errands, she was pretending to drive. She said, "Bye, see you later, I'm going to work. I'm back, now I'm going to the gym. I'm back, I'm going to drink a protein shake." (Based off of what Blake does daily). Another day she was talking to her dinosaur and telling him to make good choices and to eat his rocks. If we tell her not to do something because she might get hurt she says, "I don't want to get hurt, then, I go to hospital, and get poked. " If you ask her what she will be when she grows up she says, "A doctor." (Except for the time she answered, "Santa, so I could have a long beard.")

She goes to preschool, she can undress herself, she brushes her own teeth, she takes her medicine daily like a champ. She understands and knows so much! She can count to 13 perfectly (and the next numbers vary, in one instance being nineteen, seventeen, eleventeen).

She and Remington argue, as all siblings do, but she also can be super nice to him, and says, "Thank you, Remington," when he gives her things, and will also volunteer to give stuff to him.

This year has had its less than perfect moments too. Like when Grace missed her first trip to the mountains because of a bad crisis triggered by a beach trip. Landed her eventually in the hospital for two days, and she got an MRI (though thankfully nothing worse came of that crisis). She missed her first day of preschool for this hospital trip too. As mentioned above, she missed her first race to a fever. She, at all of three, had a liver biopsy this year (and already has some liver damage consistent with her known medical history, but nothing too bad to start a new medicine for sickle cell).  This new medicine is a gamble, as the doctors aren't sure how it will affect her other problems, and it is known to weaken the immune system, but the payoffs are great, so they advised us to start it. We shall see.

We had our one year old birthday party and our three year old birthday party, we had many Remington first holidays, and overall, I think we had a great year, enjoying the beautiful kids that are such a blessing to us.

My wish for 2015 is much of the same. I wish for continued health and happiness for our family and for others. I wish for us all to focus on each other more, and less on our stuff and our electronics. I wish for us all to make good choices (as I so often emphasize with my 3 yr old) for ourselves and for our relationships with others. Happy New Year!

p.s. Where are the cute kid photos and videos? They will be featured on another post within the week. :-D