Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year!!

A year in review, of sorts.

The year 2015 was a pretty big year for our family.

We traveled to Germany & Switzerland for the first time ever as a unit and a family. We visited my cousin, Marianne, and her family in Hannover, Germany for about a week. While there, we fell in love with the sauna and can only dream of having one like it nearby. Next we went to see my host parents from when I student taught abroad in Erlangen, near Nuremburg. What a fun, loving couple Meg & Mark are! I was so blessed to spend time with them in undergrad and then loved sharing my family with them for a few days this year. We left their home for Switzerland, where we met my friend from high school for a tour of Bern before spending a couple of nights outside of Frauenkappelen with Marianne and her family and Phoebe & James. Here we visited with my great aunt Lizzy, explored the countryside around their home, had dinner with our extended Swiss family, and then walked around Solothurn (seeing the place where my grandpa was born & lived before coming to America). It was a full and busy two weeks! Ian was a champ of a traveler, even at nineteen months old.

 When we returned home, we brought a flock of chickens into our family. It's been a year of learning, loss, eggs, and fun as we watch Ian help with the chores of caring for these birds.

We've recently adopted rabbits from our friends and this will be our next "homesteading" adventure. We're enjoying dabbling in minor animal care and gardens. Jim's dream is to one day have a permaculture haven. Right now we're dabbling and collecting books & knowledge, but one day it will happen. Stay tuned :)
 Jim transitioned from intern to a senior resident in his family medicine program in June. The end of 2014 was quite difficult, having had most of the toughest rotations stacked in that fall, but the spring of 2015 brought much more family time and room to breathe. The fall of 2015 has also brought much more family time and opportunities to pursue his passions.

His biggest thrill has been joining the Blacksburg Rugby team. With a couple of practices a week and games on the weekend, his love for competitive sports and a chance to spend time with friends in and out of the medical field have proved to be an invaluable asset to him and our family. Ian & I have loved going to games both at home and away; it's fun to have a family sport to rally behind.
 In June we became pregnant with our second child and expect to welcome him/her in February 2016!! We cannot wait to meet our little one and give Ian a sibling. Our excitement is balanced by a desire to soak up as much time with Ian as we can during these fleeting days and weeks.

As you can imagine, the pregnancy and Ian have consumed my 2015 year. I love nurturing our family through outdoor activities, seeking to provide healthy & nourishing meals, and attempting to hold down the fort during the busy months of residency. I absolutely love this purpose in life: being a mama. Each day brings such anticipation and joy as the person Ian is becoming gets unlocked minute by minute.

The biggest lesson and gift I've been given this year has been the gift of time. This summer a space became available for Ian in a local Parent's Morning Out (PMO) program. With two weeks to wrap my head around it, we decided to go for it and he started going two mornings a week. He absolutely adores his teachers and thrives through interactions with other children, fine & gross motor activities, outside playtime, and creative, process-oriented art projects. It's a joy to watch him feel so secure and comfortable in their care.

During the times when Ian's in PMO, I have tried to be very purposeful about making the most of these gifts of time. In the beginning, I was trying to get all of the cleaning, housework, etc. done and realized that this was leaving me a bit drained and not pouring life back into me. Through a MOPS talk I learned and was given permission to choose to make this time my own, doing only activities that would actually be life-giving.

It's been an exciting shift in perspective for me. I've started putting myself first during this time and have gone swimming a whole lot (what an amazing activity for a pregnant woman!), sat and journaled, sat and read, pursued other errands and activities I wouldn't be able to do as easily with Ian in tow, and I've even just sat, closed my eyes, and relaxed. It's been HUGE for my outlook.

When our second baby comes, this will once again move into flux, but I hope and pray that the lessons I've learned during 2015 will pour into the upcoming year. Tasks & stuff can wait... and they normally get taken care of faster and more efficiently when I've taken some time for myself.
 Where to start with Ian? WHOA. What an amazing kid!! We are so proud to be his parents. His enthusiasm for life, drive to tackle and complete challenges, and his ever-multiplying vocabulary keep us on our toes and in rapt attention throughout the days. His language has just exploded over the course of this year to the point that he is now speaking in complete sentences, using correct tenses and pronouns.

He loves to sing and listen to music (live and on the radio), complete puzzles, run ("Ready, run Papa/Mama?"), throw the ball for and tackle Leif, listen to/read books, study animals, color and paint, laugh with friends, help with our chickens and observe the rabbits, build with blocks, play with and set up trains, play with toy animals, and hike & play outside. Among many other things...

Ian speaks about our baby often and lifts up my shirt to point to where he/she is. He has felt the baby move within my belly and he sings songs to him/her sometimes. I'm sure there will be a transition, but he seems excited about being a "big brudder."
 This year, in particular, we've felt a strong sense of community in our area. It's wonderful to have good friends to walk with through this season of our lives. Our residency and parenting journeys have been enriched by sharing tables, trails, tears, and laughs with people in the same stages of life. For this, we are eternally grateful.
 Thank you for following our family this year. Thank you for your encouragement and love as we prepare to welcome our second child into the family. We hope our paths cross often in 2016!!

The adventure continues...

Much love,
Käthe, Jim, Ian & Baby 

1 comment:

  1. Traveling as a family can be so fun. Yes, there are drawbacks for families with young children. I remember the mean looks that my wife and I got if the people sitting next to us on the flight heard so much as a sniffle from either of our children. But if you are well prepared things usually turn out well.

    Ronni Casillas @ JNH Life Styles