Monday, December 31, 2018

The Last Day of 2018

Greetings faithful blog readers,

I'm a little sad to say goodbye to 2018 because it's been such a great year to us. Obviously, the biggest highlight was welcoming our baby girl. It's hard to believe she is now nearly nine months old. 

What I'm most proud of this year is how we've handled the transition into parenthood. We don't always agree on every decision, but we respect each other and give each other grace. We allow the other to get some sleep sometimes, and five years in, our marriage continues to be a source of love, comfort, and encouragement. We definitely have a lot less time to ourselves now, but we treasure outings just the two of us all the more as a result. 

Also, we survived our first semester as working parents. The first two weeks were extremely difficult, but now I can honestly say that I love our childcare situation and I love my job again. This is a relief because there were a few days I cried in the parking lot and really thought I'd never feel normal. But now? I drop Willa off at about 8:45AM (and usually we're on time!), nurse her at noon, and arrive home between 2 and 4. Brendan typically picks her up around 2. I usually stay home with her one day a week. When the semester isn't totally crazy, Brendan typically gets to workout 4 times a week. I usually get in 3 workouts. Thanks to HEB curbside, we still find time to get groceries, and thanks to Brendan, we still are eating 95% of our meals at home. In short, we've found our new normal. And while there are always improvements to be made (we really need to find a way to incorporate writing into our schedules again), I'm proud of us. 

In 2018, I felt so in awe of my body. I gave birth (and it really wasn't that bad!), and despite an incredibly difficult start, I've been breastfeeding for nearly 9 months now. That has entailed pumping most everyday (even flying with the pump) and lots of effort, but I'm amazed in my body's ability to do it. Physically, I feel back to normal. The baby weight is gone, and while I'm not sure if all my pants fit again (some definitely do!), I feel happy and healthy, and one can always buy new pants. 

2018 was also an extremely special year for writing. My chapbook was released, I published two short stories ("What You Wanted All Along" and "Sugar Mountain"), won $875 in prize money, gave two readings, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. I wish I'd made time to write more this year, but I know that life is a balancing act, and I was juggling a lot this year. 

Teaching wise, I added a new course to my repertoire (American Literature II), and I can't wait to make some tweaks and teach it again next semester. 

And another huge highlight of 2018 was seeing almost all our family. We saw all of Willa's grandparents in April, saw Aunt Annie for a visit in May, attended an Austin family reunion in June, brought Willa to Connecticut and Maine in July/August, saw Aunt Annie in October and Gigi and Buddy in November, spent Thanksgiving in Austin and had a wonderful Christmas in Connecticut (photos below). I'm ending the year with a full heart and some very full suitcases. 

Christmas Morning

Matching PJs with Mommy, Aunt Annie, and Gigi

With Tom

With Great Grandma Nancy

Four Generations 

Ladies at Bee and Thistle Tea

Christmas Eve

Four Generations (Great Grandma Shirley, Gigi, and Daddy)

With Boompa (great grandfather) 

First Cousins Brendan and Katie and Second Cousins Willa and Laila (born 3.5 months apart)

My goals for 2019 are pretty simple. I want to write (hopefully before summer break, though I hope to work substantially this summer), travel a little for fun (would love to do our first vacation as a family of three), and host the holidays. I can't wait to see what 2019 has in store for us. I'll be eating a ton of black eyed peas for good luck tomorrow (and tonight, Brendan and I will be enjoying a date just the two of us). 

Happy New Year's Eve, my friends. 
I hope 2019 is wonderful for all of us. 
<3 


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