This year is quickly drawing to a close and I’m sitting in the living room surrounded by family, smelling breakfast, and getting nuzzled by the dog who seems to want something. While so much happened in our world, it is lovely to take a moment to slow down and remember what has happened within our own clan. Reflecting on the past year, there’s one event that seems to dwarf all others. We moved. Our wonderful neighborhood started to unravel this year as houses sold to developers. We new the change was coming, but it happened quickly and slowly at the same time. Suffice to say, after four months on the market, we are now in a new home and quickly adjusting.
After accounting for the move, the next biggest event was our family trip to La Paz, Baja California Sur (Mexico). It was a wonderful trip that was nearly long enough to get the kids withdrawn from school. Desert, beaches, pools, whale sharks, great food, sea lions, sun, birds, fish, pesos, broken dishwashers, bottled water, and pumpkin flan. Yes, we did Thanksgiving in Mexico and it was fantastic.
Madeline, who is assembling legos on the floor, is growing like a weed. She’s gotten so tall and that we sometimes forget she’s just a fourth grader. MG broke her wrist at the playground a week before summer started. She was quite the monster on ketamine and kicked the nurses and Michelle. She doesn’t really remember it that way though. Fortunately, the cast didn’t really slow her down much.
Over labor day weekend, Ella, Maddie, Kona, my dad, sister and I all went on a backpacking trip near Mt. Rainier. It was a fantastic trip with some great views. The kids have been wanting another backpacking trip and we all had a blast.
Ella is in seventh grade. This year Ella bought a bass guitar and has started lessons. Papa is proud. Ella has had a series of shortening haircuts and now has hair nearly as short as mine. It looks good, and was also great for all the snorkeling we did in Mexico. Ella got booped in the face by a sea lion while we explored Isla Espiritu Santo. And while pre-teen is in full effect, Ella remains ever so helpful, thoughtful and kind. Ella is now taking Tri-met to school and seems to love the autonomy. This may be Ella’s last season playing soccer, which is a bit of a shame since it was also the best so far for defensive work. We’ll see what comes in spring.
Michelle survived hip surgery at the end of March after suffering through all the protocol to get there. She lived on the first floor for a while and really disliked the lack of mobility. She’s recovering fairly well, though the healing process is a year long process. I think she’s especially glad to be in the new home. Cleaning up after your kids every day to have the house show ready for three months is exhausting and put both of us on edge each morning. But now she’s loving the new kitchen and space even though we’re still adjusting. When we think about all the friends and family we moved away from (or also moved away), we have to remind ourselves that it took time to meet the neighbors and build a community. I’m sure the former president of the neighborhood will adapt.
I’ve had a good year as well, all things aside. I turned 40 in September but still don’t really believe that I’m that old. I still slide down railings on stairs and routinely feel like the least mature person in the room. Work is challenging, rewarding, and there is never a dull moment.
For my 40th, we headed over to the Deschutes to camp with friends and float and fish (and eat and drink). It was wetter than usual but still was fun to be on the river with friends.
I managed to fish in Washington, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Mexico this year by taking my fly rod(s) with me when I traveled. The Great Smokeys were charming and I had the place to myself to walk up small, steep trout streams through lovely deciduous forest. I think the most exciting moment was catching a rooster fish in Mexico. It was the most aggressive thing I’ve ever had on, and it certainly lives up to the mythology.
We hope you made it through this tumultuous year and have a wonderful 2019. We hope for wonderful experiences, time with family and friends, and personal growth in the new year.