Tuesday, January 9, 2018

2017 in a Poorly Written Nutshell

I have tried to write a lot lately, especially a recap of the year. I've struggled. I know that I am in sort of a "mostly functioning depression" and probably have been for like the last year or so, but it's hard to write. The year was ok. The move was hard and it felt like the world was burning down a couple of times. But in the grand scheme of things, my life is lovely and I do know that. I'm just having a hard time recapping the year. It's actually hard to look over all of the highlights of the year and see all of the wonderful moments and be like "dang it, why am I sad so much? I am the worst." One of the worst parts about being depressed is that at least in my case, I'm pretty aware that I am and I don't want to be, so I get angry at myself for not being stronger. And whenever I mention that I've been depressed, people assume that I'm sad all of the time. I'm not. I play with my kids, I laugh with Jeff. With me, it just seeps in quietly under my door. Also, its winter, so my personal percentage of sadness goes up.

But I wanted to write something because I use social media as a journal and this blog is the only social media that I can actually give any real context to. But since I'm feeling pretty blahsy, I just organized some pictures off of Google Plus and copied them here. Huzzah! Year recapped. I also thought I'd mention a little more about two moments in 2017 that became sort of my themes of the year. I usually pick a line or lyric or a thought at the beginning of the year and just think about it throughout the rest of the year. Usually it's a line from the LDS children song "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus", because that's the best religious song ever. This year, however, I forgot. Luckily (?), I had two different thoughts that kept repeating in my mind this year that I guess could be called theme-ish.

When we went to Florida in February, I saw two ladies in the parking lot of our hotel filming a livestream of their morning. For some reason, what one of the ladies said stayed with me all year. "First of all, I'd like to thank God and all his blessings for letting me go and see something different." I have no clue why, but that sentence ran through my head all year long. Every time I saw something beautiful or even something from a different perspective, I thought that sentence. It seems like that woman didn't have the chance to go and see something different very often and I just want to have even a little bit of the enthusiasm for life that she had in a parking lot in Orlando.  

The second thing that stuck in my head most of the year happened in May. The day before Jeff's birthday, I got a call from my mom that my sister-in-law Katelin had given birth to the twins she and my brother were expecting. My family is pretty small and Tim and Katelin and I are close, so I knew that she had just barely had her 20 week ultrasound. I kept crying as I was racking my brain thinking of how many weeks ago that ultrasound was and I got even more upset when I realized that the babies would only be about 23 weeks along, so their odds weren't good. They were actually super dire -- doctors gave them each a 15% chance of living. I flew out to Utah to be with my brother because I was sure that at least one of them was going to pass away in the next few days. Absolutely positive. The week that I was with them was pretty touch-and-go, and that during that week I kept thinking another line that ended up being something that I thought about a TON the rest of the year. And it's actually kind of embarrassing. It comes from Toy Story 3, one of Ben's 3 favorite movies. The toys are worried about their future and Rex freaks out and asks, "Should we be hysterical?!?" Potato Head answers "Yes", and Slinky answers "No", and Buzz says "Maybe. But not right now." 

It's kind of sad how well I know Toy Story, but I thought of that line constantly for the twins' first week and pretty frequently for the rest of the year. Every time I felt overwhelmed by loneliness or sadness about the move and every time I felt anxious about meeting new people. I don't know, but to me it's a mantra of "Hey, it's ok to be freaking out, but try to hold it together for a second and get something done." I feel like that's how 2017 was for me. I was freaking out during a lot of it, but I tried to hold it together and get some stuff done.

And I guess since this is sort of like a holiday newsletter (y'know, because all of those start off with depression and end with Toy Story), I should do a little bit on how my family is all doing. Jeff is loving life in Idaho and at the museum. He has been enjoying public relations and also learning more about donor relations and networking in Eastern Idaho. We recently watched The West Wing, and it seemed to fill all of his government-service voids. 

Adam is doing so well in school. I am so proud of how well-rounded and pleasant he is (except to Avery). He has done very well with the move. He was delighted by the Lego table he got for Christmas and also by the Nerf gun. He has only shot one person with it (MEEEEE) and I think that's definitely newsletter-worthy.

Avery has made some dear friends in school. Her kindergarten experience is basically what we feared it would be, and her teacher suggested we move her to first grade. Avery is really opposed to that idea, so we are trying to figure out ways for the school to accommodate her. Despite sounding like a little bragging blurb on this newsletter, it has actually been a big source of worry. Avery is lovely, though. We so enjoy watching her grow and learn and feel privileged to be her parents.

Ben continues to be a menace, but he's my menace, so I won't hear a word against him. If you ask him how he's doing, he'll tell you "I two" which is a pretty accurate description of how he is doing most of the time. Ben loves anything with sugar, Toy Story, and Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do", and the majority of my day is spent trying to limit those things.

So on to the recap!


Ben threw up all over himself on our first of 3 flights and I forgot to pack extra clothes. Luckily, Jeff always had an extra shirt in his carry-on.

Ben began getting better at feeding himself, but this is pretty similar to how and what he still eats, a year later. 

A good measure of how much of a winter funk I am in is how much soup I make. 

In Februrary, Steve and Cindy took us to Florida. It was such a special memory for the kids.

At the Hirshhorn, the weirdest museum on the mall.

The National Building Museum.

My favorite character to draw, because he is super easy and sassy.

It was in the 70s in February, so we got yogurt.

We redid our cabinets.

Visited the botanical gardens with our dear friends on my birthday.

This chocolate pinata was everything I hoped it'd be.

These belonged to Jeff's grandpa, who passed away on my birthday. A good man and fellow Aggie.

We attended an environmental film festival with Jeff's uncle, who screened a film about the national park he works at. It was fancy. I talked to a senator for like 30 mins. 
Adam got a super strong virus. He was out for about a week with a high fever, reaching 105.

Cherry Blossom Festival

Paddle boats during the festival. Make sure you have tickets in advance. Those lines were pretty rough.
I just love this so much.
Avery turned 5!

We got our nails done.

I threw the first party that I've ever really done and the stress was enough for me to not want to do that again... ever.

Visiting the bluebells in Bull Run.

We put our house for sale and it sold before it went on the market.

Chesapeake Bay with our friends, which means mostly mine and Avery's friends and Adam tagging along.

My favorite tree.

Easter. Also, my favorite picture of the year

The two youngest and I went to the Kusama exhibit. We waited in line for a very long time, but we had to be out of the house for four hours during our home inspection.

It was wonderful.

pink snow

Our last "bring your child to work day"
Last trip to Shenandoah National Park, one of my favorite places in the world

First tooth lost

9th anniversary dinner at Olive Garden. We had a really busy May.

New York trip with my VA friends. That was the best girls' trip ever.

Jeff's birthday
Jackson, 1 lb 7 oz

Brooklynn, 1 lb 9 oz

Since I flew out to be with my brother and SIL after the babies were born, I missed Adam's birthday and Mother's Day. But I got to spend some extra time with my baby brother.

Hanging out with Gracie, who is a weird dog, but who wormed her way into my affections, for sure.

This make-up box really messed with me for a good 5 minutes. But turns out its a nose, instead something that is obscene, but I'm not even sure what.

Swimming at the neighborhood pool
Benny turned 2!

Our dear friends Davis and Jenna throw the most amazing Christmas parties and knowing that I am a super fan of their parties, they threw a Polish Christmas goodbye party and my heart aches thinking about it.

Last day of 1st grade.

Preschool graduation
The sign on our moving truck was enjoyable.

Last picture in Ashburn

The road trip with just Jeff was wonderful.

Badlands National Park was a favorite.

I love the Tetons.
Bunking in Steve and Cindy's basement

The benches in IF are fun.

Getting ready to go to a museum opening.

First time touching Jackson.

Jeff and some of his best friends spent a weekend in Sun Valley and we went hiking.

Adam and I have enjoyed biking this summer. 

Camp Gimlet

Went to a party at Ernest Hemingway's house. Asked a docent which room he died in. Got judged a little for asking.

Jeff's grandma turned 95
Going swimming at our new pool.

One of the best parts about living closer

summer poetry


Brooklynn and Tim's hand

Cowabunga Bay

Playing with Uncle James

Closed on our house

Refinished our bedroom set, nearly went insane
Worth it.
Ben runs feral through the yard

I like this robot.

Nursery hooky

Watching the eclipse. 

It was wonderful

2nd grade!


First day

Labor Day hike in the Sawtooths. Ben took off all of his clothes.

State Fair

Riding the Ferris wheel

Reading in the backyard
One of our many walks around the greenbelt.
Apparently it's famous.

My mom and Avery

John came up to visit us in IF! 

The weather obviously started turning at this point. All of my photos started being of soup.

Adam is over it

Hiking with Adam in Palisades.
Date night. We actually have babysitters now.

Our neighborhood has a park and we spent a lot of time there when it was warmer

Trip to Jackson

I just love the Tetons

Hiking to Taggart Lake

The kids had a great time.

Steve and Cindy's cabin

Brookie made it home!

Avery just loves her.

We have like 7 mature deciduous trees in our yard and we had a mind-blowing amount of leaves this fall. Jeff raked for hours and hours.

I love it when they'll let me just walk with no purpose.

Jackson made it home!

I came and stayed with them for a few days and that mostly meant that I got to hang out with Jackson during Brooklynn's appointments.

While I was gone, the kids won a fish at a church party. Feelings were had.

Halloween. Ben got into it later.
First time voting in Idaho. The mayoral race got surprisingly heated.

We get some beautiful sky in the west.

I just like this picture of Jeff's cousin looking like a creeper

We were gifted a piano.

Another really impromptu trip to Jackson. Adam got to be a pilot.

I still love the Tetons. I've decided to learn how to snowshoe.

We got stuck behind this herd of bison for a really long time. Pictures don't do it justice. 

Avery was a pilot too.

Sun Valley was so warm at Thanksgiving that I got to bike.

Jeff's family
Ben picked out a Woody ornament and then carried it around all season

We ate a lot of chocolate oranges this year

Baby heaven

Visiting Santa at the musuem

We visited a local glassblower because that's what Avery wants to be when she grows up.

I saw this stocking and fell in love
Ben is obsessed with apples and scribbles

Twins are hard, man

The babies' first Christmas!

My favorite tree in the world

A little winter walk