Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015: the year that turned my world upside down

i'm not sure if i've ever had a more life-changing year than this one. the years i got married (2007), gave birth to azalea (2011), and gave birth to ashford (2013) were pretty darn eventful, but 2015 - you were something else! if you would have told me last year at this time that i would move across the country and just two months later have to say goodbye to my dad, i probably would have fainted. ha! but here i am, still standing, at the end of a monumental year that was equal parts exhausting, amazing, and heart breaking. 

so, let's break things down by month. this is definitely the most detailed year in review i've ever done, but for good reason! 


i shared pictures from our annual family session with alison bents photography (for ashford's 1 year), ashford started walking, we had a family date with our old neighbors the baileys, i finished pumping at work, azalea and i went to her friend naomi's 4th birthday party, we survived lots of below zero weather and dreamed of the florida sunshine. 


we spent a week in florida with my parents, enjoying the warmth and their hospitality. we didn't know at the time that it would be our last visit in florida with my dad, but that wouldn't have changed a thing. from the day he was diagnosed i tried to enjoy every experience with him as much as possible knowing that each time we did anything together it could be the last. aside from our trip, we celebrated valentine's day by buying a new furnace (yayy), met our friend beth's new baby nico, i had my staff "holiday" dinner, and we went to the chilly chili fest in uptown. 


our resident threenager, azalea turned four and celebrated with a kid party at williston treehouse. we cancelled her family party due to thatcher being sick. she also had her kindergarten screening, we enjoyed some unseasonably warm weather, thatcher and i had a date night to see echosmith in concert, we went to birthday parties for our friends faith and paul, we spent lots of time with thatcher's brother anders and his girlfriend nith who were in town from germany, the kids started going to meg's house 1 day/wk, my parents returned from florida a bit early for my dad to start a new treatment plan. unbeknownst to nearly everyone, thatcher applied for a job in seattle and had a phone interview this month. 


we celebrated easter at my aunt and uncle's and also with thatcher's family, azalea had her second dentist appointment (first x-rays!) and did an awesome job, we had a family sleep over at our friends liz and joe's (a make up from new years eve), the kids and i had a park play date with friends becky & linnea and sarah & aubrey, and...thatcher had his in-person interview in seattle, was offered and accepted the job, and after much deliberation and many tears, we decided to take a leap of faith and move to seattle! 


life went into complete over-drive this month. we had 6 weeks to sell our house, find housing in seattle, have a moving sale & purge a ton of our belongings (and pack up the rest). why we thought that 6 weeks was enough time is beyond me - live and learn i guess :) thatcher, ashford and i traveled to seattle over mother's day weekend and thankfully found a great place to rent despite the tight market. may was such a blur with lots of late nights prepping the house. all of our hard work paid off (and the fact that it was a seller's market) and we sold our house the day after it was listed. azalea had her last day of preschool and we had some farewell parties in there, too. finally, thatcher set out to drive to seattle by himself at the end of the month. "it doesn't feel real" was my mantra all month. 


the kids and i spent 10 days living with my parents, then it was time for the big move! i'm so thankful for that time i got with my dad. i remember sitting on the porch with him a few times, just staring at him and taking him in as much as i could (without being creepy). ha! thatcher's mom flew out to seattle with the kids and me and stayed with us for a week to help us get settled. our friends ian, joanna, and kyla were in town on our second day here, so we had lunch with them. most of june felt like we were on vacation, staying in someone else's place (it still does sometimes). i stopped physically going to an office a few times a week and started working remotely and being home with the kids 24/7, which was an adjustment. we unpacked all of our stuff, explored our new neighborhood, celebrated our 8th anniversary, thatcher's 33rd birthday, father's day, and ashford turned 18 months. our love affair with the locks, the community center, the beach, and the splash pad began. my dad's health continued to decline and within 10 days of us leaving, he was no longer able to walk and started radiation on the tumor on his lower spine. i talked to my parents every day, but it was really tough being so far away. even in his misery, my dad was always eager to hear about our adventures in seattle. 


i turned 31 and the next day (july 4th) the kids and i flew back to minneapolis for 8 days. i survived flying alone with them for the first time. i spent most of our trip helping take care of my dad. my dad's sister lea came in town from new jersey. my dad had his first dose of the new "immunotherapy" drug he long awaited to try. just two weeks later, his doctor broke the news that his white blood cell count was too low to continue to drug and the only course of action was to stop all treatment. two days after that, he came down with an infection (which turned into sepsis) and was admitted to the hospital. the kids and i flew back to minneapolis again (just 10 days after returning to seattle). we decided as a family that home hospice was no longer realistic since he was wheelchair bound and my mom and brother and i found a care center with a cozy hospice apartment for him. he moved in there and we spent as much time as possible with him over the next week. we left the hospital with an estimate of 1-2 months left to live, which changed to 2-5 days in less than a week. while he wanted nothing more than to keep living, his body was simply too sick and began to shut down. it was heartbreaking to witness, but i wouldn't trade being there with him at the end for anything in the world. 


my dad passed away august 1st. his 60th birthday would have been on august 7th. in those early days, i felt such a sense of relief and peace that he was no longer suffering. but now i just miss him like crazy and can't believe he has been gone for 5 months! i will spend the rest of my life feeling like a part of me is missing. thatcher ended up being in minneapolis the weekend my dad passed away (i absolutely know my dad held on to say goodbye). thatcher returned to seattle for 12 days, then came back for the memorial. we had friends and family come from all over the state and country to celebrate my dad's life. it was a weekend filled with so much love and i will never forget it. when all was said and done, the kids and i were in minneapolis for 6 weeks between the two trips. it was difficult to leave my mom and brother to go back to seattle, but social media and skype made it a little easier. when we returned here, we finally started to feel settled, knowing we wouldn't be flying back to minneapolis at the drop of a hat. i got together with a few new friends here and was grateful for their support in the early days of our friendships. 


september brought new routines and a sense of stability we hadn't felt in a long time. it also brought a new year of preschool for azalea (her last year before kindergarten!). we took a day trip to portland where we saw thatcher's cousins, we explored some nature areas outside seattle, my mom came to visit and we took her to carkeek park, pike place, the sculpture park, and we got 2 date nights in 1 week! 


october was a huge month for visitors. my brother came, as well as kelli (just 3 weeks after moving to san jose, no less) and thatcher's dad! we enjoyed showing each of them all of our favorite places around seattle (x3). we visited bailey farm pumpkin patch, attended 2 kid birthday parties for new friends. we also took another trip to portland, this time staying the night at our family friends kathy and garry's. thatcher's co-worker chris and his family came over for pumpkin carving and chili, we celebrated halloween (with durant in town) by attending a potluck and going trick or treating in phinney ridge with a handful of other families we have been getting to know. azalea also had a halloween party at preschool. 


november was much quieter, since our visitors had come and gone. we visited the train museum & snoqualmie falls, and took our first ferry trip to bainbridge island. we had lunch with thatcher's uncle (and his uncle's brother) who were in town from alaska. we celebrated thanksgiving with just the 4 of us, put our first artificial tree up, went to wildlights at the zoo with our neighbors martine, josh, and bruce, went to the tree lighting at pike place with our friends mark and tina, and visited santa at swansons. 


my favorite month filled with all sort of christmas fun and overdosing on christmas music, movies, and baking :) in early december we visited seattle center for the first time, including the spectacular christmas train display at the armory. thatcher's brother anders arrived from bangkok, stayed with us for 3 days, then we all traveled back to minnesota where we spent a week visiting family and friends, went to jackson street roundhouse, disney on ice, celebrated ashford's birthday early. ashford turned 2 the day after we returned and we had cake and presents. we celebrated christmas with just the 4 of us and it was cozy and low-key. i missed my dad greatly, but we were away from everyone, so i think that helped in some ways. 

i have a feeling 2016 will be a much quieter year, but you never know! ready or not, here it comes! 

see my past yearly recaps
2010  |  2011  | 2012  | 2013 | 2014


Sarah said...

What a year! It will definitely be a year that you'll never forget. Lots of change for you. Let's hope 2016 is relatively uneventful in comparison!

Diana said...

That is a pretty monumental year - certainly lots of ups and downs. I'm so glad that you got to spend such good quality time with your Dad and that it helps with the grief process to have no regrets. Also, I laughed out loud at your November - as it was a "quieter" month, but yet you did tons of stuff! You guys are certainly always on the go. Here's hoping 2016 is chock-full of new adventures!

Lisa said...

What a beautiful recap of 2015. I continue to pray for you as I know that missing your Daddy just doesn't go away or get easier. I struggle with missing my Dad each day!

The kiddos are both so adorable and getting so big! I can't believe that Ashford is two. I am so happy to hear that this new Seattle adventure has been such a GREAT one! It's all so exciting to read about! Drew said that he found a neat looking job in Seattle and I thought that it was a good idea to apply. Seattle sounds awesome!

Happy New Year to you guys! Still thinking of you each day and praying for you!


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