Here, in no particular order, are the photos that best represent our year.
Norah and Louis. These guys make our world go round.
Cousins. Obviously these guys were a huge part of our decision to move to Texas and they have made it all worthwhile. The "big guys" are so good with the little ones and Norah is beside herself with joy whenever they are around. Reid and Lou spend a lot of time together and although right now their interaction results in a lot of time-outs, I know they are crazy about each other. Things will get even better in a few months when Reid's baby sister gets her. Norah has already claimed her as her own.
Our new house. It was worth it and I love it. I never thought we'd get to live in a place with a swimming pool and a movie room and I am eternally grateful for it. This will be our forever house, because I am never moving again.
Norah's celiac disease has changed a lot of how we think about food and our health in general. It has made me more mindful of how complicated our food system is in this country and has been the cause of many sleepless nights. My hope that we would exclusively eat fresh, organic, and whole foods hasn't quite been realized. I buy a lot of gluten free pizza crusts and pancake mixes. Eating out is stressful, both because of Norah's stomach and Lou's general disposition. I am looking forward to that getting better.
Toys. Despite my best efforts to be gender neutral when it comes to play things, both Norah and Louis have followed the stereotypical gender divide. Norah is all things princess, glitter, and ooh-la-la. Lou is all things truck, car, and fire engine. They do play with each other's toys quite a bit now, so maybe there's hope for them both yet.
A team. This has definitely been the year that Norah and Louis have come into their own as siblings. They LOVE each other. Sure, they push each other around a bit and scuffle over toys sometimes, but for the most part they are as thick as thieves. (I attribute about 95% of this to Norah's nurturing disposition--she lets him get away with a lot). I know it will not always be this easy, and their relationship will ebb and flow, but for now I am relishing the closeness they share.
Norah. She has changed so much this year. Her thoughts and ideas, hopes and fears, are so much more complex. She is creative and imaginative and is really, really funny. She can also be really sassy and when she's grumpy, even downright mean. It has been fascinating to watch her grow into this PERSON before my very eyes. It is happening way too fast. But then I remember that she is just a little girl who still needs her teddy bear. And I can hold her close just a little bit longer.
Lou. He has found his voice. It is sweet sometimes, funny most of the time, and very, very loud. He is demanding and stubborn. You never have to wonder how he feels about something--he has no problem at all letting you know. He will, when prompted, tell you that he loves you. It is easily the highlight of my life.
Friends. We are fortunate that we have really good friends here, both new and old. I have my new cooking club, both BVZ and I really like our colleagues at work, and we have a great built in network of folks because of my sisters, etc. It has been great to move to a new state and not feel isolated even for a second. I am also really grateful we still have our village out west--forever friends for sure.
Neighbors. I really like our neighborhood. I was afraid it would be full of conservatives (gasp!) but as it turns out there are a ton of really progressive, friendly, and funny folks around these parts. Halloween decorations are scary and gruesome. It's my kind of place.
Family. I still wonder how we survived sometimes before Bubby lived five minutes away. What a difference having grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins makes. We have been so lucky that we get to see Kiki so much more and that the VZs have been willing and able to visit several times a year. I dig it.
GVZs. It was a year of change, but I like to think we survived with (most of) our sense of humor intact. BVZ is a great partner and even better dad and I am thankful every day that we still have the same taste in television. I hope our kids know how much we love them even when they won't sleep in their own beds. I am glad we are such a good team.
That's it. Now I have to work backwards and post Santa pictures. Stay tuned!