So, here in no particular order are our top 14 in 2014:
1. Our first grader. Norah has changed in so many ways in such a short amount of time. She has gained a ton of confidence and insight into herself and others. She is killing it academically and is incredibly well adjusted. Most importantly she loves school and is genuinely excited to go every morning (despite the fact we have to leave the house at 7:15 am). I am grateful that her school is such a good fit and she is thriving. She is in an advanced reading, writing, and critical thinking program at school and continues to surprise us with her skills. She is a self-proclaimed "bookworm" and reports that she wants to be a librarian when she grows up.
2. BVZ's new job. In March of 2014, BVZ (finally) left private practice for a job with the Attorney General's Office. The commute is bad and the paycheck even worse but he's connected with some really great people he actually likes working with on a daily basis. He also likes the work and is getting to take a bit of a breather for the first time in many years. Oh, and he turned 40! And we went away for a night!
3. Louis's New School. We have not had the best luck with pre-schools--I did not love any of the ones Norah went to and I had more than a few problems with the place Louis was at this past year. Over the summer he started at a brand new Spanish Immersion School that is three minutes away from our house and owned/run by a friend. After all of this time, this is finally the school I have been waiting for. Louis is thriving in a warm and loving environment. He learns so much every day and actually knows a ton of Spanish already.
4. Swimming. First world problems I know. but I do really hate having a pool. It is expensive to maintain and we do not use it enough to justify the cost. For the first time however, I got a glimmer of what summer life will be like with two fully functional swimmers. It is pretty sweet.
5. Mother's Day. This Mother's Day was one for the books. It was nothing but a totally relaxing day surrounded by the ones I love. BVZ actually made a present for me with the kids and I drank cocktails all afternoon. It was a great day.
6. Daisy Scouts. I am the leader of Norah's Daisy Scout troop. It is a ton of work and I do not love all (or even most) aspects of it, but she is getting a ton out of it and I am so thankful for the opportunity to spend this kind of time with her.
7. Visitors. We had a ton of awesome visitors this year including ones from across the globe. Please come visit. We will even heat the hot tub for you!
8. Thanksgiving. Our trip to GG's in Southern California was a huge highlight of the year. It was great for the kids to spend so much time with her and Aunt Vanessa and we packed a ton of fun into just one week.
9. My old/new job. After a lot of soul searching (and more than a few tears), I left my job this fall to spend more time with the kids. I miss it a lot but am enjoying not waking up at 2:00 am in a cold sweat. I started writing for an online legal publication and am hoping that will tide me over for at least the immediate future. Norah was impacted the most by my long hours (well, and BVZ too), so I made it up to her with a long overdue girls trip.
10. Reid and Lou. These two. As close as two could be without actually being brothers. The evolution of their relationship has been hilarious to watch and I am thankful my boy will always have a best friend.
11. BFF. Speaking of best friends, these two are incomparable. Nothing has been able to shake them of each other and it is my hope that their distance only makes them stronger. Norah takes refuge often in her best friend and "soul mate."
12. Cousins. Moving to Texas was a no-brainer because of these guys. Norah and Lou have friends and companions for life. The little boys think that Trevor hung the moon and Megan is Norah's hero. Megan now babysits. At night! And we leave! We are so very lucky to have them all.
13. No More Baby Jail. No one around here wears diapers or uses pacis. Everyone sleeps in their own bed (most of the time) and eats food from an actual plate (some of the time). They can tell us what they want and need, can express their happiness and disappointment, and are continuously evolving into interesting and dynamic human beings. They even pick out their own Halloween costumes.
14. GVZs. We are continuing to figure it out and I think we are getting better every year. Here's to 2015! Happy New Year!