2015 Wrap Up

2015 is about to fad away into a new year and I'm feeling delighted. This year feels like such a roller coaster.  I started out the year with high hopes and big expectations and that's always a dangerous thing to do in a new year.  Instead, 1015 was a rough year for me. I wouldn't say that our family has had anything truly awful happen. It's been no 2012, but it still felt really difficult. It's been a busy year with changes and new challenges. There weren't very many changes, but the ones we had were huge.
Without getting too fluffy, I'll get right into the list and pictures because who really cares about anything else anyway.

1. Emily: Let's start with the most obvious change of 2015. Oh hey, I had a second baby. This time last year we were convinced baby girl was going to named "Julie", but about two weeks before her birth, Emily jumped out at us.
Emily has been a wonderful addition to our family and I'm not just saying that. From day one, she's been the easiest baby.  She nursed really well for about five months. She's calm, happy and I swear her smile could melt a snowman.
Despite her great traits, she is a baby and babies have their own challenges like getting up at night and needing something (diaper change, feeding, playtime) every hour.
These days she's bouncing on her hands and knees and I know we're only few weeks away from crawling.

2. Dreams & Facts: This year I finished my dad's book. I've been working on it since shortly after his death and I finally finished it (that's about three years, people).  I really got into this year. While I was on Maternity Leave, during nap times and shoved in short periods after church I was able to get the majority of it done.
The book is a collection of personal essays, fictional works and a photo history of my dad's life. At 384 pages, it resembles almost a text book, but it was worth every hour and every penny that I put into the book.
The main reason I put it together was for my girls. My daughters will never know my dad and that makes me so crazy sad because of how awesome and amazing my dad was, especially with his kids and grandkids. As unfair as his passing was, this book represents a piece of him and his life. It's something that Cami enjoys now, if only for the pictures. Someday when things are hard for her (God forbid that ever happens), I hope she can flip open this book and have some wisdom or laughs from Grandpa Tate.

3. Genetics:  This year I got a promotion at Myriad. I've been there for about two years and I thought I might try for one this year. It helped that the hiring supervisor was one of my friends and I shared an office with her when I started.
Instead of my previous role and Patient Advocate, I'm a Genetics Patient Advocate (stand up, it's not really worth kneeling over). It's nearly the same job, but instead of working the oncology side of the testing, I'm working only with Genetic Counselors.
It's been such a good move for me. I have specific territories that I'm responsible for (Virginia and North Carolina are my big ones) and I work with the same Genetic Counselors in that area to to get insurance coverage for the genetic tests they order. I love my territory and the majority of the providers I work with are fantastic.
Yesterday I had a big moment when a test I worked really hard on completed in a short time frame in time for a patient's surgery. I called the provider and I said, "Martha, I feel like I could cry. Her test is done." I love being able to have that kind of working relationship that I can say things like that, mean it, and feel like I'm making a difference. I love my job!

4. Cam Balam:  Cami has been so awesome this year! We didn't get her into pre-school, but I'm not really worried about it. Her birthday is later in the year and I've pre-registered her for an online pre-school that my friend recommended.
The biggest thing for Cami this year is potty training.
It almost killed me. Remember this post? Real life, potty training head strong children is like a power struggle with and elephant crossed with a war general, but she did it. In the post I shared all of the tips that worked for Cami, but really it wasn't me. Cami took that and handled it. It took some time but she's got it really well, including overnight (which let's be real, I don't think I had it down until I was like six over night).
She's becoming a little girl this year. Cami loves Disney princesses, she had an especially long stint watching Snow White. Oh man, and she's the best big sister. This morning I heard Emily and as soon as I open the door I see Cami perched up on the crib, talking to Emily. There's an obvious age gap between them, but they're still so cute together.

5. Training Dave:  If only I could. I've been wanting to write that down our whole marriage (Wocka Wocka Wocka).
Okay, but really, almost Dave's entire year was spent training New Hires at work. It's been kind of nice for me because his hours are more normal and I love having him home (the girls love it more than I do).
He's implemented some new procedures at work and he's starting to see some results in the employees.
Doing all of this training kind of screwed him over in some areas, but Dave always takes it in stride.

6. Doctors: Since Emily was in the womb, she had us bouncing around. When I was pregnant, the ultrasound found cysts. After she was born, she had a flat spot on her head, which didn't seem to get better even after we did all the parenting stuff pediatricians say (rotate your baby, tickle their chins, tummy time until they throw up). Okay so that last one was an exaggeration.
We brought it up to  the pediatrician three different times before a different one said, "Hey, that's a pretty flat spot. Go see a plastic surgeon."
Okay because boobs and baby head shapes are the same?
We then went from plastic surgeon to a prosthetic surgeon who prescribed little Emily with a helmet just shy of her turning eight months.
I was scared poop-less about the helmet. I worried about her becoming delayed in her gross motor skills. I worried people would say I was a bad parent and that I didn't do enough for my children. Now, it's not a big deal. The helmet is for Emily and she doesn't mind it at all (anymore). We're still seeing doctors way too often for me.

7. Repairs: The beginning of this year brought some unexpected issues with our house. Yay for home-ownership. We only anticipated one house project this year, but we went above our goals and completed two big projects.
We started with fixing the electrical in the basement. At the beginning of 2015 a plug sparked and burned the plate so this was moved to the top of our priorities because you know, we don't want to burn our house down.
In the summer we deliberated far too long about sprinklers. It was either going to require a ton of hard, manual labor or a lot more money than we anticipated. Late July we bit the bullet and a company fixed our sprinklers in the front yard and put some in the backyard. Like I just said, it was more expensive than we anticipated, but our lives were so busy with a new baby and new responsibilities that there was no way any of us had time to hand water the yard.
It's nice to have those big house projects out of the way. The only big house project we have in our future is a fence and that's an expense that's probably at least two years away.

8. Best Friends Move On: This year Cami's best friend, Emily's future boyfriend and my best friend, who lived in our ward and neighborhood moved to Idaho. I hate it. Jessica and I would never have met if it weren't for a stressful babysitting situation. She helped with Cami when my babysitter was out for a few months. During that time we became friends. Maybe I didn't mean that much to her, but let's be real for a minute. I don't make girl friends easily. Women are caddy, braggy and unrealistic. Jessica isn't like that. We're at the same life stage with kids the same age (Cami, 4 and Vienna only five months younger; Oliver was born 3 or so months before Emily). I could complain about problems, cry when things were hard and cheer when things were awesome and I felt like she was with me in like a real sister/friend way. Her husband got a needed,new job in Idaho and vamoose, just like that no more play-dates, girl's nights or game nights (though they be few thanks to new babies). As 2015 closes, it bums me out that she's so far away.  I went three years without a good girlfriend and it's not likely to happen again anytime soon. Cami misses Vienna and I miss Jessica so much!

9. Colbin:  Zooming out beyond our immediate family; there wasn't a lot of big changes. No weddings and this year no one dear/close passed away.
In the Hunt/Larsen family we only had one big change besides Emily. Heather and Josh had baby boy Colbin in July, only a few short months after Emily. He's a cute little boy and smiles all the time. He's a perfect addition to the family.

Whew, talk about roller coaster. 2015 felt defining to me in the different parts of my life. I feel burned out and exhausted, but I hope it's because 2016 will be stronger and better.
I'll close this chapter of our lives and flip over to something new with an idea that if I want change in my life and in who I am, I need to be that change.