2015: “Simplify” 2016: “Prepare”

2015 was a pretty good year and I’m happy to be able to say that. After some difficult years with a lot of loss and a lot of ending of eras, this past year seemed to stabilize a little bit. The girls started to take some big steps toward maturing into pre-teens, which is a little scary but at the same time we’ve reached a point where we are ready to move on to the next phase of life. They also had some great achievements of their own as well which had to be one of the greatest parts of being a parent.

We’ve been thinking about the “word for the year” for 2016. Adriene said her word for 2016 is “present” and I liked that a lot. My word in 2015 was “simplify” after I wanted to try and simplify my life after a crazy 2014. I think I succeeded for the most part until fall when everything went a little sideways. I think Fall 2016 will be a little different for us. My word for 2016 is “prepare.” I feel like there were a lot of times in 2015 where I was going by the seat of my pants. I also feel like a lot of the moments of stress this past year could have been prevented simply by taking a few moments before the week or next day started and planned ahead. In particular, I’m going to try to be more proactive in planning meals as I feel like too many nights everyone came home from work and school and said “what are we doing for dinner?” and we’d make a snap decision like order a pizza. I’d like to minimize that (or at the very least, order pizza a little less often)

We’ve had a week without children here so we’ve done a lot of throwing trash out and caught up on some tasks that have been pushed down the priority list. Tomorrow, after we celebrate New Year’s Eve tonight as a couple, we’ll drive down to Savannah and pick the girls up and come home and find what 2016 has for us.

Goodbye, playground

Goodbye, playground

When we bought our house it came with a playground. We meticulously went over all the things we wanted fixed and changed with the house before we bought it, but somehow we forgot about the playground. So, after the got the keys we looked in the backyard and said, “Aren’t you taking the playground with you?” The old owners of the house laughed and said, “No! The whole house and backyard is your problem now!” and peeled out of the driveway. (Well, that’s how I imagined that it happened in my head.) So we had no kids, but we had a house with a playground. For a while when we we young it was pretty funny. We, the couple that had no interest in having kids, had an awesome playground. Later, when we decided we did want to have children but couldn’t, it wasn’t as funny. Eventually, though, children did arrive and it wasn’t long before the playground earned it’s keep. “Why don’t you go out and play on the playground for a while” was code for “mommy and/or daddy have had enough.” It was social central, where the girls would congregate and talk even they just idly sat on the swings.

As it does, time passes. The playground began get a lot of rust and started to appear structurally questionable. We decided it was time to have it removed and I told the girls to play on it one last time. They were sad, but as they swung back and forth, I nervously watched as they lifted the legs of the swing set right off the ground. They were too big for it and I really didn’t want to take a trip to the hospital, so it was the right call to have it removed.

I’ve made a lot of posts about the passage of time and how my children are getting older and nostalgia and such, but I’m trying to look at this change from a positive view. The back yard is now empty and full of opportunities. We can put up a hammock. We can put up a soccer net, or as Erin insists a lacrosse net, and we can practice in our own backyard. Maybe we’ll clear out the annoying privet hedges and give ourselves more space. We’re just about to start winter, but I’m already thinking ahead to summer of 2016 and the possibilities for our family.