This past year has been an amazing year of firsts and new adventures for all three of us. Addie started the year learning how to roll over, and ends it with hiking and running! I worked part time for the 2010-2011 school year at a prep school and finished my doctoral classes while Kendra transitioned from maternity leave back to full-time teaching. We both learned how to balance our jobs with family, friends, and of course, Addison.
As I look back on the year, these are the 5 really big moments that highlight our journey as a family.
We spent Memorial Day weekend at Dolly Copp, our favorite New Hampshire Campground. Though Kendra and I have camped here many times, this was our first excursion with a 10-month old. It wasn’t easy, but we learned a lot; everything from what to keep in the tent when camping with a baby (wipes, diapers, bottle and powdered formula), to what we should have brought (a pack and play). We had a lot of fun, and I got to see my first moose during a late-night drive we took to help Addison fall asleep.
2. Kendra’s 30th Birthday
Finally, Kendra joined my decade! We had a really nice night out with friends and family at a local restaurant.
Despite what everyone told us, we ignored the warnings of those with children and took our 11-month old on a 7,690 mile road trip from Massachusetts, to South Carolina, San Francisco, and back. We celebrated 4th of July in South Carolina, biked along the Reedy River, discovered the Parthenon in Nashville, amazing art in St. Louis, the world’s largest ball of twine in Kansas, camped in 6 National Parks, hiked the Great Sand Dunes, stood at the edge of the Grand Canyon, gambled in Las Vegas, walked along the Hoover Dam, celebrated the marriage of friends in San Francisco, saw giant sequoias, walked along glacial lakes, explored caves, and spent time with family and friends throughout the trip. It was an incredible five-week experience.
This was a bittersweet moment for me. Though Addison is legally my daughter in Massachusetts, the rest of our country has different laws, and with no federal law to protect my marriage to Kendra, or relationship to Addison, we had to spend the time and money to do a second-parent adoption. Totally worth it, but I hope someday things get easier and the federal laws recognize our family.
We had a wonderful Christmas and Hanukkah, spending time with my family up north, and Kendra’s family in the south. I love this time of year for so many reasons – seeing family, Christmas lights, lighting the Menorah each night, yummy food, and lots of love.
So a new year begins tomorrow, and we are planning on kicking it off with a New Year’s Day hike. Here’s wishing everyone a Happy New Year, and may 2012 bring you happiness, good health, prosperity, and love!