It’s hard to believe another year has passed. Time really does seem to go by faster the older you get!
We kicked off 2014 in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, where we’d spent the holiday hunkered down in cabins and snowshoeing with our friends Meg and Marcy. Unlike this winter, snow was abundant last year, so we spent a lot of time on our Tubbs snowshoes.
In February, I got a head start on our tax return. Because DOMA was struck down in 2013, Kendra and I were able to file a joint tax return for the first time in our seven years of marriage. Never in my life did I ever expect to do my taxes!
Kendra returned to work at the beginning of April, and my mom stepped in to watch the twins for us as we navigated the last 11 weeks of school with both of us teaching full-time.
The middle of April brought one of the hardest moments of the year when our friend and colleague, Mike D., passed away from a short battle with pancreatic cancer. Mike was the kindest human being I have ever known. I remember meeting him for the first time when I interviewing for a teaching position at LHS. As I was sitting in the main office, nervous anticipation running through my body, an incredibly charismatic guy walked in and began chatting with everyone. All I could think was, “Well, this guy’s got the job. He’s awesome. I’d hire him.” Luckily for me, Mike was interviewing me for the position, not applying for it.
I started my new job teaching television and film production just a week later. Mike and I met every day during seventh period as he helped me navigate my first year in the classroom. The following two years, he served as my mentor as I worked toward my next level of licensure. During my administrative internship, he guided me through running summer school – spending each day helping me grow and learn. Inevitably, we became friends, sharing our ups and downs with each other. Mike was incredibly positive and supportive. I miss him dearly – his smile; his kind words; his visits to my classroom just to catch up. I am so grateful to have known Mike, and so proud to have been his friend.
Memorial Day weekend brought with it our annual camping trip to Dolly Copp Campground in New Hampshire. It was the twins’ first time camping, and we quickly found that the best way to go camping with infants is to bring a lot of friends!
As the school year came to a close, I said goodbye to my students, colleagues, and classroom for the last time. I had accepted a new position at a local community college, and was leaving behind my high school teaching job of 12 years. I was sad to leave, but also incredibly excited for the new challenges to come!
We celebrated July 4th in Maine with my mom, my sister’s family, and my extended family. It was a beautiful weekend of days on the beach, mini-golf, arcades, and ice cream, reminiscent of my childhood days when my sister and I would spend summer time in Maine with our cousins Katie and Chrissy.
In one last hurrah, I taught summer school English during July, which prolonged my time at LHS by five weeks. I actually enjoyed every minute of it as my students and I explored racial and economic injustice through reading, watching films, and research projects.
Also in July, Kendra and I attended the Lowell Folk Festival together for the first time. In years past, I worked the festival as part of the media team, but chose not to do so this summer. Instead we brought the kids and had a blast!
Addie celebrated her 4th birthday on July 14th with a Frozen party, and less than two weeks later we set off on a road trip to visit Kendra’s family in South Carolina. Our first stop was Shenandoah National Park, where we hiked and saw a bear cub!
South Carolina was awesome – we went fishing, biking, hiking, and swimming. We took Addie to a ball game at Fluor Field to see the Greenville Drive, a Red Sox minor league affiliate; and the entire family visited Split Creek Farm to see the goats. We got to spend lots of time with Kendra’s parents, and her brother and his family. The kids loved hanging out with their South Carolina cousins – Jada and Olivia.
On the way home we stopped in North Carolina and hiked Mt. Pisgah. Addie hiked all the way to and from the 5,721′ summit – her biggest mountain yet!
We also stopped in Virginia to see our, “oldest daughter,” Chanthu, who is working in the forensics department of the Roanoke Police Department. We timed our visit to surprise our friends Bryan and Eric, who were also visiting Chanthu.
Just days after we returned to Massachusetts the twins turned one! It has been amazing to watch them start their lives in the NICU, and quickly grow into the little characters they are today. Evan is our snuggle-bug, while Kate is our little comedian.
In September, Kendra returned to her job as an English teacher, and I began my new adventure as a college professor. There is no other word to describe my new job other than – amazing! My colleagues are awesome, the students are great, and I love going to work every day. There’s definitely been a learning curve, but I seem to be getting the hang of things. I am convinced accepting this job was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Our fall was spent adjusting to our new schedules, while still trying to get outdoors. I learned how to tandem-carry the twins on hikes when Kendra couldn’t join us. As a family, we spent more time biking than ever before, checking out local rail trails. We even got in one day of snowshoeing when a storm brought in five inches of snow after Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, the ground has been snow-free since, which has made it difficult for us to write up great trip reports for our new gig as Tubbs Snowshoes Ambassadors.
The end of 2014 has been a roller coaster ride as we’ve dealt with Evan’s cardiac defects. Christmas was a whirlwind as we prepped for his open heart surgery which was scheduled for yesterday. After the kids went to bed on Christmas Day, Kendra and I took down the tree and put away all traces of the holiday as we readied for a five-day stay in the hospital followed by weeks of recovery.
Yet we were granted a reprieve when his surgery was cancelled after his pre-op testing showed his heart is doing surprisingly well. The cardiologists want to explore other possible causes for his slow weight gain before putting him through such a serious, risky surgery. We were relieved, though now we are praying another cause is discovered, otherwise open heart surgery will be back on the table. We spoke with his pediatrician today, and we will start the new year by heading back to Boston Children’s Hospital, this time to visit the gastrointestinal specialists.
Kendra and I are beyond grateful that we are spending a quiet New Year’s Eve at home, and not in the cardiac ICU Boston Children’s Hospital, as we had planned. We’re looking forward to another adventurous year – though hopefully with less visits to the doctor! Though there were difficult moments in 2014, we had a lot of fun, made some great new friends, and built lots of memories with friends and family. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2015 to all!
My Favorite Posts of 2014
- We’re an Ordinary Two-Mom Family
- Weathering the Transitions as a Family of Five
- Learning to Savor the Moments
- Hiking with Babies and Toddlers – The 10 Essentials
- When LGBT Microaggressions Add Up