Happy New Year, my friends! I hope that you all had wonderful, joyful, sparkly and safe evenings last night and that you’re now ready to face 2016 head on. Let’s make it the best year yet! But first, as I like to do, here’s a look back at the twelve months of fun and challenges that we’ve just wrapped up.
In January, I hit a very important pregnancy milestone – 31 weeks, 4 days! It was a big deal to me, because it was officially my “pregnancy PDR” – Peanut had been born at 31w3d. I snapped a picture for posterity and expressed a hope that Nugget and I would get all the way to full term (spoiler alert: we did!). I also mused on some bookish topics, including my ongoing reading slump and a day of reckoning as a mystery reader. And we started off our year in hiking with a twofer: a stroll through Reinstein Woods that doubled as the first of our seasonal explorations and the first hike in our twelve months’ hiking project.
In February, we were busy indeed! We weathered absolutely frigid temperatures with plenty of indoor fun, including visits to the Buffalo Botanical Gardens and the Buffalo Museum of Science, and we got outside for a hike through Knox Farm. I got an extremely late start on Nugget’s nursery and made my peace with the fact that there was no way we’d get it all done before his arrival in March. I also shared my “alphabet of right now” and my thoughts on the news that we could expect a “new” Harper Lee book in July.
In March, we joyously welcomed our sweet baby boy! Nugget officially joined our family on March 11, 2015, so most of the month revolved around our great happiness and getting to know him. We pretty much hibernated, sleeping when we could and getting in lots of snuggles, but we ventured outside at the end of the month for a walk through Como Lake Park – Nugget’s first hike.
In April, we celebrated Nugget’s first Easter, even while shaking our fists at a fresh snowfall that morning. We made good progress on the nursery, I was cleared to run (!) and once the snow melted (for good, finally) we ventured to a new-to-us scenic spot: Times Beach Nature Preserve.
In May, we enjoyed warm sunshine and rising temperatures for the first time in way too long. Peanut and I planted a patio garden and a fairy garden together and I relished the chance to spend some one-on-one time with my first baby. I celebrated my first Mother’s Day as a mom of TWO and ran my first race of this post-partum period, and we hiked at Darien Lakes State Park and Reinstein Woods.
In June, we celebrated National Trails Day with – what else? – a hike at Sprague Brook Park, which immediately became one of my favorite local walks. We also celebrated Father’s Day, I participated in #BlumeAlong, and Peanut and I continued getting our hands dirty in our patio garden.
In July, we managed to pack more fun into one month than I would ever have thought possible! We started off strong with a fun Fourth of July at Canalside, followed by a picnic in our backyard and a swim with the grandparents on the fifth. Our whole family (plus Nana!) enjoyed the treats at Taste of Buffalo, then Nana and I took the kids blueberry picking. At the end of the month we headed south for a family vacation: first stop was our old stomping grounds of D.C. and northern Virginia (miss it so much!), including a stop by Great Falls National Park, my very favorite hiking spot in the entire world, and then we continued on for a week of beach fun in the Outer Banks.
In August, we continued to soak up summer fun. We celebrated Peanut’s third birthday (where has the time gone?) and our tenth wedding anniversary (seriously, where?!). We hiked to the Eternal Flame at Chestnut Ridge Park, enjoyed swimming in our backyard and soaking up the sun, and I joined in the Austen in August fun.
In September, we rang in Labor Day by squeezing in our summer walk through Reinstein Woods. We also got a special treat when Aunt Rebecca flew into town for a brief visit, and we got to hike with her at Niagara Falls State Park! Later in the month, we went apple picking – a favorite fall activity – and finally managed to make it to the orchard during the too-brief Gala apple season. The other big news of the month was that Nugget turned SIX MONTHS OLD. I can’t believe how fast his first year is flying by! The rest of the month was bittersweet as I wrapped up my maternity leave and headed back into the office; I spent a lot of time missing the little guy and reminiscing about our long, sweet summer days together.
In October, we made it our business to have ALL the fall fun. We visited the pumpkin patch, hiked at Letchworth State Park, and took the kids trick-or-treating. We made several visits to Elm Street Bakery in East Aurora, danced at the wedding of a dear college friend, and I celebrated another birthday and scared myself silly during #RIPX. Life just gets more and more full with each passing year.
In November, the kids enjoyed roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over the campfire in Nugget’s room (is that some toy, or what?) and we welcomed a new family member – BB-8! But by far the best part of November was our trip out west to visit Uncle Dan and Aunt Danielle in Colorado. We spent Nugget’s first Thanksgiving with them and it was so wonderful. There was hiking, great food, and visits to the Denver Zoo and the Denver Aquarium (where Uncle Dan fed a stingray and a mermaid waved to Peanut). Recaps of the whole vacation coming soon! We also squeezed in our fourth and final seasonal walk through Reinstein Woods – we’re so lucky to live near such a lovely wild spot.
In December, we celebrated Nugget’s first Christmas! He dressed up like Santa (he was a good sport about it) and I think he had a great day. I shared tips for festivity on a budget, including making our own Advent wreath (a fun activity that Peanut and I did together). We also had a playdate with two of Peanut’s school friends at the Buffalo Zoo and finished up our year of hiking every month with a stroll through Tifft Nature Preserve, and celebrated a lovely, low-key New Year’s Eve with fondue and baby snuggles. It doesn’t get much better than that!
We have so many things ahead of us in 2016 – at least one move, and maybe two; Nugget’s first birthday and Peanut’s fourth; and hopefully another family vacation. And who knows what else? But it’s great to look back on the year that’s just ended – we had a big one. We did a lot, we learned and grew a ton, and – most important of all – we completed our family when we added one sweet, joyful little boy spirit to the crew. 2015 brought some tough times and some growing pains, but it also brought a lot of happiness and baby giggles.
And now, on to 2016 – I hope that all of my friends have a magical year!