Feeling so, so grateful to Dwija for hosting this linkup and giving me a reason to look back through this year's photos... all of the "there's no way he was that small a year ago" moments, the "how did I forget that?"s, the happy and sad and words-fail-me times. I don't think there's ever been a year that I honestly wanted to re-live, and 2014 definitely does not break that streak, but there were so many good things about this year, so many blessings.
January was pretty. Snow, clear skies for the few hours that the sun was visible, relatively warm weather... I don't think it ever got too far below 0. We loved our unusually warm winter, and sure wouldn't complain about a repeat in 2015.
By mid-February, even in the mildest winter most people are ready to be done with the snow and dark. I'm not really one to keep track of milestones, fill out baby books, etc, but pretty much the only thing I took pictures of this past February was Little Bear learning to eat with a fork, so I'm going to guess that that was (at least one of) the most notable parts of the month.
The sun comes back in a hurry in March! Little Bear loved our afternoon at the ice park, looking at sculptures by artists from around the world and playing on many elaborate ice slides in the kiddie park. It was a particularly warm afternoon—in the upper 40s, if I remember right—made even warmer for me courtesy of some extra progesterone: on March 15, we learned that I was expecting #2!
Lent, Holy Week, Easter baking: I spent a lot of April in the kitchen. This was the first year that I attempted Jidáše (Judas Rolls) for Spy Wednesday, my family's traditional Italian Easter bread, and dying eggs with natural dyes, and they all turned out surprisingly well. We had a beautiful Easter, but just a few days later learned that our little one no longer had a heartbeat. Alexandra Reece was miscarried on Saturday, April 26.
As I grew physically able to return to regular activity, we spent many May afternoons at the boat launch near our apartment. Little Bear loved throwing rocks into the river, and only got his feet wet a couple of times.
The ground had finally thawed enough by early June for us to bury Alex; our pastor said a funeral Mass for her and blessed the gravesite. We spent the month of June apartment-hunting, as it finally registered that "our landlords are selling" meant "we need a new place to live."
On July 3, we signed a lease on an amazing apartment: The upper level of a duplex, we have a fireplace, deck, garage, high ceilings, and trees as far as we can see in every direction! We made our first attempt at camping with Little Bear in early July at Paxson Lake, three and a half hours from town; by 2 am we had dragged our sleeping pads and quilt into my parents' already-at-capacity cabin and were curled up under the table, but we have high hopes for next time.
With a fireplace came the tantalizing promise of lower heating bills. Matt spent much of August splitting and stacking three cords of wood, and while at 2 years old Little Bear wasn't actually all that helpful, he was certainly enthusiastic about it! The wood-cutting is paying off: although we cringe at the monthly heating oil invoices, longtime Alaskan homeowners tell us that we're using remarkably little oil.
"Fall lasted nine days this year," Matt has been saying lately, but looking at September photos I can't believe that it was quite that short. Maybe two weeks. The thermometer jumped around for a while, giving us a mix of beautiful golden days and chilly "I'm refusing to believe I just saw a snowflake" mornings before giving us an undeniable centimeter or two of snow on September 30.
October... warm fires in the fireplace, squash of every shape and size appearing around the kitchen, lots more snow taking up residence in our yard for the next many months, and the wonderful news that I was expecting again! Matt finally triumphed over the grouse he'd been hunting since late August, bringing home one which quickly found its way into a pie.
In early November, I received the wonderful gift of hearing and seeing our newest little one's heartbeat on an ultrasound. Now I'm impatient for the 20-week ultrasound to get here so I can see little "Kit" again! Matt, Little Bear and I spent the last two weeks of November visiting his family in Pennsylvania, as well as my siblings in Ohio and several friends in the area. Little Bear loved visiting Grandmom and Grandpop, and frequently asks to go back.
Baby Kit's odd dislike for sugar made early December quite disappointing: no cookies, fruitcake, or candy for me! Getting farther away from the first trimester has helped, but Kit still lets me know if I have too many sweets. Somehow, despite my inability to eat them, we wound up with the most varieties of Christmas cookies since we've been married, along with fruitcake and Christstollen. I'm totally not going to remember saying this next year, but I am not allowed to compare Christmas 2015 (with a 6 month old) to this Christmas' baking!
And it's still the Christmas season until Epiphany, so Merry Christmas! And happy new year. Praying that 2015 is filled with blessings, for our family and for all of you!