Hi friends and family!
As 2017 races to a close, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the year and share some of our experiences with you all.
The year began with finding out we were pregnant again and due in September. That set the tone for much of the year, with us prepping the new baby’s room, finally setting up a true “guest room,” and getting ready to figure out how to deal with two children (spoiler alert: still don’t have that part figured out).
Also in January, Natalie turned 30! We really don’t dwell on the number too much, but she’s glad to finally feel like she can be taken seriously as an adult.
In late February we had the opportunity to head to Charleston, SC, withÂ Michael’s company. We actually started the week visiting briefly with Natalie’s sister and brother-in-law Andrea and Ben just outside Hilton Head, SC, and then made the trip up to Charleston for the festivities. We only had a day or two to explore the amazing city, but had a great time enjoying the hotel and what it had to offer as well.
In March, in addition to Michael’s birthday, Natalie became a Noonday Collection Ambassador! Noonday is a business that partners with artisans around the world who create beautiful jewelry and accessories. Through the sale of these items in the U.S., Noonday and its customers help sustain dignified jobs for these artisans, so they can earn a sustainable income, care for their families, and improve their communities. To learn more:Â http://nataliethom.noondaycollection.com
Our first child, Clara, turned 2 years old in April! I’ve read how the development that occurs from 2-3 is the most dramatic of any one-year period, and man, that’s no joke. It’s amazing how much she grows (physically and mentally) from year to year, month to month, even day to day. While 30% of the time is maddening more than we would have ever imagined, on the whole she is amazing, interesting, and loving, and we’re so lucky to have a beautiful child to watch grow. But don’t let anyone fool you — it’s freaking hard too.
Other than rehabbing (which mostly just meant painting) the guest room and future baby’s room, the main house project for the year was to install a fence. When we bought the house almost 4 years ago, the “left” and “right” side of the backyard (North and South) had a fence standing, but the “back” (East) end had apparently been removed in years past. We finally decided this year to tear down what remained, dig new post holes, and rebuild the entire fence. With many thanks to a couple great friends and Natalie’s dad, and with work happening here-and-there over about 6 weeks, with two or three main long days of work, it was completed. This won’t be news to anyone who has a fence, but it’s so amazing to be able to “let the dog out” or even just have the kids play in the backyard. Incredible. Who knew.
Over the summer, Natalie survived the heat while substantially pregnant, and Michael was quite busy at work. He was nearing the end of a 13-ish-month construction project at work (which really was more than 2 years in the planning), as his company — DK Pierce — built a new headquarters building in Zionsville. You can see more about that project at the link below, but it is an amazing building, in an incredible setting, in an interesting new corporate park concept that is part nature preserve. DKP is the first company to build there. Michael is very proud of the work they’ve done in making the initial vision a reality.
DKP Construction Time Lapse:Â https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ku_l9YmEkLs
DKP Open House and Ribbon Cutting:Â https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5cG0CBvXV8
And then… September 25thÂ Nora (Eleanor) ElizabethÂ joined the family! Labor started in the early morning, and at 9:52am a 9 lb 2 oz, 21-inch baby girl had been born. So far Nora has been a bit of a better sleeper at night than her sister was, though Nora’s still figuring out what it means to nap during the day. But on balance, she’s a very happy, low-maintenance baby most of the time. Oh, and did we mention she continues the trend of being huge? At every checkup she’s still “bigger than all the babies” as her pediatrician says, regularly registering near the 98th/99th percentile for height and weight. We make ’em big here!
In early October (a whopping week and a half after Nora was born), DKP officially moved into their new headquarters, ending the particularly-busy portion of work for 2017 for Michael. While a handful of construction-related tasks are still ongoing, the majority of things were done by early October, and he and his coworkers have been working out of and enjoying the new space since October 6th. And what a cool space it is.
In November, Natalie thought it would be fun to become a consultant for another company, this time Usborne Books and More. Usborne books has been around since we were kids, making unique and interactive books available to families and schools around the country. As a consultant, Natalie conducts home and online book parties, where customers can purchase books, host shows, and build their home libraries. Clara has already benefitted from Natalie’s work, as her love of dog books is absolutely enabled by Usborne. Learn more here:Â http://y6926.myubam.com
It’s hard to believe, but onÂ ChristmasÂ day Nora will turn three months old! She’s growing and developing every day, and we’re so excited to see what the next few months will bring. Aside from the dumpster fire that was 2017 in America broadly, for our little family it was mostly about parenting. And surviving. And parenting. Those things are in no way related. While there are no big changes planned for 2018, continuing to parent two bodacious little girls will be its own excitement and challenge. We’re so grateful to have all of you around us and with us through these journeys, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
We hope that you all are enjoying the holiday season and can spend it with loved ones. Best wishes for a great start to 2018!
Michael, Natalie, Clara, Nora, and Yogi