If I could sum up 2015 in just a few words, I would call it:
The year of the Clara
Our beautiful, exciting, confusing, precious, frustrating, but mostly amazing daughter Clara was born at the beginning of April. This was aÂ bit earlier than planned (a little less than 3 weeks), which was a bit of a bummer for Natalie because her time off work had only just started 24 hours before she went into labor. So much for time to relax and prepare for baby!
It’s hard to believe that as we type this Clara is now over 8 months old. 8 months already! She’s now moving a lot — though she hasn’t quite worked out how to moveÂ forward — and often babbling and shouting and generally letting us know she’s there and wants our undivided love and attention. And yes, we have first child syndrome. Bear with us.
Other than life with a baby… wait, there’s life outside the baby?
I mean, seriously, that’s been pretty all-consuming. But here and there we’ve done a few other things this year… we actually started the year off (before baby!) with an amazing trip with Michael’s work to Phoenix, AZ, for a work meeting, but we added a couple days to the trip and made a “baby moon” out of it, spending a few days at a very unique, truly wonderful resort. We had great weather, a little In-N-Out Burger, and a very relaxing time. (Natalie says the “pregnancy massage” at the spa was the highlight of her February. Curiously, Michael said the Penske Racing Museum was his highlight.Â They have different hobbies.) We’ve also managed to work on some house projects, including the biggest painting project we have for this house…so naturally, we planned to do it around the busiest time of year…with a baby who is figuring out how to crawl. Brilliant.
We also took our first big trip with the baby just a couple weeks ago — a road trip to Bluffton, SC, to be with family for Thanksgiving! Clara did quite well on the trip… and loved being doted on every minute of our time there. But funny how a less than 12 hour trip can turn into nearly 14 by just adding one baby.
Aside from vacations, Michael ran the Indy 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in May (for the first time, finally), and he was training for his fourth Monumental Half Marathon in November until he got pneumonia… so that was fun. He’s mostly just disappointed to miss out on the second of the four-part medal they gave out. But at least now he can check “get pneumonia before I’m 30” off his bucket list?
Michael’s job at DK Pierce continues to evolve, and, to wit, in June he started in a new role. Or an expanded role, perhaps. Called Director, Corporate Project Management, the role will still encompass most of the IT Director duties from before, but also include direct work on company-related projects as well as coordinationÂ of client project management activities. The most specifically exciting part of this role so far has been the work on determining the future of DKP’s campus… I hope to have more news to post on this very soon, but for now, we’ll stay vague and say that we’re working on securing a location and plans for the next DKP building!
Natalie’s life has taken a different turn. While still focused on teaching small children, she switched from lunch duty and small group lessons to diaper changes and baby wearing. Her days consist of nursing, tummy time, nap damage control, playdates, long walks around the neighborhood, and debatably necessary trips to Target. When she’s not cataloging the many facial expressions of our tiny dancer, she’s doing diaper laundry, researching when Clara might sleep through the night, buying more baby carriers (Hi, my name is Natalie, and I’m addicted to babywearing), and valiantly trying toÂ keep Clara from snagging more kitchen utensils for her toy stash.
Clara has changed our lives significantly, and for the better. It’s been a tough adjustment at times, and sleep-interrupted nights sure don’t help, but we wouldn’t trade herÂ for anything.
In line with our new lives, we don’t have a Christmas photo of our little family, but we will leave you withÂ this photo of Clara. Merry ChristmasÂ andÂ Happy New Year! (And feel free to click on and print any of these to put on your wall/door/fridge of Christmas cards if you’d like!)