Before we get into 2013 we ought to post a family update summarizing 2012. We’ll start with the members of our family that you most want to hear about. Sam (3 1/2) and Daniel (1 1/2) are great friends to each other. There is nothing that makes us happier than to see those two playing together. They love wrestling, pretending and playing outside together. They are sweet boys and we feel so blessed to have them.
Sam finished a year of joy school and loved every minute of it. It was a lot of work to try to coordinate with the other parents and it seemed like joy school was cancelled more often than not, but we enjoyed getting to know some other kids better. In the fall we decided to go a different route and enrolled him in preschool at our next door neighbor’s house. It is one of his favorite parts of the week, and Brittny is glad to pay someone else to plan the lessons and coordinate everything rather than doing it herself. Having preschool right next door was the perfect solution for Sam since he’s already comfortable with our neighbor and awesome for us since we don’t even have to drive him! He’s been loving it and we enjoy seeing him come home with all of his new projects to show off. His mom is learning the skill of properly disposing preschool art projects without causing too much consternation. Sam loves to learn, he knows his alphabet very well and can spell a few words (Sam, mom, dad, stop etc.) and would probably love to be reading better if we would spend more time teaching him. Despite his original objections to the zoo, Brittny’s aunt was very generous and shared her zoo pass with us this year. Sam quickly decided that his favorite animals were the elephants and we enjoyed MANY fun days at the zoo this summer. THANK YOU so much Aunt Petrine!
Sam enjoyed spending his summer days outside playing with the other kids in our neighborhood. He made good friends with the 5 year old next door who loves to play with him and Danny. So much so that we had to disconnect our doorbell one day to keep him from coming over every 5 minutes during naptime (the every 5 minutes part isn’t an exaggeration)! One of the really funny things is that two of the older kids that he played with have speech impediments and have difficulties saying “r” sounds. We started to notice that Sam had started to say things like “squawes” instead of “squares” and had to explain to him that even though these kids were older, Sam did in fact have the correct pronunciation of the “r” sound! It’s interesting to see the influence friends can have. He has finally gotten himself potty trained, although keeping dry at night still eludes him. We’ll get there yet! On a more positive note we recently realized that despite having started life as a terrible sleeper Sam has recently become our rock solid sleeper. We’ll put him in bed at night and not hear from him at all until the morning, and nothing bothers him in between! He’s also become our excellent traveller. Over Christmas we went down to California and he happily sat in his carseat for over 10 hours each way, even when his brother was crying. We never thought either of those things would happen, and they happened so gradually we hardly realized it! Further proof that miracles do happen! More than anything he loves technology. Every night before bed he gets to play one computer/phone/tablet game with his dad and it’s probably his favorite part of the day. If we don’t watch him carefully he often will find a device and happily retreat to some corner of the house to play games for hours on end. He recently told his mom that he needed a different clock that he could watch shows on and play games on like his dad, and that he needed a new laptop for Christmas because his laptop (just a toy one) is just old. Oh boy! We have a feeling this is a pattern that we will be observing for years to come! We enjoy having him in our family and all the different perspectives he brings to our lives.
Our Daniel turned one this year and is an absolute delight to be around. He is a bright and happy child and just a sparkle to have in our family. He loves animals of any kind – from tiny rolly pollies to dogs ten times his size. He has a particular squeal that he emits for any animal that he sees. He has to get closer and pet it, even if that animal looks like it would happily eat him for lunch.
He has started walking and talking. It was funny to watch him learn how to walk, he had gained the ability to stand steadily for long periods of time at about 8 months old, even bending over to pick things up and stand up again without sitting down, but wouldn’t take steps for months. Brittny’s mom called him a meerkat because of the way he stood on two legs looking alert, and then going back to all fours to actually get around. Then on Sam’s birthday he took a couple steps on his own. After that he took a few steps every day for a few weeks, but nothing more. Then one day he suddenly decided that he could walk, and off he went! By the end of that week he was testing out running and hasn’t looked back. Danny loves being outside and playing with his big brother.
We were very excited for him to start nursery back in October, however he’s only made it a couple of times so far. Daniel has absolutely no fear or inhibitions, much to the dismay of his parents! He will climb on to anything within reach, grab exactly everything he shouldn’t and simply run away from his parents from time to time. Luckily the worst injury he’s had so far was a burn on his hand from grabbing the iron, and a big bump on his head from tumbling out of the shopping cart. Daniel of course has also taken after his father’s interests in technology.
He loves to mimic any sort of big sounds, be it the lawn mower, the snow blower, or the smoke detector. Or playing music and dancing, he’s a little audiophile in the making! His vocabulary is starting to blossom, and it’s fun to see him gain a few new words every day. Around the time Daniel entered nursery, he developed a bit of separation anxiety. After he warms up to you he is very snuggly and affectionate, though. We got him weaned within the last month which has been a huge milestone for us. For the first time in over 4 years Brittny is neither nursing a baby or pregnant with one (or both at once!) Danny has also started wanting to be potty trained, which is surprising to us after only just finishing potty training Sam a few months ago! We’ve been putting him off until after a getaway that we have planned in a couple weeks as it doesn’t seem kind to leave him with his Grannie only partially potty trained but that will definitely be an exciting change! Now if we can get him to sleep through the nights on his own again he’ll be practically all grown up!
Brittny has been extremely busy as the secretary in our ward’s Primary Presidency, but she is enjoying her work and contributing a lot to the community. On top of her calling and motherly duties, Brittny still enjoys doing freelance web programming for various clients, especially friends and family. This year she created websites for a neighbor starting his podiatry practice, a friend who’s developing her own clothing line, another website for that same friend for a wrapping paper business and a popular young adult novelist. She recently landed a contract with Adobe and that has definitely given her a good challenge and changed the way she’s working. For the first time since before Sam was born she’s actually going into an office to work, which is something she hadn’t really considered doing. She wrote a lot more about this transition in her blog, but it’s been a great opportunity for her to get to know what Eric does a bit better (the contract is one within his department), really improve her skills and gain some confidence in working with different systems. She spent a fair amount of time caught up in the recent election, and while she’s considerably disappointed in the results, she’s somewhat glad just to have it over with.
Eric has been settling more into his Product Management role at Adobe, and he’s recently taken on some additional responsibilities for more Adobe products. That does mean more traveling and workload, but it’s also a good opportunity for him to take his skills to the next level. He’s recently traveled to New York City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Boston, and Sydney attending fun conferences and visiting with customers.
He’s very excited about the completion of Adobe’s new campus which – besides being a really awesome facility with great amenities – has the added benefit of being less than 10 minutes from our home rather than 35 minutes away like their old location. He’s given himself the added responsibility of being a team captain for Adobe’s After Hours Gaming League team for League of Legends (think like a company softball team – but with video games). They play for charity so he gets the added benefit of being able to justify his time spent playing his favorite game as being for a good cause. :) Fortunately, he is around most weekends so he can sing with the choir and play the violin in special musical numbers. Eric also had the added luck to win the company’s NCAA March Madness pool with a bracket in the top 0.05% of all brackets on ESPN.com, which is funny because he doesn’t follow basketball hardly at all. The $1,000 prize went towards his season pass to Solitude this year! He’s been given two church callings in addition to a church “assignment”. He helps out in our primary as a “friend” to an autistic child, is in charge of email communications for our stake’s single adult ward and is an emergency preparedness neighborhood block leader. They just can’t get enough of him! At the new year he’ll be trading in his calling as a “friend” for being Danny’s nursery leader, which will hopefully encourage Daniel to attend nursery more frequently!
Progress on the house is coming along, though we’re sure there will be a never-ending supply of projects, we finally were able to put in a backyard complete with fresh sod and a planter box for our gardening ambitions. There was a mix up with the sod delivery and it came a day earlier than expected but late in the day. Even though we had people who were willing to come and help in the morning Eric got excited about the sod and just started rolling it out, with the intention of just seeing how far he could get before it got too dark. Just before midnight he came into the house with all of the sod laid! It was especially fortunate as a rainstorm came in the next day which would have made the sod much heavier, and it made it so our sod could take good advantage of the moisture. Even though we hadn’t intended on additional purchases this year, we rounded out our backyard with a nice gas grill and playset for the kids. Building the playset was yet another adventure. It took us over a month to complete and after several trips to Home Depot for missing or broken parts we finished with some leftover pieces. In retrospect we think we’d have been better off finding some plans and buying some lumber and building it from scratch, but we’re glad to have a fun playset for our kids to take advantage of in our yard.
We hope the new year brings joy to you all and that you will feel the love of our Savior in your life.