Dear friends and family,
Before 2016 gets too far underway and the memories of 2015 fade, I wanted to recount our family’s experiences, travels, mishaps, and milestones. Being able to sit down and catch up with each of you in your own living rooms is a deep heart-wish of mine, but knowing how unlikely that is, I wanted to be sure and at least send you an update with lots of pictures!
Daniel started his year living it up as a bachelor while Aletheia and I were away for 3 months. Though the neighbors told me they were worried by the enormous stack of pizza boxes they saw piled in the trash, causing them concern over his diet, he managed just fine. His grocery shopping consisted of frozen pizzas, smoothies, nuts, and lots of dark chocolate bars, so I’m told. Let’s just say it was good for both of us to realize how much the other enhances our daily life, and we were overjoyed to be re-united in May.
July was the start of his 3rd year in residency, marking the halfway point in this challenging journey. He continues to grow in his ability to treat patients, lead a medical team, and manage a healthy work-life balance. How he juggles it all, I couldn’t tell you, but I am so proud of how hard he works and how fiercely he loves his family. Even through his exhaustion, he finds ways to make Aletheia giggle and ask me how I’m doing after a long day (or night).
We celebrated 6 years of marriage in May, marking the occasion with one of the most delicious (and expensive) meals we’ve ever enjoyed. If you’re ever in Ellicott City, you’ll have to try out their little French restaurant, Tersiguel’s. Think old historic row home converted into charming dining area with food prepared table side and herbs freshly gathered from their garden out back. Experiences over things have always been important to us, and this one was definitely among our all-time favorites.
The Hindman family vacation was definitely one of this year’s highlights for all of us. Every one of his 6 brothers and sisters and their families were able to make it out to Edisto Island and spend the week together. A crazy fun experience with lots of humongous meals, late-night laughter, competitive corn-hole competitions, and good-natured teasing.
It’s been fun to see his “handy-man” side come out with buying our new home in Baltimore this past October. It’s a sweet little 2-story row home with history and charm to spare. We’ve not been here three months, and he’s already gotten one of the transoms restored to working order with plans to get the rest in shape as soon as he can. We love this little place.
The reason I was gone for 3 months was because I had the opportunity to invest myself in a photography internship in Greenville, SC where both our families live. With both sets of grandparents on the babysitting bandwagon and brothers and sisters willing to host us, my dream of pursuing this gifting of mine came true. I worked in both studio and outdoor settings with a talented photographer and his team, giving me behind-the-scenes-insight into the photography business and client interactions. While working, I continued to take on my own projects such as blogging for Relay Foods and putting to good use what I had learned by capturing my sister’s maternity pictures and her son’s newborn photos. I’m so glad I was able to be in town for my nephew’s birth!
Speaking of birth, I had the shock of my life when I discovered I was pregnant just a month after I had left Baltimore. No one saw that coming, but we were thrilled just the same! I did my best to continue working through the morning sickness and uncertainty of a few pregnancy scares, but it was tough! Coming to the end of the internship was a welcome finish line. I was nearly 16 weeks along by the time I returned home. During the summer we found our Baltimore row-home, worked on arranging the purchase, and prepared ourselves to move, all while growing closer and closer to the baby’s due date. In fact, our closing date was the same as my due date in the end. Edmund was born 36 hours later.
Aletheia showed just how big she was getting by taking the 3-months away from home in stride. Although all the spoiling from the grandparents might have had something to do with it. Back home over the summer, she had a surprise she’ll never forget. One day she alerted me to a bumping, scratching noise coming from one of the closets in our apartment. After some investigation we found a bird stuck on one of the sticky traps we had set out to catch the army of mice invading our space. Although shocked, I was incredibly relieved that it wasn’t a rat, as plentiful in Baltimore as the squirrels are on Bob Jones campus (my alma mater). We’re really not sure how it ended up in there, but leaving it stuck to the trap didn’t seem like the right thing to do. So with a little canola oil, we freed the little guy, lathered him up with a bit of Dawn dish soap, and treated him to some bird seed while he dried off. Heartbroken hardly describes how Aletheia felt after we let him go later that day. My super talented mom wrote and illustrated a storybook to commemorate the event just so Aletheia won’t ever forget the day she rescued a little black bird and bravely let him fly free.
She continues her ballet lessons and takes on every opportunity to put on a performance wherever we go, the grocery store, the park, Chipotle. She knows how to draw a crowd, that’s for sure. I should really put out a donation cup for her sometime.
Reading is something we’ve worked extra hard on this summer, and she is getting oh so close to being able to read beginner books on her own. Constantly sounding out words and working to spell, she’s bleeding me dry of paper, envelopes, and stamps with all the letters she tries to send out. It’s been so exciting to see her learn new things and to witness first hand her accomplishments. Not to make any of you jealous, but I am by far the most frequent recipient of her letters, my favorite this year being a note she wrote to encourage me after a failed attempt at pie crust. It read “For Mom, You are so good at making pie crusts.” For a mom overcome with exhaustion and frustrated at failure, it meant so very much.
Modeling some flower girl dresses for a friend’s photo shoot and attending the Nutcracker are a couple other noteworthy experiences for our confident, artistic little 5-year-old. Watching her passion unfold as she takes in these moments is always remarkable to me. She lives with more enthusiasm in one moment than I think I muster in an entire day!
And of course, each of our lives were changed by the arrival of little Edmund Oak. His birth marked the fulfillment of so much we had worked towards throughout the year, slipping into our arms and hearts on November 1st, just after midnight. I don’t know of any sweeter introduction I’ve made than of brother and sister, Aletheia melting into one giant grin as she wrapped Edmund in her biggest, gentlest embrace. We’ve been content to take postpartum slow and easy, daily taking moments to give room for more and more intimate introductions, giving space to acquaint ourselves with this wonderful little human who seems now to always have been with us.
Much love to you all as you walk into 2016!
Daniel, Susanna, Aletheia, and Edmund