Most people will agree that 2016 wasn’t a year that anyone particularly wants to remember but even shitty days are better than the alternative, a truth I more or less keep in the forefront of my mind.
The story for me this year was Juniper, my daughter. When 2016 began I had this little blob of a human just learning to control the movements of her own head (Right? What do 3-month-old babies do? I can’t even remember.) And now, a year later, that blob has grown into a tiny little person with a very big personality. She walks, she talks, she gives the world’s best hugs and kisses. She has opinions, favorite toys, favorite foods. She loves dogs and swinging and removing every.single.item from the carefully organized drawers of my desk. She is a wonder. She’s my wonder and not a day goes by that I don’t thank my lucky stars to have her.
We stayed home a lot in 2016, especially in those early months. When I scan through the pictures on my phone in January, February and March they are either of me, dressed in sweatpants, holding or feeding the baby or of Brian holding or napping with the baby. Our life was like every sentimental commercial about diapers or college savings plans. Those days felt so long but now – here I am admitting it- I already miss them. (She was so small! So cuddly! So delicious!)
As the year wore on we did manage to get out a bit. Nothing like 2013, a year I epically recapped here, but we managed some smaller trips camping and hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We went to West Virginia several times to visit my grandparents and extended family, and took a family vacation to Shenandoah National Park where Juniper finally slept through the night- in a tent! We flew to Vermont- Juniper’s first flight- to attend a friend’s wedding. I went to New York, my first trip alone without the baby, to do some book stuff and visit my sisters. We spent a week in the Outer Banks vacationing with my tight knit group of girlfriends whom I have known and loved since college. Three of us have little girls now, born within a ten month period.
Looking back on it I see that 2016 held many sweet moments, the small kind that count a whole bunch in the end.
Here’s what the year looked like for me.
Drool! I nearly forgot the superhuman amount of drool this baby produced
Napping with Dad
Another early morning wake up call
Juniper distracting me with her cuteness while I try to edit my book (the manuscript is there in the background)
Strength training at home with Dad while waiting for winter to end
Hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains outside of Asheville, NC
Baby’s first mountain summit
Juniper’s first camping trip
Visiting Juniper’s great grandma in Morgantown, West Virginia
Brian’s first Father’s Day celebrated by hiking in the woods with his favorite girl
Eight straight nights in a tent in Shenandoah National Park
Views in Shenandoah
Juniper’s first flight to Vermont
Hiking in Vermont’s Green Mountains
Catching up with Oregon friends in Vermont
I nearly died running my first post-pregnancy race
Visiting my sisters in NYC
We added this beauty, a 1969 vintage camping trailer named Ol’ Sweetie, to our family.
Weekend camping trip to Lake Hope
A week-long trip to Corolla Beach, NC with my besties
Juniper turns 1 and doesn’t like it all that much
The advance reader copies of my book arrive in the mail- an exciting day!
Family camping trip with all of Juniper’s cousins
Somehow my little baby is becoming a girl
Four generations of crazy on Thanksgiving Day
Working off our Thanksgiving meal while hiking in West Virginia
This kid loved the Christmas tree
Our final family photo of the year
Thank you for spending another year with me. Here’s hoping that 2017 brings us all good health, joy and lots of adventure.