20 December 2012

Peace, Love & Joy

What an amazing year we've had in Denver. Every year seems like the best year ever, 
but this year definitely ranks as one of the best!

I started the year with a major career change: Teaching part-time at the University of Denver and consulting part-time with Struckman Consulting. The change was motivated by many things, the most important of which was spending more time with the kids - together. We enjoyed many adventures together, including the Butterfly Pavilion, the Museum of Nature & Science, the Botanic Center, weekly library trips, many trips to the park and other adventures around the neighborhood.

Nate embarked on a career change about six months later. He is now happily employed by a large engineering consulting firm in downtown Denver. The decreased commute and the interesting work topics continue to remind him that a change can do one good. 

This year I made a very conscious effort to live a more sustainable life. Benny reached a milestone in the spring that made that effort a little easier - he learned to ride a bike. Since March, the family has put countless miles on our bikes. Nate can commute to work by bike now and does on occasion. If possible, I schedule meetings within a five-mile radius of the house and ride whenever I can. The decision to bike more has made a profoundly positive impact on all of our lives.

The garden in our backyard has grown substantially since we moved into our house four years ago. Nate's strong suit is growing things - and not necessarily using them. By default, I'm the harvester. In past years, much of the produce has gone to waste. This year, I was able to use a vast majority of the produce and make some fantastic new recipes. And I'm still making dishes from the garden with the squash and garlic we have stored in the basement closets!

The kids are at such amazing ages now. Parenting, while still incredibly challenging at times, is also so much fun. Benny started school this fall and is excelling. He can be so mature and thoughtful and hilarious. He enjoys to play with blocks and puzzles and ride his bike and build forts. Lila is a joy. She is expressing so much by speaking now. She enjoys "making" brunch and play with her stuffed animals and watching construction equipment. This year, the two of them seem to have formed a special bond that only a brother and sister can have. They love to cause trouble together. And I'm so thankful that we were able to spend so much time together earlier in the year to help strengthen that bond.

So I close the year 2012 with a lot of peace, love and joy. I can't wait to see what 2013 has in store! Happy holidays!

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