Thursday, February 04, 2016

Blogging catch up - The year 2015 in review

Since I haven't done a very good job of posting regularly, I guess it's time for another "year in review" post...this time about the adventures of my family and I in 2015.

Similar to my previous catch-up post, we had a lot of family fun attending "geeky" conventions this past year. Winter (January) and Fall (September) we went to the Salt Lake Comic Con and had a ball meeting and greeting celebrities, checking out all sorts of fun art and geek/nerd memorabilia and just having a good time all around. I volunteered in the fall at the Board Game demo tables which was a fun and interesting experience. Sadly that meant I didn't get to go to as many panels or see as much of the convention, but it was still fun.

For the Winter "FanX" convention, they brought in 3 guests from the modern Doctor Who universe (something that the whole family has been enjoying). We went to a panel and listened to Billie Piper, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan as they all just sort of hung out and chatted on a couch on stage. Then later we stood in a very long line to get our picture taken with them. My dear sweet wifey and her aching joints were dying by the time we got to the front of the line so she was a little woozy and out of it and doesn't remember once. The photo experience was pretty funny. The five members of our family got situated (very quickly) and they prepped to take the picture...Matt Smith "struck a pose" with his fingers up in a sort of peace sign or something and in so doing he poked my oldest son in the a result, my son is sort of glaring a little confused at Matt Smith (who also sort of half squatted down so he's a little covered by my daughter). So, we have a fairly hilarious picture with a laughable memory. The kids also had a lot of fun dressing up in costumes as well as seeing the panels from Studio C (a sketch comedy group) who were just as funny and silly live as they are on TV.

In the Spring (March), I indulged my board game passion by going to SaltCon (Utah's Board Game convention) and playing all sorts of fun new and old games. My oldest son was supposed to come with me for at least one of the days but sadly he ended up getting super much so that he ended up in the hospital for a few days. He has "cold induced asthma" so when he was hit by a bad cold that decided to become pneumonia he ended up having severe trouble breathing. It took multiple days in the hospital on super meds before he was breathing adequately on his own and keeping his oxygen levels high enough that they felt safe letting him go home. It was a sad and trying week and he quickly gained a solid distaste for hospital food and beds.

As Spring continued, my wife was called to be in a position where she helped plan, organize and carry out the quarterly Stake activities for our church...the first one slated to happen in May. She quickly flew into a frenzy of excitement along with the other people assigned to the committee and in May we attended an exciting "Hoe Down". Sadly the weather decided not to cooperate so at the last minute we had to move the entire activity indoors and re-coordinate the layout of games, chili cook-off, square dancing, food and other entertainment. To those who hadn't seen "behind the curtain", I'm sure everything looked like a smooth and flawless execution, but I know the committee members (and their families) were stressed and worn out by the time it was done. The second event was in September and was on a similar scale...being a dinner event with activities. This time the weather did cooperate and we were able to have a great time with food, games and music on a lovely evening. For Winter they had a Live Nativity and "giving night" which was much more low-key but was a great event.

Over the Summer, the High School band director reached out and asked my oldest if he'd be interested in joining the marching band (apparently they needed another Tuba/Sousaphone player) so he spent about half of the Summer in marching band training which was both fun and stressful for him. He marched in a couple of parades over the Summer and then played at the school football games in the fall. The band went to competitions and ended up placing THIRD in State competition for their division. Very exciting!

For our family vacation we kept things a little low key and also decided to indulge our daughter who had mentioned a few times that it didn't seem fair that they boys (and sometimes dad) went camping so often (due to Boy Scouts) but she had never been camping besides in our backyard. So we booked a campsite up at Bear Lake and spent a few days roughing it on the beach. As the dates approached there were weather reports of storms but we lucked out and had a beautiful week. It was just the right temperature with a little bit of overcast and hints of storms but overall it was great. We didn't get a boat or any motorized watercraft but rather just grabbed some pails, shovels and inflatables and had fun on the beach.

The kids had a great time wading and swimming and building castles and burying each other. We had fun cooking around the fire and driving into town for "world famous Bear Lake Raspberry Shakes." The campsite and beach weren't anything spectacular...a bit of scrub brush and some sporadic trees. It was a tightly packed campground and we had a couple of neighbors who were extremely noisy well into the night which made for a little trouble sleeping. The most exciting night though was when my son woke us up in the middle of the night saying he heard a bear outside the tent sniffing around and getting into stuff. Peeking through the tent flap it was evident that something was pulling and playing in our garbage but it was small enough that I couldn't see it so our best guess was that one of the neighbor dogs may have been sniffing close to the tent as it would have had louder breathing and that a squirrel or something was rooting around in our trash (which I hiked to the dumpster to avoid more late night activity). It made for a long night and we were dragging a bit the next day.

As fall approached we continued some doctor visits and it was decided that the time had finally come for my wife to get her surgery. She has genetic history of bad joints...hips, shoulders, knees...the works. We've been monitoring them for years and have had some smaller fixes done but the doctors (along with us) finally decided that it was time for hip replacement surgery. And we decided to not just go halfway, but to do both hips. So in October she went in for her first full hip replacement and in December she went in to get the other one done. Being as young as she is and as much of a "go-getter" as she is, it's been very hard on her to be down in recovery for so long (she still has trouble being up and active for more than an hour or two at a time) but the doctors keep assuring us that she's recovering very well and they actually laugh a little when she says she can be up for "only an hour" and they tell her that really she's far ahead of the game. We're hopeful that she'll be up to a near "full" recovery by late spring or early summer (they said that by 6 months she should be back to almost normal in most things) and we've already committed to hiking Mount Timpanogos again this year, so here's hoping. Being down is really hard on her and a lot of the times it's harder for her emotionally than it is physically but she's doing awesome!

For Christmas we didn't do any BIG HUGE family gift or anything (letting the kids know that mom's new hips are the big gift to the family) but we had a nice low-key Christmas. It was actually pretty relaxing and very nice. The kids and I did leave wifey home a few times to go out to Temple Square or the Ogden Park to see the lights, attend Christmas concerts and family/neighborhood get togethers but mostly we relaxed through December and spent some good time having fun together at home.

And that mostly catches up on the big events of the past year. There are plenty of "smaller" details (some of which were pretty significant as well), but for a quick wrap up, I think this covers it.

This calendar year, my oldest turns 16 which means driving and his first real job. My youngest will start Junior High School and she's excited for that. Meanwhile my wife and I are starting to feel old with the realization that our kids are growing up so fast and will all potentially be out of our home in less than a decade..crazy. We plan to live up the next few years to the fullest and make lots of great memories.

Welcome to 2016.

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