One of these years, I am going to plan properly in advance and do some kind of awesome blog post to close out the year (like Erica@tothesea). But until that time, I am stuck in a cycle of last minute reflections to squeeze in before the ball drops.
Best of 2013: We had an amazing visit with Rasmus, Jytte, Josefine and Nikoline last Easter with an incredible safari, including the hot air balloon ride of my childhood dreams. We found out about the BBG. We (just) found out that we don't have to move in 2014. For me, I finally made friends here in Dar...not just acquaintances, but actual true friends (even though I had to say goodbye to one of them when she moved away).
Other Stuff in 2013: In addition to substitute teaching, I took on meaningful work on the Board of Grace & Noah's school, which certainly keeps me busy. I enjoyed a lot of time with Grace and Noah, but also wish that I had prioritized "me time" a bit more (note to self: do that in 2014...you know, with a newborn!). We came closer towards signing a contract with a literary agent for our children's book and really hope to seal the deal with him to kick off the new year. So 2014 could FINALLY be the year for our Santa. Grace and Noah grew and changed and developed so much this year. It is a great joy to watch them play together, be best friends (and occasionally worst enemies), love and look out for each other as they do. In 2013, we said goodbye to Oldemor/Mormor/Karen. She will be missed this coming year as we welcome a new baby into the family, but she left us with so many happy memories and handmade family treasures that we will surely pass on to the BBG as well. It was special for us that we could at least tell her before she died that the baby was coming, and we know that she was very happy about it.
Hopes for 2014: It goes without saying, but I am hoping and praying for a sweet, healthy baby come April. If we get that, than nothing else really matters. But for icing on the cake: the other two kids will sleep through the night and not be wearing pull-ups at night anymore either. Kristoffer will thrive at work and be happy with the new kind of work his new position offers him. And I will not be sleep deprived for the whole year because our baby will be a good sleeper who does not have any enlarged adenoids (remember, Noah!)! I really hope to see Noah grow in his own independence, Grace grow in her own confidence, and me not completely fall apart when she trots off to proper kindergarten in August. I hope that Kristoffer and I will find ways to stay sane and connected to each other when we have three kids..the first year of a baby is always hard, but I am hoping this time around we've learned a thing or two from the past.
Kristoffer says: I hope to spend even more time with the kids, to become a better sailor, to pursue innovative ideas towards reducing poverty in Africa, to be an energetic father of three, and to test new dietary pursuits for healthy living, to get our Santa book published already!
Grace & Noah: have no attention span for talking to me about this past year or the coming year. I've tried three times in the last two days. They always go off topic and starting talking about birthday parties or something else unrelated like dragons. The take away from this is that in 2013 and 2014, they really love birthdays! And I do know for a fact that they are VERY excited for the arrival of the BBG (see photos below). Noah is asking if the doctor can take the baby out pretty much every morning when he wakes up. He has even told us that we have many knives at our house and could probably just do the job here. (creepy...but sweet, right? Note to self: never turn your back on Noah!)
Finally: To close out 2013, today we purchased some gently used baby items from a departing expat. As you can see, Big Sister Grace and Future Big Brother Noah, were totally psyched. We now have to put the items away or surely they will no longer be in good shape by the time the BBG needs them. But this is a picture of our future - cheers to what and who 2014 will bring into our lives!