...And what a year it has been! A few words to summarize would include Crazy, Busy, Exciting, Sad, Stressful, Happy, Joyous! A friend told me recently that there is a list of the top stressors one can have in their lives and we managed to full fill three of them within a 4 month period. Oops! Fortunately we seem to have come through it alive, still married and happy with only a few bumps and bruises along the way.
Our first "stressor" of the year has been our sweet little Adelaide Raine. She was born May 10th at Saint Mary's in Reno, NV. She is such a joy! Addie is generally a happy baby, unless she has a reason to be upset, and her smile will light up any room. She is now seven months old and keeping us busy. She is sitting up great, rolling around to get to where she wants to go, checking out anything that she can get into her line of vision and putting everything she can get her hands on in her mouth. In the beginning I was really worried about protecting her from her big brother but now know that she loves him to pieces. That is until he takes something she was playing with and she screams at the top of her lungs until he gives it back (he always says "sorry, sorry, sorry Addie" and quickly gives it back). This girl can stand up for herself already! We love to watch her grow and meet new milestones but our favorite thing to do is watching brother and sister interact with each other. Right now they have a mutual love for each other that is amazing to witness.
Since we brought up that new big brother, Jackson, we will talk about him next. He is going to be 3 years old on January 10th which is so hard to believe. It is so cliche to say but time sure flies! Jack has, for the most part, taken all of this years' transitions in stride. He was affected though, and likes to talk about our "Reno house," his "school" and loves to look at "old" pictures. It has made us so sad to see him miss these things and try to understand what is happening from his 2 year old perspective. Overall, though, he seems to be getting it and transitioning to his new life nicely. He of course loves his new sister. He can't wait until they can really play together (right now he pretends to play and share with her). It has been impressive to me to see the compassion he has for her. When she cries or is fussy he wants to know why and what we can do to help. When she got her latest 6 month shots he was visibly upset for her and started singing to her to try to calm her. Such a heart breaker! Jackson's latest activities have been going to the zoo, aquarium, children's museum, library and the park. He of course still loves those trains and his newest love is everything fireman (trucks, extinguishers, alarms, sirens, hats, hydrants). We are just so proud of him. We think that he is the smartest, most handsome boy there ever was and it's nice that we have family here that reinforces these beliefs!
This year was the year that Larry completed and received his PHD in clinical psychology. It amazes me how much work he put in and how much he continues to do. In April, he was offered a position at the University of Washington as a research associate working on a National Institute of Mental Health funded doubly randomized preference trial investigating the efficacy of treatments for PTSD. We of course were very excited to be closer to family, and for such a great career opportunity, so we decided to take the offer and in September we packed up our little Reno house and moved to Seattle.
The move of course is the number two stressor on the list and what a crazy time it was. It was a lot of work...more than I could have ever imagined. But we got it all packed up onto a big trailer and then we drove for the last time to Washington. It was more difficult to leave Reno, than either of us had ever expected. It meant leaving jobs that we loved, friends that we had made and had grown very close to, and our first house where we brought our babies home and became a family. At the same time, we were excited to see what the future had in store for us in Seattle and being able to raise our children with all of our family around had been something we had wanted for a long time.
Onto stressor number three, which has been the new jobs. Larry and I of course had the same start date and have had a lot of help with family watching the kids. Grandma Trudy is here at least once a week watching the munchkins while I try to recover after my shifts. I am working nights, per diem, at Swedish Medical Center in downtown Seattle in a level 2 nursery. It is mostly babies that were in the NICU, but are getting ready to go home and are learning how to eat, or drug affected babies that are weaning off the drugs...not my dream job by any means, but it seems to be working for our family for now and I'm able to spend more time at home while the kids are still little. Larry is really enjoying his new job. He is currently working to get this treatment outcome study up and ready to recruit participants. He enjoys working back at the UW, and has a wonderful team of colleagues that he works with, and feels like the research he is working on is meaningful and important.
Even though we have had some major stress in our lives, the good has still out weighed the bad and we feel truly grateful for what we do have and for the wonderful family that we have made for ourselves.
We're looking forward to another great year in 2011, and can't wait to see what lies ahead.
Merry Christmas everyone and Happy New Year!
With love from the Pruitts,
Natalie, Larry, Jackson and Adelaide (and Maddie and Izzy too!)