A letter about 2016

(photo by BF - Brynne Frei)

Dear friends,

Hooray, we survived! Like how did we survive and what was it all for? I don't know. This was our last full year of residency, with only 6 months to go! 2017 has been in our minds for a long time and now we're finally here. 2017 promises a lot of good things - a move to California, my 30th birthday, the end of residency, and a real job! It's the end of an era for us. New York has been our home for a long time and I know we'll love coming back to visit. I also know that if we could cut out our neighborhood and plant it in California we would. Riverdale for life.

We are all still afraid of Rinnie - the little body and mind that doesn't quit. When she wants something, she'll bug you, push you, yell at you until you understand. She is unbelievably good at puzzles and taking things apart. We've been trying to channel her destructive tendencies and obvious genius into good activities but it's hard. She loves princesses and will often say the names of princesses instead of colors. She has so much going on in her brain that we want to figure out - like why so many facial expressions? Or why do your fingers talk to each other? And why do you fold your arms and act super important when we ask you to throw something in the garbage for us? She is legit and I'm dying to see what she does in life. I feel like Heavenly Father entrusted us with someone who is super interesting and I'm trying to not mess her up.

And our sunshine girl forever, Alta. If you start making plans or talking about ideas with her, you'll never stop. She will make any idea you have more epic and exciting. She writes the funniest stories and draws pictures that are so ridiculous/great. She's now in full day pre-K (8:45-3) and she generally loves it - except for rest time when she's forced to lay down on a mat with a blanket for an hour (although she tells me that sometimes she plays quietly so the teacher can't see...) She's had some big milestones like putting her face in the water with goggles on and sitting in a normal swing. She's still obsessed with her bunny and sets up little scenes with bunny everywhere. We're grateful for her mostly gentle nature as she balances out her rough and tough little sister and sometimes we're lucky enough to hear them play so nicely in their room (here you go Rinnie! Thank you Alta! You're welcome Rinnie! :):):):))

This year has been crazy for me. It seems like every time I finished one thing, another thing began. 5 rounds of chemo to 35(?) rounds of radiation to an attempt at a clinical trial to implant surgery to repairing my implant surgery took me all the way to Christmas with physical concerns. Looking back, it was often the daily grind with physical limitations that was the hardest. There were some really dark days with chemo when I thought I'd never feel better but they were quickly rushed away by little girls running around, yelling demands at me. The general lag has been to figure out how to get around from appt to appt, taking kids to school, watching kids, feeding kids, and not lifting kids for almost 2 months. I am so grateful to be past that lifting restriction although I don't know if I'll be doing push ups any time soon (I'm still trying to be careful!) I've been dreaming a lot about our next year - about a house, about a job, and a new life for our family. One where we'll feel more at home with family and freedom to drive and park and do whatever we want. I'm ready to decorate, build, and do all the fun things plus some extra things for the girls like dance lessons and bigger, messier art projects. I'm proud of what we've accomplished here in a small, limited space. It has been a great lesson in making things work and patience for the things we really want.

Dave's last year as a resident. Wow. Such a good feeling! We debated back and forth about doing a fellowship and moving to this place or that place but I'm so happy about his decision to work with his brother in Fresno and move on. The last year of residency here is focused on surgeries. There have been some humbling weeks and lots of months of frustration spent at the city hospital nearby. (He is almost done with his time there and we're all excited about that!) But it's so nice to be a senior resident and generally know what is going and what needs to be done. It will be intimidating to be out in the real medical world but it will be nice to not have to answer to attendings and to take care of things himself. Plus, the possibility of time to run? play music? work on house projects? (I snuck that one in there :)) and teach the kids all sorts of tricks? We're all excited about that. And real money. Hallelujah.

We're trying to fight the feeling of let's just get through these next 6 months and find ways to enjoy our time here. It's my natural tendency to jump to the next thing and the next thing is far far away so we're going to stick with the closest next thing which is an eye surgery for Alta (tomorrow!) and our trip to California in a couple of weeks. Life definitely turned upside down again with my mom getting diagnosed with ovarian cancer last month. I'm not sure what to say about that except that it sucks and we're thinking about her constantly. Here's to a year with another move (a good one this time!) and hope and patience that we can get through each thing that's thrown at us. We are overwhelmed when we think of all of the people that helped us get through this year. Family, friends, neighbors, strangers, doctor's office people, church members, etc. I have learned a lot about trusting God, moving forward, and letting him guide our path.

Much love to you all!



  1. you are amazing and inspiring. i too am glad (for you) that 2016 is over and that you have a new year with many exciting things ahead. bless you and all the hard months and days you have gone through. i loved your descriptions about your girls in this post. xoxox


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