Tuesday, January 03, 2017

How 2016 Mostly Sucked...But Kinda Not

This year was one of the toughest I can remember. I could not WAIT to be done with 2016, but upon prepping for this post, it was nice to realize that hey, some good things did happen as well. I feel like I should be walking away from 2016 with some introspective and profound realizations and wisdom to bestow, but alas, the best I could come up with are these summarizations of the past year:

1. Optimal physical health is something that should not ever be taken for granted;

2. A marriage with a strong foundation is of utmost importance when one's physical health is compromised;

3. The kids are all right; and

4. A trip to the beach is always the answer.

And now, I apologize, for this recap is quite long and self-indulgent, but it's nice to have it written down. To look back and remember...

January 2016 started off with promise, with a friend's 40th birthday bash, and the excitement of an upcoming Florida trip with another couple.

Beach time in January is never a bad thing.

Neither is long-lost friend time.

And our kitchen renovation began in earnest:

But January is also when Hubby began to feel sick with stomach issues. It was definitely just a small sign of things to come...

Nonetheless, in the beginning of February, I celebrated my 43rd birthday with an annual overnight spa trip with girlfriends.

But then, Hubby got sick and was hospitalized for a week. Turns out he was having complications from his longstanding diverticulitis.

In March, our kitchen re-do was finally finished!

(For more kitchen pics, click here.)

And I celebrated a belated birthday in Boston.

 In April, Eldest got his braces off...

...and Hubby was hospitalized, again, with the same stomach complications.

So we postponed our 17th anniversary getaway to focus on him getting well. And we also scheduled surgery for him in the summer to remove the portion of his colon that was riddled with diverticulitis.

In May, we were finally able to get away to Maine. Hubby wasn't feeling his best, but he humored me and my shopping.

I also got to meet the New Kids on the Block in May. My takeaway? They're super short in person.

And we had more family health issues. My dad underwent a 10+ hour back surgery in Boston.

And although I wish time would stand still, it simply won't. Eldest had his 8th Grade Dinner Dance.

And of course there was baseball.  Always baseball.  I'll spare you (and myself) the multitude of pics of that. My bleacher butt can attest to the hours of baseball played from April-July.

Again with the passage of time. Someone turned 12 in June...

...and Someone turned 11 in June...

...and yet a third Someone graduated from middle school.

And then there's July.

Surgery Month.

It was a long, hard road. With a long, hard recovery. And getting used to a new way of life for Hubby. Due to surgical complications, he was left with 36 abdominal staples and a temporary colostomy. This involved visiting nurses coming to help him learn how to care for it, an infected incision as a side effect, and just lots and lots of frustration and helplessness (on both our parts). Needless to say, it was a super tough summer. Throw in the parental guilt of cancelled vacations and summer plans, and you have the perfect storm of Suck.

(Hubby lost a LOT of weight in the hospital, and then shaved off his goatee, which rendered him virtually unrecognizable.)

Thankfully, we are so very lucky to have a Village of friends and family who jumped in to help us.

August brought about the boys' very first concert - Florida Georgia Line. We missed Hubby dearly, but he wasn't up for the crowds and chaos of a country concert so soon after his hospital stay.

There was also a Staycation Week for me, in which I tried to cram in as many fun things as I could with the boyz, while Hubby continued to recuperate at home.

A day trip to Maine to crash with friends at Old Orchard Beach.

Lake time with the boyz and their friends.

 A relaxing few nights at the Cape with friends.

And some beach time with my parents on the Cape...

And with that, summer was over.  Football began, and so did school.

(First day of 9th, 7th and 6th.)

September came, and with that, a new!car! for meeeeee!

And then there was our annual Labor Day trip to Hampton Beach in NH, which is always a good time!

September was also when Hubby began feeling more like himself and willing to venture out. (Never without his trusty backpack of supplies though.) We hit up the Big E (state fair) as a family in September...

And Hubby somehow came away from that with a new cowboy hat.  Who am I to tell a sick dude no?

In September, there was yet MORE beach time for me with a friend. We had a glorious RI beach day all to ourselves...

And Eldest was happy to be playing football on both the Freshman team and the JV team and also dressing for the Varsity games.  He was so fun to watch play!

 There was the Homecoming Dance...

...and a Girls Getaway to Newport, RI where I squeezed in a final beach day!

(Shots are never a good idea, but always seem to be at that exact moment in time, am I right?!)

Still in September (it was a busy month!), my parents came and my Mom and I saw the musical Wicked.

But best of all, I surprised my parents and Hubby and the boyz with a visit from my youngest brother from Colorado. We pulled it off without a hitch!

Then came October. And with that, a 15th birthday.

And Middle got his braces ON.

And because we weren't quite yet done with medical issues yet, this happened:

Broken collarbone. Done with football season.

And the end of October brought us Halloween 2016.

(Oh, and also throw in some incessant *dabbing* in the fall, won't you?)

The beginning of November was when I took the best trip I've taken in quite some time. You know how when you travel and everything just happens to work out perfectly without planning? This was that trip, the entire time. I had a work conference in New York City, so my girlfriend tagged along, because I knew I'd have a decent amount of free time. We ended up having a legitimate blast with minimal effort. Although we didn't see Hamilton (that would've been a unicorn pooping rainbows), we did get to see a taping of Late Night with Seth Myers. HIGHLY recommend.

Then there was the Election We Shall Not Speak Of.

And football season for Youngest came to an end.

And then finally, finally, FINALLY! right before Thanksgiving came Hubby's ostomy reversal surgery.  

And while we had high (albeit misguided) hopes for an easy recovery, it was a little more rough than anticipated, with yet another wound requiring more care.

But we were in the home stretch, and we made it through his illness with our marriage and our humor intact, thankfully!

Thanksgiving was the first time Middle ran a 5-mile race on his own and CRUSHED it.

And our longtime friends provided laughs and fond memories with this photo re-creation of the kids.

Finally, on to December. An end to a year that was bad, yet reminded us how much worse it could really have been.

Basketball season started, and Hubby returned to his favorite place, coaching.

Santa and his magic lurked in the December air.

We celebrated my girlfriend's 40th with a couples trip to Mohegan Sun to see Adam Sandler perform. This was Hubby's first official outing post-surgery. He was slowly getting back to "normal".

We even managed a 2-night getaway to Maine. It was needed.

(When parents text their children.)

And with that, it was Christmas. Yet even closer to the end of 2016. We *thought* we were in the clear. We should've known better.

Christmas Day arrived, and with it, not only new hoverboards...

...but also the stomach bug. WITH A VENGEANCE.

(What 4 solid hours of puking looks like.)

So much so that there was no Christmas festivities with my side of the family. They were too scared to step foot in our Germhouse Trenches. And so we remained in quarantine for much of Christmas week. It was one last kick in the ass from 2016.

But finally, we bid it adieu.

(God forbid we let the year end without a mid-air water bottle flip.)

So that's that. 2016 in pictures and thoughts and words. All things that make me realize how lucky we are, how lucky *I* am, to have what I have, to have what we have. Family, friends, health, happiness.

And all those beach trips weren't bad either.

Peace out 2016!

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