|Most snow we've ever had on our deck in the 6 years we've been here|
|The day after January 17, 2018 snowstorm|
|Sledding and building snowmen at the neighbor's house|
The entire month wasn't freezing or snowy. We had two "snow storms." The first produced only a few inches that mostly melted the next day. The second big storm mostly melted within two days. That is why I love North Carolina.
During the month of January we also went to our beloved Museum of Life & Sciences in Durham, went to the bounce house, found kid play areas in new places (like Home Depot), and celebrated Rose's 4th birthday a little early with a few friends who had January birthdays. I celebrated Zoe mostly being potty trained (and the end of cloth diapers) by buying a new washer and dryer. I also decided that 2018 was going to be the year to really work on "fixing" my back. I started back up with a physical therapist to work on strengthening the core.
|Painting at Home Depot|
|Rose and Landon's 4th Birthday and Liv's first!|
|Celebrating the birthday girl with her friends from school|
The month of February always goes by so quickly. It's a short month and we celebrate Rose's birthday several times, including the day of her birth. We like to celebrate her birthday with the other February birthdays in the family - Rose's aunt and grandmother (Colin's sister and mother). That means we usually take a trip up to New York. This year we drove up and I spent the week with the girls. Thankfully the weather wasn't nearly as cold as it was in December/January. We actually had a warm spell and went to a snow tubing park where most of the snow had melted. Thankfully, we came back to North Carolina without illnesses the second time around.
|Even for her birthday, Rose isn't quick to wake up|
Dancing to end her birthday (and use up the cupcake sugar!)
|Driving the 12 hours to New York|
Lots of bilingual singing in the car on this trip!
|Zoe now loves smiling for the camera for selfies (when she's in the mood)|
We checked out some programs at the Music School in Albany - both girls had a blast!
|Sledding with cousin Isabella|
This year, February was even busier because of a grant application I wasn't prepared for. Over the past few years, I've had to write some federal grants that bring in significant funds for the state to offer health programs, but they've been written to the same funder each spring. My agency (and by "my agency" I mean "I") was asked to take the lead on a big, competitive CDC grant. It involved collaborating with a lot of internal and external partners, creating a complex plan for meeting very ambitious outcomes, and figuring out how to detail it all in a narrative and workplan with page restrictions. It also came at a time when I knew we'd be applying for another federal grant soon after (likely to overlap), and while my office was/is short-staffed at leadership and project management levels. It is really difficult to find the work-life balance when work is over-the-top stressful. I tried to engage with the girls and Colin during "family time," and to keep work separate, but the mental and emotional fatigue and stresses are harder to separate. I struggle daily with patience, and really had to work on it the past few months through the writing of two big grants from February through May.
Stay tuned for updates from March and April. There was an unfortunate injury in there for me, but spring and nicer weather mean we had a lot of fun outdoor activities start back up.