Year in review: 2016

With my mat leave continuing for the first half of the year, it was eventful. Plus, I had leftover vacation time on top of vacation that accrued while I was on leave on top of a new vacation. I was rich in vacation days and it wasn’t my style to take it all at once at the end of my leave and instead peppered the late summer and fall with travel. Whee!

We kicked off the new year with two other families (four kids in total) in Bellevue. The extent that we (could not) schedule activities and observing the couple with the older kids was a glimpse of what’s yet to come. But hurray for getting in a group trip!

I went nuts during his year’s Hot Chocolate Festival and blogged about it. I went to 12 spots and that’s what can happen when you’re on leave and the kiddo is easy to bring around at just seven months old.

For the second year in a row, I volunteered through the CVITP program to assist people in filing their income tax returns. I heard some touching stories and – could I be getting softer – they seemed to touch me more.

I made my second solo trip to bring E to see my parents. He was nine months and interactive and adorable. I learned from my November trip to break up the journey in Toronto on the way out and back but it costs more. MY and I had one really Asian (food) day and it was good to put in significant time in Halifax.

After seeing the advertisements last year, I was excited to mark my first Mother’s Day with fellow first timers Ed and SIL and babies by participating in Fairmont’s Mother’s Day Run, followed by obligatory brunch. It was my second 5K with E in an Ergo. Otherwise, I was helping Ed plan D’s first birthday and happy to make signage, printables and other decorations. It was also a bit self-motivated because I would be using the same space for E’s party shortly after. And we went on our first trip as a family of three, visiting Victoria for the first time in five years and stayed in Sooke. Some good food was had and we visited many breweries.

In general, I stepped up my activities because there were only six weeks left of my leave. One of the activities I was most excited about was doing the 5K walk with E and his buddy T and T’s mom in the Longest Day Race.

Just before my biggest transition of the year (i.e., going back to work), we went on a road trip to Portland with another couple (T’s parents). We hadn’t been there since 2008 or 2009 but it looks like it will be back on the roster for nearly annual trips. So much beer and not nearly enough time. So many stones still left unturned there. Then, in the middle of the month, I went back to work. For the first two weeks, NPY was at home and that made the transition easier. With returning to work, I also started cycling to work to defray the total transit cost – that’s a huge thing for me! And then at the end of the month, we threw a birthday party for E. Of course, all of the planning for that fell on me and I was cheerful about it.

We settled into our new normal when NPY went back to work and I scrambled so many evenings to provide for E’s needs when he’s at daycare. So much planning required. Thus, I felt like I needed another getaway and it’s my cousin’s wedding and E and I would see and spend time with my family. That we got to go to San Fran and Napa was such a perk.

A the beginning of the month, my father came to visit. His trips are always too short. Then, in the piece de resistance for travel during the year (hah), we went on a three-day repositioning cruise to LA and then spent a few days in LA with BK and their kids M&S. Our first fly-away vacation as a family of three.

We made adjustments to our normal when NPY started a new job. Upside: a position and location that I think is commensurate to his experience. Downside(s): longer hours and more shuttling. MY and fiance, J, came to visit which meant great food, seeing family and a trip to the bridal store to find her wedding dress! I was all into Halloween this year again and made a matching costume for me and E.

Back in August, I was informed that my Marriott points would expire in September so I paid $12 to buy some 500 points that brought me to the level to book at a Residence Inn (free parking and breakfast are oh so important now) and select Black Friday weekend because it should be the best shopping weekend of any, despite the lousy dollar.We nearly didn’t go but I’m so glad we did. We were upgraded from a studio to a two-bedroom in a cozy loft. Our meals consisted of McDonald’s and Popeyes, that I can recall – that was low-key!

Three years ago, we went on our (Western) Europe trip. Six years ago, we went to Asia. This year, our Big Trip (in terms of cost, if not distance) – is to Halifax and Toronto for Christmas.

So, that was the year. Since I skipped last year (how could I!), I did a tally of 2015 days away and it added up to 36 (11, 6, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 14, 3). It’s no surprise that was so puny because the whole hullabaloo more based on taboo than actual risk to me if I went away in the middle of the year. So we made up for it this year and we were away 51 days (3, 0, 0, 15, 3, 0, 6, 4, 7, 0, 2, 11) which is largely due to all that accrued vacation mentioned above.

I have some plans up my sleeve and hope to somewhat keep it up next year because you never know what the future holds and we might not have as much free time as we do now, even now it is restricted. And E turns 2 in the middle of 2017 so I want to get maximum free flights in!

On this day..