Our Year

Welcome to a new year. Before I continue on the randomness that is this blog, I'd like to take a few minutes and review what has happened in the past 12 months.

Last January, our household was concerned about my brother's health. I flew down to Phoenix to support him and his wife as he faced a risky surgery as a part of his chordoma treatment. Our time there didn't go as we expected. The neurologist in Phoenix sent Aaron through another MRI as a part of the pre-op process, but the results of that MRI showed a smaller mass. Suddenly the need to operate wasn't so urgent. The Doctor encouraged Aaron and Janda to look at different options. He was willing to perform the surgery, but the mass had become small enough that the risk was too steep if there was a better option. Instead of pacing the dreary corridors of St Joseph's Hospital, I got to spend a few days of quality time with my brother.

He did find another treatment option. In April, Aaron and Janda temporarily relocated to Jacksonville Florida where Aaron underwent two months of proton beam therapy. Simply put, proton beam therapy is a form a radiation treatment but less invasive than traditional chemotherapy or cyber knife treatments. The easiest explanation would be to imagine radiation therapy performed by a master Jedi. It is designed to kill a cancerous mass with minimal side effects. He has been doing better since then. His journey has been long and it's not over yet. If you're interested in following along in his adventure in conquering cancer, he's been posting semi-regular updates through his Caring Bridge Journal.

We also began this year with the intent of finding our won home. We began looking at various properties around the Cd'A/Post Falls area with our realtor. Our goal changed frequently. We originally hoped for a new construction home. We found a floor plan that we liked, made a few customizations and it looked like what we were going to do. It fit within our budget, but it scraped the upper end of what we were willing to spend. Once we added in the cost of building a fence, the price was turning into more than would be wise. So began the hunt for an existing home on the market.

If you haven't shopped the current housing market recently, let me assure you it is a discouraging process. Filtering for-sale properties in North Idaho down to our specifications of price range and number of bedrooms, the pickings were slim. Some were in sketchy neighborhoods that warranted little more than a drive by viewing. Some looked great from the outside, but were disasters on the inside. Others resembled the house from that Tom Hanks movie The Money Pit.

Eventually, we found the perfect house. Or at least we thought it was perfect. The bank that owned the property had other ideas and was no longer accepting offers by the time we tried to make our bid. The search continued and we finally found one that both Bekah and I loved. We made an offer and that offer was accepted on our daughter's birthday. The next couple of months of dealing with our lender, the bank that owned the property, home inspectors, and title companies was a blur. It was probably among the most stressful part of the year, and I can barely recall anything that happened during that time. Keys were acquired in June and we moved in as happy first time home buyers.

Bekah walked for her diploma in May and at the end of the summer semester, she graduated North Idaho College with her AS. This past fall she started her junior year at LCSC to get her BSW. She is excited to complete her social work degree and school has consumed much of her time.

Our summer was the season of vacations with back to back road trips. First to Cheyenne for my grandparent's 60th anniversary. That was a trip that included a stop at the Billings Zoo, the Little Bighorn Memorial, the Wyoming State Museum, and a lot of time watching the Olympics at my parents' house. Then we drove to Seattle for a miniature family reunion on my wife's side of the family. I spent a day hanging out with my brother-in-law, walking from Pioneer Square to Pike Place, down to the waterfront, and back to Pioneer Square - all while trying to find a place that served Indian cuisine for lunch and failing to satisfy our curry craving. We took the kids to the aquarium and Volunteer Park. And I discovered my new favorite place to eat in Seattle: Ezell's.

This past fall, I took a business trip to Denver and completed yellow belt certification for Six Sigma. I am hoping this opens up some new opportunities for me to do bigger and better work for my office. I like what I do, but I've looking at the same series of spreadsheets for three years. Some change would be nice.

It has been a crazy and busy year for us. Some days, I wake up and marvel at what God has been doing in our lives. And some days I wake up and wonder 'what am I doing." But all things considered, I'm excited for 2013.

Through the rest of this week, my kids are going to review their year. I'll take a look back at the blog. Then we'll begin to look forward.

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