Twenty-thirteen is over?

Wow!  Where did the time go?  I swear, just yesterday, I woke up on Jan 1 and now it’s Dec 31.  Either time is moving faster or my mind is moving slower.  You take your pick.  Either way, it doesn’t look very good for me.

We had a splendid year this year.  Above all, we added another little soul to our family.  Noah was born on Aug 27, 2013.  We are very excited (and very exhausted) to have an infant in the family again.  He and Eli are 2.5 years apart, so we were just getting used to some autonomy with Eli – and then the infant dependence hit again.  Oh well, it’s totally worth it to wait that 2-3 months to see him look at you and smile.


We are blessed to have Noah in our family.

Each year we try to spend some memorable time travelling. This year was no different, though much of our travel was toward the beginning of the year due to our special delivery in August.

We went to Utah in February to celebrate several important occasions. It was a milestone birthday for Audrey, so we treated her to a vacation in snowy Park City! We went on a sleigh ride, had spa treatements, and had a few moments away from kids to reconnect with each other.

This is how we look when we're cold and have just enjoyed a sleigh ride!
This is how we look when we’re cold and have just enjoyed a sleigh ride!

We then migrated south to St George to attend my brother’s wedding.  We’re so glad we have Flora in our extended family now.  She and Tyler make a great couple.  Hopefully 2014 will bring us many more opportunities to get to know one another and hang out together.

All the Anderson men celebrating the last bachelor left in our family!
All the Anderson men celebrating the last bachelor left in our family!

Audrey took a business trip in April to Guatemala, and toward the end of the trip, I jumped on a plane and went to spend some time with her.  It was interesting to get to know a new latin american country, though I will say that Guatemala was in pretty rough shape.  We were glad to be walking in the “American” section of town where there were security guards on every corner brandishing shotguns and assault rifles.  When we did venture out into the neighborhoods, we were glad to meet up with a fellow American who was able to give us a ride in an armored embassy vehicle.  (the door weighed a ton!)  Overall, it was a memorable trip to a place we otherwise wouldn’t have had the pleasure of getting to know.

a fish on a plate
a fish on a plate in Guatemala.
Eli and Noah with Grandpa Grape (Reed)
Eli and Noah with Grandpa Grape (Reed)

We also welcomed a lot of visitors to Wylie this year.  My parents came a couple of times, we saw Audrey’s parents and Grandmother (GG) a few times, and also got to see our Grandpa Grape.  We love that they can all be a part of our lives and are so grateful they make the effort to come see us, especially in years like this one where we can’t make it to see them.

Family in attenance at Noah's Blessing
Family in attenance at Noah’s Blessing
Debbie (Sam's Mom), Ruthann (GG), Audrey, and Debbie (Audrey's Mom)
Debbie (Sam’s Mom), Ruthann (GG), Audrey, and Debbie (Audrey’s Mom)
Randy and Debbie with Noah
Randy and Debbie with Noah

This year was also a year of transition for Eli.  We had to say good bye to Megan, his first nanny, in January.  Uncle Ben took up the slack for a few months, which Eli loved and we were very grateful for – but then we were able to hire Emma to watch Eli over the summertime.  She was perfect for him, and he absolutely loved playing with her every day.  The amount of energy those two had was just incredible to me.  We really missed her when she went away to school – which coincided perfectly with Audrey’s maternity leave from JCPenney.

I love these two!

Speaking of JCPenney.  It’s been a rough year for them.  I’m sure you heard at least one or two things in the press about their fired CEO, public war between members of the board, and disappointing sales results.  All of that has translated into a lot of pain and uncertainty in the home office.  Lots of people left the company, moved jobs, or were otherwise relocated.  Audrey is weathering the storm well, though, and was actually promoted this year to be an Audit Manager.  As always, I remain constantly amazed at her abilities and fortitude.  She is an excellent mother, a great auditor, and now also a great manager.  She seriously does it all.  I’m still waiting to find something she can’t do.

It’s also been a year of change at Cisco.  There have been lots of ups and downs, but mostly ups.  My job feels secure, the work is compelling and challenging, and I work with a very fun, unique cast of characters — in short, I probably couldn’t ask for a better gig.  For those who don’t know what I do, I design the user interfaces for administering all the back-end systems that run phone calls and video conferences over large, corporate networks.  To say it in code, I’m a Collaboration Infrastructure User Experience Designer.  If you still don’t know what that is, that’s OK.  I’m still figuring it out as well.  🙂

We were able to be a part of another large project that happened this year, with Audrey’s parents building their dream home (and grand-kids paradise) in the hill country outside of San Antonio.  We visited a few times over the course of the year to hold a make-shift groundbreaking ceremony and see progress on construction.  We also enjoy hanging out in nearby Bandera, “The Cowboy Capital of the World!”

Eli walks on the front porch with Papa Ron
Eli walks on the front porch with Papa Ron

In fact, we just came back from the inaugural christmas celebration there, though we were only able to stay a few days.  It was nice to visit with 3 of audrey’s siblings and their whole families and to give Eli and Noah some time to play with their cousins.

Our year hasn’t been without challenges, though.  We’ve had to take Eli to the emergency room twice now for acute asthma attacks.  We’re learning how to be parents of a child with asthma, which is new for both of us.  We’re now flush with daily inhalers, rescue inhalers, nebulizers, and every tool you can possibly get your hands on for fighting off asthma attacks.  Hopefully we can figure it out and it can be a manageable condition for him.

Tigger makes for a good pal when you're in the hospital.
Tigger makes for a good pal when you’re in the hospital.

Other than that, we’ve had a relatively healthy and happy year.  We feel incredibly blessed and love each day of living in our little family. We wish you all, our friends and family (cause that’s all that’s left checking this blog), a very happy new year, good health, and prosperity in 2014!

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