This year we are changing things up a bit. Instead of sending out postcards to everyone (which we have done for the past few years), we have decided to do an online Christmas letter to you all in which we can describe our year in much more detail, both with words and photographs. Enjoy!
DEAR FRIENDS AND FAMILY
I think it’s safe to say that 2016 was a pretty big year for us. Though years previous have held many wonderful adventures, I’d say that this year by far trumps them all because, of course, we became parents.
As it was the final month of my pregnancy, January was fairly low-key. With all sincerity, I think that January was the longest month of my life. We stayed home and constantly reorganized the nursery, wanting to get it just right for the arrival of our little bean. We didn’t want to travel in case I went into labour early, and as I’m sure you could imagine, it wasn’t very easy for me to get in and out of a vehicle, so even daily outings were limited.
When February finally rolled around, it felt like all we did was stare at the clock, watching the hours pass by. Our days were spent paying especially close attention to those tricksy Braxton Hicks in case they were indeed the real thing, wishing time to speed up in anticipation of finally being able to meet Matthew in person (and yes, for those of you who were wondering, we had his full name picked out long before he was born). Finally, after a couple of complications, which you can read about here, Matthew James Kurek was brought into this world.
Parenthood has been all that we expected and more. We knew that we would have such a profound love for this little boy, but I don’t think anything could have prepared us for the extent and the depth of that love. Being parents definitely has it’s challenges, but we truly wouldn’t trade it for the world!
As I’m sure you can imagine, the first couple of months of having a newborn baby were both exhilarating and exhausting. Yet, not only were we getting used to the fact that we had a little human that was completely dependent on us, but Damien also helped managed one of the election campaigns here in Saskatchewan. At one point Damien’s candidate seriously questioned me as to how I was doing because she literally was seeing more of Damien than I was.
Too be honest, the only way I was able to survive those first months was the support we received from family and friends. We had friends come over and clean, cook and take over holding Matthew so that I could have a much needed nap. Our freezer was full of frozen meals. People were constantly checking in on us to see how we were doing and if we needed anything, all the while still giving us enough space to figure out this new stage of life. And I can’t forget to mention the family that hosted Matthew and myself during the busiest couple of weeks of the election, a time when, in addition to working, Damien spent every other waking minute campaigning.
This spring we were all heartbroken when Damien’s Grandpa Jim (who’s given name was James, and which it is not a coincidence that Matthew carries on that name) passed away after a year-long battle with cancer. During the campaign I was fortunate enough to take Matthew to Calgary so that Grandpa could spend time with his first great grandson. A few weeks later, the three of us flew to Calgary to be with the rest of the family and spend time saying goodbye to Grandpa. Though it was unbelievably heartbreaking, it was such a blessing that we were all able to be there for him, and for each other.
June 28th we received the keys to our brand new condo suite which allowed us to move our stuff in later that same day. We absolutely love our new place! It has an open-concept floor plan, so that we can easily keep our eyes on Matthew and see what trouble he’s getting himself into. It has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, with a unexpectedly large amount of living/dining/kitchen space, allowing us to host family and friends quite often. We also have a large square patio off the corner of our suite that is a delightful place to sit and watch the sun set on warm summer evening.
Because we bought the condo, we didn’t have any big trips this summer. Rather we had fun exploring places close to home and enjoyed spending time with family.
– Matthew has three cousins who were all born within three weeks of each other!
– He was only four days old when he was able to steadily lift his head.
– Matthew was a mere two weeks when he first began rolling over.
– At three months old Matthew’s bottom and top two teeth cut through!
– He started worming around (yes, that’s right, worming) at around 4 months, and began actually crawling at 7 months.
– Within the last month Matthew has started saying Mom and Dada, though we aren’t sure how intentional it is.
– He already loves books, and you would be surprised that he is actually flipping through them, page by page, and not just chewing on the corners, though he does do that!