So, it’s time to say goodbye to 2016. This year brought a tremendous amount of change to our family, our day to day lives and me personally. My day to day life looks quite a bit different than it did at the beginning of the year, for better or worse.
We got our travel date for Lyuda’s adoption on the last day of 2015. She was visiting our family for her last hosting at that time and we got to celebrate that news.
We made our first trip to Ukraine at the end of January, had our court trip in March and then my mom and I travelled to pick her up in April.
In May, Gus finished preschool, Lena 2nd grade, and Reed 3rd.
Over the summer, we moved from the city where we’d lived for 8 years to a small town an hour away.
In August, all 4 kids started at their new schools– one at her first American school. Another starting full day school where he has a set curriculum, as opposed to more relaxed preschool.
In early October, I left my job of 3 years for two part time jobs. One for a tech company where I work in an office and a second for a creative firm that offers me a flexible schedule.
November and December have been spent trying to recover. The kids have had their moments, but they’re all doing well. I’m very proud of how Lyuda’s doing in all areas of life. Aaron is as laid back as ever. I’m the one who has had the hardest time lately, as I juggle new schedules, learn all kinds of new things at both of my jobs and adjust to the changes of my daily life.
My photography hasn’t been a priority in 2016. I miss it tremendously. I still tried to throw together a collection of my favorite photographs from 2016, with one per month.
This photo is a window into the past. The life she left behind.
I couldn’t resist doing all Ukraine pictures for the months I visited in Ukraine. This is one of my favorite churches. Ukraine has beautiful architecture.
Sick of Ukraine yet? I’m not! This picture just screamed “Ukraine” to me. Taken from our car window
This trip to Ukraine was definitely the highlight of my year for many reasons. We got to pick up Lyuda. We got to meet many people who are important to her in Ukraine. We experienced it as three generations– my mom, myself and Lyuda. And, we had a lot of time to explore Ukraine.
This was one of Lyuda’s goodbyes. We visited her old school/orphanage, where she had a very warm welcome and some bittersweet goodbyes.
We only camped twice in 2016. Whaaaat? Between the other travel and moving, it was not a priority. This was our first camping trip as an official family of 6 (although we did take Lyuda camping on her first hosting).
In June, we started out moving preparations. The kids and I typically spend July on the East Coast with my family, so we need to help Aaron get the house ready in June.
Time with my family is always a highlight of our year. There were so many pictures i could have picked for July, but I love this one of all the kids lined up.
Even though they spend 11 months of the year half a country apart, these kids are very close when they’re together.
August was also a hard month to pick. A photo from our new house? Or our trip to Utah and Colorado? I had to go with this one.
September was the month where reality seemed to set in. We were done with our vacations and it’s also the month when I decided to find new employment. Consequently, I didn’t take a single picture in September with my DSLR. Oops.
Here’s a favorite from my phone, from one of Lyuda’s volleyball games.
Every year in October, we go to the International Forest of Friendship in Atchison, KS to see the trees changing colors. This was Lyuda’s first October with our family, experiencing fall in the United States. We need a family picture.
Well, we tried.
November felt a bit crazy, as we adjusted to new schedules. But, Lena ran her first 5K!
Opening Christmas presents is always fun, and these two are the most excited and expressive about it.
Here are flashbacks to annual photo review posts