In the past ten years...
I was working for a little biotech company in Ventura, California called Biopool International. I was 22 years old. Manufacturing in-vitro diagnostic reagents for coagulation disorders, out of things most people wouldn't imagine (rabbit brains and snake venom, just for starters). Dennis and I were dating, having met at Biopool. I can't find pictures from this era, because we didn't have a digital camera. I'll have to get a scanner one of these days, to scan in the old film prints.
Dennis and I got engaged in February. Then married in November. We honeymooned in Kauai, which was absolutely beautiful. Biopool got bought out by an Irish company, and we were given notice that the company was shutting down. We paid exorbitant rent on a one-bedroom apartment. We saw several friends lose their jobs, and knew our own fate was sealed when the company was to be shut down the following year.
We began the year by scouting out potential new careers, when the Irish company asked us to help move the product line to Ireland. Being young, with no property or children, we decided to go. We moved to Bray, Ireland in September 2002. There are a million stories to tell from that adventure. It was one of the best experiences of our lives.
We lived in Ireland. We went skiing in Sauze D'Oulx, Italy, went to London twice, and visited Paris, France. It was amazing. Absolutely amazing. Our contract in Ireland expired, and we were without jobs in September 2003. We moved back to California and lived with my in-laws, when the Irish company called and offered us jobs in Jamestown, New York. We took a quick trip, saw the housing prices, and decided to make the move. We left for Jamestown in early December 2003, for a five-day road trip (with two cats in the car).
We bought our first house in April. We both worked, and decided to start trying for a family. Compared to previous years, it was rather sedate. I honestly don't think I have any pictures from this year (we still didn't own a digital camera).
In April, I found out we were expecting our first child. In May, Dennis found out he was accepted into the Executive MBA program at the University of Buffalo. He started school that fall, and Matthew was born that December.
Dennis continued his MBA program, and we were both working full time. Matthew went to a daycare in the city, and in December (on Matthew's first birthday), we found out we were expecting our second child. We also traveled to California in July to visit family, and had a wonderful trip.
This was the most exhausting year for us. Dennis was still in MBA school. I was pregnant, working full time, and caring for Matt while Dennis traveled up to Buffalo for school every-other Friday and Saturday. Dennis traveled to China with his MBA program in the spring, and Matthew and I flew to California to visit family. Dennis graduated from MBA school in May. Nolan was born in late August, and while I was in the hospital, Dennis received a promotion. He also had to travel to Sweden, about 2 weeks out of every month. Nolan failed his newborn hearing screen three times, and we were told it was "just fluid." Thirteen days later, while Dennis was in Sweden, our baby failed his follow-up screen. We were referred to a Buffalo clinic for more testing, where a permanent mild/moderate hearing loss was confirmed. I was laid off from my job, a rather welcome occurrence at the time. We traveled to California for Christmas and Matthew's second birthday. We also went skiing in Brian Head, Utah, with Dennis's family on that trip.
In January, while Dennis was in Sweden, I went to Buffalo to pick up Nolan's hearing aids and learn how to care for them. We got to have an EKG, MRI, CT scan, genetics, and urinalyses done to verify there were no other problems at play with Nolan's hearing loss. We also had a set of PE tubes placed in May, then another set placed in December. Nolan lost 20dB of hearing in his higher frequencies in both ears, then recovered hearing in his left ear. His right ear never recovered, but is still in a good range. Matthew started a "Two-By-Two" preschool program. Both boys started our local early intervention program, with Matthew receiving speech services for an expressive language delay, and Nolan receiving speech services for his hearing loss.
We didn't take a vacation in 2008, but we did enjoy exploring places in our local area.
Matthew started a three year old preschool program, Nolan started the "Two-By-Two" program, Dennis continued to work (though entirely within the country), and I enjoyed being the mom to two little boys. Nolan turned two, and at the end of the year, Matthew turned four. We traveled to California over Easter, and went to Disneyland, the beaches, the zoo, and spent an entire two weeks basking in the glorious sun.
Nolan struggled with weight gain, and was below the 3rd% for almost the entire year. As part of the investigation into his inability to gain wait, posterior urethral valves were discovered in March. Surgery was completed in June to eliminate the valves, which can pose a threat to bladder and kidney function. This was not the source of his weight issues, however, but an incidental finding. We were sent to a GI doctor in July to discuss the weight problems, and after performing a swallowing evaluation, scintiscan, upper GI barium X-ray, endoscopy and 24 hour pH probe we discovered he had mild delayed gastric emptying (gastroparesis) and severe gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD). After starting on DuoCal as a calorie supplement and Nexium, Nolan has started to gain weight and finally placed on the weight charts.
As the year wound down, the health issues seemed to settle and we were able to focus on spending time playing and having time together as a family.
We have an eventful year lined up. In January, Nolan has a sleep study to look for obstructive sleep apnea and a repeat hearing test lined up. We also get to take trips to the GI doctor and ENT. We plan on taking a little family trip in the spring, location undecided. Washington, D.C. and Boston are both top contenders, though! In July, the boys and I head out to Los Angeles, California, where Nolan and I will attend the John Tracy Clinic summer session. Matthew will start Universal Pre-Kindergarten and Nolan will transition to the school district under the Committee for Preschool Special Education system (CPSE). If we're really lucky, Matt will graduate from speech therapy. We plan on exploring and playing a lot this year!
Happy New Year, everyone!