2015 Year In Review

2015 is another year full of changes. But of course, it started with a lot of snow. We had our own snow fort in front of our front door.

It was a record breaking type of year. We are all very glad when it finally got warm and snow melted.

Kids

G started middle school in the fall. He adjusted extremely well. It is me that is confused, and having to learn a whole new set of processes. Picking your own classes? New PTA? Teams and after school activities. By now we are very settled. G gets to walk over to the elementary school to simplify pick up sometimes, and walk home with his friends for play dates (or whatever middle schooler call it these days). More independence and freedom. That is what middle school is all about.

In contrast M’s entering the next grade in Elementary is piece of cake. Work load has increased somewhat, but the school also seems to have reduced the workload in general. Given her hard gymnastics practice schedule, she is just about managing.

G tried a few new things this year. He tried Boy Scout. He went on a few hikes and over night trips. At the end he did not like it enough to continue, but he did have a few "first" experience. While I have zero interest in firearms, both him and I learnt to shoot a basic raffle for the first, and maybe last time.

G also started volunteering as a middle school volunteer at the town Library. I really want to have them learn to do volunteer work and I hope this is a good start.

Work

 World Bank HQ Washington DC

World Bank HQ Washington DC

Having moved back to Boston, I started working with Ubuntu Capital to create a jobs and credit platform for Uganda.  Building something new from scratch is always exciting. As a side project I have yet to travel to Kampala. So technically I cannot add that to the list of countries I worked in just yet. Taking a meeting at the World Bank was a first for me though.

I also started a new full time job at Curriculum Associates. This was a focused effort in finding work in the education technology field. CA, as we called it, is a wonderful company. Great work-life balance, and a organization filled with truly nice people. And we have a lot of parties.

 Curriculum Associates Annual Party

Curriculum Associates Annual Party

Play

 En Guade

En Guade

Both G and I started fencing. It has been a blast. It really is as much a mental game as a physical sport. I feel like my Chinese martial arts and weapon training does come into use a bit, not necessarily in actual moves, but the spatial and movement awareness really help. This shows even more with G, as he did quite a bit of sword training last year.

M meanwhile is advancing with her competitive gymnastics, which means we spend even more time driving back and forth to practice and competition. Which led to our final upgrading of our 10 years old minivan. We went from the Sienna to the Sedona. More features for the money, but whether the new brand is going to hold up over time.

STEM and Robots

 FLL Robot

FLL Robot

Another family of equality STEM focused minds talked us into doing First Lego League for the first time. It was a lot harder than I thought, took a huge amount of time from us coaching it, and from the kids working on it. I thought it was just about programming a robot, but it is much more than that. We all learnt a lot from it. Our team did just well enough (we got to the states final) to make us want to do better next year.

I also started, at the start of the fall school year, both coaching a bottle rocket team for Science Olympiad, and co-teaching a Girls Who Code club at the town Library. Both topics are very important to me. I also find that being able to interact with these middle and high school kids give me more insight and will help me understand G and M as they enter middle schools.

Reflection

 Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

Looking back, this year is yet another year of changes and doing new things. Perhaps part of this is propelled by the natural progression of the kids lives. Perhaps I just naturally like to take on new challenges. It has really been another great year. We gotten so busy that I had to buy our Christmas tree two days before Christmas. But we did it and the tradition continue.