Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
We hope those of you reading this are doing well. We’re glad to have a little time at home to rest from a crazy year and whirlwind autumn and attempt to ready ourselves for whatever 2019 may bring.
At the start of 2018 we knew there would likely be changes in our lives, but we had no idea what that would mean. Kate was in a weird work situation where things didn’t seem to be improving and she reached a point of knowing it was time to start looking for something else, Jon was made aware of upcoming openings in his school district and began hoping to move up, Ian being in kindergarten and starting soccer was slightly changing some of our time and we started hosting a small group with our church.
In the spring, Kate was one of several people let go from her office (and sadly more have lost jobs since she was laid off). We were hoping she’d find something before anything like that happened, but obviously it was not to be. It was hard to see things fall apart with a job she’d left a few years before and been asked to return to with promises of needed change, but it was also nice to be free from some stress and anxiety and have time for school parties and field trips as Ian finished his first year.
Ian enjoyed kindergarten and his favorite subjects were art and science. He also had fun playing soccer in the spring with kids from his class. As Kate kept job hunting and doing freelance work, we unexpectedly had a summer together at home as a family, which has never happened. We know that time is something we’ll probably always remember, especially since it brought a new cousin! Kate’s brother and sister-in-law had their daughter in June. Baby Lu surprised everyone arriving a month early, but is doing great and is a joy to be around. We loved visits with her and her parents, and had extended family in town as more people came to meet Lucy. We’re glad we had the time to be with everyone.
Going into the fall, Jon had several interviews and was offered a process coordinator position where he would oversee special ed services in a building in his district. He decided to accept, but was not expecting to be assigned to an elementary school – a level he’s never taught. He was able to have some good conversations about his career goals and was told this would be a positive step for him. We’re grateful that it seems to be a good fit. His principal is one of the best he’s ever worked with and he’s learning a lot. He’s happy to be able to help teachers do well and support an excellent administrator, and it’s been encouraging to see how he’s been welcomed and respected in a new role.
Around the time Jon changed jobs, Kate accepted a position with a small marketing agency that primarily works with nonprofits, including a few associations. She’s also been grateful to find a place where she feels wanted on the team and has some fantastic coworkers. It has been and continues to be a big adjustment as it’s not the direction she thought she’d go on a few different levels, but it’s a fun office just down the street from our house and they’ve been a wonderful change in people and atmosphere to work with and in. They’re letting her continue her committee work with KCSAE and her volunteering with Lead To Read at Ian’s school in addition to providing other opportunities to grow in a new direction career-wise (including company blogging – her first post just went up). We’re thankful for what seems to be a good spot to land for now.
Ian is in first grade, which has given us more challenges and joys in parenting. He’s doing extremely well academically and liked playing fall soccer, but he’s had a lot of behavior issues at school and has a hard time dealing with emotions in ways beyond what’s normal for his age. We and the school have been a little surprised by this, but we’re all looking at how to help and are starting to see some progress slowly. In the midst of that, it’s been more special to celebrate his achievements and invest in his interests. He loves art and draws all the time, he’s becoming a great reader and we often see him curled up with a book and he absorbs all information he can find on science-related topics. He still likes to build with anything he can create structures out of, explore our neighborhood and the city (he even has drinks he can order at several local coffee shops) and he was excited to have a speaking part in his school’s holiday musical.
While change seems to be the only constant, we’ve been glad for the support of friends and family, the space we’re finally settling into with two years now in our house and time to do things we enjoy. Kate is helping our neighborhood organization with communications and Jon’s playing in a friend’s band, Mr. Golden Sun. They just released an EP and have played a few shows this year and he’s played a little with his own band. We’ve been able to see artists like The Roots, Dave King and Pedro The Lion, share coffee and meals with friends and enjoy art around Kansas City.
We didn’t travel to Ohio for the first time this year, but the time here has been appreciated. We’re looking at new traditions to start as a family and ways to engage with our community. As we do, we hope to see you and wish you all the best for what 2019 may hold. The world is full of so much fear, anger and hate and we pray that, if nothing else, we’re a part of extending love, grace and peace in the coming year. We pray the same for you.
Much love from The Smiths!