Change and Gratitude – a Look Back on 2014

As I was walking to work a couple days ago, I began looking back on 2014.  As this year comes to an end I felt it was only right to reflect back on everything that has happened.  Our life is practically unrecognizable at the end of 2014 as compared to the end of 2013.  The end of 2014 finds us living in a different city, me at a different job, Brian ending a job and looking for new adventures and opportunities, and Atticus another year older with a whole new set of skills and favorites.

In many of the same ways that 2012 was a major year of changes for us, 2014 is not too far behind in terms of transformation.  When 2012 began, we were childless (well, I was pregnant), living in Champaign, IL, and both working at University of Illinois.  By the end of 2012, we had a child, were living in Charlotte, NC and had both started new jobs.

2014 has certainly been a year of transformation and change, a year of new roads and journeys, and a year of each of us taking steps towards our desired future.  Here are some of our major changes from 2014  that I am especially grateful for:

1. Atticus’s medical treatment with Dr. Richter at the Vascular Anomalies Center for Excellence – ever since we drove to Little Rock this past July, Dr. Richter has been Atticus’s primary specialist treating his lymphatic malformation.  We have been so happy with Dr. Richter and the staff at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and although Atticus has only had two treatments there so far, we do see a difference in the size of the malformation.  Dr. Richter’s plan for decannulation (trach removal) is much more speedy than we were previously told, and we are grateful for that (look for that as a major change for us in 2015!).

2. Calling Raleigh my home – talk about setting an intention and following it through!  We first discussed moving to Raleigh in late July and were moved here by early October!  With accolades such as the following, who wouldn’t want to call this place home!?

  • America’s Best Places to Live: #1 (


    Downtown Raleigh – “City of Oaks”

  • Best Place for Business and Careers: #3 (
  • Top 10 Best Cities for Educated Workers: #5 (Raleigh-Cary, NC)(
  • Most Cost-Attractive Business Location: #5 (KPMG)
  • Best Cities in America for Health and Happiness: #3 (EcoSalon)
  • Fastest Growing Cities for Technology Jobs: #1 (Dice)
  • Best Cities for Raising a Family: #5 (Forbes)
  • The Ten Best Cities for Newlyweds: #2 (
  • Best Places for Bargain Retirement Homes: #3 (
  • America’s Most Wired Cities: #1 (

North Carolina State Capital Building






Peele Hall – my office location at North Carolina State University


3. I can walk to work – as much as I enjoyed living in Charlotte, I do not miss the traffic and my old commute to work.  We lived within the city limits and only about 8 miles from my office Uptown, but it took me around 40-60 minutes to get to work everyday.  In all of the places I have lived, I have never been able to walk to work, which is something that seems insignificant, but was always something I wanted.  We are currently living in the Cameron Village neighborhood of Raleigh, and with me working at NC State University, walking to work is now a reality (e.g., note the first sentence in this post)!

4. Atticus’s speech – there was a time when we really did not know what to expect regarding Atticus’s ability to speak intelligibly.  Hearing him talk non-stop now – it is sort of hard to remember that that was  ever a concern.  Nowadays, he spends his time talking up a storm, asking “What’s that?”, singing his “ABC’s”, and “Jingle Bells”.  We have been told by his new speech therapist that his speech is exactly where it should be for a 2.5 year old, and probably even more advanced than your average 2.5 year old.  She also said that if she was not looking at him, and just listening to him, she would never guess that he had any sort of oral anomaly.

5. We are 2 hours closer to PA – not only does Raleigh have everything we are looking for, but this move also puts us around 2 hours closer to our familes, who are heavily concentrated in the Northeast.  It’s always been important to us that Atticus see his extended family regularly, even though we live far away.  Being a little bit closer makes it easier on everyone and I believe it has already increased the number of times we’ve been visited by family!

6. First extended family vacation – in July we took our first extended family vacation, which included grandparents, aunts, and uncles.  Since Washington, DC is the halfway point between where we live in NC and where our families live, and since there are endless amounts of things to do there, it was a no brainer!  We had a week filled with fun and educational outings, and just bonding in general in the townhouse that we rented.

2014 has been an extremely transformative, productive, and eventful year.  A lot has happened – more than I have the energy to write about in this blog.  For all of the good that happened in 2014, there were also times of hardship and times that we were tested, but life has a way of working itself out, and you emerge a stronger person in the end.

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