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It’s a much-needed pause between the busy build-up to Christmas and turning the page to a new year. ), and a couple of nights away with just the four of us in a friend’s cabin in West Virginia.

This year I’m spending that gap with Mike and the boys in New Zealand. In July, the boys and I had a last-minute trip to Australia for a couple of weeks of winter.

My work days often feel a bit shorter than I’d like, but I love that my work routine allows me to pick the kids up from school, and be present in the afternoon. Well, I’ve registered a new website in 2018 I may be putting more energy into developing that.

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Much more significantly, I have struggled on and off with unusually persistent and extended low moods this year.

The year has also been very challenging on the work front for Mike as traditional sources of funding for development work continue to shrink and disappear, and he has ended the year very tired.

I should have more clarity on that by the time I get back to Vila on Jan 20the animals and outside time, and they’re about to come looking for me to take them to ride the ATV’s at .

SO, if you’d like to see more photos of our year click on this link to find our 2017 album there with about 60 photos of volcano adventures and other fun.

Parenting continues to present intense challenges often.

There is a lot more I could say about each of those topics, of course, but not within the scope of a “hey, here’s what’s been happening this year” update.

It’s the first time we’d been back in five whole years, and the first time Alex had ever been there.

We’ve had lots of ovenights at Tranquility on Moso Island, and visits from both sets of parents, as well as several other sets of great friends. No year is all highs, no matter what some Christmas letters and facebook would have us believe, and this year has had its share of lows.

We’ve been ziplining and go-carting and snorkeling and kayaking and swimming in our own backyard, when the pool isn’t a green swamp. Our beautiful pool that we so enjoy when it is sparkling has been a constant battle and significant expense to keep clean and we often remind ourselves that we will buy a house with a pool again.

We’re glad we have it now, and we just can’t imagine it would ever be worth it outside the tropics.

I’ve also really enjoyed my psychological consulting projects this year around supporting resilience for humanitarian workers, and feel lucky that I have two such different and interesting professional passions.

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