2016 was an interesting year

I’m sitting here at my house, at noontime, on December 30, 2016…36 hours until the New Year strikes and 2017 arrives. It has been a monumental year for me personally on many levels, with my daughter being born at the top of the list, several promotions at work, and continuing personal growth. It has also been a worrying year, with the political landscape taking a troubling turn and many fascinating people passing away.

I didn’t truly realize how burned out I was from my previous gig and the first couple months of my current gig until I took my month long paternity leave in July. Being able to unplug from everything and focus 100% on my family changed me in a profound way. Knowing that now I was responsible raising a human being, I strived to redouble my own efforts for learning and personal growth. As you can see from my Goodreads list, my read books steadily climbed in 2016. 21 is well short of my 50 goal for the year, but it is probably the # of books I have read in the past 4 years combined. Next year I will hit 50.

Career wise, I have had several promotions at my current gig and I am currently building three teams. We have lots of job openings on our site, btw.

Political wise, I worry for America. President-elect Donald Trump goes against everything I believe in from a moral and policy standpoint. I am exploring ways to get involved in local politics somehow and add one small voice speaking against his policies and for something better.

I will close out with my family. My daughter is everything to me. It is often me who wakes up first thing in the morning when she awakes and her smile when she sees me and hears me say “Good morning!” is something that will never grow old for me. Today is her six month birthday and I look forward to many more with her and my wife, who has been an amazing mom herself.

Life Has Changed

Two months ago tonight, my wife was going through the final hours of labor. She delivered our beautiful daughter, Rose, at exactly the stroke of midnight. My life has never been the same. It is also never more apparent then right now, as I sit in a hotel room in New York City on my first business trip since her birth.

It is hard to quantify how life has changed. There are the tangible things, like our grocery and household goods budget going up, a new car purchased, and the # of diapers she has gone through. It is certainly easy to feel the lack of sleep, although Rose is doing as well as you could hope for in that regard by sleeping about ~6 hours straight overnight. It isn’t the old 8 hours I’m used to, but it workable.

But how do you quantify staring into her eyes, when I said her name for the first time? Hearing her squeaking cry? The first time she “baby talked”? Those tiny tears dripping from her eyes down her cheeks. The every 3–4 hours to feed her? The massive burps. How she melts into your arms and all is right in the world.

I miss her. But I do this for her. And I will be home soon.

Two months until our life changes forever

Seven months ago, my wife shared with me the news we had been waiting for: we are going to be parents. Right now, we are under two months to go.

House wise we are getting there, but have a bit more setup to go. We completely refinished the floor in the nursery and painted the walls, both look great. The baseboard needs a coat or two of paint and then we can move everything into the room.

We have taken to this opportunity to slowly clean out the house as well, donating much of what we no longer want to Goodwill and throwing out what we can’t use. I guess a controlled nesting.

Emotionally, I’m in a weird state right now. Excited is certainly an understatement. I can’t wait to meet my kid. But I’m also wondering if “Am I going to be a good father?” Even with the time I spend with my nephews, I still feel underprepared. I know my life is going to change forever in less than two months and that’s a weird feeling. From what I heard, this is par for the course. There is no good training for this other than doing the job. A little adjustment and 18 years later…

So that’s what I’m doing. Preparing for the most important job of my life. One that is starting in just under two months.

Back to work.

Soon to be family of three

Over the past week or so, my wife and I have let our friends, colleagues, and acquatences know about an exciting development in our lives:

We are going to be parents sometime around July 3, 2016!

So far the little one (Baby Gonyea, or Baby G as we are calling him/her for now) is healthy, has a good heartbeat (we heard it today!), and looks great on the ultrasound.

It is a moment that both of us have wanted for years. But sometimes, wanting is just not enough. Sometimes, there are forces beyond our control. Sometimes nature needs a little or a lot of assistance.

We lucked out with our infertility treatment. One round of IUI is “all” we needed. After years of no success on our own, lots of tears, and numerous tests leading up to our first IUI treatment. The doctors said, based on various tests not returning optimal #’s in some areas, there was a fairly good chance of this round not succeeding. Yet, it was successful, to a big sigh of relief from us.

Infertility is difficult emotionally, physically, and financially. I cannot begin to count how many twists and turns we went through leading up where we are today. That’s not even counting me changing jobs right in the middle of our first (and only!) month of treatment. I certainly didn’t time that one well, but that is life and you have to take opportunities when they arise.

We have tremendous respect for those who have to go through multiple IUI rounds to the full In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) program. And that doesn’t begin to capture our heartbreak for those who have no treatment options. We had tremendous fear at times that we would fall into the later category.

I knew my life had changed forever when my wife told me the news. And I know today my life will change (again) forever in approximately seven months from now.

It will be all worth it in the end. It is already worth it now.

A fantastic trip and some deep thoughts

Right now I am at an airport bar with my wife, having a cold brew and waiting for my red eye back home. I have been in Seattle for the past five days visiting my brother, who just moved out here a few months ago.

It’s a trip that has been amazingly relaxing and has allowed for a lot of deep reflection and thinking about where I’m headed. Already there has been a lot of changes the past few months and I’m preparing to make some more in the future. It has never been more important to me to have control of my life so I can live it to its fullest.

Time to kick the next phase into gear.

The honeymoon is booked

Today I booked our honeymoon. Katie and I will be heading to the Western Caribbean after our wedding in September. We will be on-board the Carnival Legend cruise ship for 7 nights.

We were originally looking into going to San Diego, California for our honeymoon. Neither of us have ever been on the west coast and thought it would be a fantatistic honeymoon. However, the more I looked into it, the more I was wondering if it would be the right choice. Hotels in September are expensive out in San Diego. Not to mention, while it is a very warm climate, Katie was hoping for something even more tropical. Plus there was nothing “exotic” about visiting California. We wanted a honeymoon where we could really experience something new, fresh, and exciting.

So I started looking at other options. I looked at all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean, but rejected those due to the threat of hurricanes in September. After all, the last thing I want to do is trying to get out of Cancun with a hurricanne heading straight for me. I looked at Florida, but again, not exotic enough or fresh (both of us have been to Florida many times).

Finally, I stumbled across cruises. Since the ships can move and usually have at least a few days of notice on a hurricane’s path, they can easily alter the itnerary if the weather was really bad. Heck they can even cancel and give me a full refund if the trip is doomed.

I have never been on a cruise, but Katie has and loved every moment of it. Not to mention, we both get to see four places we never thought we would see: Belize, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Costa Maya.

Not to mention, cruises are really economical. For the price a very low end San Diego hotel, I get a room plus food four two (not to mention many ship activities/shows). I don’t have to worry about renting a car, saving more money. Finally, I can get really cheap flights from Manchester to Tampa (where the cruise departs/returns)…$54 each way at last year’s prices. Except thanks to credit card points, I get the flights for free. That leaves a lot of $$$ left over to use on the cruise.

Of course, it is really easy to run up a bill on a cruise if you don’t do things in moderation. I hardly drink, so that won’t be an issue. We are going to stick with the simple excursions (tours, beaches, etc.) and not the real expensive ones.

I am really excited. This should be a lot of fun!

A nice Saturday

Yesterday my brothers, Katie, and I went up to Sunapee and surprised my mother for her birthday. She was very happy to see us. We took her out to eat and had a good ole time.

However, we did see our first snowflakes of the year. Not happy about that part. Weird how when I was in school, I couldn’t wait for snow. Now that I have to drive every day to work, it isn’t so fun anymore.