Saturday, December 31, 2011

and it all comes around again

"Do you miss it?" Melissa asked me as I took a sip of my thai iced tea. She is my mentor, and I suppose also my priest although I am no longer with her on Sunday mornings. We had been talking about my life before St. Paul's and seminary, before children and homeownership and all the hallmarks of adulthood that dot the landscape of my life.

I had to think about it for a moment. I have had a lot of fun in my life. Do I miss it?

"I love to remember it," I said. "But don't exactly miss it."

I'm thinking about that conversation tonight as I sit in a dark house at 9:30pm. The little ones are sleeping and Andrew is at work waiting for all New Year's Eve casualties to start pouring in to the hospital. J made a good effort, her best yet, at sleeping in her big kid bed but ended up back in the crib again tonight. S is out in the living room in the pack n play. Her big accomplishment this week has been learning how to sleep without being in our bed.

I think about other New Year's Eves, in years past. More recent years, the Jubilee years, were rung in with neighbors here at home. The last seven I have spent hand in hand with Andrew, at parties and kissing each other and friends at midnight. I wondered today if I would feel a little left out here in the dark.

But I don't. 2011 was such a year, it's almost a relief to end it quietly. Andrew graduated and launched his career, our family suddenly expanded, we began to learn how to parent two children. I keep waiting for a quiet year, and that never seems to happen. In my heart I don't think I really want it to. Today J slept a whole nap in her big bed, and yesterday S passed her four month check-up with flying colors. I can't imagine better work, better accomplishments to celebrate right now.

So 2011 - I loved you for how I thought you would be manageable and how you were unexpectedly glorious instead. You are, I think, the year my last child was born. You held in your ending some of the sweetest moments I will ever know, and I'll think of them every time Salome smiles.

But oh, 2012. I can't wait for you to get here. Mostly because I fully expect you are the year I will start sleeping all through the night again on a regular basis. (please.)

I wish you all love and wholeness this coming year. May it be full of life that you will someday love to remember.
A.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy Christmas!

On the fifth day of Christmas I finally got around to blogging about it!
helping Daddy trim the tree
We are having a wonderful Christmas season, full of family and fun. J is old enough to be excited and enjoy things like Christmas lights, presents and sugary treats although she's not quite in a place where she understands just why we're getting to do/get/give/eat all this fun stuff. Because of this, and because I remember how crazy-making the holiday schedule was for her last year in terms of sleeping and naps we kept things fairly mellow for the first part of Advent. I buckled and we got a tree mid-December instead of waiting for Christmas Eve, and I don't regret it. It was fun to take the girls to pick one out and spend an afternoon decorating and listening to Christmas music on the record player.

We had a couple fun outings in the weeks leading up to the holiday as well, both of which had riding opportunities! We checked out Zoo Lights with Andrew's family at the zoo in Tacoma, and J rocked the camel rides. We only noticed it was for people three years old and up after we got off! She wanted to stay on the camel and go again.

Then the next week we took a drive up north and met up with my brother and his family for a Lights of Christmas extravaganza that a campground puts on up in Stanwood, WA. That was also extremely fun, if cold. They had free pony rides for anyone under four feet tall (the pony wrangler asked me how old S was and when I told him informed me that the youngest kid they'd ever put on the pony rides was 4 months old. I told him maybe next year.) J did a great job on her own on the pony with Andrew walking next to her and immediately asked to go again. This could have been our entire evening, but we cut her off after two rides.

S likes him, though!
 And that was it for us until Christmas weekend, which we spent on the peninsula with Andrew's family. This was the first Christmas in years that I haven't had church responsibilities (my internship gave me the weekend off) and while I missed going to church it was nice to finally make the big family Christmas Eve event that my husband's grandparents host each year. It was a night full of fun, food, and children that ended with exhausted babies and parents collapsing at my in-laws for a good night of sleep. We did presents there on the first Christmas morning, and spent the day lounging about in jammies and playing with their new baby kitten. Who J is inexplicably terrified of.

We did our little family Christmas yesterday morning on the fourth day - stockings for the girls and a big lovely present for J (S is too little to care and ultimately it's for her too), a new kitchen! She put it too immediate good use, and has been cooking up a storm ever since. Mostly soup (or possibly "syrup" as those are both important food groups for J and it is very difficult to tell which one she is asking for/about at any given time.)

In other news one of my out of town besties came to visit and brought her new husband along which was fabulous. Hers was one of two important weddings that I missed because of baby S's arrival and it was wonderful to spend some quality time with D+D, as I shall now dub them. (you're welcome.)

short!
Also, I got a haircut and realized that many folks have never known me with short hair, especially around this part of the internet. I've had long-ish hair since this blog began. This makes me think that perhaps a photographic hair retrospective is in order, perhaps around birthdaversary time. I am loving having short hair again, though dreading the comments about getting a "mom haircut" which this is not. Although I will concede that S pulling constantly on my hair may have had something to do with the timing.
Happy Christmas Baby!

All in all I hope that your world is peaceful as we all wend our way toward the end of 2011 toward a new year. I am grateful for the perspectives of those who read here, and for the time each of you invest in me, and in us.

Happy Holidays from A+A+J+S! 
(A+A+fam? A+A family? We need a new nickname.)
Christmas Eve 2011