It’s been a moment hasn’t it?
As the year ended and I thought back on 2019, I thought about how little this year has been documented. Little, at least, for me. I love documenting, processing, photographing, sharing, blogging — all the modern memory keeping mechanisms. But this year I just felt burnt out on recording and sharing. I sat down to write – both here and in personal journaling – and just felt weary at the thought of it. Getting out the camera felt cumbersome, and this is probably the least photographed year we have had in a long time.
This is not to say that 2019 wasn’t wonderful. It was. We bought a house, set up a new home, made new friends, took part in really meaningful community, and really enjoyed parenting our tiny crazy people. It was perhaps my most social year since college, as toddler parenting with part-time employment means that I spend a lot of time having coffee with my friends around the city under the guise of play dates “for our children.” Book clubs, Bible studies, community dinners- I have really enjoyed our social calendar. And as I have put far fewer of my own words down this year, it has been a year of soaking up other people’s writing. I read a lot in 2019, so many good and fun books. It was one of my best kept New Year’s resolutions and I have no regrets about the many times I had a spare moment and picked up a book instead of writing a blog post (I mean does anyone even still read blogs?). And yet, I miss it, the documenting. Not the process of it, but I miss the traces of life that I was able to capture.
So here are a few updates, and an avowed desire to document more in 2020.
In the blog silence that was November, fall came and went, Thanksgiving happened, and my parents came to DC for what was the most chill Thanksgiving ever. My mom and I made a meal that was on the simpler side, but it included this stuffing that I absolutely love and everyone else tolerated. We read the kids some historical books that mayyybbeeee overemphasized the dire straights and death of the Pilgrims that first year, causing Henry to answer the question “What are you thankful for?” with the sincere response of, “I want to say what makes me sad… I don’t want us to die.” The 8th annual donut party occurred and as always, it was a seasonal highlight. We went the baked donut route this year and I have no regrets! I used this recipe but subbed apple butter for pumpkin. And because the donut party crowd is now about half children under the age of 7- the party started at 5, and a mass exodus happened at 7. I had a couple people bring pots of chili and I am now convinced that Buddy the Elf is right and we should add maple syrup to everything, including chili.
Speaking of Buddy, Christmas came, though Thanksgiving was so late and rudely stole a week of the best season. We hit all our favorite DC Christmas traditions and every year they just feel better as our kids get older. This year Christmas snuck up on me and I was frantically wrapping (ok, and ordering) gifts at the last minute. But Advent? We did Advent well this year. Henry (and me if we are being honest), loved having this podcast each day to help us remember the people who waited for Jesus to come and remind us we are waiting for him to come back. I can’t wait till they come back with a Lent one because it was some of the best treatment of complicated Biblical stories for kids that I have heard. I hit the library in late November and pulled every Christmas book that was about some aspect Christ’s birth and the kids found another one to unwrap under the tree each morning. Simple, repetitive, and so fun. In hindsight, it was also way too many books for toddlers who love reading the same things over and over, but it was fun.
We snapped a few quick Christmas card pics, and obviously I couldn’t totally forsake tradition, so here are a few of the outtakes and some favorites.
We visited both families over Christmas break, with Christmas first in Indiana, where Henry got to hit Pokagon for the first time. Both of our families are absolute experts at giving James and I exactly what we want most for Christmas: a break from parenting. I read books on the couch and napped, first in Indiana and then in Kentucky where we did second Christmas. I know it is a hassle to travel for the holidays, and I know we won’t do it forever, but every year James and I come home so filled by that time with our family. Both of my brothers had their first child in the last couple months, with baby Charlie coming right before Thanksgiving to my older brother in Montreal and baby Suzie arriving last week to my little brother in Hong Kong. I flew to Canada to meet Charlie and was able to follow my sister in law’s labor with Suzie on the other side of the globe in Hong Kong. Our family grows and I feel so rich.
And under all these adventures that filled the fall and the onset of winter, there was this:
Baby three coming late June! The surprise of 2019 for us, and man- this third pregnancy is rough. I’ve vomited more than the first two combined, find cooking to be a struggle of moral proportions, and shortly before Christmas I started having some of the concerning bleeding that I had with Etta. The fun of the fall was underscored and punctuated with me lying on the floor of the bathroom or trying to find new ways to play with the kids that allowed me to stay motionless on the couch.
The day that we thought we might be losing the baby, we decided to tell the kids. I was 12 weeks, and many would say it was too early to tell toddlers. But we decided that we needed the kids to understand the ways I was struggling, needed their grace. What we got instead was their insane joy. Henry instantly started spouting off plans, everything from the new pumpkin bucket we would need to buy for trick-or-treating, to where the baby should sleep, to how he would include the baby in his activities, and how we needed to go to the grocery to buy some breast milk (hmm…) . He paused in the middle of his to-do list to yell “WE ARE GOING TO HAVE ANOTHER COSTCO MEMBER IN THE FAMILY!!!” and he hasn’t stopped being excited about this little life.
So that’s what happened since last we spoke. Deep community. Holidays and seasonal traditions. Shock and surprise and pain. And joy. So much joy.
Till next time.