Monday, December 31, 2012

A Year in Review

I don't know about you, but I love New Year's Eve. Not because we do anything fancy (we don't), but simply because I like looking forward to set new goals and looking back to see what's been accomplished. 2012 was an awesome year for me, and I can't imagine that next year won't be just as, if not more, wonderful.

After starting the year off with a horrific bout of sickness brought in by one of the daycare kiddos, things weren't looking as amazing as I had hoped. The beginning of the year was a blur of illness after illness, and trudging along just trying to survive. But things started to turn around in March, which is when I finally started to feel like Lucas and I had formed a bond after a long, long struggle throughout his first year. We still had rough patches, but this was most certainly our year of coming together. It was a year of love, and happiness, and adventures.

This was also the year that Lucas learned to walk, which meant fun like never before. Summer usually isn't my favorite season, but this summer blew all other summers out of the water because Lucas and I got to do so much together. We went to the zoo, took trips to the beach, visited California, played at tons of parks, explored the city, went on hikes, tried out swimming, and so much more. Plus we had amazing some amazing weather from April through September so it was a long, well-enjoyed season for us. Some of my favorite memories of all time came this spring/summer while we were outside playing the days away.

enjoying the sunshine in Bodega Bay
playing in the sand at Lake Tahoe
walking at San Rafael Park with Daddy
throwing rocks into the Truckee River
picking tomatoes in the garden, even the green ones
splashing in the pool with cousin Jocelyn

watching the Great Reno Balloon Races

Another great memory from this summer was going to Las Vegas with Rob on our first vacation alone since Lucas was born. Though there aren't any pictures (we were too busy enjoying ourselves to bust out a camera) it was definitely a highlight of the year. We didn't drink much or gamble at all, but the freedom to window shop and sip margaritas on the strip or lay by the pool and take afternoon naps was luxurious in ways we could never imagine before becoming parents. And the food, my god, the food! We spent a decadent amount on food, and I personally believe it was worth every overpriced penny. I ate steak at literally every single meal, and regret nothing. It was magical.

Then of course, summer came to close with a bang when in early September I found out this little person was growing in my belly.

And a girl, A GIRL, I can still hardly believe it.
So we navigated through a fun-filled fall while battling morning sickness. Luckily this pregnancy hasn't been as hard as Lucas', so symptoms hardly slowed me down at all. Which meant we were free to enjoy a bounty of leaf piles and pumpkin patches and of course, the big boy haircut.

Before the haircut
After the haircut
An amazing day at Apple Hill
The cutest sock monkey you ever did see
Leaves! Oh my goodness, the LEAVES!
That day at Apple Hill was sincerely one of the best days of my life. We had so much fun and got to do so many things. At Boa Vista Orchards we watched them use the big machine they use to peel, core and slice apples, we went mobbing through the pumpkin patch (Lucas loved stepping over the pumpkins, he thought it was hilarious), we ate some amazing apple doughnuts and shopped the farmer's market. We got to ride on a little train around the lake at El Dorado Orchards. And even though Lucas was all tuckered out by the time we reached Apple Ridge Farms, we put it as our top spot to visit in Apple Hill for next year. So much to do, so much to love. Happy, happy memories.

I also sort of loved the Presidential elections this fall. I was far more involved than I was in the 2008 elections, and I engaged in some really thoughtful dialogue with many of my peers. I took this election very seriously and was surprised to find myself undecided rather late in the game. It was an exciting political season whether you liked it or not. And though I'm glad it's over (because it was taking up way too many of my Hulu commercials), a part of me misses it. It was an exciting race.

Our year wound down with a quiet Thanksgiving at the ranch, an awesome little birthday party for Lucas (with amazing December weather to boot!) and a nice Christmas at home with family.

And even though this year is ending with me losing my job, I'm really excited for what the next year has to offer. I'm choosing to see my unemployment as an opportunity for me to find something better for me and my family. I'm giving myself time to pause, to reevaluate, to breathe. Bring on the New Year.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Brother or Sister?

Sorry, guys. I know I have a pretty big announcement to make, and it's coming. I promise. I just got a little caught up with all the craziness that went on this month. Such as...

This big boy turning two.

And enjoying Christmas in his awesome new circus tent.

His favorite gifts were books, a slinky, and various boxes. Go figure.
I've also been busy knitting this awesome blanket. Which means....


So now I get to keep all the girl things I've been stockpiling over the years. (Because I've totally been doing that since before I was pregnant with Lucas, FYI.) Hope you all had a lovely Christmas and enjoyed lots of good food and good company. We sure did. xoxo

Monday, December 17, 2012

Boo to the Same Old

Okay, I know. It was maybe two days ago that I said I wouldn't be jumping on the gun-control issue (or any other connected political issue) in the immediate wake of the Newton tragedy, and hear me out, I'm not planning on doing so right now. I'm letting you know it might seem that way at first, so bear with me for a minute. Because what I'm fired up about isn't gun control. I promise.

 What I'm fired up about is this meme...

(gets*, don't*)
...and moreover, what this meme represents.

Which is, in short, stupidity.

Now, allow me to say that being pro-gun does not make you stupid. My husband is an intelligent man who is very fond of his guns and his second amendment rights. I grew up around guns, I'm a fairly good shot and I've owned hunting rifles and handguns throughout my life. We come from hunting, gun-owning families. Let me assure you that I don't believe being pro-gun inherently makes you a bumbling, redneck idiot.

(Allow me to also state that the subject matter of the meme is fairly inconsequential, but I'm going to continue to run with the gun-control meme, because it's there and it's painstakingly convenient.)

What gets me fired up about this meme isn't that someone feels they have a right to own a gun to protect their family. Heck, it's not even about the fact that someone feels entitled to own an automatic weapon for the purpose of protecting their family (seriously?). In reality, it doesn't have much at all to do with my personal opinion on the subject of gun control.

I'm upset because I'm sick to death of people making stupid, weak and invalid arguments on the internet. I'm tired of listening to the same old  asinine arguments about gun control. And via meme? Memes can be funny, perhaps inspirational, but they will rarely, if ever, make a solid, stand alone argument about something that matters deeply to you. (Someone, anyone, show me I'm wrong. I'll buy you a beer, or bake you some cookies.)

I'm all for heated arguments, even those which occur on the internet. I kind of love it and see why my parents used to say I should be a lawyer. I'm not saying keep your mouth shut. Not by a long shot. I'm saying don't try to make some sort of clever connection between the fact that the presidential family has a need for a security detail and the fact that you feel an automatic weapon is a necessity for the average American family by using a poorly conceived meme. Because the connection isn't there. It never was. It never will be. In short, make a better case for your cause.

If you want to get behind a cause, fine. If you're on the opposite end of the spectrum from me, fine. If you want to broadcast your beliefs on the internet, have at it. I do it all the time. But for the love of whatever it is that you are so passionate about, put a little thought and effort into your stance. Make sure you're standing on solid ground where jerks like me can't knock you off your feet.There are plenty of valid arguments to be made on both sides of most hot-button issues. Find them. Use them. Read up on some of the reasons everyone thinks you're wrong, and try not to scoff. Try to be better.

Stop being stupid, and start being a smart ass. 

Trust me, it's much more fun.

*Also, if the person who originally posted this meme is for some reason reading this, I'm sorry. I'm not trying to personally attack you. I have no bone to pick with you; I think sat next to you in a single biology class in high school and recall little other than your penchant for wearing hockey jerseys. I'm simply pregnant, and writing rants on whims of fancy.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

All I Can Do

No, I have not watched the news. I can't, and I won't.

I saw the headline yesterday, and turned off my computer for the rest of the day. I want to say I am horrified, appalled, struck with grief and fear and a sickness in my stomach that I feel will never pass. But those words aren't quite enough. There aren't words for this. How could there be?

I cannot read the articles. I will not join the political debates. It's of no use and no consolation to anyone who matters in the unimaginable wake of this. My opinions are inconsequential and uncalled for. I could never justify my rage in the face of sorrow. Because in the midst of all the fighting and finger-pointing and over-analyzing and diagnosing, we ignore the suffering. The media and disconnected masses will drown out the sound of those weeping in the darkness for the sweet loves that are never coming home again. Those crusaders demanding answers and legislation for a loss they cannot begin to comprehend, waging trite wars before small graves are dug, will not stop to think about the Christmas presents that will remain unopened or the bedrooms left empty or the hallways of a school stripped of laughter, homes stripped of joy. I will bear no part of that unholy noise that floods over the heavy silence of loss.

I can't and I won't.

I will simply stay home with my baby, as I do every day. I will hold him as much as he'll let me and steal kisses despite his protests. I will lay on the floor and play his simple games. I will sip from the empty teacup he hands me. I will help him tuck in all his stuffed animals, and kiss them each goodnight. I will take serious phone calls on the calculators he holds to my ear. I will terrorize the train station with plastic dinosaurs. I will laugh when he laughs and revel in the sound of his voice as he narrates his play. I will strive to speak his love language while my heart overflows with gratitude for the simple blessing of his presence. I will lay him down to sleep gently and tell him I love him with a love beyond love.

And I will think of those suffering in quiet moments when I am alone. I will remember the lives cut short and the silence where there should be laughter, and I will cry in solidarity with the mourning. I will vow to never know the name of the man who staked his claim to fame in the blood of innocent children. And I will respect the fact that this small offering of my heart will be meaningless, but it is all I have to give.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Oh, Baby

I know, I sort of dropped a bomb and walked away yesterday. I'm sorry. I wanted to steal Kate Middleton's thunder. I couldn't help myself.

I've been hoarding this information for some time now. The new babe is due mid-May, and I've been in the know since early September (the dog's been in the know since late August, because he had psychic dog powers and instinctively starts sleeping on my side of the bed when I'm pregnant). I'm coming up on 17 weeks, getting close to the halfway mark and even closer to finding out if it's a boy or a girl. You all have two weeks to get your bets in, so get on it. And think feminine thoughts, I already have a husband, son, boy dog and boy cat. But then again, boys are fun and girls turn into screaming, hate-mongering banshees later in you know. Either way is cool with me.

If you're interested in the fruit comparison for my fetus, I'm sorry to disappoint you. Apparently my pregnancy calender thought it best to compare in terms of rodents, and for the record, I've got a gerbil sized baby in my belly at the moment. Unsettling, I know. Did you know one of the side-effects of being pregnant is weird, super vivid dreams? Yeah, can't wait for what dreams follow the mid-sized rodent in my womb revelation.

So far, this pregnancy has been much easier than the first in terms of symptoms. I haven't technically thrown up at all, and the worst of the morning sickness lasted a mere 10 weeks. Compare that to six months of horrific, I-don't-even-want-to-look-at-food, vomiting twice a day morning sickness and this time around is a cake walk. All the other minor stuff pales in comparison.

And aside from the stats, I'm very happy at this point. It's still somewhat surreal and scary, but I'm starting to come to terms the fact that it's happening, and it's okay. I think it was meant to be this way. A little bit frightening, a little unpredictable and completely transformative. How else could it possibly be?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Z is for Zygote

Have I told you lately that I'm pregnant?

True story.

End of the alphabet. 


Y is for Year

It's hard to believe December is here already. In the midst of getting ready for the holidays and Lucas' birthday, I've been looking back on the year, trying to account for lost time.

Not so sure how this tiny munchkin...
..turned into this full blown kid.

I've reached that point where life has started moving at a rate I can't seem to keep up with. It makes me wildly uncomfortable to feel like life is slipping out of my grasp, so I'm in full blown resolution mode (which is an accomplishment in itself considering the fact that I'm normally found making a list of New Year's Resolutions mid-February). I like to make epic lists, which pretty much all educated sources frown upon because it sets you up for failure. But screw it, I like a challenge.

So here are my resolutions for the next year, to make sure it's just as (if not more) wonderful than 2012.

Granting that the world doesn't end, of course.

 1. Photography
  • I want to take more pictures, because taking millions of photos is the only way I'm ever going to get a picture of Lucas looking at the dang camera. (See Above: Babies love to look at cameras, toddlers look at a camera and immediately reach for it with grubby fingers, then melt onto the floor in a dramatic tantrum when they cannot have it)
  • Also, I need to read my DSLR manual and start taking better photos, because at this point, there's no excuse for being such a mediocre photographer.
  • Do something with my photos, like start making some awesome albums through Costco. I just ordered about 500 prints because I haven't developed any photos ALL YEAR. Ridiculous. 
  • Organize my photos and back up my files, every month. Not once a year. 
2. Finances
  • Start saving into a retirement fund and college fund consistently every month.
  • Tighten up our flabby budget.
  • Stick to my meal plans so we don't overspend on food.
3. Health
  • Drink more water
  • Find a workout schedule that works for me
  • Go to the dentist (and here I admit to you that it has been eight godforsaken years since I've been to the dentist. I know, I'm pretty appalled with myself too.)
  • Find a primary care doctor (I also haven't had a physical, or seen a regular doctor except my OBGYN, since I was 15, yikes.)
4. Personal
  • Have at least two nights, per month, where I go out, sans babies. It can be a date night with Rob, or a terrible movie with my friends, or going to a book signing, or a yoga class, or a solo run. But I need time to be me, and I'm not going to feel guilty about it!
  • Paint my nails every week, because I like having my nails painted. Right now my nails are fire engine red, and I feel saucy. 
  • Read at least two books a month. I have time for this even in the busiest months, and it's a goal I was able to stick to (for the most part) this year. 
  • Organize more. It helps me simplify my life and stops us from accumulating too much crap.
5. Writing
  • Contribute to my blog at least once a week. 
  • Try to get something published on the internet at least once a month. 
  • Write at least four new short stories by the end of the year. This year I only did two and it makes me terribly sad. 
  • Just write, no matter what the form. It's something I need to do.

Got anything I should add to my list? I'm sure I'm not quite done with it yet. 
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