Farewell to 2015

I'm watching Max sleep right now and his cheeks are starting to get fat baby jowls. His legs are stretched out straight which make him look twice as big as he did three weeks ago when he was born. Three weeks?! It's only been three weeks? It feels like a minute and a half, but also an eternity. Sleep deprivation will do that to you. In the other room Laurel and Marko are playing some elaborate game of pretend. There's a cell phone and a grocery order and some otters involved.

M and I had a great plan to order Thai food for dinner tonight, but the restaurant was either closed or too busy to answer their phones. We had just been to the grocery store and were on our way home when we tried to order. All 5 of us together in the truck...it's crazy. Everybody is within arm's reach now and it's a complicated affair to get all the buckles ratcheted down correctly when we get in. I took Max to the cafe area (grocery stores have bars and cafes now, apparently) and fed him, while the rest of the crew went to find some pork roast for tomorrow's dinner.

2015 was a good year for us. No major calamities and a healthy baby boy at the end. M placed 1st or 2nd in a number of ultramarathons this summer and PR'd two marathons. He also reached his goal of completing a hundred mile race, and finished well under his projected time, earning the coveted belt buckle. Laurel started kindergarten, lost a bunch of teeth and learned to ride a bike. Marko went from toddler to imaginative little boy and I feel safe in declaring him potty trained. We took a very long road trip to Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, where we got to visit some of our favorite cousins (and aunt and uncle!) and a good friend who now lives in Baton Rouge.

I had a good year but my accomplishments are more subtle and hard to write about. I did absolutely nothing I would list on a resume. It was all tiny little domestic and neighborly acts - delivering banana bread and writing for the neighborhood blog and shoveling someone else's sidewalk. I babysat other people's kids when school was closed on Election Day and did a run for 412 Food Rescue and gave away 75 ice cream sundaes on National Night Out. I wiped a lot of butts and did a lot of laundry, and of course spent the majority of the year gestating a human.  I'm really good at making tortillas after a year of Taco Tuesdays. I repaired all of Mrs. Schreiner's Montessori mats and volunteered to be the assistant leader for Laurel's Daisy troop. I took a lot of walks in Frick Park at kid pace. I gave away children's magazines to fussy little kids on the PAT bus and restocked the Little Free Libraries with some of my favorite books. I sent a lot of messages to 311 and served on a traffic safety committee. To be honest, it often felt like nobody cared or even noticed what I was doing and when I first sat down to write this blog post I was wondering what I would say about my year. Half of the things I did got undone fairly soon. I thought I had accomplished nothing. But in fact, I grew into my role as mother and joined the ranks of generations of women who just keep things going in their homes and neighborhoods and schools. At this point, it feels like a year well spent.

Happy New Year!


Welcome, Max Benjamin!

I am very happy to announce that we welcomed a new baby boy to our family. Max - inspired by the book - and Benjamin in honor of my grandfather who passed away just about a year ago. My due date was actually on the anniversary of his death. He would have been delighted to have another great-grandchild.

Max was the biggest of our kids at birth - 8lbs 3 oz - but also the easiest birth, and it's been a pretty smooth transition. The day we got home from the hospital it already started feeling like he had been here forever. Marko and Laurel adore him. M was able to take some time off work. His love language is food, I think. He starts cooking whenever he has some free time. In addition to the roughly 50 pounds of sauerkraut he made, he also kept me well fed with pot roast and tacos and soup. He also got to spend a lot of time with Marko, who is pretty hilarious at this stage. (For instance, he has renamed himself "Markoooo" and has an amazing range of acting skills. Ask to see his "surprised" face.) I spent 2 weeks in bed or close to it, as I vowed to do this time. I feel pretty well rested and relaxed as a result.

Next week might be a different story. M is going back to work and school is closed for winter holiday. What do I do with a 6 year old, 2 year old and 3 week old in the dead of winter? What are the odds that we'll eat anything more complicated than peanut butter and jelly? Will I be able to get them all in the car by myself?

One afternoon this week, M went out to run an errand and took Laurel with him. Max is pretty mellow but sometimes he just wants to nurse for hours on end, so I was camped out on the couch with him, "watching" Marko. The plan was to put on some tv and just chill out. But he didn't really want to watch tv. He peed his pants. I sent him upstairs to change and he came down wearing a pair of terry cloth, vintage-looking undies that said "I'm somebody special!" on them. And nothing else. What made it funnier (or more disturbing, I suppose) is that I have never seen this pair of underwear before and have no idea where they came from. He absolutely refused to put any other clothing on, although he did go back upstairs several more times before M got home, each time bringing another batch of trains or blocks or blankets. The living room was a complete disaster within minutes. He also took advantage of my position on the couch to go rooting around in the fridge. He did this pretty stealthily because I only knew where he was when I heard the alarm go off on the fridge door. Another time I thought he was playing in his room, which has a 4 foot high gate on the door. I was just on my way to go check on him when Laurel came down. When I asked what she was doing up there, she said, oh I was just talking to Marko. Oh, yeah, I said, what's he up to? He's just coloring on your bed with Sharpies, she said nonchalantly.


Well, it turned out he grew just tall enough and just smart enough to unlatch the gate himself. So much for that purchase. Luckily, he was coloring with Sharpies ON PAPER while sitting on my bed. So, no harm, no foul.

Max is super chill so far and sleeps through a lot of the chaos in the house. I think he looks exactly like Marko and when he's sleeping, like a tiny version of M's dad. Having a third kid is awesome because you enjoy all of the cuteness of the newborn phase with about a tenth of the anxiety. I'm looking forward to many adventures with our family of five.