Sunday, January 1, 2012

From One Great Year To Another

Happy New Year, everyone!  We have to say that 2011 was a really, really great year.  We haven't felt that way about some of the last few years, but this past year has brought us many blessings.  We know that the next year will bring more - one, in particular - and we are having a great start so far.

In 2011, the biggest news was our pregnancy with our second son.  And no, you aren't getting his name out of us just yet!  After three years of trying, we were actually shocked and elated when we realized that he was on his way.  It hasn't been all smooth sailing; a subchorionic hemmorhage at 11 weeks forced us to be extra cautious this time through.  This little one is tough, though, and we found out that these things are very common.  After a few weeks of not-quite-bed-rest, we were able to get exercise again and live normally.  I have had many more aches and pains this time, especially in the hips, but it's all normal stuff and absolutely nothing to complain about.  Besides, I have the best caretaker in Matt.  He does absolutely everything for me and never complains.  Even G has been helpful, bringing me blankets and stuffed animals to help me nap.

We have a fantastic birth team.  We took Bradley classes again and have read lots of books, research, and web sites to help us prepare for a natural water birth.  We have a great chiropractic team who helped us turn this little one head down when he got himself stuck sideways, and who help me with my aches and pains.  We joined Intown Midwifery and have the best midwives in the state and beyond (did you see them on 20/20 a few weeks ago?).  Our doula is such a great source of knowledge, strength, and calm, and has already been a tremendous support to us.  The baby couldn't be more cared for!  Really.  I think we have found every resource known to man.

So we wait.

The other big change that affected our lives last year was something that most people probably haven't noticed as much as we have.  The Chipster has matured tremendously - in his sense of humor, his responsibility, academically, creatively, emotionally, and culinarily (!).  He makes us laugh more than ever, and he understands jokes that we tell him.  He has the responsibility of not one, but two expensive electronic devices and one very precious stuffed animal and always keeps them where they are supposed to be.  He never loses track of them or forgets where he put them.  He has also learned to accept limits on the use of certain devices and truly understands that those limits are for his own good.

His grades are the equivalent of straight As, and I witnessed him in class a couple of weeks ago not only finishing two books, but asking to take a test and then asking to go to the library.  This boy, our son who claimed to "hate" reading a couple of months ago (and to tell the truth, it's still last on his list at home).  He is the youngest kid in his class but reading at the 97th-99th percentile of his grade level, according to one assessment.  His math skills are progressing well, too.  He is frequently jotting down math problems and trying to solve them, which pleases his nerd parents to no end.

Creatively, G makes a lot of connections in the most interesting places.  We were having a Beyblade battle yesterday, and when his Bey jumped out of the stadium, he said it was like the duck in Peter and the Wolf (his favorite thing to listen to on the iPod Santa brought him as he falls asleep).  His drawings are minimalist, because he refuses to part from his artistic vision when illustrating.  He has amazed us with his ability to  creatively solve problems in video games - and to help us solve problems.

This year, G has grown so much emotionally.  For the first time in his life, he likes to cuddle with us, and you better believe Mommy is taking full advantage of that!  He has also shown empathy, as he has tucked me into naps more than once and frequently offers us parts of his desserts rather than keeping them all for himself.

Perhaps one of Chip's greatest accomplishments, at least as far as his food-obsessed parents are concerned, is the fact that he has not only tried sushi, but he asked for it on Friday when we were at lunch at Thaicoon.  You may recall that this is the child who ate nothing but oatmeal, peanut butter sandwiches, and chicken tenders for at least a year of his life.  We could not be prouder of the beautiful young boy that he has become, and we try every day to be deserving of the privilege we were given in being his parents.

In his Parish School of Religion class and at home, G has been busy preparing for both his first reconciliation and first communion.  Individually, these are huge events in his life, but to have them both in the same year means a lot of work and then a lot of celebration.  We are so excited for both events and are really enjoying helping him learn all about his Catholic faith.

So it was a great year for Chipdip.

As for the two of us parental folks, well, we're just chugging right along.  Work for Matthew has been a place of change.  The last F-22 was rolled out a couple of weeks ago, so he found a position working on the C-130.  Not the flashy fighter jet he's used to, but a beautiful bird with interesting new features and challenges.  He has been very nervous about the changes, especially since it comes with new coworkers, but the first couple of days have gone well and he is positive that this will be a good experience for him.

I just finished my last semester teaching before the baby is born.  Overall, it was the best term yet in my two years of teaching at this college.  I had fantastic students, both academically and in terms of work ethic and attitude, and probably the best grades yet.  I also organized my courses so that the entire semester is mapped out for the future, should I return once the bambino gets his bearings in our household.  I will go back to tutor until the baby is born, and then we will wait and see how things go to determine what I should do next.

One more notable thing - we apparently have become case studies for the conservation of mass principle.  As I gain baby weight, my gorgeous husband is losing it.  He looks better than ever and has a great disposition to go with it.  His self-control has been impressive, as mine has gone right down the drain!  I am so proud of him.

So as we begin the new year of 2012, one job ends, another begins, one child grows in so many ways and another is born.  It seems like a lot of change, but it is all good change - and it definitely won't be a boring year!