so long, farewell…

          Sigh and goodbye, two thousand eleven is done.  We did it love, and we did it well.  (another sigh here).  This year felt like a beautiful giant sleepy messy monster.  That is exactly right, beautiful giant sleepy messy monster.  Perhaps it’s because every year always ends with December.  and December was our year’s monster.  December 4th, giving our Naomi a big girl birthday party that hoped to redeem us for last years lack of.  December 11th, we hit the Flood Christmas Concert.  Never felt so relieved as I did after the final 8pm service closed up and we drove away from church that night.  December 17th, hosted a giant surprise party to celebrate my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary!  Five days of Christmas vacation at GrampBill’s came with five nights of no shut eye (note to self: babies and vacations, a rough mix).  December 28 & 29, leading worship at a Wesleyan Conference for 450 Junior High and High School kids at SkyLine, complete with singing, dancing, and more jumping than physically possible.  All of this, December is done!  What relief and sense of accomplishment on our drive home from the conference last night.  Today, on the final day of 2011, we’re doing nothing upon nothing, and that is a beautiful thing.  I think there is something to say for making it through a full month (scratch that) most of this two thousand eleven year— on such little sleep, little time for us, little time for any real normalcy and yet, look back with heads high—  be proud of how we tackled the year’s incredible events (buying our first home and in debt until 2041), proud of what we created (a second human being, thank you), proud of how we walked through this year—-together.  It feels like we really fought for us this year, fought to keep the us alive, fought to keep our little moments sacred, fought to keep our spent evenings as engaged as possible.  Marriage is hard.  Marriage with little ones, so hard.  Thank you for fighting for me through this year.  Thank you for fighting for us.  Tonight, I’m raising a glass to us.  Party of two, party for two.  Unless, of course, the girls want to party it up at midnight too.  They’re good at that.

                  Naomi (2 years old!)— happy sweet girl, you are so much fun!  Daddy and I are amazed at you, and all that you’re learning and saying!  You are speaking in complete sentences (some more comprehensible than others)!  *A favorite line came at 3:30am, when daddy was putting the lid on your sippy cup, you made it very clear “I DO IT ALL BY MYSELF!!”  Had we not been in total amazement of your perfectly clear sentence, we’d probably be correcting your tone (or yelling, really), give us a break, we’re still new at this parenting thing.  *You got your purple cast off, and instead of being frightened of the loud saw, you threw your hands into the air and cheered with glee!  *You still love singing Good Shepard, Happy Birthday and your favorite Jingle Bells!  Full songs memorized! (not in tune or exact pronunciation, but you’ve got the words and timing down!)  *You started pushing the pedals on your tricycle!  *Your sweet chubby-love cheeks jiggle when you run.  *You have an opinion these days—you want your blanket to lay a certain way, you want to climb into your carseat “by myself,” you want to wear specific shoes, you want to close your door, no one else.  *You’ve started to memorize your night time books with Daddy, saying the words on the next page before the page is turned!  *You love pushing Trader Joe’s baby shopping carts around!  You push so confidently and you’re so proud to be mommy’s helper!  *You run your fingers slowly along the edge of your yellow blanket, it brings you comfort.  *You absolutely love dancing.  You put one foot in front of the other, and gallop around!  Lows: *On the morning of your 2nd birthday, you slipped on a pillow and crashed your face into the fireplace ledge.  Bruised up face and purple cast on your leg, you were quite a sight at your birthday party.  *You learned how to climb out of your crib (with your cast on), and it has changed everything.  *Mommy tried to potty train you, after you slipped in your own pee and started rolling around in it, this horrible idea lasted 3 hours.  *Your new found freedom from your crib has you storming into your baby sisters room in the middle of the night!  *You might have been the reason Ama’s and Papa’s Christmas tree went crashing to the ground at Maneevone Family Christmas.  Loves:  “Naomi sandwich” (Mommy and Daddy hug with you squashed in between!), running full speed into our arms for a hug!, flying in daddy’s arms, sitting in Aria’s high chair to eat, Jingle Bells, singing, two foot galloping dance, spinning yourself dizzy, ring around the rosey, talking like a dinosaur, rocking in the rocking chair, Patty Cake, rubber ducky in the shower, WonderPets, shoes, stickers, and airplanes.

                Aria (7 months)— you are a busy baby girl, full of scrunchy face smiles, and such a joy!  When did you get to be 7 months already?  *You’re so involved, so interested, so engaged. You watch everything so intently. *When we laugh, you laugh!  When we make a funny noise, you try to join in!  You’re totally aware and want to be a part of the action.  *You crawl to the table, and with your entire body, you watch our spoons as they move from our plates to our mouths.  You’re doing everything but saying “Feed me.”  You love eating, you eat fast and you’ve got the swallow part down.  *You’re strong, coordinated and can hold your own with your sister.  *You crawl fast!  *You pull yourself up to the couch, fall to your butt and pull yourself back up again!  *Daddy and I have caught you swaying back and forth on your hands and knees.  *You and your sister fall into serious giggle fits.  Mommy thinks these moments are from heaven.  *You’re fantastic at holding yourself up in a standing position along the couch, even taking little steps and scaling the couch.  Lows:  *You go to sleep easily, but do not stay asleep well.  Mommy is starting to think she’ll never sleep again.  You finally slept through the night (7pm-5am!), the very next day, your sister learned to crawl out her crib, and she barged into your room, only to disrupt that long sleep.  It’s never been the same since.  You sleep like a newborn, waking up at 11pm, 3am, 5:45am and finally 8am.  *You got your second ear infection (in both ears), explaining two days/nights of 103 fevers.  *Digging your fingernails into Mommy’s collarbones, and clawing at mommy’s chest.  *The rosiest, chapped cheeks!  *You ate a dried up leaf at church, and gagged on it.   Loves: You absolutely love to lay on your side and waving your free hand around in the air, grasping any toy and pounding it noisily onto the hard floors, slapping your hand on any noisy surface (or mommy’s face), you love being held, chomping on anything, lunging out of our arms, chasing your sister, flying in daddy’s arms, electrical outlets, eating, diving off couches head first.