Thursday, December 6, 2012

My Very First Holiday Newsletter...and post #50!

This is my 50th post.  Wow.

When I started this blog about 5 months ago, I was afraid to share it.  And I definitely didn't think anyone would want to read it.  Now I'm writing a few times a week, and I have at least a FEW people who seem to relate to what I say!  I'm excited to see what the next 50 posts bring.

My 50th post seems like the perfect time for my very first holiday letter!  I remember my mom sending these out when I was a kid.  It usually said that I had done at least 3-4 shows, my mom was busy driving me to rehearsals for said shows, Janine had a part in the show too, and my Dad played golf.  We'd reference any trips we took, and anything else special that went on.  I remember getting a lot of letters from others and always being interested in seeing what people were up to.  Obviously this was before the days of Facebook when everyone posted status updates and there was no need for a yearly wrap up.

I had planned on including holiday letter for a few years, but there was always a reason not to.  Yes, the holidays make me happy, but a letter is a LOT of extra work, and needs the ... right mindset and enough to say.  Three years ago I was BARELY pregnant with Madison, and since I was recovering from a prior miscarriage, I was nervous about sharing the news, but couldn't think of any other news, so I let it go.  Two years ago, I was recovering from a friendship break up that truly broke my heart, newly back to work with a 4 month old, and far too overwhelmed to even consider writing a letter.  LAST year I was working FULL time, pregnant, and chasing after a VERY active toddler.  It was hard to get cards out, let alone include a letter.  Write it, print it, fold it, include it...I was just happy for photo cards!

But THIS year, I've got a place to share our letter WITHOUT adding a huge amount of extra work to my holiday cards!  So here we very first Holiday Letter (or Humble Brag Letter, as one of my favorite bloggers refers to these)!

Dear Family, Friends, and Followers,

Merry Christmas!

It's been quite a year for our family.  2012 brought about some big changes for us.

Madison completed the switch from baby to toddler.  I don't know if it's her hair, her speech, or what, but she is just ALL little girl.  I look at pictures from last January and she was such a BABY.  I really can't believe how much she's grown.  She's a lot of fun with a spunky personality, but she can be a handful too.  She loves to sing, loves to dance, loves to tell stories, and LOVES to do things on her own terms.  She's a parrot as well.  If I ever want to know what I say consistently to the girls, all I need to do is listen to Madison.  "Don't worry Mommy, it's under control", "I'll be RIGHT there, TWO seconds", and "It sounds like I am a VERY tired little girl" are all phrases I hear often, along with "NO, I do it all MYSELF!", which is the toddler war cry.  She's taking dance classes, we've joined an art playgroup, and we're still taking Gymboree classes.  She's definitely a busy kid!

I've also had a few questions about Madison's health and I'm HAPPY to report that Madison had NO irregular blood tests in 2012 at ALL.  (In case you weren't aware, Madison has a condition called Autoimmune Neutropenia).  In fact, she was weaned off her bone marrow modifier injections in June.  In the six months she's been off the shots she's managed to weather a few viruses with no dip in her white cell counts.  Normally, if kids are going to outgrow the condition, they do it around 3.  Madison is clearly an overachiever like her parents...I think she did it by 2!  We'll do some more follow up testing in January, but we barely think about it these days.

Reagan joined our family on February 29.  That's right, February 29.  The ONE day I hoped I wouldn't deliver is the day she insisted on arriving!  Reagan is a peanut, and in my totally biased opinion, one of the most beautiful babies I have ever seen.  She's got her father's eyelashes and on her, they look like I spend my mornings applying mascara to my baby.  Reagan is cuddly, giggly, and trying hard to keep up with her big sister.  She crawled four months earlier than her sister, and I'll be shocked if she isn't walking my Christmas.  Given her size, it's adorable to see.  It looks like a 6 month old cruising along. She doesn't have any of her "own" activities yet, but she tags along with Madison and reaps the benefits from her big sister.

Reagan also had her own specialists for a few months.  She's definitely a "do it my own way" kid, and she was breech up until a few weeks before delivery.  Hanging out that way not only caused some stress on ME, but landed her in an orthopedic office with hip dysplasia and with an undesirable accessory (a soft harness).  Luckily, she is ALSO an overachiever.  We were told she'd be in the brace for a few MONTHS, but it turns out she was completely back to normal within only a few weeks.  Her follow up x-ray recently confirmed that she's doing great!  And her motor skills clearly haven't suffered.

Adam has been playing a LOT of golf this year.  Which is mostly my fault.  I actually encouraged him by suggesting a golf club.  A golf club near our house ran a special early in the spring, and we were able to join with no initiation fee and under 50% of the dues.  They have a pool for the girls and I in the summer, and Adam can leave 10 minutes before his tee time with no concern.  He's met a lot of really nice guys to play with, he's been able to play twice as much, and yet he's home for much more of the weekend.  He's even played in a few tournaments and actually MADE some money on it (Ok, not really.  Overall, he's definitely paid them.  But once or twice he's come home up a few bucks.) 

We're lucky that Adam has been able to keep working out of his home office.  He's able to get up with the girls in the morning, occasionally join us for lunch, and always spend time with us before dinner.  He works like crazy, and if he wasn't working from home it could be really tough on us.  Yet, amazingly, it worked.  He's had a few trips, and Madison definitely misses him, but she's always excited to talk to him on the phone and plan when he'll come home.

As for me, it's been a year of changes.  In February I said goodbye to my classroom for the last time.  I'd bounced from part time working mom to full time working mom, but I knew with two kids at home it was time to make the switch to stay at home mom.  Both Adam and I are thrilled we were able to make this work.  It's had moments where it's been stressful having all FOUR of us in the house, with only one person providing materially, but the majority of the moments are great.  I'm working in the church nursery and fighting off people who want me to sing in the choir.  I'll get back there someday, but right now, I think the nursery is the right place for me to serve in church.  It's hard having NO official "music making" in my life though, so I may search out a place to teach some early childhood music classes next year.  It's hard to relax for long.

And of course, I made the leap from over-talker on the phone and over-poster on Facebook to blogger!  I've already gotten opportunities that I never dreamed of, I've discovered some other wonderful writers all over the country with interesting things to say, and I've found that I really love writing.  I'm truly loving every moment of my "blogging life", every moment of my "mommy life" (at least when I reflect, I'm the first to admit I don't love every moment IN the moment), and I can't wait to see what 2013 brings!

Hope this year was as wonderful you as it was for us!

Love, Meredith, Adam, Madison and Reagan

And HERE'S a preview of our card!  Merry Christmas!

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