I never posted it because I never felt it was "done," but here we are. All pictures taken March 2017 by Katie Harris of The Jadeite Shutter.
I stared at the positive result for a long time.
2016 was the Year of Drew. Pregnancy was much more difficult for me this time around, and while the work was ultimately worth it, it was hard on all of us. I'm not a good mom (or wife) when I'm pregnant, and the four of us bobbed along in survival mode for at least 11 of the past 12 months.
We learned to be okay with bare minimums. Things I'd been on top of after our move in 2015--cooking and taking the girls on outings and running errands and keeping things relatively clean--fell completely apart. Jay and I have a pretty egalitarian marriage, but he went from pulling his own weight to pulling his and mine, and it was taxing for both of us. He didn't complain, and we ate a lot of pizza and Cafe Rio on the nights Jay was too tired to cook.
At the end of 2015, Jayne, to me, was perfect and adorable and could do no wrong. I couldn't get enough of her. I still have so much guilt about this, but once I got pregnant, everything about her grossed me out. Her smell, her runny nose, her messy face and hands after eating, her constant need to be snuggled up and pressed against me. The only times I dry heaved and threw up were when I changed her diapers. I recognized the shift and felt awful about it and tried to compensate in other ways. A month or so after Drew was born, Jayne was once again the most adorable child in the world to me. She bullies Kate sometimes and throws fits like any other kid, but she is precocious and seriously the cutest kid you will ever meet. Her laugh is infectious.
Kate took the brunt of my lack of patience but loved me through it anyway. She was helpful and the best big sister to Jaynie. Kate would get up before me and play by herself until she heard Jayne wake up. She'd come to me and whisper, "Mom, can I go play with Jayne? She's awake; I heard her." And I'd grunt unintelligibly and she'd say "Can I, Mom?" until I could form a distinct "yes." Then she'd go in Jayne's room (they'd both usually squeal in joy to see each other), climb into her crib, and they'd play. Often, Kate would bring toys and books and pile them in Jayne's crib. Sometimes, Kate would drag a stool around in the kitchen downstairs and find food and bring it up to Jayne and they'd sit in the crib together, eating their clandestine snacks. I'd get to steal another 30+ minutes of sleep because the girls were such good little friends. I couldn't have made it through this pregnancy without Kate.
Time felt warped in 2016. I never did feel ready or adjusted to the idea of having a baby, but Drew came all the same. I remember after Kate was born, every week felt like a month and I noticed every little change. I could tell you how many weeks old she was up to twelve weeks and beyond. Time with Drew has been slippery. It's been harder to appreciate all his little milestones, and he's suddenly four months old and I don't know how it happened. He sleeps through the night on the regular now which means I'm slowly feeling more functional. His sisters dote on him. I take a moment every day to make sure we stare into each other's eyes and smile while he coos at me.
I feel lucky every day that I married Jay. He is my favorite, my anchor, my perfect match. I trust him with my whole self. The years we have babies are never easiest on our marriage, but even during the harder years, we're so happy to have each other.
Here are some milestones, events, and accomplishments from this year:
- We paid off our student loans in November, which is a huge achievement and something we've been working toward for the past several years.
- We went on a trip to NYC with our kids!
- We've owned our own business for two years next month and have experienced modest but steady growth both years.
- We tackled our first home renovation project due to a water leak (and by tackled, I mean we hired a contractor). We have a new dining room ceiling, and both of our upstairs bathrooms have tile now instead of laminate, and they look great.
- We've been in our home for over a year, and we love having space!
- Kate finished preschool and started pre-K two days a week.
- I wrote and put together our church's musical Christmas program.
- We visited Jay's sister Amy in L.A., went to the Boulder and Brian Head cabins, visited Jay's parents in Dallas, took many weekend trips to visit my family in St. George, and hosted many family and friends in our home.
- Kate turned 4 and Jayne turned 2.
- I voted for a democratic presidential nominee for the first time ever and cried when she lost to someone who, to me, embodies the worst aspects of humanity.
- We tried our hands at a "real" garden this year and had some successes and some epic fails. The girls ate cherry tomatoes off the vines like candy. The peppers didn't produce until late fall, the zucchini plants didn't produce and died early, and the larger tomatoes produced, but not like we envisioned. We're excited to try again this year.
- We ate fruit off our fruit trees this year and were so, so pleased at how amazing our peaches were--three of the trees were heavy laden with fruit. We only got about 20 apricots off one of our apricot trees and none off the other, but they were tasty. The pomegranates and grapes didn't really produce, and we only got one tiny lime off our new lime tree, but we have an abundance of lemons this winter.