Ten

My firstborn is ten today. I’ve been a mom for ten years! Which doesn’t seem possible! Ten years!

He’s growing into an amazing person. At ten, he’s sometimes more grown up than I know, and other times still very much a kid.

Strikingly independent, choosing a few months ago to start walking to and from school on his own.

Very opinionated, on most subjects. And as his teacher this past year told us, even though sometimes he’s a little raw with his words, “He’s not wrong!”

He’s so effortlessly talented as an artist. Even his simple doodles far surpass any drawing I could ever do. And he’s equally talented with paint, clay, chalk and just crafting for fun. He’s also a bonafide musician. He tricked his piano teacher into letting him play songs by ear. Which is super great that he can do that, but no, you’re going to learn the notes kiddo.

He’s incredibly smart. I know all moms say that, but really, so smart. He did a project for the school science fair, and ended up winning city-wide and headed to SARSEF, the Southern Arizona regional fair. And he earned a trophy there! He often does not give himself very much credit, and has very little confidence, but when he puts his mind to it, he can do amazing things.

He’s sensitive to his core. It will be an asset as an adult, but as a kid he often just ends up sad or angry. It’s been a challenge helping him harness all that emotion, while still letting him be himself.

He’s as sweet and tender as his is rough around the edges. Watching him play with his baby sister is like watching a whole other child. It’s been amazing watching those two bond.

He’s a lover of animals. He loves our pets, of course, but loves to see new animals and learn all about them. When we go to the zoo, he rattles of a half dozen facts that he learned in zoo camp about every animal he sees.

Living in Arizona has made a real explorer and cowboy out of him. He loves everything about the outdoors, and camping, and is always up for an adventure. It’s the one setting where I get to see him fearless and brave.

It’s like my husband said, it would be nice to just freeze time and enjoy him just as he is. But it’s also been amazing watching him grow and become the man he will be someday. The great paradox of parenting.

We love you, Bowie. And we can’t wait to see what the next decade of your life will bring.

bowie is ten

 

This is Thirty Nine

Sunday was my birthday. And it was a good one. A quiet and seemingly boring, but good one, as most birthdays after age 25 are. Especially if you have children.

Thirty-nine is kind of a big one for me. I know it’s a totally random number, but I have my reasons. Not the least of which is the fact that my grandfather died of melanoma at the age of 39. And he was probably diagnosed (or should have been diagnosed) around the same age that I was, at 34 years old.

The past five years of my life have been…something. REALLY something. And one of the reasons was I was waiting out the five-year post-diagnosis period that the medical community waits before your cancer can be determined to be fully gone. Not that you won’t get it again, or some other kind won’t pop up, but the first cancer they found, if it’s not back within five years, then congratulations, you’re cured. I just hit that 5-year milestone at the beginning of this month. So, yeah, it felt pretty good to turn 39 and feel like I was (more or less) healthy. Alive.

The day started off with the dog somehow managing to escape to the driveway, get in a dog fight, possibly get kicked by a neighbor, (this is all hearsay from our kids who witnessed the whole thing but didn’t say anything) and then came inside to recover from the fight/kick and we all thought he was dying. Until we offered him treats. Then he was miraculously recovered.

I had brunch at a diner with Brien and Finley. And we then went on a hot date to Target to pick out the toaster oven we had wanted to buy for a while now. And I was going to get some goldfish for the aquarium that’s been sitting empty since our beloved George the beta died. But my husband was wondering if I wanted to upgrade to a bigger aquarium and get fancy tropical fish and after a mild panic attack and existential crisis, we left the store with nothing. Hashtag this. is. anxiety.

Then it was off to the mall for Dairy Queen, but it turns out at some point they ripped the whole Dairy Queen kiosk out. It’s as if it was never there. We got nachos instead, from one of my favorite restaurants in Tucson, that happens to now have a location in the mall food court. I bought a great little travel bag for camping essentials (we just got back from a four-day haul and I learned A LOT about my camping needs) and scored some deals at Gap. And I am officially more excited about the unicorn socks I bought Finley and the adventuring shirts I got the boys than I am about anything I got for myself. Mom life.

I went home to discover that while we were out, the boys had picked out an ice cream cake for me with the help of Gramps and Gram. Brien ordered pizza. We dined and discussed Bowie’s science fair project. I got a stomach ache (so classically me) and turned in early.

A few days later, a surprise gift from Brien showed up. He got me a metal detector! I have wanted one since I was a tween. This guy in the tiny northern Illinois town I am from had found my aunt’s class ring with his metal detector. I was enchanted with the idea that there were treasures like that just out there waiting to be found. My interest was sparked again when we lived in San Francisco. I combed the beaches for sea glass, but I always wondered what might be under all that sand. And now, we are out in remote parts of the desert in our Jeep. All the history of Spanish explorers and Native American battles and the mining industry–the excitement is too much! Great gift.

And today, I went back to the pet store and had Ferris help me pick out two small goldfish. They have yet to be named. I shall keep you updated.

fishies

I am telling you about my birthday in such detail so I can document it. Every year I fill out my year end review, and the question about how you spent your birthday trips me up every damn time. What did you do for your birthday? Um, gee, well, uh, that was 9 months ago so I HAVE NO IDEA. Anyway, now I have something official to reference.

And also to let you know what a big deal it is for me to be this age, and to my knowledge, be perfectly healthy. It feels good. The amount of anxiety I had thinking about this birthday way back when I was 34 and newly diagnosed was all-consuming. And now the day is here and I feel great, positive, capable. I got this.

Big thanks to every single person, near and far, who wished me a happy birthday. It was a happy one. Here’s to many more.

Five

On Sunday, my dear sweet Ferris, my now middle child, turned five. Aside from being super mad that he can’t go to Kindergarten now, and didn’t magically overnight learn how to read and write, he’s pretty excited.

He’s as hilarious as he is cute, and he’s pretty darn cute. And he’s so unique, and not afraid to let his personality show. And a unique boy needs a unique celebration. The day started off with some birthday pancakes at Denny’s. Then, we took him on a shopping spree at Toys R Us, mainly because we forgot to get presents until the last minute, but if he asks, we thought it would just be more fun!

birthday pancakes

Then it was off to Golf N Stuff with friends. It’s a place here in Tucson with mini-golf, bumper boats, go karts and an arcade. It’s basically the best place to spend a kid’s birthday. After that, we headed to Dairy Queen for ice cream, and then at bedtime he got to play with his new toys in his for a while before going to bed. All in all, a good day had by everyone.

putt putt

 

birthday ice cream

He’s becoming his own little person in so many ways. Of course, anything his big brother loves, he loves too. But he’s always putting his own little spin on all of it.

He mispronounces like, a million words. I don’t have the heart to correct him, it’s just way too sweet. Some examples: kitty glitter (kitty litter), sprinkle water (sparkling water), Pandaspress (Panda Express, his favorite restaurant), flip flaps (flip flops), roaster coaster (roller coaster), Golfing Stuff (Golf N Stuff) and scream time (screen time). He also likes to tell us how he’s feeling using the infinitive. “I feel like to poop.” “I feel like to sleep.” “I feel like to have cereal.”

Favorite things: Scream time (see above), Minecraft, Legos, cats, dogs, dinosaurs, robots, knock knock jokes, salami, dirt, horsepower (when we are driving and the engine revs), Jeep adventures, arts and crafts, root beer, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, McDonald’s Playplaces, and making poop and fart jokes.

Least favorite things: not getting a turn during Scream Time, having his picture taken, the fact that his car door is still child locked, bedtime, leaving school, chocolate (weirdo), and apparently, riding in someone else’s car (we tried a carpool thing with friends and it did NOT go over well).

It’s amazing to watch him grown and become his own little man. So much of him reminds me of when my younger brother was a kid, which is very heartwarming. I’m just thankful he hasn’t needed stitches yet, very much UNLIKE my younger brother.

Happy fifth birthday to my dearest Ferris, I’m sorry you’re the middle child now, but being sandwiched between siblings has got to have some benefit to it, right? I vow to make sure I remember to douse you with as much mom love as I can. I hope you have a great year, even though you don’t get to go to Bowie’s school quite yet. Here’s to 5 and all the exciting stuff to come.

Seven

It’s so hard to believe Bowie is turning 7. Last year I thought the same thing about 6. Six seemed like such a big number for such a little boy. And now 7. Each year older a kid gets is like moving one point on the Richter scale. It’s just one more, but exponentially more different than the last.

His birthday always seems to fall right around the time the school year is wrapping up, which makes it all feel very formal and official. And so I hereby decree that he shall now pass on to the next year of his life.

He asked me to tell him a funny story about the day he was born. So, I said, “the first thing I ever said to you was, ‘thank God you’re finally out.” Which I thought was funnier than he did. But then I told him about how he didn’t cry, he just looked at me very intently, and I said little things to him and he held my finger tightly. And he said, “That’s ’cause I’ve always loved you, mama.”

This year has been a positive one, despite having a teacher that was very unwilling to help us with his SPD issues in the classroom. He is excelling in math and reading, and is making friends (that’s kinda hard for him to do). He’s still acting out, but the incidents are fewer and further in between.

At home he’s become more agreeable, more helpful and more loving toward us. He’s finding lots of new hobbies and interests. He cannot get enough Minecraft these days. He plays the game on all of the electronic devices in our house, he watches YouTube videos of people playing Minecraft, he has Minecraft figurines, Minecraft Legos, Minecraft books, book marks, pencils, clothing…so much Minecraft.

But, I figure it’s a safe game for him to be playing. We limit his time sitting in front of a screen. But, what I mean is, he’s learning while he plays, and it allows him to explore his creativity. He comes up with, and then builds, some pretty impressive stuff. It’s also something that gives him a great sense of pride, in a world that gives him few opportunities for that.

Seven is walking the two blocks to Auntie’s house all by himself. Seven is no more training wheels. Seven is showing signs of growing out of the worst of the SPD. Seven is helping out around the house. Seven is learning to tell time, count money and tell mom what kind of clouds those are in the sky. Seven is less fanfare around a lost tooth. Seven is wearing boxer shorts, not little boy underpants. Seven is getting kissed by a girl on the playground.

It’s hard to believe he’s turning 7, because you’d think after 7 years of parenting, I’d have more of a handle on all of this. But, the truth is, they are always changing, growing, evolving into the adult they are going to become. Every day is a new set of challenges, and I’m sure I’ll feel as clueless at 17 as I do at 7.

Seven is traditionally a lucky number, and I have high hopes for him this year to come.

bowie's 7th

Thirty Six

Yesterday I crossed over into my “Late Thirties.” So far, I feel mostly the same. Except that a few nights ago, as I lay in bed unable to sleep, I realized that people born in 1990 are turning 25 this year. And then I felt ANCIENT.

I spent my birthday taking care of my fevery 2 year old, making a trip to Costco with my husband, visiting the Japanese Tea Garden with the 6 year old, talking on the phone with a few extended family members. Quiet, a teeny bit middle-aged-mundane, but I went to bed last night feeling content. Which is all that really matters, right?

At some point along the way, I stopped really caring about my birthday. That’s not the same as not caring about my age. I completely fulfill the stereotype of a woman who cares about her age. Even though nobody else really cares. Even though aging can’t be stopped. I still care. But, I stopped caring about birthdays.

I stopped caring about the fanfare, the attention, the gifts. Which is different from not being grateful for all of it, of course I was and still am. But these days, when the day comes around, there’s always that first person that says, “happy birthday!” (usually it’s my husband) and my response is, “Oh yeah. That. Thanks!”

March is historically a hard month for me, even though it hosts my birthday. It’s a month when, for some reason, the big stuff happens. This year was absolutely no different. Right up there with the “best” years. Generally, I’m pretty glad to see March go. It’s tough to be simultaneously so fed up with life, and also excited that it’s your birthday. Again. 

I think that in general, my life is mostly in a good place. Right now, in this moment, I am in the best place I’ve been in probably 4 years. They were a rough 4 years. But I am finally through to the other side. Or I can at least see very clearly the light at the end of the tunnel. For 4 years now, I have a birthday, and I look back at the past year and think, “How the hell did I survive that?”

I am REALLY hoping that next year the thought is, “Wow, that was a great year. Let’s do that again.”

Two

Ferris at 2

Two years ago, after a quick but intense labor, and a lightning-speed delivery, they placed you, my little Fer-Bear, in my arms for the first time.

And then I blinked and you are turning two years old. Darn that blinking!

Likes: milk, pretzels, Caillou, trucks, cars, airplanes, trains, crayons, play dough, baths, the beach, the park (especially the slide), hangin’ with the Big Kids.

Dislikes: grocery shopping, napping, showers, having your diaper changed, taking clothes off, putting clothes on, being FORCED to stop moving at the end of the day and get this thing they call “rest”.

Two is fun. Two is tripping over your own feet all day long. Two is climbing the play structure and going down the slide all by yourself. Two is learning new words every single day. Two is finding out that there are some foods you don’t like, and mommy starts calling you “picky”.

Two is preschool! Two is friends. Two is learning, growing, changing. So quickly.

Two is a little bit of independence, and a little bit of being able to communicate what you want.

I always feel like I should be so profound with these posts, but it never comes. The night of your second birthday, Daddy and I went out to see one of our favorite bands, Cloud Cult, and they had me in tears with the VERY FIRST SONG, because I was thinking of you, and couldn’t believe we were at the two year mark already. Here’s a little snapshot of that song:

The stars may fall and the rains may pour,
But I will love you evermore.
You were born to make this right.
You were born to chase the light.

I love you so much, bug.

Mama

One.

One year, you guys! ONE YEAR! How has it been an entire YEAR already?

One minute, you’re fumbling with putting a newborn into a carseat, and the next minute you’re picking out a big, chocolatey cupcake for them to tear into.

In some ways, I CAN’T believe that an entire year has slipped by. It has gone so fast! But, then I look back at the many things our little family has been through this past year and ok, it really HAS been a year. Much to this mama’s chagrin. I’m still trying to wrap my head around Kindergarten, and then the baby has to go and turn one. Good grief.

So yeah, Ferris. One. Already. From snuggly little ball of baby love to dimply big boy toddler. So fast!

Likes: kitchen drawers, swimming class, brother, brother’s room, milk, graham crackers, baths, sitting in shopping carts, music, pooping in his sleep in the middle of the night, books, cars, trucks and kitty’s water bowl.

Dislikes: diaper changes, wipeouts, leaving brother’s room, people who eat in front of him and don’t share, sippy cups, washcloths, hats, the safety straps on shopping carts and me going to the bathroom before getting him from his crib in the morning.

He is starting to talk a lot, mostly just using his favorite phrases, “What’s this?” and “What’s that?” But he says mama and dada, and knows how to ask for a baba. He’s learning to say brother and Bowie. When you hand him a Matchbox car, he says vroom. And he has a sign that he makes, where he points with his right index finger at his open left palm. I never taught my boys to sign, so I’m not sure what it means. And it probably doesn’t mean whatever it’s supposed to mean. At first I thought it meant “more”, because he’s usually doing it in his high chair. But, I’m not so sure. Time will tell, I suppose.

He’s been “walking” for a while now. He likes to take a few steps, and then just crawl the rest of the way because it’s faster. But, but, BUT, it’s like he knew his birthday was coming or something because yesterday, after his afternoon nap, he was walking all over the house, hardly crawling at all. And this morning he was (literally) doing laps around the living room. He is READY to be on the MOVE. (Gulp.)

Dear Ferris,

I’d like to tell you that I hope the next few years of your life go much slower than this one did, but I know from experience that just isn’t possible. So instead I will just tell you to have fun now that you’re a not a baby anymore.

You’re a toddler. You’re a KID. Still snuggly and soft like a baby, but a little less so with each passing day. You’re toddling around the house like Frankenstein today, but tomorrow, you’ll take off running into the big wide world.

The past year has been an exciting one for our whole family, and you were along for the ride, no complaints, like a little trooper. Thank goodness for baby carriers and helpful family members.

Now that brother is in school all day, we get to spend lots of one-on-one time together. For one year, until you start preschool. So, I want to enjoy it as much as I can. I look back on that time with Bowie so fondly, I can’t wait to see what adventures we go on.

This time (press time, noon-ish) last year, I wasn’t even in labor yet, but little did I know I’d be cuddling you by 9 p.m. And then the real adventure began, because your arrival made me a Mom of Two. Uff-da.

Love you baby, ahem, big boy,

Mama

 

Five.

Bowie crawled in bed with us at 4 a.m. on his birthday, something about bad dreams. And when he woke up, he turned to look at Brien and the first thing out of his mouth was, “Am I five now?”

He has been looking forward to being five since the day after he turned four. And the day finally came. It was a bright, sunny day, perfect for celebrating a birthday. AND for graduating from preschool. Yes, these happened on the same day. After graduation, we skipped grad parties and drove around in Brien’s VW (aka Daddy’s Race Car) through the park and past the beach. Then we took him out to his favorite neighborhood restaurant for a cheese quesadilla, spanish rice and refried beans–his ultimate meal. After that, we walked to the beach, played with one of the two sets of stomp rockets he got as gifts, and caught a gorgeous sunset. It was a whirlwind of a day for all of us, but in the end so, so joyous and amazing.

Saturday we had his birthday party at our house. It was a rock and roll themed party, so things got fairly hectic. If anyone reading this was around to witness my Mommy Meltdown, I have to apologize to you. Retrospectively, it was a really awesome birthday party, but to have to deal with messes and preschooler arguments and where the pizzas will go and when we will do the cake, all while kids are hitting drums and cymbals as hard as they can, well it can really take the wind out of your sails.

Sunday was The Big Show for his second session of Rock Band Land. He killed it. All the kids killed it. So awesome. I’m actually sad that Bowie won’t be taking it again until September, it has an amazing effect on him. We went to pick him up after rehearsal and he was as chipper as can be. And he sat (mostly) quietly in my lap for the whole show until his performance. I can’t remember the last time he willingly sat still in my lap. And because he loves music and his rock band so much, we decided his big present this year would be this:

Dearest, sweetest Bowie,

I look at you today and I am amazed. You’re so far from baby or even toddler. You’re a bona fide kid now. You’re all limbs and smiles and blonde hair.

You’re super sensitive, and the world doesn’t always understand you. On top of that, you have been through a lot in the past year, but your moxie is still shining through.

You were diagnosed with SPD, just over a year ago. Which on the one hand was so helpful for all of us to know, and we are working to get past it. But on the other hand is so difficult to know and to deal with. I never wanted you to have the sensitive childhood I had, and it breaks my heart to see you dealing with too much sound, too much light, too much touch. Life is hard enough without the extra troubles. But, I can tell you’re a lot more resilient than your mama. And now that we know what’s going on, we can tailor your world for you.

This year, you also became a big brother. Which I know was very difficult for you. To go from being the center of everyone’s world to having to share that spotlight with someone else. But you’re a champ. And that little brother is already looking up to you with some mega admiration. I hope you can and want to set great examples for him in all of your life.

This year you also started Rock Band Land! You have been having SO MUCH FUN making music with Brian and Marcus, and performing at the Big Show. We’re going to look into getting you lessons for any instrument you want–even drums! It was one of the best moments of my life to see your reaction when you first saw your new guitar. You had an amazed and bewildered look on your face, and you turned around and gave your daddy a giant hug, and then gave me a giant hug. And you said thank you over and over all day. You also ran to your room and hand selected a toy for each of us from your collection to say thanks. It was so sweet!

There’s a very, very sweet boy inside of you that I wish the world could see as much as we do. I wish I could walk by your side for the rest of your life to help explain your “bad” and “erratic” behavior to people, but I won’t be able to. But today, I remind myself, you’re only five, and I can still help out for now. We’ll keep working on it, and we’ll get there someday.

My litte rock star. So excited to turn five, so excited to start Kindergarten. Excited to grow up to be “an astronaut. Or a race car driver.”

Future’s so bright, you gotta wear shades.

Five is climbing the dunes at the beach by yourself. Five is not always having to hold hands to cross the street. Five is electric guitars and remote control cars. From where I sit, five is going to be pretty awesome.

Have a great year buddy, I love you.

Mama

 

Four

Dear Bowie,

I can’t believe that you’re four years old already. It seems like just yesterday they handed you to me, my wiggly, bleary eyed, puffy, pink little cone-headed dude. And you did not cry, you just lay in my arms and stared at my face as if to say simply, “Hey.”

Now you stand before me with a head of wild blonde hair (that you remind me daily “really needs to be cut again, mama”), wide, green, telling eyes, and a set of super sensitive emotions that at all times are 3 seconds away from unhinging me completely. But, it’s not your fault, I know that now after a lot of struggle and meetings with your preschool teachers. And we’ll get through it together, I promise.

Four years old. FOUR years old. All at once, I am amazed that our little family has come so far, and saddened by how fast it all has zipped by us.

This birthday means so much to mommy too, I think because my earliest grouping of memories, not my very earliest memory, but the time of my life when I can remember more than one thing about, is when I was 4. There’s something very important about that. You’ve grown up enough now that you will remember this time in your life. It has really made me stop and reflect on what I say to you, how I act in front of you, what we do together.

You are this little man all of a sudden, with ideas and opinions and dreams that are 100% your own, and you can tell us all about them now. We’ve really been pushing the idea that you will be the Big Brother in this family, to help keep your mind open and positive when it comes to having a sibling. But truthfully, it took me a few weeks of this to realize that you really are a Big Boy now, no longer a baby, not even a toddler anymore.

Last year, I remarked how you were 1) not yet potty trained; and 2) completely infatuated with the movie Cars and slated to see your first movie in a theater, Cars 2. I’m VERY happy to report that you are now a fully potty trained kiddo, and though I still have to help you every time, I know you’ll get the rest eventually and I will miss these days. You’re also old hat at the movie theater thing now, even seeing 3D movies, glasses and all, picking movie treats and getting angry when people kick the back of your seat.

You have trouble falling asleep at night if mama or daddy are not in the room until you fall asleep. This has bothered me for a good portion of the last year, but I came to realize that this, just like everything else about childhood, will change and I probably won’t even notice when. I know that it’s a habit your little brother is likely to force you to break. But even if that doesn’t force issue, I know that eventually you will be “too” big for it, and will insist we leave you alone. I’m not looking forward to that day, so even if getting my big pregnant body in and out of your little bed is a challenge, I’ll gladly do it. And to be fair, last year I did write to you, “Here’s to another year of snuggling in your bed with you to help you fall asleep.” So, there ya go. Wish granted.

I love you a million zillion times to the moon and back, and then some. Keep growing, keep smiling, keep being everything that makes you Bowie. Happy fourth birthday, Big Brother Bowie.

Love,

Mama

P.S. I recently read that the average 4 year old asks 437 questions a day. I’d say that number seems a bit low…

I’m 33, yo (Year in Review 2011)

Here’s the questionnaire I usually do for New Year’s but just didn’t feel like doing it this year. I figured it works for birthdays too?

I think I’m totally ok with turning a year older for the first time since turning 29.

1. What did you this year that you’d never done before?

Hmmm…tough one right out of the gate. It was a rough year. I had a miscarriage, battled depression, found out I have a zillion awesome Internet besties and then I got pregnant again. And unfortunately, anything new I did outside of that sphere has just plain escaped my memory. I’m hoping for a much better, more memorable year.

OH! And I took a glass blowing class. Which was such hard work, but also so amazing. I haven’t challenged myself like that in years. It’s a lot of taxing, physical work, so I will have to put it on hold for a bit, but will likely continue later.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t remember what I resolved to do last year. We were trying to get pregnant last January, so I suppose having a baby was tops on that list. Also, getting more involved in preschool, which I did. We kept up with dentist appointments, which is a big deal for us. I think I also semi-resolved to lose weight, but stayed pretty much the same. I didn’t make resolutions this year, I think I’m giving them up. They tend to put a lot of undue pressure on people. I say just try to do your best and be at your best 365 days a year.

3. Did anyone close to you die?

Not anyone else this year. Thank goodness, I don’t know if I could have handled it. A lot of people I know experienced a loss though, and I want to let them all know I’m very sorry and I hope they’re healing.

4. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

A happy, healthy baby. More money in savings. A trip to see family members in the Midwest that I haven’t seen in a while. A better sense of purpose.

5. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

The miscarriage, obviously. And Thanksgiving and Christmas. They were both so wonderful this year, and gave me a much-needed something else to focus on.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Honestly? Just surviving. There were a lot of days I truly thought I wouldn’t. I’m proud of myself for finding the strength to pick up and move forward. I moved slowly, but I moved forward.

7. What was your biggest failure?

Losing myself. I just didn’t know who I was going to be or what I was going to do. I really let it all go. Now I’m trying to figure it all out again. I have just changed so much. Which really isn’t a failure in and of itself, but the way I just let things fall apart is. I’m thankful for the love and support I had from family and friends to hold it together in the small ways I still could.

8. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Depression. Which is a beast. And it’s real, very, very real. Don’t ever belittle someone for it, we all fight our own battles and you have no idea how hard someone else has it.

9. What was the best thing you bought?

My iPad. God, I love that thing, haha.

10. Where did most of your money go?

Rent, preschool tuition, food, travel.

11. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The holidays. As I said, they were such a bright light in my (at the time) very dark world. It was so uplifting to see family, and celebrate. Also, our trip to Hawaii. We always have such an amazing time.

12. What song will always remind you of 2011?

I have no idea. I don’t really listen to popular music. Probably something by Fitz and the Tantrums, they are my new ob-sesh.

13. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?

b) thinner or fatter?

c) richer or poorer?

a) I am as happy as I was last year at this time, but a little more muted. I was still pregnant on my birthday last year, and I was completely blissed out. I am really very happy again this year, just a little more cautiously. Which I really wish I wasn’t, but I can’t help it.

b) About the same. But about to get fatter!

c) Same. We’re working on paying off my student loans, and working on saving. We’re not rich, just comfortable. And I’m ok with that.

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Living in the moment. I was so fixated on my future and getting pregnant again, I missed out on a lot. I even knew back then that I was missing out, and still couldn’t get myself to focus on the time at hand. One of these days I hope the clouds clear away and I can remember more of 2011.

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Beating myself up. I was pretty vocal about my pregnancy from just 7 weeks, and I was really hard on myself for that. I think I just felt humiliated. And I don’t enjoy pity, which I kind of felt from people (but now I don’t think they pitied me, they just felt bad and wanted to help). I also spent a lot of time wondering why I should be so sad, when other women have had it a lot worse than me. But the truth is, we all have to grieve until the pain is gone, no matter how “big” or how “small” our sadness is.

16. How did you spend Christmas?

At home, sitting around a fire in our PJs, watching Bowie play with his new Hot Wheels track and tons of new cars. It was a simple one, but perfect.

17. What was your favorite TV program?

This year I started watching Mad Men from the beginning on Netflix and I am COMPLETELY OBSESSED. I love that show to bits. And guess what? Season 5 starts tonight. Happy birthday to me.

18. What did you do on your birthday, and how old are you?

I’m 33 this year. Over 30, but not 35 yet, haha.

Here’s to the next year of my life!