Tuesday, January 28, 2014

2013 (the entire year in one post!)

It's been thirteen months since I last updated this blog. There's a lot of life to recap. Here we go!

January: We rang the new year in with my family, who came out to celebrate the holidays with us, at a local bowling alley. We reflected on a very difficult past year, and we made up our minds to work hard and make big changes in 2013. There were trips to the dog park, winter walks, and the decision that, together, we are definitely better.


February: We cheered for the Niners in the Super Bowl (with homemade chili), and were only a little heartbroken when they lost to the Ravens. Kevin and I celebrated six-and-a-half years of marriage and nine-and-a-half years of being together in our annual "half-aversary" celebration, which usually occurs on Valentine's Day (splitting the difference between our wedding and dating half-anniversaries, which are on the 12th and 17th of February). Kevin made spaghetti with homemade meatballs, and I brought home red velvet cupcakes and wine. It was a cold and snowy, but beautiful, month.

March: Weekend getaway to a beautiful little B&B outside of Madison, WI. There were lots of scenic winter walks, a rock-climbing date night, and we celebrated Alex's 30th birthday with donuts, fish and chips, and beers at a local brewery. I attended a Bon Jovi concert with some friends (so spectacularly cheesy, but very fun). Mel and Alex moved out of the basement apartment and into an adorable duplex just a mile away. We painted the basement, put up a six-foot bamboo fence along the most exposed side of our backyard, and we completed a kitchen mini makeover that meant the end of boring, dingy beige walls and trim, installing new shelving, and adding a chalkboard accent wall. It looks so much better in there!

April: I started a seasonal job in the greenhouse of a local plant nursery, and learned a lot about indoor houseplants. We all grumbled about the seemingly endless winter - and then the snow melted and green things started to tentatively poke their heads through the soil, and we all became very hopeful and headed outdoors in short sleeves. Then it snowed again. We spent a lot of time daydreaming about tropical vacations.

May: We celebrated Cinco de Mayo with homemade white sangria and shrimp cocktails on the front porch, I hosted a sweet little tea party baby shower for a friend, I "met" Isabel Allende, one of my favorite authors, at an event hosted by our local public radio station, and Kevin and I took a trip out to California to celebrate Gigie's graduation from UC Berkeley. In California we celebrated Ryan's 30th birthday, spent time with our cat niece and cat nephew, we went hiking in Muir Woods, we spent a couple of long days in San Francisco, we went to an A's game with my family and Ryan, we enjoyed a fancy, delicious dinner at Oliveto, we attended Gigie's graduation ceremonies, of course, and we had a graduation dance party. We arrived home just in time for me to participate in the U of M's commencement ceremony (!), and for me to be surprised by the arrival of my beloved Sarah and her mama, Susan. One of my favorite moments of all time is when I saw them waiting for us at the airport. Tears all around! We also celebrated the end of an impossibly long winter, and the beginning of warmer temperatures. Kevin constructed a small patio for the grill in the backyard, and we looked forward to summer days ahead.

June: On June 2, I found out I was pregnant. After eighteen months of trying to conceive after our second miscarriage (in July of 2012), our very first fertility treatment was a success! It took us a while to believe the news, but, it's true - we are expecting our first baby in a mere two (or so) weeks. I am thirty-eight weeks pregnant today, and I can hardly believe that we are about to become parents. The pregnancy is a topic that merits it's own post. Kevin turned thirty-six in mid-June, which we celebrated with an afternoon of kayaking, and a homemade sushi dinner and cake at our house with my family (my mom and Gigie were in town for the birth of my nephew) - a small and sweet celebration, which is just what he wanted. We hosted a fun nautical themed baby shower for Mel and Alex. We all hovered patiently around my very pregnant sister, and enjoyed family time while we waited for baby to arrive. My sister and Alex welcomed their baby on June 17, and our hearts burst, and we all fell deeply, forever in love with our sweet Max. He's now seven months old, and continues to delight, inspire, and melt us all. I love that kid, and I love being his aunt. My sister was a birth rock star, by the way.

No one else knew it yet, but my sister and I were both pregnant when this photo was taken! 

July: We celebrated the 4th of July by watching fireworks over the Mississippi on a bridge in downtown St. Paul, we saw one of our favorite bands, Dawes, in concert at First Ave., I flew to Florida to meet Nicole's sweet baby girl, Emma, and we enjoyed the easy-going days of a lush Minnesota summer.

August: We had an ultrasound at twelve weeks, which showed us a healthy, growing little bean that looked like an actual human being! We fell even more in love with our baby, and felt deeply grateful to have made it out of the first trimester. I was especially grateful for the end of my aversion to food in general,  and we celebrated by stocking the fridge and starting to cook again (chicken tortilla soup was my first real meal after weeks of cereal!). Kevin and I celebrated seven years of marriage (!) and a decade of being together on the 12th and 17th, respectively. We borrowed our neighbors' speedy little Mini Cooper for a date night at 112 Eatery, where I enjoyed the hell out of a nori-crusted steak and Kevin had their famous brie burger and a scotch (of course). We had a lovely visit from my friend, Rebecca, and her family (three little girls!), we enjoyed summer days with friends and family, we went hiking in Interstate State Park (on the Wisconsin side), and we went camping at Jay Cooke State Park, near Duluth. Mel, Alex, and I (poor Kevin was home sick) took my mom and Max to their first Minnesota State Fair, where we enjoyed lots of different foods on a stick.

September: My Papá, Horacio, came out from Mexico to meet his first grandson, and to spend time with his children. He was here for an amazing twelve days, and we all loved having him around.  Kevin's mom also visited for a few days during the time my dad was here, so we took advantage of having our parents in town to have a small gender reveal party at our place after our twenty-week anomaly scan (the ultrasound that checks that the baby is developing normally). We cut into our cake to find out that we're having a healthy baby BOY, in one of the most emotional, and fun, moments of my life. We also cooked fall food, took walks, continued training for a marathon (Kevin, not me), and marveled at my growing little belly.

October: Kevin ran the Twin Cities Marathon on the first weekend in October, and I proudly cheered him on. We had gorgeous fall color this year, which always feels like a gift. There was the annual trip to a pumpkin patch, pumpkin carving, decorating for Halloween, long fall walks, and a family photo shoot in the park with my sister, Alex, and Max. I enjoyed weekday dates with Mel and Max, including a trip the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Kevin and I worked on some DIY projects for the baby, including making over a chair my sister found on the side of the road, freshening up a little wooden rocking horse that our neighbor was throwing away, making a mobile out of colorful felt balls, putting together a wall of books, and starting on the nursery! Halloween was very low key with some last-minute duct tape Where's Waldo costumes, and a small dinner at our place.

November: A long weekend in Texas to celebrate Kevin's cousin's wedding in Granbury (suburb of Dallas). I started taking prenatal yoga classes, and we attended a few free parent topic nights put on by a local childbirth nonprofit. We celebrated Mel's thirtieth birthday, and enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving meal with Mel, Alex, and Max at their place. There was lots of expressing of gratitude for the abundance in our lives (including our sweet dog child), and the annual Thanksgiving Weekend trip to a Christmas tree farm.

December: We decorated for Christmas, I turned 31 (!), we started and completed our twelve hours of natural childbirth education at the prenatal yoga studio where I practice, I weathered my first pregnancy cold, we were the lucky recipients of two lovely baby showers, we babysat my sister's two little pups while Mel, Alex, and Max vacationed in California, we celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with the pups at home, enjoyed a wonderful Christmas dinner with good friends in their home, and we celebrated 34 weeks of pregnancy on the last day of the year. Oh, we also battled cabin fever during our first (of three, so far) polar vortex, with temps that dipped into the negative twenties. Brrr. Kevin's weapons of choice? A puzzle and Scotch. I love a man who knows how to enjoy life's simple pleasures. 

January: We rang in 2014 with snacks, drinks, and cards with our friends, Chad and Katy, at their place, we endured two more polar vortexes, we finished decorating the nursery (photos of that to come later), we nervously rooted on the Niners through playoffs, and we have worked on various deep cleaning/organizing/crafting projects in preparation for the arrival of our baby (nesting has been in full swing for the past couple of months). We've also been working on really enjoying our last weeks together before our little man arrives.

I am reviving this blog for a few reasons: because I miss writing on a regular basis, because I like having a journal of our days to which I can refer back, and to keep family (particularly the grandparents) up to date on our life with baby boy. I wish I'd been better about documenting this pregnancy via the written word, but I do have a lot of photographs to share.

Here's to 2013, which was a transformative, healing year. Kevin and I worked our butts off to get our marriage to the best point it's ever been, and we are very proud of the change that has occurred in our relationship. We "graduated" from marriage therapy, and we have been enjoying the results of some pretty grueling emotional work. We feel happier, and more at peace, than we ever have, and we are in a great place to weather the roller coaster that will be new parenthood.  I feel deeply grateful for the abundance, health, peace, and joy in my life, and 2013 will forever stand out in my memory as a very good year. Needless to say, however, I am super excited for 2014. Let's do this.

Celebrating 38 weeks of pregnancy today!