Thursday, December 30, 2021

What? How? Saying Goodbye to 2021

We got lucky.

Christmas In The Park - December 20, 2021

Adelaide was born and is healthy, thriving. No one in our household caught COVID. As strange and frustrating as 2021 has been, we got very lucky.

In 2021 we saw family - all the grandparents, siblings, nieces, and nephews. We went to Disneyland. Everett is fully embracing kindergarten and Imogen is hitting her stride at preschool. Adelaide continues to thrive at home and at care.

And tonight? Tonight we get to have the most magical holiday night. At our house, Santa comes on Hogmanay (or as you might call it, New Year's Eve). In a normal year, we'd be in Michigan for most of the last two weeks of the year, including Christmas Day. It makes no sense for Santa to come then. We're home for December 31st though, and he's come that day since he's come at all.

Snuggled up watching Rudolph - December 30, 2021

While the newest variant surges (and takes with it our anxiety), we'll try to focus on our family, our household, our bubble, and leave the COVID worries for January. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

It's OK To Be Sad

Our refrigerator broke. There was some drama with the repair guy making it worse before he made it better, and in the mix a lot of our food spoiled and needed to be thrown out. This rigmarole was annoying for Elizabeth and Chris, as expected. What we weren't quite prepared for was the emotional explosion coming from Everett.

"Will all the food be ruined?"

"Yes, all the food that needs to be kept cold to be safe got too warm."

"Even the ice cream? Even the WAFFLES?"

As tears rolled down his cheeks, Elizabeth hugged him. We are so trained to downplay sadness and explain it away. 

"We can buy new food."

And yes, we did say that. We can buy more ice cream. That isn't all we did though - we acknowledged the sadness. First Elizabeth hugged Everett, then Chris. We talked about how it was frustrating and sad that so much food was going to waste. Yes, we could buy more, but it was wasteful and we don't like being wasteful.

Hiking at Obie's Bench - Uvas Canyon County Park - November 26, 2021

Just like any human, Everett's outburst wasn't probably solely because of the refrigerator woes. This month is Oberon's birthday, so there's a lot of talk about him and special hikes and birthday cake. Everett and Imogen both loved wearing their special Obie's Bees shirts. Imogen was especially concerned about them being washed so we could all wear them both on Obie's Birthday and on the hike to his bench.

Making birthday cake! - Obie's Bee Day - November 24, 2021

There's also the persistent grind of "germ time" (as we call the COVID-19 pandemic). We are still not doing any indoor activities or play dates, not flying to Michigan for the holidays, and wearing masks a lot. Things get cancelled because someone gets the sniffles. 

Masked up to tour JrK - November 6, 2021

It's OK to be sad about all of it. The big things and the little things. Yes, sometimes our emotional reaction is misaligned to reality and a straightening out can help (such as thinking we can never get ice cream again). Sometimes, we just need to feel sad. And that has to be OK. We can sit in the sadness ourselves, or help support a friend by sitting in their sadness with them. Without trying to fix it. Without claiming it's all OK because.

Recently we've comforted Everett about a rubber band instrument that broke, Imogen about forgetting her baby doll on an outing, and Adelaide after a flu shot. With the older two, we ask if a hug will help. It almost always does. It doesn't fix everything, but it's a good starting point. 

Returned to where we took family pictures and recreated some with Ensela (Imogen's baby doll) - November 6, 2021

P.S. Adelaide can full-on crawl now, is pulling herself up to standing, and we're doing baby-led weaning (it's awesome, but messy!). 

P.P.S. Imogen loves preschool and wants to practice sight words. 

P.P.P.S. Everett is becoming a voracious reader both to himself and out loud. Plus, vaccination super powers!

Sunday, October 31, 2021

The Secret Of The Ooze

As we sit here and reflect on the past month, it feels a bit like overflow. Disneyland, Addy started day care, pumpkin patch (times two), costume parades, festivals, a birthday, and a half birthday. We're each trying to hold everything together, or trying to hold everything in.

Disney California Adventure - October 7, 2021


Our biggest beastie is the most obvious example of this. He is doing great in kindergarten, making new friends, learning new skills, and he got to ride all kinds of new things at Disneyland. His high-energy personality has him going a mile a minute... all the time. He struggles with patience and not being the center of attention. (We know, how unusual!)

Meeting Spidey - October 4, 2021

How this is coming out is most obvious on school nights. He comes home and his mood is balancing on a razor-thin edge. One tiny issue and he lets loose all the pent up emotions. Usually this looks like yelling at us, trying to steal things from Imogen, or full on sobbing. As an example, today (on Halloween - day full of fun things, which he knows), a temporary tattoo didn't work right and had a tear during transfer. This resulted in such a meltdown that he had to take a ten minute calm down time. Nearly ten minutes of screaming, sobbing, writhing on the floor. We are not exaggerating. 

After he expresses his emotions, he can usually rally. When we're able to get him to take that alone time proactively, it's even better. Telling a five-year-old to take a voluntary time out though... not the easiest. Especially right when we come home and he wants to do seven things at once. (Not including a deep breath.)


Imogen is four! She's becoming a big kid and she knows it. She tries to keep up with Everett and understandably has some jealousy issues when she can't. According to her teachers at preschool, she's doing well and is fitting in well with friends. This is so great to hear because we can't always trust what she tells us. Her FOMO is so intense, that nearly everything Everett tells us about school she insists she is doing as well. Everett has a 4th grade "big buddy" at school. Imogen now says the tallest girl in her class is her "big buddy." 

Miguel at Disneyland - October 6, 2021

She's testing the boundaries of her control. Let's rephrase - she's trying to control every aspect of everyone in the family, all the time. We are constantly talking with her about what her choices are, and what she is not in charge of. As always - how much of this is normal four-year-old stuff and how much is new sister stuff? The world is getting bigger, and it makes sense that she's trying to exert control.

Imogen had an amazing birthday party with friends, and eight days later has still not opened all her presents. That's totally fine. There is SO MUCH going on in her life, and presents can wait.


Ah, our old friend separation anxiety. It isn't in full swing, but it is starting. Mommy walks away? WAHHHHHH! No one playing with me? Sometimes I'm fine with that, sometimes I AM NOT! Just like big sister, Itsy Bitsy is exploring her world - by scooting around and putting all the things in her mouth.

First Day Care Art - October 25, 2021

Honestly, Adelaide is probably doing the best at emotional regulation right now! Such a happy girl.

Chris & Elizabeth

October is a hard month. Balancing all the festive fall things with Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month is draining. Somehow we don't feel like we're doing enough for any of our kids, and we know the next few months don't bring a reprieve. We missed the virtual Service of Remembrance, we were late lighting our candle for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. It hurts to have to decide whether to prioritize or living children or the memory of the one not here.

Adding to the art display at California Adventure - October 4, 2021

It leaks out. We sometimes snap at each other or the kids. We don't communicate as well as we should. We get frustrated.

The bright side we focus on is that the stress will fade, and the happy memories will stay longer. Two years ago, Elizabeth had her first D&C. That's not what comes to mind first though... first we think about the pumpkin patch, Immy's Wreck-it-Ralph birthday party, times with friends and family, and trick-or-treating. 

Pumpkin Patch #1 - October 3, 2021

So here's to making happy memories! And when the stress, overwhelm, guilt, and grief ooze out, we'll keep trying to give grace to ourselves and each other.

And if anyone has the secret to keeping it all together, it'd be great if you could share it.