Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Williamsburg, 2013

Last night, I barely kept my eyes open long enough to see the ball drop in Times Square (on our TV, clearly.) 2013 has been a jam-packed, wonderful year. Although Axel was born in 2012, in 2013 it really felt like we became parents, somehow. Maybe because the newborn days are such a blurry, happy shock to the only really started to sink in this past year.

Here's a look back at some of the moments that I'll remember most.

In January, Axel turned five months old and we rang in the New Year in England. We were a little bedraggled from so much travel, but we had a good time exploring London and seeing family.

We came home to blue skies and a lot of work. It was good to get back into a routine, but February and March were challenging months. Axel had an MRI for the cyst on the back of his head. I worked (and pumped) almost constantly, and it felt like I had to steal every minute I could with him in the early mornings and evenings. I spent a lot of time wondering if working with a young baby was worth it, and feeling torn in a million directions. Axel was sick on and off from Christmas through mid-March, and it often felt like a grind, especially the weeks leading up to his surgery and during his recovery. We sort of held our breath through Easter, when it felt like the clouds had truly lifted.

In April we took a lot of long walks around Brooklyn and started to grapple with an increasingly mobile eight month old. Suddenly I understood why mothers of older children described the first six months or so as "easy." I got into more of a groove at work and made peace (ish) with my work-life balance, and we made it to Maine several times over the spring.

In June, I found out I was expecting baby number two and we took our first big solo trip as a family of three (and a half), to France for our friends' son's christening.

It was a really special time for us, and I have so many great memories of that trip, from exploring Versailles to driving through Provence to wandering around Paris. We celebrated our second wedding anniversary (which also marked 9 years together), and entertained serious fantasies about abandoning city life for a farmhouse somewhere in the French countryside.

For the rest of the summer, we spent a lot of time in the car as we bounced between New York and Maine to see our families. I was pretty exhausted during the first trimester...thrilled to celebrate Axel's first birthday, but feeling pretty sapped by work and so many road trips. I vaguely remember some stolen naps, but I didn't really feel like almost myself again until September, when we took a really lovely long weekend trip to Montauk to belatedly mark my 35th birthday. Gulp. Axel had just started to take his first steps and it was clear we were in a whole new chapter, throttling towards toddlerhood. We also discovered we were having another boy.

Knowing I wouldn't be able to fly for a few months over this winter, Axel and I tagged along on one of Will's business trips to California, where we were seduced by the sun, sand and redwoods and caught up with old friends on the Eastern Shore (all the while vowing to spend more time at home and less time on the road.)

Then of course there was Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas...In mid-September, I transitioned from a full time project back to freelance, and while I've had some guilt about the economic stressors that that comes along with that, it's been nice to slow things down a bit during my second and third trimesters and to relish the mayhem that is Axel at nearly 17 months old. Although I've had relatively easy pregnancies, it takes its toll each time, and there are definitely moments when I wish I had some hidden reserves of energy to get more exercise, maintain more of a sense of order at home, or be a better friend. Crankiness rears its head all too often though I certainly stop and think how lucky we are every day.

I can hardly believe it's 2014, and that in just about 8 weeks we'll be a family of four. There are plenty of days when it's a struggle, and when Will and I spend a lot of our time negotiating for small blocks of down time while trying to maintain our senses of humor. I feel like we'd just gotten to a point of equilibrium when I hit my third trimester and wrangling a toddler became a real physical struggle and 9:30 bed times a necessity.

Axel is a charming, chatty, happy, busy, extremely mobile, extremely curious boy. In spite of our occasional relocation daydreams, we love where we live and feel extraordinarily happy (and extraordinarily tired) much of the time. Let the chaos continue!

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