My dear readers, I hope you had a restful, restorative, festive holiday season filled with family, friends, good food and lots of laughter. I, for one, couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas. It was chaotic and messy but filled with love and thoughtfulness and blessings.
Two weeks before Christmas we packed up our belongings and moved into a big, beautiful new house in a quaint little town in New Jersey. I have never felt more at home in a house than I do in this one – it feels calm, cozy, quiet and just right for us. The house was built in 1906 and has all the charm and character of an old Victorian with just enough updates to make it perfectly functional for a busy family. There are six bedrooms and four bathrooms to accommodate our big families who seem to always be visiting on rotation. There is a big backyard filled with beautiful old trees, a pool with a slide and many flower and vegetable gardens. The kitchen needs updating but it’s huge and homey and perfect for cooking with little ones underfoot. There is a beautiful porch overlooking the main street leading into town and there is a sunroom which I plan to transform into a light-filled reading room. It’s the sort of house you feel proud to own and every time I pull into the circular driveway I feel myself beaming.
The week of Christmas, both of my parents (who have been divorced for several years), arrived from Boston to spend the holiday with us. It meant the world to me to be able to share Daisy’s first real Christmas with both of them. They came bearing loads of thoughtful gifts like the doll my mother handmade for Daisy using bits of her wedding gown and mine and the mini-kitchen my Dad bought for the corner of our real kitchen so Daisy could “cook” while I cook. We explored our new town, watched Christmas movies under blankets, ate delicious and elaborate meals in our new dining room and most of all – reveled in Daisy’s delight with every aspect of Christmas. There is something so special about watching my parents with Daisy - they think she is the most clever, funny and beautiful thing on the planet and I quite agree.
At Christmas we shared with our families and friends that we are expecting a sibling for Daisy in June! We’ve made it past the first trimester and baby’s heartbeat is steady and strong. I have been nauseous every waking minute of the day for the last fourteen weeks, but, the doctors tell me that is a sign that baby is growing and developing just as they should be. Nick has been a supportive partner and attentive nurse, driving all over to satisfy my strange cravings and cooking things like chicken soup and mashed potatoes to calm my stomach. (Stay tuned for an entire post on morning sickness – I’ve now tried every trick and tip in the book and am happy to share those with all of you.) We are so, so, so excited to grow our family and to watch Daisy become a big sister. I can’t imagine life without my brother so I am thrilled we can give Daisy a sibling and built-in best friend for life.
As we slowly put away Christmas gifts and prepare for re-entry, I am taking the time to reflect on the last year of our lives. At this time last year, Daisy was still feeding via tube and participating in early intervention. Now, she can feed herself using a fork and is fluently communicating with us between the spoken word and sign language. She is loving her new Montessori school and seems to come home with a new skill or word every day. Her health and growth are gifts we will never take for granted. Her personality is so full of sunshine and love – she truly makes every day feel like Christmas. Nick and I continue to grow and advance in our careers and our marriage gets stronger with every challenge we manage to overcome. We have finally settled in a home that can grow with us and accommodate all of our hobbies and interests. We love our new little town and are making new friends and meeting kind new neighbors every day. Our families are healthy and happy.
Though we are still living among boxes and have “to-do” lists eight miles long, it is impossible not to feel immense gratitude for this beautiful, imperfect, joyful life so full of love. Our family goal in 2018 is to prepare our new house for a healthy baby in June, to work hard to give back to others and to earn all of the blessings we have been given.
Sending much love to you and yours – and best wishes for a bright and love-filled 2018.