Monday, January 9, 2012

Everything old is new again, or is it vice versa?

Q: What's the difference between a blog about a family with one child, and a blog about a family with two children?

A: The parents in the first situation actually have time to post on their blog.

...or, at least that's sort of how I've felt recently whenever I think of this blog. Then again, the last couple of months have been dominated by Birthdays, the holidays and a slew of never-ending changes, so I think I can be forgiven. But, it also means that I have a lot to catch up on...

So, let's just jump, into it, shall we!

With Thanksgiving behind us, it was full-speed ahead into Christmas. Neither Sarah nor I have generally been the type of people who jump the gun on Christmas decorations, but with it being Otto's first Christmas, and the first Christmas that Stella really "got it," we ended up getting our tree up fairly early this year...

December 2nd, and we've got a decorated tree.

After that, the next couple of weeks were a flurry of parties: my mom's Birthday, lots and lots and lots of holiday parties and (of course) my Birthday! Last year, my Birthday was actually a bit of a bust. I'd organized a big pizza party, but due to inclement weather and a slew of over-lapping Christmas parties, most of the invited guest ended up cancelling out at the last minute. It was still a fun time, and it made me doubly-appreciate those friends who were able to make, but it had left me a little disenchanted with the position of my birth date on the calendar. So, this year I almost didn't have a party...

...until, literally the day before, Sarah urged me to have one anyway. So, at the last minute, I sent out a flurry of emails inviting people to just come on by. And, y'know what, it ended up being one of my favorite Birthday parties in a long time. Not too big, not to small. Just fun a fun evening surrounded by friend, good drink and Korean beef tacos. Cheers!

Me and a couple of my friends -Rhett, Stephanie and Liam- toasting the start of my 36th year. (Photo by Ambika Beck.)

Oh, and somewhere in the middle of all the parties, Otto turned 5 months old...

Congrats, big guy!

...speaking of the "big guy," as Otto get's older and older, he's been able to do more and more. He's rolling now, and can jump in his bouncer. He's also big enough to ride in the hiking backpack. Which, means he's also big enough to fall asleep in it...

Soon though, it was the big day...

Presents under the tree! Plus, stockings! (...including the new one Sarah made just for Otto! Great work, honey!)

Stella shows Otto how to open presents.

After opening presents at our house on Christmas morning, it was over to my parents house for Round Two of presents and more festivities.

Otto spends some quality time with Uncle Travis, while I break out my Christmas hat.

The day after Christmas we finally rested... oh, wait, actually we loaded up our suitcases to fly to Texas to visit Sarah's family! Though Stella's already flown more times than I had by the time I was in my early 20's, this was Otto's first flight and our first out-of-state trip as a family of four. I'd be lying if I said the flight was easy, but -all things considered- I have to admit it went smoothly. But, as seems to be a running theme with child #2, we failed to take a picture of Otto on his first plan ride.

In Texas, first we visited with Sarah's mom and step-dad, or as Stella calls them: Nana and Grandpapa. Our visit with them included a trip to the Dallas arboretum to see a number of fairy tale inspired castles and houses.

Walking with Nana and Grandpapa in the arboretum. You can see one of the fairy tale style houses in the background. (Otto's managed to flip up the front of his bjorn to cover his face. A favorite trick of his.)

Sarah's mom, Sarah, Otto and Stella sit in "Cinderella's carriage." One of Stella's highlights of the visit.

After a couple days, and more presents for Stella and Otto, it was on to Commerce, TX, to visit Sarah's dad and step-mom. While there, in addition to Round 4 of Christmas presents, we also spent a lot of time at the park. One of the nice things about this trip down there was the weather was excellent, in the high 60's and even low 70's. Seattle's actually had a mild, dry Winter so far, but it's still nice to get outside and enjoy some sun!

Otto enjoy's his first slide, with Grandpa Bob. Notice Stella in the background: She won't have anything to do with slides these days. She's a swing girl.

Otto meet's his Great-Grandma Jean.

A random picture of the kids playing in a cardboard house Grandpa Bob had made for Stella in a previous visit. It cracks me up every time I see it.

And, then suddenly, the holiday's were behind us, and we were back home...

Otto and Stella arrive back in Seattle... their parents were only slightly less beat.

With 2012 ahead of us, things have started to slow down a little again. And, while there are always new developments in life -good and bad- I anticipate that the next couple months will be quieter. More time around the house, and hopefully wrapping up the remodel and settling into the new rooms. But mostly, hopefully, a little quiet time. Read all the book we accumulated over the holiday. Maybe play some board games...

Stella beats Grandma Susan, Grandpa Rick and I at Candy Land.

But, that brings us to the final development that happened officially today: I went back to work after 3 months at home, and Otto started Day Care Full-Time. To be honest, the whole thing sort of snuck up on us. And, I'm probably still emotionally unpacking it a little. I have to admit that there is part of me that was starting to go a little stir-crazy; bouncing around the house and fretting over clutter and the remodel. And, there's part of me that was happy to walk into an office this morning, turn on a computer and start working again. But, at the same time, I'll definitely miss getting to spend so much of my time with Otto. These last couple of months have been challenging at times, but have also been a bit of a revelation as I got to know the little guy, and learn what an incredible little person he is. I'm proud of the fact that we got to spend this time together, and that I made the decision to take this paternity leave.

I'll miss being around him all day. But, at least I can console myself by coming home each evening to see his smile...

It's been wonderful, Otto. I love you.


Charity said...

What a sweet post! I'm in the same boat as far as catching up on our blog. I think my last post was sometime around Halloween. What a great experience to take paternity leave, and I can imagine it's bitter-sweet going back to work. Adult interaction on a daily basis...that's going to be awesome!! Have a great week back and you've inspired me to do a little catching up as well!

Emily said...

Great re-cap (you guys have been seriously busy!) and fun pictures - love the card board box and smiling Otto at the end. And you're a great writer, you got me a little emotional at the end - I hope your transition, back to work, goes smoothly!