2011 was the kind of year wherein the fasten seat belts light remained on for the entire ride. The world outside seemed turbulent and bleak from the vantage point of our little home, and on a personal level, we drastically changed our way of doing business as a family. And yet...in the middle of a year of uncertainty, I had one perfect summer with my boys, and the engine of love that we are tending together as a family continued to get stronger.
January: Winter was not kidding around this year. We weren't sure where we were going to put all the snow that just kept falling. It was tough on our cars. I dented the side of the van pulling into park on our snow-narrowed street; Josh had an accident with a snow plow on the back roads at work.
February: The pregnancy test had two lines.
March: Ellis turned eight. Alaska grandparents came to visit. Josh and I sat in a darkened room at the clinic while the ultrasound showed that a miscarriage had happened. Afterwards, we drank beer and ate walleye sandwiches at a former favorite lunch haunt of ours and grieved. We picked up the kids from school and daycare and went through the car wash. We tried to make sense of it all.
April: I took my first trip to New York City since moving from there ten years ago. It proved tremendously healing and creatively inspiring. It challenged me to commit to making big changes in my life.
May: Spring took a long time to get here. I quit my job and pulled Charlie out of daycare. We embarked on a new model for running our family.
June: The perfect summer began. My days were filled with writing, cooking, gardening, and adventures with Charlie. Charlie turned two and Nate turned seventeen. Ellis learned how to ride a bike without training wheels.
July: Charlie and Ellis and I became beach bums and farmer's market regulars. Ellis and I took a road trip to Chicago so I could attend my 20th high school reunion and reconnect with a wonderful group of old friends. My mom's dementia had worsened to the point that she couldn't recognize me when I came to her door during the visit. We picked wild black raspberries by the river.
August: I attempted to make pickles (update: epic pickle fail). Josh started brewing (way more successful than the pickles). Another pregnancy test had two lines, and we held our breath. We went camping and to the State Fair.
September: That sick hormonal feeling that I called "the blurgh" began around Labor Day. Writing, exercising, and adventures with Charlie were greatly curtailed. Despite this, I was never so happy to be nauseous and tired in my entire life. Josh took a day off from work each week to help out. The older boys went back to school. Alaska grandparents came to visit.
October: The midwife found the baby's heartbeat (go, baby, go!). I turned thirty-eight. I took Charlie trick-or-treating for the first time. He makes everything fun.
November: Josh turned forty-six. It stayed warm for a very long time and we enjoyed the extra chance to be outside. We spent a lot of time thinking about plans for aging parents. "The blurgh" subsided enough that I could cook my share of Thanksgiving dinner.
December: The baby began wiggling up a storm inside me and we got to see "Bumby" in action during our second trimester ultrasound. It seems that we used up our allotted snow fall last winter and none was left for us to have a white Christmas this year. Despite the ineffectual weather, the solstice sleepiness kicked in right on time and we enjoyed our customary lazy end to the year.