January - We started the new year reviewing our hopes and dreams from last year and creating new ones for 2012. It was a herculean effort, but we finally got Charlie to start using the toilet instead of diapers.
February - It was a short month. It was winter and I was pregnant. We hunkered down. That's about the extent of it.
March - Ellis turned nine. Charlie would sit in the back of the van on our excursions around town and tell me all the things he saw. We realized that he could read. Ellis and Nate joined Josh and I for the first time in our annual bracket competition for March Madness.
April - We had our baby (and as the youngest of four, he truly is our baby). Isaac Edward was born on April 26. Grandparents arrived from Alaska just in time to enjoy those first new baby days.
May - I was happy not to be pregnant anymore as the weather turned lovely. Charlie's adjustment to having a new baby brother was pretty rough (on all of us). I planted tomatoes and basil and then proceeded to neglect them in favor of my chubby, adorable new human.
June - Nate graduated high school at the beginning of the month and turned 18 at the end of the month. Charlie began his four-year-old reign of terror (which actually started before his fourth birthday on the 20th). The black raspberries came in early this year, so Josh spent the whole month picking and was a mass of bug bites and scratches. We made delicious jam and black raspberry cider with the harvest.
July - I tried my hand at making pickles again this year and they were excellent (note to self: make three times as many dilly beans next year). We couldn't get our act together to go camping with the new baby, so we had a sleep out on the porch instead.
August - My sister and her family visited from Chicago. We had a wonderful long weekend with lots of fun for the cousins. I'll always remember my niece tearing up when it was time to leave because she was going to miss us. We all felt the same way, Vanessa. After a year hiatus, we finally got back up the the north shore of Lake Superior for a day trip and cook out.
September - Josh headed out for a solo Alaska vacation while I stayed home with our enormous brood. Charlie started preschool. Ellis started fourth grade and got an awesome teacher. Charlie took a dance class and we both made new friends. I started doing some consulting to replace Josh's second job that he'd been doing for the past two years.
October - Alaska grandparents came for a long visit. I turned 39. We put up yard signs and got politically active. Ellis started calling me on the phone on the days he was with his dad, and we had long, interesting conversations.
November - Josh marked another step along the way to decrepitude. Nate voted in his first election. We had nine around our table for Thanksgiving (our six, plus Josh's parents and brother). We still miss our visitors from Alaska (good thing they will return in February). Ellis got his orange belt in Aikido.
December - Ellis played basketball and we cheered him on from the stands. The world did not end. The holidays sprawled out for us over the last weeks of the year as we ate, rested, and enjoyed our gifts together.