1. The first and most significant thing that comes to my mind about 2009 is, of course, Jamie joining our family. Jamie was born on February 27th at home; his birth was amazing and I still remember it and treasure it in my heart. I feel so blessed to have a birth like I did with him, one I am still in awe of having. John and I wondered and worried how we would all adjust to Jamie, but have I have to say we have done so with flying colors. I didn't have a speck of post partum depression or even baby blues; I can count on one hand the number of times I had a crying spell after his birth and after ticking them off, I still have 3 fingers left! My "babymoon" with Jamie lasted more than 6 months during that time I was completely overwhelmed with feelings of joy and gratitude, both for Jamie and for our new family of 4. Even though since he has started crawling and becoming his own my babymoon has mostly ended, I still feel incredibly blessed to have had the birth and afterbirth experience I had.
2. Another big thing of 2009, and having to do with Jamie, is that he was a champion nurser basically from the start. We did have some pain issues for the first month, but once he got over that it was smooth sailing. Whether it was being a second time nursing mother or that he was a different baby, we didn't experience any of the problems we did with Anne. Jamie has gained weight steadily and consistently on my milk alone, and now with the addition of solids the past 6 months he has grown (in our eyes) to quite the chunker. Jamie also, for the most part, enjoys nursing, which, again, is something Anne did not. My goal for both my children so far has been to have them self wean between 18-24 months. Anne technically nursed til she was 12 months, but was pretty much done by 9-10 months. I am not sure that Jamie will nurse as long as I'd like, but I am pretty sure I will be able to say he nursed til 12 months and beyond. And so far he has not had a drop of formula, which I am particularly proud of!
3. Yet again involving Jamie, the number 3 thing of 2009 is how advanced Jamie has been with his gross motor. John and I have been in awe of him. While Anne hit all her milestones within the normal range, she was always on the late end of normal. Jamie, has not even been on the charts-he is so far ahead! He rolled over at 6 weeks old and by 6.5 months he was crawling (he crawled before he could even sit!), sitting and pulling up to a stand! The boy started to cruise a bit by 7-8 months. I predicted he would be walking by 10 months but so far, no go. He hasn't shown an interest at all in walking, probably because he is so fast and good at crawling. Still, I think he will do it no later than Anne, so by 13 months I know I'll have a walking boy on my hands.
4. Anne turned 3 this year, which has been great. Every year we say how she is changing from baby to little girl and of course this year is no different. She really has blossomed into becoming a little girl and leaving behind her baby days. Of course she still says things that remind us of the way a baby would say them, she still loves to run around naked and whenever she can, she asks to be held while going down the stairs, but now my little first born plays doll house, pretend with animals and monsters, and often thinks up stories for us to act out. I love, love, love the fact that I can have a complete conversation, back and forth, with her and it makes sense! I love that I can tell her things about my day or what I am thinking and she gets it! I love how at dinner she says "So what did you like about your day?" or "What did you do during Jamie's nap?" It has been great. She also does really well with truly helping out. She can now do small chores or in house errands for me (getting Jamie's bib or diapers, etc.)
5. This summer we didn't go out much. That is one thing I regret and plan to change next year in 2010 (see a resolution post coming soon). It was a mix of me not feeling like it and Jamie being small fueling it. During the summer he was 4-6 months old so he was too young to even sit up on his own. The best he could do was lay on a blanket or sit in a stroller. So because he couldn't really do much, I used that as an excuse not to go out much. Not once did we go to the pool this summer. And we rarely ventured out to play, even during Jamie's nap. But again, I have big plans for that to change.
6. On the flip side of not going out much, we did discover lots and lots of new places to play this year! We re-discovered the Arboretum. After initially not being that impressed with it, one day Anne, Jamie and I happened to be there for an hour alone, and we loved it! The next time I visit I plan on buying us a pass. We re-discovered the Children's Museum in Naperville too. Again, the first few times we went there I wasn't impressed at all. But the last time we went, Jamie loved it! Like the Arboretum, I plan on getting us a pass the next time we visit. A bonus is if we pay $10 extra, we get free admission into over 100 different children's museums across the country-one of them is only half an hour from me! So for $110 my family can get free admittance to 2 museums! Bonus! We also played in several moon jump places that we liked and the Brookfield Zoo. As a family we discovered the County Fair and Starved Rock, which will be on the top of our list to visit when the weather gets nice as well as the MI Dunes (which due to horribly cold weather in August we couldn't go t this year). So while we missed out on not going out to play much, I really feel like we gained several new "playgrounds".
7. John and I were able to jump more fully into being "semi-vegetarians" this year. Although it was at least a year and a half ago that we decided we wanted to start eating more vegetarian, with the pregnancy and first trimester nausea, we had to put it off. This year we were able to fully embrace it, which was exciting. We tried our hand at being total vegetarians and lasted less than 2 weeks-mainly (or only) because of eating out. Unless you go somewhere that is conscious of vegetarians, the best option you get is a veggie burger, if you get that at all. I'm not willing to pay $10 for a salad or pasta dish that has meat on it and have them omit the meat (which is not only the main filling part but why it costs so much). So we are settling for semi-veg. We eat about 95%+ vegetarian at home. We've slipped a bit with the holidays (I bought an entire turkey and an entire ham), but we have no plans to abandon it at all.
8. Another hugely significant thing that has happened this year is changing churches. John and I have both been on a faith journey the past 2+ years and it has culminated in us desiring to be in a church that has similar theological and denominational trends, thoughts, preaching, etc. that we are looking for. After getting saved 14 years ago, this is probably the most significant thing I have ever done for my faith. It has been amazing to be in a church where I am actively growing and agreeing with nearly 100%. I have never been to a church where I am excited every single week to go, where I see myself growing week to week and where I am brought to my knees (in my heart at least) every week at the Foot of my God in gratitude for what He has done for me.
9. Anne started preschool this year! She is in preschool 2 days a week for 2.5 hours a day! We love her preschool! It doesn't really give me a break (because I have to rush home and put Jamie down for his nap) but it is lovely to know she is in an environment where she is learning and growing educationally and socially. This is her first step, and my first step, towards putting my kids out there in the world-albeit a small step with many many more to go.
10. And I suppose the last thing to add to this very long list of 10 would be the comment that I, we, are so content and happy with where our family is right now. We love having Anne be 3 years old and growing up and understanding and learning things. We love having 2 children. We love having a boy-who climbs and crawls and stands and destroys and rips and mouths everything but sometimes in his love for me crawls so fast that he literally dives into my lap and slobbers my face with his baby kisses. We love what having 2 children has done for our family, how it has made it so much more complete than it every could have been with just one. We are so grateful for the experience of two and are looking forward to sometime in the future to continue to add to our family. We love where our faith is at-we love where our church home is at. We, I, love that I am a stay at home mom and so incredibly content with that. Since I have been home these past 19 months, not once have I ever truly considered going back to work. Our gratitude for the blessings in our life right now are overflowing. Praise and thanks to God.
I hope your 2009 was as blessed as ours and prayers for safe, happy, peaceful 2010!