Feathered Aspen

Happy New Years!

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I love the New Year.  I’m not sure that I would say it’s my favorite holiday – there needs to be a bit more tradition and food involved – but taking time to reflect on the year and make goals or intentions moving forward is definitely my jam.

It just so happens that yesterday our little Lu turned 18 months, so I’m feeling extra reflective about the milestones we’re hitting.  It’s hard to believe that Lu only started walking a scant three months ago.  She’s toddling all around the place these days, opening our cabinets and drawers, emptying them with methodic and persistent glee, and tagging along with her big sister.  Just as with Lily, she still loves to be held and carried in the Ergo, so though she’s mobile, I’m still getting plenty of snuggles.

We night weaned on November 10, though I’ve not been terribly strict about early morning feedings.  I’d much rather cave and nurse in bed in those early hours than wake up at 5 AM.  Starting on Christmas Eve, when the girls spent the day with their Nana and Grumpy, I phased out daytime feedings as well, so now we’re down to early morning and just before bed.  With all of our guests and the holidays, Lu would get a little upset and tug at my shirt, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I set her down for a proper nap sans nursing.  There were many tears, and it brought back the same sadness I experienced weaning Lily.  I find myself worrying that they won’t turn to me for comfort in the same way, that I won’t get nearly as many snuggles.  For the moment, I don’t have a fully weaned deadline in mind, but we’re definitely on that path.

Lu has been cutting some teeth in the past month, and her favorite teething soother is frozen blueberries.  She even attempts to say the word (which is a bit astonishing given how few words she has).  She loves bananas, blueberries, clementines, rice, beans, and cheese (all the cheese, both of my girls).  Though we’ve tried to give her milk, she’s not a big fan.

Our friends and family remark that Lu is a bit more shy and a “momma’s girl” compared to Lily at this age, and it’s probably true.  I also think she’s more independent.  She’s happy to explore things by herself.  When she’s around her big sister, she’ll make exclamatory noises (screaming for fun, “no!” “uh oh”), but it’s not until her sister is in another room that she plays more with language.  She can be quite quiet!  She is also, admittedly, rarely interested in being held by anyone other than myself, though Joshua is a close second these days, and she’ll go to people with whom she is more familiar.

We’re picking up a few more signs, including ‘all done,’ ‘more,’ ‘please,’ ‘diaper,’ and ‘food.’  Verbal words include mama, dada, enri (!), poop, wa.  She knows a ton of words, and she follow many requests, including retrieval of all sorts of things, pointing at body parts and different family members.

Dear Lu, it’s been such a year.  It’s amazing to think you’ve been with us the whole time!  From a lovely spring, to Minnesota, through a move, to Wyoming, Mexico, and then through the warm days of summer.  This fall, we’ve settled into a groove.  You’ve grown, beginning those forays of independence with plenty of curiosity and interest.  I love you, little one.

As I write, Lily and Lu are off in the other room.  I can’t hear them, but I know they’re playing.  Probably creating a massive mess, but hey.  I’m happy to clean up after them if they’re playing well together.  Which is one of the things I’m most proud of when it comes to Lily.  She is such a good big sister.  She is loving, protective, and finally, finally, finally sharing so much better.  She’s the mistress of taking turns, making trades, and these days, she’s even willing to wait people out.  This doesn’t mean that we never have disagreements, but the improvement from this time last year to now is night and day.

Joshua and I remark nearly every day how grown up Lily is becoming.  She is very articulate, a great conversationalist, and she shows so much interest in the people and things around her.  I’m pleased to report that I’ve written down some of the funny things she’s said this week:

  1. I’m telling Lily about the New Year, and as I’m telling her that this year was 2015 and next year will be 2016, she says, “that’s a lot of macaroni and cheese!”
  2. We’re laying in bed, trying to fall asleep when Lily says, “I have an idea.  If we don’t get a vanagon or a school bus, we could get a truck with skis on it.  But if that’s too expensive, we could just go on an airplane ride.”
  3. On Christmas Eve, Lily is beside herself with excitement and worry over Santa.  She hides her favorite present in my closet, worried that Santa might take it and give it to another kid.  She’s babbling to herself, saying things like.  “The stick is mine, but maybe Lu can have my camera.  Or maybe daddy can have the stick and Lu can have the camera.”  Then she pauses, shakes her head, and says, “the problem is the camera.”
  4. Joshua asks Lily what her favorite part of Christmas was, and she says, “The people.  The conversations.  The reading.”  So, win.  We win.
  5. In Taos, we were telling Lily what a wonderful big sister she is, and we were telling her that we think she’s ready to have another sibling (I’m not pregnant).  Lily says, “yeah, I’m good at taking turns, and I can teach them to regulate their emotions!”  I think she’s heard me quote her enough that now this phrase is a regular 🙂

One of my favorite things that Lily does is sing to herself.  She makes up songs about babies, fairies, and dogs.  It’s very sweet.  I also love how much she loves to read, though sometimes I grow weary of reading that many picture books!  The sweetest thing is to come in the room and see the two of them sitting down with a pile of books, reading quietly.

As for me, I’m feeling good about having completed 4 of 6 pre-requisites for an accelerated nursing program.  I’ve been reading a lot, and running a ton too.  On Christmas Eve, Joshua and I ran 12 miles on trail, and though it was definitely a challenge, my fitness level is good enough that I can pick up and do something like that.  Nordic skiing for three hours, though.  That was HARD.

My best discoveries this year were:  minimalism, podcasts, and mindfulness.  Though I am by no means an expert in any of these arenas, I’m so pleased to be exploring them.  During the first half of the year, Joshua and I got rid of more than half of all of our things.  With Sarah, I ran two garage sales, and we gave away nearly 5 truckloads of things to the thrift store.  Early this fall, I read Marie Kondo’s Magic Art of Tidying Up and did another comb through.  Though I’m sure there are still things I could get rid of, I’m most pleased that the desire to acquire more things has abated.  I used to always have a running list of things that I wanted, especially clothing.  Now, my wardrobe is smaller than ever – everything fits in my small closet! – and I rarely feel the pull to buy anything new.  Even my thrift shopping trips, which I still enjoy, are much more modest.  I’ll come away with one or two items and promptly purge one or two items when I get home.

As for podcasts, I listened to my first one early in the year, and I haven’t stopped.  My favorites are:

  1. The Lively Show (this was my introduction to podcasts)
  2. Serial (of course)
  3. On Being (this is my all time favorite podcast.  Krista Tippet can do no wrong.)
  4. Women of the Hour (a short 5 episode podcast by Lena Dunham)
  5. Magic Lessons (an 11 episode podcast by Elizabeth Gilbert)

These keep me interested, keep me thinking.  I’m so grateful for the inspiration.

In terms of mindfulness, I haven’t gotten quite as deep, but I’m looking forward to doing more this year.  I read The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabary and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, and these were supplemented by interviews on On Being and The Lively Show.  I’ve done some mindfulness meditation and yoga, and I’m excited to do more yoga this year  (because Joshua’s awesome Christmas Present to me was a 10 pack to CorePower).

The other thing I’m really excited about for this year is that I’ve decided to invest more in community building.  The first area is with becoming more politically invested.  I’m a big Bernie Sanders supporter, and the Colorado headquarters for his campaign is conveniently located a couple of blocks away!  We’ve also committed to supporting causes we care about when they come up.  I really like UNICEF, we attended a Moms Against Gun Violence rally, and I’ve begun writing politicians about refugee and fossil fuel policies.  The other area is super exciting.  I’ve finally made some progress on the non-profit I mentioned this summer.  Though I had had the goal to get it off the ground in the fall, I’m pleased to tell you that I figured out a way to circumnavigate all the paperwork.  I contacted parks and recreation and you’re looking at a contractor for the city of Edgewater!  I’ll be running a community storytime and playgroup one day a week in an effort to build community and create an unbranded, public space for parents and kids to connect.  I’m sooooooo excited about this, and I’ll be sharing more as time goes on, but I start the first week of February!

Unfortunately, I poorly timed taking a math placement exam through MSU, so I won’t be able to take a class this semester, but I’ll be looking forward to taking time to write and work on my storytime and playgroup, and I’ll hopeful resume classes again in the fall.

Thank you all for reading along with us here.  I love that this little blog is a means of communicating with our loved ones flung near and far, and I also love that this has become record of our days together as a family.  Wishing you and yours a very merry New Year!!!

Author: Joshua

I am a husband and father. I am an outdoor enthusiast, adventurer and ultrarunner. I like to cook and eat. I love to travel and explore. Most of all, I like to do the things I love with the people whom I love.

One thought on “Happy New Years!

  1. Happy New Year, Andert clan. May 2016 bring all of us more joy, more justice, and more peace. I love you all!!!

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