It's been a crazy year. CRAZY. Here's how it broke down:
We frantically prepare for Funkhouser to join the fold. Norah earns her place as the easiest kid of all times to potty train and settles into her big girl room. I remember how horrible late pregnancy is. Norah starts, and loves, ballet. We spend a lot of time at the beach. BVZ comes to the realization that he is really unhappy and needs a new job.
It rains, and rains, and rains some more. Norah jumps in a lot of puddles. We spend as much time as possible doing fun things with her. This includes seeing the tragically bad, "Gnomeo and Juliet." I suffer from late pregnancy anxiety attacks and come down with a terrible head cold and case of bronchitis the day after going on maternity leave. Bubby arrives and takes over. Louis GVZ is born via scheduled c-section and is every bit as awesome as we expected him to be. Norah is in love.
I spend four horrific nights in the hospital and have a difficult recovery from the c-section. Louis is diagnosed with a tongue tie and has it clipped once. Louis comes home and Norah bakes a birthday cake for Bear. Four separate professionals advise against clipping Lou's tongue any further, despite his inability to latch and successfully nurse. I pump. Then I get mastitis. We get an amazingly awesome king sized bed. BVZ takes four weeks of paternity leave and takes care of me and Louis. Bubby is a godsend and takes care of Norah. Norah turns out to be an amazing big sister, just as we expected. I have never been so happy to have such good friends. G.G. visits Norah and meets Lou before undergoing hip replacement surgery. I pump more. Louis barfs. Bubby and I watch a lot of HGtv. The month passes in a blur.
I pump. Louis barfs. BVZ goes back to work. We tearfully let Bubby go home. I adjust to taking care of a newborn and a toddler (thankfully, Norah still spends three days a week with Pamma and Ruby). Louis smiles all of the time. Sweet baby Lucas turns one. Louis's butt explodes in Norah's hair. We spend a fun Easter Sunday with friends. Louis successfully latches for the first time and then barfs a stomach-full of blood (mine). After eight long weeks, Louis becomes exclusively formula fed. I feel guilty about it for about five minutes. Louis goes to urgent care for the first (and only) time, due to suspected, but thankfully unfounded, pink eye. Norah becomes obsessed with who has a penis and who doesn't. I celebrate my 35th birthday and officially enter my "mid to late" thirties. BVZ unsuccessfully looks for new job opportunities in the bay area.
Amy and Reid come out for a fabulous visit. We go to the beach. Amy, Norah, and I all get food poisoning. Norah and I get sicker than we thought possible, but are at home. Amy gets sicker than we thought possible, but is on a plane. With a baby. We celebrate BVZ's 37th birthday with ice cream cake. I get mastitis again, with a suspected abscess. We spend well over $200 in co-pays before I am released from the specialist's care. Louis thrives. Norah expands her vocabulary by what seems like 50 words a day and keeps us in stitches. We celebrate a belated Mother's Day at the beach.
Stephanie, Megan and Trevor come out for the best long weekend possible. Louis grows an inordinate amount of hair. Norah has her last day with Pamma and Ruby with a great many tears shed. Norah starts pre-school and loves it. The birthday season kicks off and we spend many weekends at super fun kid parties. G.G. comes to visit. We turn the backyard into a fairy wonderland, complete with a real, live fairy, and Norah has an unforgettable third birthday party. Bubby arrives and Norah turns three. We celebrate for multiple days with multiple cakes. Louis proves to be the easiest baby in the universe, even with all the barfing. I stop fighting the inevitable and buy Norah a princess nightgown. BVZ is increasingly unhappy at work.
The birthday season continues and we get to see lots of our favorite friends. Aunt Vanessa comes to visit, so we get to spend the afternoon with her, Grandpa Gene, and Ms. Mary. Louis tries rice cereal for the first time and is unimpressed. I continue to figure my way as the primary care taker of two. Norah coats herself in Vick's Vapo-Rub at the exact same time that Louis has the world's biggest diaper blow-out. Norah discovers her love of sushi and intense dislike of seaweed. We visit Fairyland for the first time with Caroline and Kevin and Norah never stops talking about it. We finally meet Helyn and James, the cutest twin babies of all times. BVZ's unhappiness at work reaches a critical mass. Louis stops sleeping in long stretches and we buy him a $40 magic sleep suit. Norah trips on stairs and smashes her face at Ruby's birthday party. We go to the beach a lot. We lose Caleb there once (thankfully, just for a minute). Norah and Ruby go to Build a Bear together. BVZ goes on a job interview in Austin. He gets an offer the next day at a small, up and coming firm. He applies for two other jobs in Austin just to make sure he has options. He goes on two more interviews and gets two more offers. We agonize. He takes the first offer.
It becomes very apparent we are moving to Texas and moving soon. BVZ resigns and is content. And excited. I tearfully leave my job and my co-workers throw me an amazing farewell lunch. We meet with a real estate agent and get quotes from moving companies. We go to Fairyland with Caleb, Lucas, and Ruby. Norah makes me pinky swear we will come back when she is four and can go on the dragon slide. We buy four one way tickets to Austin. Kiki comes to town to help pack. She is a task master and reminds BVZ about seventeen times that taking Louis on a long walk does not qualify as "helping." G.G. and her new and improved hip fly in for a quick visit. We spend as much time with friends as possible. I cry a lot. Norah cries a lot. Norah and Ruby try to have a sleepover that ends at about 11:00 pm. Louis has his final echo-cardiogram and graduates from the cardiologist's care. Amy, Stephanie and Bubby find us a house to lease and prepare for our arrival. We visit with friends and family every chance we get. Movers come and take all of our stuff. We buy Loretta a plane ticket. We ship our cars. We say good-bye and get on the plane.
We spend a week at Bubby's house while our stuff is in route. We buy a lot of new furniture. We get lost in our giant, lovely rental house. I bask in the glory that is more than one bathroom. Our Belmont house gets landscaped and staged and goes on the market in exceptional condition and for $95,000 less than what we bought it for. We encounter several Texas sized roaches. BVZ has a mild heart attack every time he sees one (thankfully, it is only three times). We catch up with old friends. Norah starts a new school and has a hard time missing her old friends. We meet new, mostly nice, neighbors and adjust to driving everywhere we have to go. We get to celebrate with Trevor at his birthday party. BVZ starts his new job and loves it. I start working one day a week downtown doing post-conviction capital defense, and love that too. The Belmont house is on the market for 19 days before we get the first offer. We counter, they accept. It sells for $23,000 under asking. Norah asks to see her cousins every single day.
Norah continues to be a big, giant ball of awesomeness. Louis is too, despite the fact that he is sleeping only sporadically at night and refuses most all forms of solid food. Escrow closes on the Belmont house and we write a heartbreakingly gigantic check to Wells Fargo. We settle in, missing friends, but loving the family here and all the support (and free babysitting). BVZ officially becomes a super star at the new job. Kiki comes to visit. We host a fun Halloween party.
Norah starts a new ballet and tap class. We have a fun overnight adventure to San Antonio and see an old friend. Baby Ella (aka, Baby Goo Goo) is born. Louis becomes increasingly mobile and manages to get his poop covered hands in his actual mouth. G.G. and Vanessa come to visit and we celebrate Thanksgiving/Christmas with them. We eat at the Salt Lick and I contemplate vegetarianism. Something finally clicks in Louis' brain and he is officially on the move.
Norah and I take a girl's trip to California. Norah brings home 400 different strains of pre-school cooties and we all stay sick for about a month. Louis takes two courses of antibiotics and is generally miserable. Reid turns one and Stephanie and I make a dinosaur cake. Kiki comes to town for a long visit. Louis decides crawling makes him hungry and starts eating like a teenage boy and sleeping 12 hours at night. We celebrate a wonderful Christmas surrounded by awesome family. Norah is obsessed with the holiday and makes it genuinely magical. Mark and I come in second at the annual cooking contest. The kids play with their new train table every second of every day.
I never imagined at this time last year this is where we would be, but here we are and it's pretty sweet. We are so lucky to have such great family and friends, spanning multiple states. Everyone is happy and healthy and I could not possibly ask for anything more. We are looking forward to all that 2012 will bring...Louis turning one, buying a new house, having lots of out of town visitors, and spending as much time with cousins as humanly possible. I am campaigning for a trip to London (to see the L-J's), or Australia (to see the B-D's), or Disneyland (with the S's). We'll see how successful I am.
Happy new year to all!