Monday morning I took my Mom and Uncle Terry to the airport, which basically signified the end of the holiday season for us. As expected, we had a great time during their visit, particularly on Sunday, which is when Mom, Jessica, the girls, and I were joined for the day with Jim, Brenda, Kristy, Terry, his daughter Kayla, and her daughter Jayla. This was the first time I had seen Kayla since she was about 2 years old, and it was our first time meeting her daughter.
Jayla is only about 8 or 9 months older than Ava, so it didn’t take long for them to hit it off. The rest of us enjoyed what I think of as the 3 F’s of the holiday season: Family, Food, and Football. The family part was great because although my Mom and Terry see each other regularly, neither of them get to see Jim, Brenda, Kristy, or my family very often. Then when you add the fact that we were visiting with Kayla and her daughter for the first time, it made it that much more special. From a food perspective, there was lots of good stuff to snack on all day, plus a nice ham dinner with garlic-asparagus, rolls, stuffing, and salad that evening. As far as the football goes, the Seahawks got the win and locked down the #1 seed in the NFC, giving them home field advantage through out the playoffs. All in all it was a great day that meant a lot to each of us.
Today is New Year’s Eve, which means you can’t help but reflect a bit on the year that is coming to a close. We’ve continued our streak of doing big things this year by buying a house, and that streak will live on into 2015 as we welcome our son Enzo into the world. This is kind of a big day for us simply because tonight will be Jessica’s last night working before Enzo is born. In her last two pregnancies, Jessica worked until a little closer to her due date, but in so many ways, this pregnancy has been different. This one been harder on her physically, and as far as I’m concerned she should have stopped working weeks ago, but based on the time of year that simply wasn’t an option. December is the busiest month of the year at El Gaucho, so she had no choice other than to suck it up and make the best of it. The good news is that January is the slowest month of the year, so there will be no reason for her to have to work again after tonight. It’s important to me that she takes a longer maternity leave this time than she did with either of the girls. I have a feeling this is going to be our biggest adjustment yet, so I want to give her plenty of time to ease into things.
Earlier this month I started going through all of our old website posts and backing them up. Although I have our web hosting account set to automatically backup all of our content, my greatest fear is that if I were to get hit by a bus tomorrow, Jessica wouldn’t know how to maintain the databases and all the other technical stuff, and one day the site would just disappear. Ultimately I want this site to live on for generations, so I’m a little paranoid in making sure that it stays safe. Therefore I’m going back through every old post and copying them over into their own Google Doc in my Google Drive. If you’re not familiar with Google Docs its just a cloud-based suite of office applications that you can access from anywhere. I’m going out of my way to catalog everything very specifically, so that you could easily navigate to a specific month of a specific year and view just the posts from that time period. You can certainly do this on the website as well, but I want to be as thorough as possible.
The funny thing about looking at all these old posts is how much shorter they used to be than they are now. When I first started writing posts they were only a paragraph or two in length. Just enough to share a quick thought about what was going on in our world. Over time the format has changed, however, and now I feel like I’m cheating if I write anything less than 1,000 words. Maybe we’ve got more going on now and more to talk about. Maybe I just get on a roll and like to wax poetic about my loved ones. Probably a little bit of both. Either way I love how the site has grown over the years, and I can’t wait for the day that our kids sit down and start to take a real appreciation of it. I can’t imagine how cool it would be to sit down and read a detailed history of my parent’s lives throughout the years before I was born, and on through my childhood. Most of us will never have that opportunity, but I’m so glad that our children will.
As we close out another year I can’t believe how much the girls have grown and matured. Ava is a full on little kid now, rather than a toddler, and Elise continues to amaze me with not only her growing vocabulary, but her increased understanding of the world around her. They’re both such amazing kids, and I often tell myself I don’t know how I got so lucky; so it will be interesting to see how adding a third child to the mix affects the dynamic. I think its going to be hard on Elise at first, simply because she’s used to being the baby of the house, but she will adjust. She’s still going to be a total Daddy’s girl, and will continue to get just as much love as before. Ava is getting big enough that she might actually be helpful when it comes to caring for Enzo. Obviously we’re not going to task her with anything major, but fetching a diaper or a bottle is probably within her abilities at this point. I think Ava will be intrigued by the baby, but she’s already got so much energy and imagination that I don’t think it will phase her all that much. She continues to grow into her role of ‘big sister’ and I’m sure the arrival of her baby brother will help expedite that transition for her.
In addition to buying a house this year, this was a big year for me personally due to the fact that I finally graduated from college. I hope my kids learn from my experiences and go to school when they’re young. It’s certainly a lot harder to manage college when you’ve got a family and full-time job to balance at the same time. Part of the reason I never finished when I was younger was that I placed too much emphasis on the connection between my studies and my career. Although in the end I ended up with a degree that is directly related to my career, I don’t think that is a necessity. Therefore I always plan to stress to my kids that they don’t need to know what they want to do for a career by the time they’re entering college. That’s a lot of pressure to place on an 18 year old kid, and its not necessary. I just want them to study something they enjoy or have a passion for, and not worry too much about their career. One thing I’ve found out over the years is that careers can come and go, so they should study something the love without too much regard to its future applicability. Personally I’d love to see at least one of them study something related to the arts: music, theater, fine art, art history, English, etc.
Since finishing school I’ve had a bit more time to do things I love, which basically means I’ve been playing lots of guitar. I love having that type of creative outlet, and luckily for me, the girls have really gravitated to it. Exposing them to music at a young age is important to me, so we’ll see if it sticks. With Enzo arriving soon I can’t imagine there will be much extra free time in our world, but when you love something you can usually find a little time to fit it in.
There’s no question that 2015 will be a great year for us, so I’m eager to get on with it. Welcoming Enzo into our world will mark the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. I think there will be a certain sense of closure this time around because there is no question that our family is done growing. Although I can’t say having this large of a family was part of our initial plan, I can certainly say that we are thrilled and wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s been tough to see Jessica struggling more than expected throughout this pregnancy, but in the end it will all be worth it. I just can’t wait to see her holding that baby boy for the first time. Luckily for both of us, that moment is only a few weeks away. To all of our friends and loved ones, we wish you the happiest of new years, and look forward to spending lots of quality time with you in 2015!