Wow. What can I say about 2012?
I've been meaning to post updates for awhile now, but whenever I sit down to write, invariably something happens that takes my attention away. But, right now, sitting at the in-laws house, seems as good a time as ever to review just what an amazing year 2012 was.
Even if nothing else of note happened in 2012, it would be a great year for no other reason than ...1. The birth of my daughter Scarlett.
Little Scarlett, hours after her birth.
I always wondered what kind of parent I would make. I guess I'm going to find out now. In the process, we encountered frustration, joy, sadness, terror and every range of emotion you can possibly imagine.
Around July of last year, Sarah and I decided that the time was right for us to expand our family, and we started trying for a little one. Frankly, after spending nearly a year trying for a baby, I'm honestly stumped at how anyone accidentally gets pregnant. There was testing, planning, and all kinds of craziness before we finally got he word at the end of March, just two weeks after FWA, that Sarah was pregnant.
A few months later, we found out that our little mass of dividing cells was going to be a little girl. In all honesty, a part of me was hoping for a little boy, but those thoughts immediately went out the window nearly instantly. However, it took us nearly until October to actually pick a name for the little one. In the meantime, we had a scare when the doctor found some abnormalities on her ultrasound and sent us to Birmingham for a more detailed test. Something to do with brain cysts. Thankfully, that turned out to be nothing.
Over the course of the pregnancy, I realized what amazing friends we have. Sarah had no less than 3 baby showers, 2 of which were thrown by our church. We received gifts of almost everything we would need to raise a baby. I literally think we spent less than $500 on baby things.
So Sarah grew and grew with child over the course of the summer and fall (while we moved, see next point), until her due date was upon us. And as her due date passed with no movement, we made the decision to induce her. I will spare you the graphic play by play of the birth process; suffice it to say that I saw way more of it than I was expecting or really wanting to see. The highlights were: about 12 hours of labor but only about 30 minutes of "active" labor, the maximum allowed dose of pitocin (the drug they use to induce).
Finally, at 7:23pm on November 27th, Scarlett Rose entered the world measuring 19 inches and weighing 7 pounds 8 ounces. And after a few days' stay in the hospital, we returned home with our little girl. And over the course of the next month, we had a virtual revolving door in our house of guests. Grandparents, great-grandparents, family and friends all came to see Scarlett. People from church baked us meals as we learned how to live with our new little addition.
The first few weeks were really rough. At one point, one night she was in a diaper less than 5 minutes before needing to be changed again. We've also had a running battle with baby gas. And I love my daughter, but holy shit her farts can peel the paint of walls.
However, I realize now that we've been blessed to have a pretty non-fussy baby. She doesn't complain or cry a lot, doesn't mind people holding her, and sleeps pretty well, usually only waking because she needs to eat or be changed (at least, when mom and dad can keep her awake during the day!). Heck, last night she slept nearly 6 hours before finally waking. At this point, I think we have a pretty good system in place.
Just a few of the things about parenthood I've learned in the last month:
- Something so little needs an amazing amount of stuff. Cribs, bassinets, changing tables, pack and plays, diaper bags, all manner of things. For overnight trips Sarah and I can usually get away with a small bag, but Scarlett needs an entire trunk of stuff.
- Doing anything with a child, even something as simple as running out for 15 minutes to grab a sandwich, requires careful planning and execution. When was the last time she was changed and fed? How much time do we think we have until the next feeding or changing? We've been living the last month in 3 hour increments.
We finally purchased a breast pump a few weeks ago. With that we were able to get a bottle of food for her and were able to leave her with a grandparent while Sarah and I went to see The Hobbit. This has given us a little bit more flexibility to break out of that 3 hour cycle.
But most importantly, I learned that, while I still can't stand other peoples' kids, I sure do love my own. The weight of having to do a good job raising her is really there. I really hope I'm up to the task.2. Sold and bought houses and built a garage.
In front of our new house.
About June, we made a big decision: it was time to move.
Honestly, it was not something I was looking to do. It would have to happen eventually, but I was hoping I could punt the ball downfield a little ways and not have to worry about it for a few years. But finally, in July, when we had a living room full of baby stuff and no where to walk, we finally had to face reality that we were going to have to move.
So it was with a great deal of sadness that we put the home I bought back in 2007
on the market and started looking for a new place to live. We looked at all kinds of places in Madison (we wanted to stay in Madison City Schools), but finally settled on a house what was far bigger than what I was intending to purchase but was such a good deal that we couldn't walk away from it.
Our new home is a nearly 3,400 square foot home in central Madison. It was the model home for the neighborhood, so it features many upgraded amenities like a jacuzzi tub, granite countertops, tankless hot water heater, music system and many others.
The downside? It didn't have a garage. In this house, the area that was a garage in the floor plan had been finished in as office space for use while the builder was constructing the neighborhood. We liked that space because it added a large amount of square footage to the house, so we decided to buy the house and have a detached garage built onto the back.
Make no mistake, this was a long process. We got just days to our first closing before the lender decided they didn't want to do what we were trying to do (essentially, buy the house because we were getting such a good deal and use the equity to build the garage). So we ended up having to get a construction loan to buy the house and build the garage.
The other major sticking point was what to do with our old house. I was adamant that I did not want two mortgage payments, but we weren't getting many bites on the old house. Then our awesome realtor was able to work a deal where the builder purchased our home for resale, freeing us to buy the new one. We had to take a small loss selling it, but not unreasonably so.
But we worked through it all and finally, on October 23rd, we were able to sign the documents and buy the new house. We started moving that day, and the movers came the following day to finish off the big things.
In the meantime, the builder was finishing off some of the things that were left from the contract - namely, carpeting and building a closet in the front room and fixing a sidewalk issue. Then, of course, building the garage. As of today, the garage is "finished" - I had them build the garage unfinished because they were wanting too much money to essentially hang drywall. Now, all that's left is to close the construction loan and we're on our way.
What can I say about the Cursillo weekend other than that it was life-changing.
I'm not going to write much about what actually happened at Cursillo. It's not out of any secrecy or shame - to the contrary, I wish I could share the joy of what I experienced with every person on Earth. But I also don't want to ruin the surprise and, no matter what, I don't think words could adequately express the joy of the experience. Regardless, my experience was different from that of my fellow pilgrims, and from past and future pilgrims. It's different and unique for everyone; we all experience it in different ways.
Coming out the other side, it feel like a new person. Cursillo was literally a life changing experience.... and the rest!
Of course, 2012 wasn't perfect. There were some things that sucked.In review
- This was my first year since 2003 when I didn't work FWA. I had intended it to be a permanent retirement, but the minute I set foot in the Sheraton, I knew I could never just be an attendee. So after careful consideration following the end of the con, I decided to return. My roll as of this time is uncertain, but I have a few ideas. :)
- As far as concerts go, saw the Drive-By Truckers twice, Phish once, Matthew Ebel twice, and finally checked a "bucket list" item off when I saw Elton John. However, I missed out on Pearl Jam and Foo Fighters and I'm still upset about that.
- Put a new stereo in my truck.
- Barack Obama was re-elected.
- The Olympics were awesome as always. Except for NBC's coverage. That sucked ass.
I don't think any year in my life has had as much change as 2012 has. This has been a mind-blowing year, full of firsts, new starts, changes and stress, but as I look back on it, I realize what an amazing year it's been. I feel like I'm ending this year a different person than I was when I started it. However, despite all that, I'm kinda hoping 2013 is a little bit more laid back. If every year was like this one, I would be the most interesting man in the world.
So long 2012. Thanks for being awesome!