This year was much better than last. In 2006 I was in such a fog. This year, the fog lifted enough for me to clearly see around me and where we were going. I think I got closer to learning a few good life lessons. By “closer,” maybe I mean I am just a little more aware, but aware is a good start. I am starting to delete the toxic (which includes things such as Dr. Pepper, underminers and certain trains of thought) from my life, but that is a slow process. I drifted away from some people and grew closer to others. After years and years of loss and struggle and strife, I had two beautiful, healthy and did I mention beautiful baby girls. And I became a runner. Who knew?
Here, in no particular order, some highlights and lowlights:
Best of the Best: Madeline and Avery, June 1st, forever and ever. And Nicole, but since including her birth date seems irrelevant, I’ll include our anniversary, which Nicole selected to be April 1st. For years and years April 1st and June 1st passed through my life without any notice. And now they are the most important days of my life.
Most Played Songs on My iPod: The winner is a sad, slow instrumental song called Song From a Secret Garden, which I listened to 76 times in a row on an overnight trip during which I shared a room with a friend who snored very loud. Rounding out the top five are Stronger (Kanye West); Tears Dry on Their Own (Amy Winehouse); Mr. Brightside (The Killers) and Useless Desires (Patty Griffin). Nicole played You Are The Sunshine of My Life (Stevie Wonder) and Midnight Train to Georgia nonstop for the girls in the first months, but that’s her iPod and not mine.
Biggest Musical Surprise: I really like Carrie Underwood’s new album. And I am not a country fan by any stretch. I love So Small and Nicole jut told me tonight that the song All American Girl makes her cry. Something about how in the beginning we were hoping we would have at least one baby boy. In retrospect, I think I wanted a boy because I really loved the idea of naming a boy Atticus. Turns out two girls is so perfect in so many ways. I need to read the lyrics to see what it is that made her cry because this is a woman who doesn’t cry during songs.
Stupidest Reason To Sulk: I was mad at Nicole because she bought the wrong brie. It was $60 and the size of a wagon wheel. Who pays $60 for cheese? I didn’t talk to her for an hour. I bet Nicole can come up with many more in this category!
My Trendiest Moment: When I acquired MRSA, months before it became all the rage, and spent six days in the hospital.
Most Innocent Comment: One day on the phone my nephew asked where Nicole was. I said she was at work, and Leif replied “That’s because all husbands are at work now, right?” One of these days I will explain to him that Nicole is not my husband. Or that husbands aren’t the only people who work.
Best Movie Seen in a Theater: Juno.
Favorite Television Shows: The Office and Amazing Race. Can’t get enough of either.
Best Books I Read: A Thousand Splendid Suns; Love Works Like This and Pretty Is As Pretty Does. And Little House on the Prairie, the entire series, again.
Books I Couldn’t Finish: Thirteen Moons and The Double Bind. These both got great reviews but I ditched them, after reading more than half of each.
Worst Written Book: Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child. The most poorly written book ever. No order. No structure. Too confusing. And I can’t even get the title right. It is as if the book was poorly translated from Latin. Someone needs to write the Cliff Notes.
Unhealthiest New Habit: Drinking Dr. Pepper constantly. Not drinking as much water as I should.
Healthiest New Habit: Running! And using face cream. And massaging cream into my cuticles. I’m all about creams. Also, this was the second summer in a row with no tan lines, meaning, I didn’t lay out in the sun, as I love to do, but promised Nicole I wouldn’t. You could argue that with two newborns I was out of the running this summer, so I guess summer ’08 is the make-or-break year.
Favorite Electronic Toys: My Nike iPod running system and Flip Video. Also my new book light, which Nicole says is so bright that we could land a 747 in our bedroom.
Best Getaway: Fire Island, if only for the comic relief. While there, I was carrying Madeline and said “Hi beautiful!” to her, as I am wont to do. A hot young (boy) thing sashayed by me and said hello back, like I was talking to him! He then proceeded to say “See you at the underwear party!” to another man passing by, and swished into the sunset. I want his life.
Best New Addition to the Food Rotation (homemade): Chicken in basil cream sauce
Best New Addition to the Food Rotation (ordered in): Brushetta from Puccini
Best New Addition to the Food Rotation (bought in a box): Rich and Creamy Double Churned vanilla ice cream bars
Scariest Moment: Being told at an ultrasound by the world’s meanest technician that both of my babies have cysts on their brains. Scary, not-compatible-with-life diseases are discussed in such a blasé, indifferent tone that I question if the doctor is even human.
Longest Wait: Waiting four days for the FSH results (fine!) and another week and a half for the amnio results (all clear!). Thank god. And we received confirmation that I am carrying two girls. The name debates begin. Betsy, Becky, Sadie, Olivia, Ryan and Harper are immediately overruled by Nicole.
Worst Pain: A C-section that was far from lovely, followed by the excruciating process that is called breastfeeding, which was great but so painful. Oh, and hand surgery was a bitch, too, though I did enjoy the happy atmosphere that the surgeons created in the OR.
Biggest Academic Accomplishment: Finished my second Masters and decided a break from grad school was definitely in order.
Best Freebies: We won tickets to see Patty Griffin and Melissa Etheridge in concert. And we got a years’ worth of free diapers. Actually, this was a gift, not a win, but regardless, how awesome is a year’s worth of diapers for twins?!
Best Bringer Home of the Bacon, Literally and Figuratively: If Nicole weren’t such a superstar, I would never be able to stay home and take care of these babies and live the lifestyle I have become accustom to (which includes credit cards and all-I-can-eat-gummi bears). She is also up for promotion which, if she gets, is ultra-superstar, since it would be her second promotion in three years (she finds out in late late January). AND she also has become quite the bacon chef, whipping up brown-sugar dredged baked bacon with herbed scrambled eggs every once in a while. I call it candy bacon.
Best I Fought The Law Moment (and I Won): I refused to accept the fact that my insurance wouldn’t pay for a couple of huge chunks of my C section costs because they said two of the doctors in the OR were not Cigna-certified. Even though my ob/gyn’s practice was covered by Cigna and I was at a Cigna-accepting hospital, it was my job to ask each and every doctor and nurse in the OR if they were Cigna. While under anesthesia and in the middle of a C section and experiencing the worst pain of my life, I was suppose to say “Excuse me, do you accept Cigna? Oh, no? Then please don’t touch me. Yes, I know I am peeing blood but can you find another Cigna doctor stat.” I contested this and I won. Let this be a lesson to you all.
Pictured above, our quiet New Year’s Eve includes sundaes. After deciding to spend it at a friend’s house, then deciding to spend it away, then deciding to spend it at a party, we ended up doing nothing. Now, as I listen to the mayhem and madness outside on the streets, I question our decision. Next year, we are definitely getting out of the city. Also pictured, us, them and the four of us. Still getting used to the fact that there is four of us now. What a difference a year can make.