Greetings One and All -
A cliché is defined as a “An expression so often used that its original power has been drained away”. So enter your favorite cliché here - In the blink of an eye 2006 is over. With each year going by faster than the last, I am running out of ways to say how I can't believe it. Here is a lesson learned during 2006; while a cliché is drained of its power, they aren't drained of their accuracy. Case in point, “at least you have your health”. I will say that we got our moneys worth for 2006. Here's a quick recap of the major milestones for the year (in order): new job, new house, new car, new babies. That's right plural.
In February, on Christy's birthday, Ainsley had a seizure. It was a very scary time for us as it was out of the blue and seemingly random. It was at this moment that I cherished living in Chehalis, especially in the location we did. Christy was still on the phone giving the operator our information and I could hear the sirens. Within 30 seconds we had a fire truck, a fire marshall, a police car and an ambulance at our door. After hours of testing and subsequent follow-ups with specialists everything is fine. The hardest part of the experience was letting her be a kid again. We smothered her for a couple of weeks, becoming prisoners of our own imaginations and fears. She has proved time and time again since to be a very healthy kid. She still loves to read, has grown a healthy appreciation for math story problems and can actually talk, dance, sing, jump and laugh at the same time. She has been taking swimming lessons at the local YMCA this year and apparently is part mermaid. A true natural. She was also part of a homeschool singing group that had a recital in mid-November...piano solo and all. She was fantastic. Grandpa Jim and Grandma Ruth provided her with a big wooden playset for our yard. She now has her own park and is quickly becoming a swing master. She challenges both Christy and I to be better and I sometimes wonder who is guiding who.
At the beginning of March I started a new position with the Department of Ecology in Lacey. I am the database administrator for the water quality program – basically we let people pollute the waters of Washington in return for a small fee. It has been a real eye opening experience to say the least. Over the first two weeks whenever I was introduced to someone they would ask “where did you come from?” I answered “Washington Mutual,” and they'd retort “oh, the private sector”...everytime. They would say it in a tone that made me sound alien, like an outsider invading their secret club. A bit of a nuisance. Now they would have to change the secret handshake and special door knock. It was in this same two week period that I was told “you're working too hard,” and “you deserve a break.” Sadly some of the clichés about state workers are real and luckily for us some are not.
In June we moved into our new house located here in Olympia. My commute is now 10 minutes of surface streets...a drastic improvement to my previous commute of 40 minutes of freeway driving. We found a nice 4 bedroom on a .25 acre lot, most of which is backyard. It is a good fit for us and is a rare find in the area. Many thanks for my dad who helped make the whole thing happen.
My Uncle Craig, Aunt Kristy, Mom, Dad, Grandma Virginia and some friends confirmed what a fantastic extended family we have. They all dedicated countless hours helping me paint the house and prepare for new flooring. Without their help, we would never have been ready to move in. The gift of time is truly priceless.
Moving proved to be just as much fun as we remembered: boxes, storage units, trips to the Goodwill, cleaning and wishing that we had not kept or accumulated so much stuff over time. The process was also complicated by the fact that I was commuting to Olympia everyday and Christy was pregnant. Back in February, shortly after Ainsley's seizure I interviewed for the Ecology job and the next day we found out she was pregnant. The day after that I was offered and accepted the Ecology job. Nice timing huh?
My first week on the job we had an ultrasound to determine the baby's due date. Aparently the technician was under the impression that we knew what was going on. She engaged Ainsley in a conversation about being a big sister asking if she was excited about being a big sister to two babies. Exscuse me? Two babies?! I have never fainted, but I suspect I was pretty close at that moment. The technician looked at me, quickly figured out that we didn't know and promptly left to get me a chair and some water. The room had become incredibly hot...equator hot...equator of the sun hot. The fact that there were two explained why Christy felt so differently with this pregnancy.
I've said it before and it is still true. I have an absolute goddess of a wife. Seriously. She handled the extra mental and physical challenges of growing twins with such elegance, patience, dedication and grace. It was awesome to watch. She stepped up big, handling the extra eating requirments, nutrient and supplements needed to ensure the health of both the babies and herself. It worked. She carried the two babies 38 weeks. She delivered both naturally. Completely naturally, no drugs...just the encouragment of our midwife, my hand holding and the loving energy of her friends Amy and Trish. All the moms present in the room were amazed at her performance. It was an awe inspiring and very emotional day. My life long unatainable goal is to be as good to her and she is to me and our family. She is our beacon of love that we can all navigate the year with.
After 8 hours of work, we had two new babies. Finley Paul was born at 4:18PM, weighing 8lbs 2oz, and measuring 20 inches. Jade Aurora was born 38 minutes later at 4:56PM, weighing 6lbs 15oz and measuring 19 inches. That's over 15lbs of baby. Yikes!! Both were born healthy and hungry. Within an hour they had both nursed themselves to sleep and were snuggled with Christy.
Finley is a cool dude. He sneezes in groups, almost always 3 or 4 at a time. He's laid back, loves to snuggle and is strong. He has a wide mouthed smile that brings out two dimples and somehow makes his cheeks inflate to two times their normal size. He's a keen observer and can engage you with his dark blue eyes and make you never want to look away. His Buddha-like build acts like a tranquilizer when you rock him. If he is sleeping and you're rocking him, you don't stand a chance of staying awake.
Jade is taking after her big sister. She is chatty. In fact she can already say “Hi”...at least it sounds like it. She is a mover, always kicking her legs, swinging her arms and swiveling her head back and forth. She makes yawning and streching look so good that you almost feel refreshed just watching. Her smile is a little crooked and makes it appear that she is keeping a secret from you...maybe she is.
Our lives are different now and we are slowly adapting to our new reality. We still can't believe that we have two babies. We are accepting that things take longer (e.g. This letter is going out on the 23rd). We are evolving into creatures that consider four hours of solid sleep a full nights rest (speaking of evolution, where in evolutionary history did babies require the need to have razor sharp finger nails?). The house is rarely clean and we attempt to accept that. We utter the phrase “doing the best we can” a lot around here, it's the mantra of '06. We now drive a minivan (thanks in part to my foks). We are trying to accept that too. But it is all worth it and made easier by the fact that we are all healthy. All of this would be so much harder if we weren't. I am so thankful for this.
I hope that this letter finds everyone in good health and spirit. May 2007 exceed your expectations and be full of wonderful surprises, peace, love and good happiness stuff.