Happy New Years!

Happy New year everyone 

As is typical for me this is a day late and a dollar short.  Y’all know I’ve been sick the last few days and so I was the first to fall last night, although Gabby and Paul ended up asleep early too. The spirit was willing but the flesh was… exhausted. We did get a couple of rounds of Exploding Kittens in and eat an entire thing of spinach dip, so it wasn’t a total loss.

2017 was a year of changes for us. Most notably Paul’s career path taking an unexpected turn, and the adjustments that brought to nearly every part of our life. While it hasn’t been without it’s stressful moments, I couldn’t be prouder of how we’ve come together to face it all head-on instead of letting it drive a wedge between us. Cheesy as it is, we’ve always viewed marriage as teamwork, and even under pressure we are not that couple that keeps score. We kept our cool, did what needed done, and did our best to support each other along the way(and kick each other’s ass when needed).

I’m hoping 2018 brings a little less change and a little more peace. I want to streamline, simplify, and generally make life run a little smoother. I want to feel more on top of things and less like I am just barely keeping it all together. And I want to work on feeling a little less guilty when I do drop those balls that inevitably will, because it’s just not possible to give 100% everywhere at every time.

I hope 2018 sees more of you at our table and in our lives where we can. Friendship is so important and this past year seeing so many of you was what made the year feel like one of our best ever despite the really difficult moments.

Thank you for being there with us in person and in spirit 

Dear Scarlett, I Promise You Weren’t Adopted

Dear Baby Girl,

A couple of nights ago your brother Malcolm woke up and needed to be rocked back to sleep. As I sat there in the dark with him snuggled against my chest, you started kicking, far more than you had all day. I smiled at the thought that he might start to notice those movements soon, and marveled at how quickly this pregnancy is going. You’ll be here before we know it.

As thrilled as I am, your impending arrival scares me, because I feel terribly unprepared. Your brother is 16 months now, and between him and work, I am tired. I’ve not had the time and energy to plan and shop and do fun things for you the way I could when I was pregnant with Mal. I swore to myself that with you being my last, I’d do a proper baby book this time, and instead the best I’ve managed is recording milestones on my Google Calendar. I have my doppler but we’ve still not gotten a recording of your heartbeat, it’s one of those things we keep saying we will do, and just haven’t gotten to with all of the work and family and holiday stuff. I’ve taken maybe one picture of my expanding belly so far. I haven’t even blogged the ultrasound pictures we do have.

Look, you gave us a little thumbs up during the scan!

O Flaherty_Sara_3

I’ve been down this road with your brother Damian, with the whole ‘youngest child syndrome’ thing, and I’m determined not to go down it again. I have very few pictures of him by himself until he was nearly a year and a half old, because with only 17 months between him and Brendan, most of my energy was focused on the active toddler. It’s not that he was any less loved, far from it, its just hard to point a camera at a smiling baby when the 2-year-old is trying to make an escape over a baby gate, or up-ending a shampoo bottle on the bathroom floor, or crying because a dog stole his snack, or one of the million other trivial details of day-to-day life. I was too busy experiencing the chaos to properly record it, but even that has it’s price. Were it not that he and Brendan look so much alike, I’d worry that Damian will think he’s adopted.

Scarlett, I swear to you, you are not adopted.

You are in some ways the most anticipated of your siblings. Everyone is thrilled about a first baby, so your sister had that. Brendan was the first boy, Damian the sweet surprise when I thought I was done. Then life and circumstances changed, and Malcolm was your daddy’s first baby, coming along 8 years after my last. But you baby girl, you are the little sister your older siblings(especially Gabby…oh my goodness especially Gabby!) have been asking for for years. All youngest children are spoiled, but being the girl everyone wanted, you’ve already made yourself stand out.

Technology has come so far since Damian was little, with camera phones and pocket-sized digital cameras I don’t think it will be as hard to keep up as it was back then. Still, if you ever start to notice there were a few less birthday pictures or a missing baby book, please don’t think it’s because the stork dropped you off, it’s just that with a big family, we may sometimes be busier living life than photographing it. You are and always will be that special youngest child.