Sunday, January 8

Post-2011 update

Anyone still out there? Anyone?

I have some blogging issues that prevent me from writing very often (things like privacy and self-consciousness and belaboring everything I write, etc. etc.), but after reading so many of my favorite people's Christmas cards, letters, emails, blog posts, etc., I figured maybe I should do some sort of update in an effort to be better at staying in touch (something I'm horrible at). I will EVEN include some pictures.

Anyway, here are some of the highlights of 2011 for us, in mostly chronological order.

Mark started off the year finishing interviewing at pediatric residency programs around the country. He loved Primary Children's in Utah, and in March we were elated to find that we matched there.
(Yay! We're going back to Utah!)

Dani spent the first half of 2011 taking a weekly cycling class through the San Antonio Wheelmen, which finally made me feel legitimate enough to call myself a "cyclist." I mean, once you learn about the butt cream, you are IN.

(Can you find me? I'm the one on the far left, wearing a blue borrowed jacket on an unusually chilly Texas morning.)

Maren entered that awkward phase where you are trying to grow your bangs out...but you have no bangs because you happen to be completely bald from the crown forward. We not-so-affectionately dubbed this the Ben Franklin look.

Maren, January 2011, and Ben, 1750's?

Thus 2011 quickly became Maren's "Year of the Permanent Pigtails."

A decent pigtail shot, April 2011, and a reminder of Maren's love for this dog sign we passed each day on the way to the mailbox. Never could she pass it without stopping to give a kiss.

Mark graduated from medical school in May. Kind of a big deal.

(Traditional graduation "Ascension" jump)

In May Dani packed the house with the obsessive meticulousness I have acquired over 4 moves in 5 years of marriage. Miraculously, everything barely fit in our moving truck, and we said adios to Texas, the land of interminable summer.

After 4 years, I finally got a picture in front of the Alamo.

A final outing to Guadalupe State Park, wherein Maren tries to acquire giardia in order to test her father's newly earned physician skills.

Goodbye, San Antonio home!

Goodbye, wallpaper that makes one question the judgment and sanity of both the designer of this product and whoever chose it for this bathroom!

Of course, we also said goodbye to many great friends, who we miss a lot.

Dani found us a decent rental on the east side of Salt Lake City. It is a good size and close to the hospital, but it has the most atrocious carpet of any place I've lived in yet. Including in the dining area. (Who carpets the dining area?! Seriously?) Fortunately we have an awesome landlord who let us replace the carpeted dining area and vinyl kitchen with some free (FREE!!) laminate I scored off the KSL free classifieds. Total cost for ancillary materials was like $60, and the landlord reimbursed us. Major improvement.

BEFORE: Carpet & vinyl (note that this picture does not do the stains [I only pointed out two] nor the carpet justice)

AFTER:New laminate floor where a 2-year-old can eat spaghetti without her mother hovering over every twirl of the fork

Dani dyed her hair for the first time ever. Sure it was a box and the temporary kind that washes out (I wasn't really committed), but it was unprecedented.

Mark, on a rare day off, helped my parents dig a new window well with a mini-excavator, also known as a trackhoe. He was like a little boy with a new video game running that machine. He only hit the brick once (oops) and his amazing coordination served him and my parents well. This experience only reinforced Maren's obsession with backhoes and all other construction equipment.

Dani, a month or so after getting pregnant, broke her leg in a rather unpleasant paragliding fiasco. I healed up nicely though and both legs are doing their best to support my ever-expanding girth. Baby #2 will make his or her gender known upon arrival sometime around April Fool's Day 2012.

The only belly shot I could find (I'm the one on the left).

Maren loves to be outside, no matter how cold it is. She is a champ and a bit of a daredevil on this tricycle/scooter, and sometimes when's she's cruising downhill I can barely keep up with her (see "expanding girth" above).
We all wish it would snow a little more this hazy winter.

Maren went from being a baby in January to a full-blown toddler by December, when she turned 2. Though she only grew one clothing size, she stopped nursing, learned to walk, dropped a nap, finally grew some hair on top (but not still not much), and expanded her vocabulary from animal noises to full (if grammatically and syntactically incorrect) sentences. Like, "Look, backhoe blue one outside over there!" and then, "Look, two backhoes yellow!" Or, "Mom uh-oh owie foot this -- kisses need it?"

December 2011

2012 has started out great.

Mark continues to spend all his time either at the hospital or sleeping. He honestly loves the program at Primary Children's even if he doesn't love all the stress or the busy schedule. He informed me yesterday that after a month in the newborn nursery he is now very confident in performing circumcisions.

Dani works around the clock incubating human life. As if that isn't enough, I also keep everyone fed, clothed, bathed, etc., and I'm foraying into couponing, food storage, massive home-organization overhaul, and starting a bunch of projects that I hope to finish sometime in the next two years.

Finally, Maren spends her days eating, sleeping, reading books, dancing to the piano's demo music, jumping everywhere, and just overall being a delight to be around.

So there you have it, some randomness from 2011 and a strong start to 2012.