Dear Friends and Family,
We hope the new year finds you all nestled and snug in your beds, because, frankly, we can’t think of a better place to be! For the seven of us, it’s been a year of rewarding moments, developmental pinnacles, and so many disasters averted. In short, we are all grateful to be here with most of our mental faculties intact. As you can see on the front of the card, our five children have grown, and are as happy as little stars (although we did Photoshop the head of one of the triplets who was in a cranky mood.)
Anyway, last year started with a fun-filled trip to exotic southwest Florida where all seven of us packed ourselves, and our two babysitters, into a three-bedroom condo on the beach. It took a few days for the girls to get used to their new sleeping arrangements— two inside pack-n-plays and two in the bathtubs—but soon they were adapted to their new routine. The sunny days consisted of dragging our strollers 300 feet to the gorgeous, untouched beaches of the Gulf, playing with and/or eating shells, and dragging home again. We were all amazed at how adventurous we had become since our last visit.
Now, on to our intrepid first-born. At four-and-a-half, Annamira is showing stunning leadership qualities at home. She regularly corrals and directs her three sisters in music classes, story-time, lawn mowing, and gutter clean-up. So perhaps we shouldn’t have been concerned when one day at pick-up, we saw her teaching her own preschool class and issuing time-outs to her friends. The teachers assured us it was developmentally appropriate for someone with her “family situation” to be doing this. When Jim has a few minutes to spare in-between insistent toddler requests, dirty diapers, and pulling Cian off the stairs, he teaches Annamira math. To our delight, she picked up addition and subtraction quicker than rhinovirus. But when she started doing algebra with virtually no prompting, we got worried that maybe she wasn’t getting out of the house enough. So we took away her “Sudoku for Kids” and signed her up for an “American Girl” playgroup. So now instead of abstracting digits, she can brush her doll’s hair and act like a little girl again.
Our glorious threesome, Lucy, Josie and Bevin, at two-and-a-half, continue to be the apples of our eye (or is it eyes?). They are feisty, active little girls who are growing like tapeworms! Josie seems to be the first to achieve all the milestones: the first surgically removed from the womb, the first to crawl, walk, drink toilet water, etc. And now it looks like she is the first to doff her diaper for big girl panties, or, more likely, no panties at all. Am I sharing too much? Lucy, ever the cautious and artistic type, is getting very adept at squirreling away her toys, and sometimes food and soiled clothing, in an effort to find some personal space at home. She is so sick of people telling her she has beautiful red hair, that she now blankly stares at strangers and says, “Go away.” Bevin is the turbine of the trio. She lives her life very intensely, and we admit to having had our share of challenges with her “spirited” behaviors. But since lining our mudroom with pillows and giving her a crash helmet, we have found an effective way to give her some down-time.
Not the least, and certainly not the lightest, is our chubby, sweet fifteen-month-old Cian. His gentle and easy-going nature makes him a natural fit for our family. In fact, he has such a high tolerance for pain that we often find him at the bottom of a heap of sisters, barely breathing but still smiling. Yes, he is a model of pain tolerance, so that when he had five-hour surgery to correct his urinary tract reflux condition this past October, the surgeons didn’t need anesthesia, saving our insurance company big bucks.
Finally, when Jim and I aren’t busy strong-arming neighbors into giving our children play-dates, we are immersed in home improvement projects. We are very excited about the changes to our kitchen! Try to imagine your microwave not on your counter, but hovering two feet above it! With some careful planning we were able to install our microwave into one of our dish cabinets, thereby freeing valuable counter RE. I am looking at the area right now, and I see a tableau of kids’ artwork, used tissues, overdue bills, rusty screws, barrettes, and unmatched socks. So, we are already reaping the benefits of more space. (Don’t ask what we did with the dishes.)
We wish you and your family a restful and prosperous new year. Even though we don’t see you often enough, we think of you, and trust you are thriving professionally and socially with your impressive grown-up jobs and chairmanships. We imagine you are striving to make the world a better place through your community activism, entrepreneurship, films, books, or pharmaceuticals.
We’d like to see more of our family and friends, so we invite you all to visit ‘The Purple House.’ (If you want to actually sit down for dinner, please give us a least a week’s notice so we can arrange extra help.) In the meantime, if you see a blue Toyota Sienna in a McDonalds parking lot, with several small children strapped in their seats eating chicken nuggets, come over and knock on our window. We would love to catch up!