a fond farewell to the old and celebration of the new

Reading back through the past few months of my posts here on AESW, it's become completely and embarrassingly apparent to me that I've been utterly - and probably OVERLY - focused on writing about just one aspect of my life. (And, in case anyone has been away from the planet since, oh, September, and missed what that one aspect is, it's my and Super Man's struggle to have a second baby.) In all fairness (to myself), it has been the biggest thing going on in my life lately, so I suppose it's only natural that it should take top billing.

But it's not the ONLY thing that has been going on in my life, and even I am tired of that one thing overshadowing all other things. It's not healthy. And I'm sure that my dwelling on it so much isn't helping my body do its thing. You know, like that saying "a watched pot never boils"?

So, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the holiday season, because it was a good one, for me and my family, and just the right way to send off 2009 and ring in 2010.

For starters, we spent our second Christmas at home this year, in our own house, and it was lovely. To top it off, we had Super Girl for Christmas this year, and this was her first time celebrating it with us at our house as a family. Super Man and I prepared a lovely Italian meal of his signature lasagna with prosciutto, garlic bread and salad. It was delicious. We listened to fun holiday music during dinner, and then all cleaned up together. To my utter and delighted surprise, Super Boy wanted to wash the dishes (!), and he did a spectacular job. I dried them while Super Girl and Super Man put them away.

We spent the evening in the living room by the fire, playing a game of Monopoly City. Despite only being 6 years old, Super Boy does quite well at this game, and it's been a huge bonus that it's helped him learn to count money and understand a little more about both money and real estate!

We allowed the kids to each open one gift that night, and then they had to prepare a plate of cookies and a note for Santa before we shuttled them off to bed. Super Girl is no longer a believer, but she's done a great job of keeping the magic alive for her little brother, for which we are very grateful.

Christmas morning was magical. Super Boy couldn't believe all the presents Santa brought, and he was thrilled to see that Santa brought most of the things he had on his list. Even our stockings were full of all the great little things we each love, like iTunes gift cards, great socks, and our favorite treats. Once all the gifts were opened and the wrapping paper had been gathered up, Super Man made a delicious breakfast for all of us while I finished laundry and started packing for our trip to my parents' house that afternoon.

When we arrived at my Super Parents' house, we were delighted to find that my sister and her husband and young son had already arrived from northern Wisconsin, and my younger brother was there, too. Super Boy and my Super Nephew - the same age - fell into step seamlessly, as though they'd just played together the day before, when in fact they haven't seen each other since June, during the annual family vacation. It was great to see. And Super Girl, being nearly 14 and increasing in maturity all the time, spent the time catching up with my siblings and parents, as she had not seen them in a long while either.

I helped my mom finish preparing the dinner, and we sat down to a veritable Christmas feast. It was fabulous. And the conversation flowed like wine, with lots of laughs, as is the usual with my family.

After dinner, we opened more gifts, then cleaned up and did dishes before sitting down to play Texas Hold 'Em while the boys played my Super Parents' new Wii, given to them by all of our families. Super Man and I were on a mission to win, as we swept the Texas Hold 'Em marathon played at my parents' house over Thanksgiving, and we wanted to keep the winning streak going. As it turned out, our family continued to dominate when Super Girl won two games in a row that evening. She was elated, particularly because my Super Brother is a tough one to beat!

The next day, my other Super Brother arrived from Chicago, where he had been visiting his mom and sister and other family. We were super excited to see my brother, as he now lives out west and we haven't seen him in quite awhile. Plus, it didn't hurt that he'd brought along his sweet new little puppy, Jack. Jack is a purebred Golden Retriever and about the cutest puppy I've ever seen. And well behaved, too, for only being 12 weeks old.

I fell instantly and madly in love with little Jack, and started plotting my Christmas weekend dognapping, despite the fact that my Super Brother was on to me and my plans. (Maybe because I kept telling him I was going to take his dog home with me. Might've tipped him off.) I stuck to Jack like glue, and thankfully he wasn't too annoyed by that. He let me snuggle him, pat his belly, play with his toys, give him hundreds - if not thousands - of kisses, and carry him around like a baby. (Sorry for that one, Jack - I've got baby-on-the-brain!) Lucky for me, my Super Brother was heading to Green Bay on Sunday for the Packer game, so I barely had to share Jack at all on Sunday. And it would've made my dognapping plans much easier to execute, except that I couldn't bear the thought of poor Jack pining for his master after seeing the way my favorite little puppy slunk off to sit by the front door after my Super Brother left, and fell asleep with his little puppy back pushed up against the door. :( Or the way he walked around the house all day searching for signs of his favorite person. So, to make up for it, I just had to snuggle Jack a little extra, so he wouldn't look so sad. I miss that dog like crazy though.

I've already told Super Man that if IUI fails us and we're done trying to have another baby, I am TOTALLY getting a Golden Retriever puppy.

So, yeah. Super Man is ready to head for the hills. :)

In all seriousness, I've been pondering the second dog idea for awhile now. With our Super Dog getting on in age (she's 8-1/2 years old, and for a purebred Lab that means she's got maybe 4 good years left), I'd really like to get another puppy at some point, to help keep our Super Dog "young" a bit longer, to ease the transition of a new puppy into our home and to help us cope as our beautiful Super Dog eases over to "the other side." And we had talked about getting a Golden Retriever when we were looking at dogs back in 2001, but settled on a yellow Lab because we thought the coat would be easier to manage (little did we know Super Dog would shed like a beast year-round). Turns out that the coat is going to be an issue regardless, and I love the disposition of Goldens just as much as I love that of Labs. So, at some point we will get another puppy, it just remains to be seen whether it will be in 2010 or not.

Saying goodbye to little Jack was sad. I had to fight the urge to stick him in my coat and make a run for the car. But fight it I did, and I was told that Jack was delighted when my Super Brother got home the following day, so happy was he to see his master again. Unfortunately for little Jack, he ended up having unexpected surgery this past week while in Madison after a cyst he'd had on his back burst, due to an abcess. Thankfully my Super Brother had some extra hands to help care for Jack (those being attached to our Super Parents), so Jack's recuperation went quite well, and now he and my Super Brother are on their way back out west today.

Our weekdays spent at home were sublime with Super Boy off school. We slept in, stayed in our jammies for most of the day, played outside in the snow a bit, did some things around the house. It was heaven. Well, except for Super Man: he developed an abscess in one of his molars over Christmas weekend and was in misery until Monday when the dentist confirmed the abscess, and then again until Wednesday when Super Man could get the offensive tooth pulled. But that didn't stop him from his usual activities: he repainted our kitchen! It's taking a little getting used to, but so far I'm diggin' it. We went from a deep barn red and light tan to charcoal gray and orange, so you can see why it's a bit of an adjustment!

Super Man picked Super Girl back up on Wednesday, and we've enjoyed spending a few extra days with her. For New Year's Eve, we brought the kids to our Super Friends' house, where Super Girl and two same-aged babysitters watched Super Boy and all of our Super Friends' kids while us grown-ups went out to eat at a good local restaurant. It was a blast, and then we regathered at our friends' house for another hour or two of fun before heading home to ring in the new year in our jammies in bed. Super Boy almost made it to midnight, but couldn't keep his eyes open any longer, and Super Man was out by 11:30, so Super Girl and I wished each other a Happy New Year and then went to bed.

All in all, it was one of the best holidays in recent memory, spent with each other, my family, and great friends. We missed spending time with Super Man's family in Michigan, and my Super Dad & Stepmom in northern Wisconsin, but were thinking of them and able to wish them all a Merry Christmas by phone.

Going into the new year, I'm filled with a sense a wonder, hope, optimism. While I know many have felt otherwise, 2009 was not a bad year for me or for my family. Super Man's job has been a huge blessing and great success, our children have been happy and healthy, we have lived a reasonably comfortable and good life, and we had no major disasters, really. 2010 is going to be the year when many of the unknowns that have lingered over the past few weeks, months or years will be resolved, finally. While the resolutions may not all be what we hope for, at least things will be laid to rest, so we can make new plans and experience new adventures that we haven't been able to experience while living in our odd limbo. I'm excited about that, truly.

So, with that, I bid you all a very Happy New Year! I pray that you and your loved ones will have a blessed, spectacular, miraculous year full of good people, good times, good health and good living.

Average Everyday Super Woman


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