2007 in Review

January 2nd, 2008

2007 has just ended and as I think back over the past year, there is one clear outstanding event. That was the birth of my third child and first daughter, Elsie Rose.

I’m sure there were a great number of other tremendous things in 2007, but unfortunately, as frequently seems to happen, when trying to enumerate them for detailed reporting, everything seems to flee into mind-vapor. Of course, when stacked up against the birth of a child most things play second, third, or nth fiddle in memorability anyway.

However one thing, rather an ongoing endeavor, that has been very rewarding over the majority of 2007 has been the hobby of model rocketry that Isaiah and I have taken up together. We only went to club launches two or three times over the year, and launched a few rockets on our own a few times but whenever we spent time together involved in this hobby, whether building rockets or flying them, we grew closer together and formed warm, long-lasting memories that help us develop our relationship and become who we are.

Gideon has grown up to be quite a four year old. He’s a very fun kid- when he’s not being grumpy and moody, but I suppose that could be said of most four year olds.

He started preschool this year and he’s doing very well there. On picture day he insisted the night before that he would wear a blazer and tie for the shoot the next day and the pictures turned out amazingly well. Frequently when you tell him to smile for a picture he scrunches up his face and squints his eyes in way that doesn’t really look like a smile as much as the kind of face he’d make after biting a jalapeno pepper. In the preschool pictures though he has a marvelous tooth-exposing, happy-eyed, heart-warming smiling expression. I’m sure part of it was pride at wearing his fancy dress-up big kid outfit.

He, like his brother, has quite a powerful imagination. Gideon’s favorite ‘critter’ is the ~6 inch tall stuffed puffin he calls Puffin. Puffin goes pretty much everywhere with Gideon (except preschool, of course)- when we know where he is. Gideon has a habit of putting Puffin somewhere and losing him for a while. This used to be somewhat traumatic, but these days it’s much easier to deal with because Puffin has been transformed into not only a stuffed animal, but a full-fledged imaginary friend. The other day when no one knew where Puffin was, he wasn’t lost at all. According to Gideon he was simply doing a stint on the International Space Station. No doubt performing some critical scientific measurements that will improve the lot of man and puffin kind around the globe.

Elsie is about 8 months old now and not only is she the cutest baby I have ever seen (I admit to being a little biased, but just about everybody who sees her seems to concur), she is the happiest and most laid back baby I have ever seen. Really the only time she cries is when she is hungry or needs a change. Well, not quite the only time- she also usually cries a bit when she’s been sitting in her bouncer seat for a while and Ruth or I walk through her range of vision without picking her up. She is pretty good about sitting on her own though when she can see us. She’ll sit for an hour or so playing with her stuffed bunny if she can easily see Ruth or I. When she can’t and we’re busy cooking supper or something, her brothers can do a good job of keeping her happy till one of us grups can tend to her.

She’s very alert. Her eyes are always watching everything around her and her hands are usually fidgeting or grabbing for whatever she can reach- including dinner plates and electronics unless, that is, her right fist is in front of her face with her thumb stuck in her mouth. It’s a cute habit now, hopefully she will grow out of it naturally. She has developed a couple of skills through dint of constant practice and determination. She can sit up on her own and she can get shoes off her feet no matter how snugly they are tied.

One of my very favorite ways to spend time is in the recliner in our family room with Elsie snuggled in the crook of my left arm. She (currently, alas, not forever) fits perfectly there and she seems about as pleased to simply let me hold her (for an hour or two at most, then she gets tired of me and requires Ruth) as I am to do so.

So I guess in retrospect the biggest and best thing of 2007 for me was my family. Actually, this is no surprise and is not unusual. In fact, this has been the case since 1997 when Ruth and I got a-hitched. Furthermore, I won’t be surprised if about a year from now, I am typing similar comments about my wife and kids. Especially since my primary resolution for 2008 is to do an even better job of making sure of it.