It has come to my attention that I have a blog and that I have apparently not written in it in quite some time. My bad. Since my Christmas cards have already been mailed (as they should be, being that Christmas is over and all), I figured I’d use this forum for the Annual Hennenlotter Christmas Letter. I’ve never actually written one of these, so it will in fact be the FIRST Annual Hennenlotter Christmas letter. Anyway, in years past, I figured that the exploitation our family experiences on this blog was enough to let the world know what they never knew they cared about, ie. what we are doing. But alas, I’ve only posted in this blog eleven times this year, which is down from 109 posts in 2012. Therefore, you only have about 10% of the useless knowledge about us than you are used to. My profound apologies for this. I hope you’ve been doing okay and the withdrawal symptoms haven’t been too debilitating. But enough of this long, nonsensical exposition. Without further adieu:
Happy Holidays from the Hennenlotters!
Wow! How quickly this year has flown by. It seems like just yesterday we were watching the skies for the Mayan apocalypse, celebrating Christmas 2012, and ringing in the 2013 new year, and now here we are doing the same thing again. (Insert additional time moving quickly cliche’s here) It’s been a busy year for us Hennenlotters! Here’s what happened to us in 2013.
January: To be honest, I’m not 100% clear on what happened in January. I was nine months pregnant throughout most of it. I think I just did a lot of eating and complaining. The kids started off the year by wanting new toys despite the fact that we had not yet taken the wrapping off all of the toys that they got for Christmas. This made Bill and me realize that our kids had fallen prey to the perils of the free market. So we thought about moving to a commune or something, but eventually decided against it in April, when Game of Thrones came back on and we realized that we NEEDED HBO. So there’s that. Also, in January, we had a blessed visitor come to our house: The Influenza A virus. It was a WONDERFUL house guest, I assure you. Whereas most house guests require that you do extra work, this house guest rendered three of our family members incapable of doing ANY work for a good five days. The fact that I was nine months pregnant AND had the flu added an extra element of magic to the flu that I had not realized was possible. Moreover, the realization that I had inoculated myself and my two children against the flu, yet the two children and I were the only ones to succumb to the flu made me vow never to get a flu shot again. It was difficult watching Bill, the only family member not vaccinated from the flu, skip around the house in a blatant state of flu-lessness taunting us about our ineffective vaccines. So that was the beginning of January. January ended with my starting my maternity leave, which turned out to be one of the best times of my life thus far.
February: February marked a fever-pitch of waiting as my due date approached. My maternity leave began about three weeks before the baby was actually due, so I got this really cool time where the kids went to daycare and I just sat around and contemplated my hugeness and awaited my due date. The naps were phenomenal. Speaking of due dates, I had a great deal of contention with my doctors who kept saying I was due on the 17th, when my calendar clearly indicated that I was due on the 10th. This contention came to a head in those first weeks of February. Any woman who has been pregnant will tell you that adding a week onto a pregnancy feels like a month. It’s what doing time in the hole must feel like in comparison with doing time with the general population. That week became a big deal to me in early February. The third pregnancy was by far the most uncomfortable. I think this is because all the major abdominal musculature in my body walked off the job in the second trimester. Also weighing on my mind was the fact that you cannot fit three car seats into the back seat of a Honda CR-V. My husband refused to acknowledge the reality of this for some time. I kept saying, “We have GOT to get a mini-van.” But he kept ignoring me. I sent him an email everyday about minivans. He would reply with emails about stuff that wasn’t minivans. So I finally sent him this:
We got our new (albeit) used 2010 Honda Odyssey on February 6th. On February 9th, my water broke while I was playing Ruzzle on my cell phone. Four hours later, this girl was here:
And I made sure everyone in the hospital noted that I was right about my due date. I mean, when I was eight weeks pregnant, they were saying, “You must have ovulated late. Her size indicates that she’ll be due the 17th.” And I was like, “Y’all. I’m in my 30s, my husband is 40, and we have two small children. It’s not like sex is happening all the time around here. I’m due February 10th.” I was right. They were wrong. Anyway, I’ll let it go now. That’s one good function of these letters. We can let go of those petty disagreements that have held our good will hostage throughout the year. I am now letting this go… February 17th my ass. So as you can imagine, the rest of February was filled with all things newborn. Will and John continued to go to daycare and I stayed at home in my nest with my brand new baby bird. It was like reliving the days of leisure when I was the mother of a single newborn child, except this time, I had the perspective to know that newborn care is really just wonderful. When Will and John were newborns, I didn’t savor those moments as I should have. As if giving birth and what-not weren’t enough for the relatively short month of February, I decided to pursue my doctorate and had to take the GRE two weeks after giving birth in order to get scores sent to universities on time. Despite being sleep-deprived, I did pretty well. I scored in the 100th percentile in writing (this blog notwithstanding, I actually can string a fairly coherent argument together), 91st percentile in verbal reasoning, and a scant 45th percentile in mathematical reasoning. This was no surprise. I start reading those math problems about trains approaching each other and shit and one part of my brain is like, “If you want the answer, go through these steps” and the other part of my brain is like:
My other two kids have March birthdays. On March 4th, Will turned 4. On March 25th, John turned 2. We had small family parties to commemorate the occasions. We may have even just had one party to share between the boys. I can’t remember. All I know is that definitely, in future years, all three of my children will have one single, shared party. Because otherwise February and March will be consumed by birthdays since all of them have birthdays within a six week span of time. It’s like freaking Christmas all over again and I just can’t handle it. On the grad school front, I submitted my application to UNC-CH and harassed the Hell out of the admissions people to make sure that they received all components. You might be asking yourself, “Wonder what Bill was up to during February and March?” I don’t really know. I think he went to work and stuff.
Hmmm… was that when Easter happened? Because I enjoyed dressing my baby girl up in frilly Easter clothes. After having two boys, there have been some gender stereotypes that I’ve exploited, namely the one wherein girls wear cuter clothes. So basically, all I have to say for April is that my daughter wore an Easter dress.
Oh, I also sterilized myself via tubal ligation. AND I was accepted into a doctoral program in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
I think I watched a lot of HGTV and Dr. Phil because I was still staying home all day with my little newborn while John stayed at my parents and Will went to preschool. Oh! May was the month when we almost bought a house. Like we found a house that we liked a little and we were thinking about maybe buying it, but then our realtor told us that someone else had made an offer, so we were like, “Oh HELL no! You will NOT take a house from a Hennenlotter!” Motivated purely by a fierce competitive spirit, we put an offer on this house and they accepted it. But we hadn’t given the due diligence check yet, and we went back to the house and all of a sudden, we were like, “Oh shit, we don’t want this house! We just wanted to win! We don’t want to actually LIVE here.” So we backed out. Our realtor won’t let us do that anymore. We’re under contract on some land in Cary. She got the due diligence check immediately before we could back out. But also that first fiasco really helped us to realize what we were looking for in a property irrespective of whether or not anyone else also wanted it. Also we realized we were pretty freaking crazy to move with a two-month-old.
I turned 33 on June 6th. For my birthday, I asked for a day where I could do whatever I wanted by myself. I got my eyebrows waxed and took a nap with no one touching me. It. Was. Awesome. A week later, Kat (that’s the baby’s name. Did I mention that in this post?) started sleeping through the night. That. Was. Awesome. June was also the month of family vacations. First we went with my family to the beach.
Then we went up to Dutch Country, PA with Bill’s family.
All-in-all, June was a pretty full month, so full that I pretty much slept through July.
Seriously, I have no idea. I’m sure Independence Day happened. I just don’t have personal recollection of it. Actually, I do. I just really don’t feel like writing about it if for no other reason that it was probably just like your Independence Day. So basically, if you want to know what our Independence Day was like, just remember your Independence Day and mentally Photoshop our heads onto your bodies. There you have it.
The beginning of August was pretty much like all of July, except no Independence Day (obviously.) The end of August, however, was the end of an era. At the end of August, I re-entered the work force. I was on maternity leave from January 22nd until August 25th. I had seven glorious months with my baby. Then I took her to my parents’ house to begin “daycare” at Nanny and Pop-pop’s with her big brother John, loaded Will in the car to start his second year of preschool at the Child Development Program in my high school (my school features a five-star preschool. It’s WONDERFUL!), and once again became a working mother. The end of this maternity leave was even more poignant because it’ll be my last maternity leave. With the other two, I had always planned to go out again to have another baby in eighteen months. This time, it was my last hurrah. I’m still kind of sad about it, really. So I’m not going to talk about it. Finally, in August, my first week of my doctoral program started and I was like, “What the HELL was I thinking?!? I have three kids. One is only seven months old. I’m still exclusively nursing her. I just went back to work!!!” So I called Carolina and deferred my enrollment, then ended up withdrawing altogether because I’d rather go to my tried and true NC State. So I’m in the process of applying for their Ph. D. program to begin NEXT Fall. Oh and this August, Will started soccer.
September is always a mess of back-to-school, Labor Day, Meet-the-parents’ Night at school, and Bill’s and my anniversary. We hit six years this year. For a solid week there, we thought we were celebrating our seventh anniversary. We kept talking about seven year itches and stuff and then one day I was like, “Wait. We got married in 2007. This is only our sixth anniversary. Damn. This marriage is taking FOREVER.” Also in September, we made our second annual trip to Hill Ridge Farms. They do a Teacher Appreciation weekend right before our anniversary, and we get in for free AND get a free pumpkin. It’s starting to be a thing for us.
Three cool things happen in October. 1. Columbus Day. On Columbus Day, we eat pizza because it is both flat and round. 2. Bill’s birthday. He turned 41 this year. 3. Halloween. Will went as a hot dog. He started out wanting to be a ghost, which meant I spent a lot of time sewing a ghost costume that did not in any way resemble a Klansman. Then one night at dinner, he said, “I want to be a hot dog for Halloween.” We weren’t even eating hot dogs. We were eating spaghetti. I was okay with the hot dog idea, especially since John also wanted to be a ghost and I had, at that point, only sewn one ghost costume. Kat went as a cat. Her entire life is going to be filled with cat paraphernalia. She needs to just go ahead and accept it. Here’s a picture:
As you can see, Bill and I went as people wearing bizarre hats.
Geez isn’t 2013 over yet? I swear living it went by quicker than writing about it. Basically, in November, we held the horn of plenty.
FINALLY. The end of the year. But as luck would have it, this month was the busiest of all. First of all, I entered my child in a cute baby contest. It was insane, but the prize was diamond earrings, a silver baby cup, four tickets to the symphony, and a gift card to a restaurant. I had to do it. And she won, so I mean, it was clearly the right thing to do.
Beyond that, December encompasses all the holiday shenanigans, the most stressful part of which is the knowledge that with one wrong move on Christmas Eve, I can destroy my children’s belief in Santa and ruin their childhoods. That’s all I could think about as I moved their presents from the hiding space in the attic, down two flights of stairs, right past the boys’ bedrooms, into the living room. I kept imagining myself tripping over something, waking them up, and seeing their dejected and betrayed faces as they ran out of their rooms and realized that Santa wasn’t real. It was quite stressful. Fortunately, this didn’t happen and another Christmas has passed with everyone’s belief in Santa still in tact. After Christmas, we went to visit Bill’s parents in Florida. We saw manatees. They swam right next to and under our paddle boat. Bill touched one.
And so that’s our year in review. I hope this blog post was everything you ever wished for… mostly because it might be the only one I write this year. Happy New Year to all!