2015 – The Year of Hunker Down

December 19, 2015 § Leave a comment

Winter Tree Art by Hiram

Winter Tree Art by Hiram

2015 – The Year of Hunker Down

I’ve been putting off writing our Christmas letter this year. Not because we didn’t have a fantastic year. (We did! A trip to NYC. Another one to Mount Rushmore. A big move for my parents, and becoming a Fairy Godmother to boot!) It’s just that, after a whole year, it sort of feels like the four of us are still where we were.

But then, when I think about it, I realize that’s not at all true. We each spent the year hunkering down in our own ways and now what we have to report on is the slow, steady progress of living.

When Eldyn was one, he taught himself to walk while he was in a room all by himself. Then he sauntered into the kitchen so casually I…wait, he’s walking?! That, my friends, was a taste of things to come. Eldyn has hunkered down to apply this style of learning in so many ways this year. He’s growing up right under our noses. He’s learned to ice skate, ride a bike, get away with everything and most importantly (to him) be hilarious. He turned four last week.

Hiram’s a first grader. When I asked him what he wanted me to say in our letter, he told me to tell you that he’s reading at the H-I level. And, he added, last spring he was only G. Which means he didn’t “go backwards” over the summer. He really is not kidding around with this reading stuff. He can read anything. If that’s not hunkering down, I don’t know what is.

Brad and I love our neighborhood so much, we were finally (finally!) able to decide to hunker down in our house for a while. We immediately began putting down roots.  Literally, in the form of a new raised vegetable bed, which is beautiful, ingenious and built by Brad. And figuratively, in the form of very, very deep post-holes which were the foundation for the boys’ favorite new thing – the “evolving fort” (also built by Brad).

I hunkered down this year to weather three rounds of layoffs at Target. Good.Ness. That uncertainty was trying. I’m still there though (!) and sitting in the strategy area now. I’ve also been working my head off on marketing and selling Antler, A – the children’s book I published with my friend Megan Moore Smith in 2014. It was nice to have that outlet this year. Sometimes when I think about the success we’ve had so far, I can’t believe it.

And so there you go. We’ve been hunkering down. Going to our same ol’ schools. Doing our same ol’ jobs. Sleeping in our same ol’ house. Living our same ‘ol lives. Which, by the way, we wouldn’t trade for the world.

Peace and blessings to each of you this Christmas season, especially those whose lives are (far) more eventful than ours.

Much love.

Hadley, Brad, Hiram (6) and Eldyn (4)



Eldyn: 4 Years!

December 14, 2015 § 1 Comment


Eldyn’s 4 years old and on top of it, he’s grown almost 2 inches since May. He’s running right out of the gate on this growing up thing.

Sticker Shock: Poor Lew. He did this to himself during one of his independent bedtime rituals. Then the next morning those buggers would NOT come off. Oh, the screaming. When we finally got it all resolved, he looked at me with tears streaming down his red, blotchy face (with some sticky stuff still here and there.) “Maybe I shouldn’t have put those stickers on my face.” Maybe not, little man. But it is a cute picture.

$$$: Now that he’s four, Eldyn gets an allowance. I can’t really wait to see what he does with this chance at a bit more control over his destiny but so far, he is not tipping his hand. He only vaguely listened while B explained the difference between spending and savings banks. Then grabbed the quarters, shoved them evenly between the two banks (like a pro) and got right back to the business of playing.

Just Try It: It seems like after months and months of convincing, Lew is finally starting to believe in the power of Try! Twice on Saturday, he willingly used the “try again” strategy for catching onto something new. And, he has success to show for it — a bunch of puzzle pieces in place and a whole skating lesson with no walker! Hopefully, he felt like it was worth it and will try, try again.

3 Years

2 Years

1 Year

Just born

Hiram: 6 Years + 6 Months

December 6, 2015 § Leave a comment


Hiram is halfway to seven! Holy smokes. Here are updates for this month.

Marbles: I was a little worried when Santa told me his plan to give the boys a marble a day in the Advent calendar. Last year, it was M&Ms. Would marbles be a satisfactory substitute? It turns out, yes. Hiram was the first one to discover the marbles and brought his brother along the change curve by promptly finding 5+ games that required only 2 marbles to play. The lack of sweets has never even come up. On the other hand, the marbles have introduced a whole host of other issues including: marbles getting lost, marbles on the stairs and, most traumatically, marbles disappearing (forever!) into the heating vent.

Ice Dancer: Hiram is getting noticed at skating lessons! In fact, the head guy at the organization said Hiram had promise and tried to recruit him to join an ice dancing school. I must admit, I got a little excited about the prospect of Hiram becoming a professional ice dancer and even promised to show him a few videos to pique his interest. We pulled up Charlie and Meryl, hovered around the computer and watched. Hiram was quiet for a pretty long time and then he said,  “Would I have to do that in front of people?”

Sucker for Tradition: It’s fun to see Hiram catching on to tradition this holiday season. One thing we do every year is strap the kids into their car seats and force them to ride around while B drives and I look at Christmas lights. Usually, 15 minutes in, at least one of them starts asking when it’s going to be over. But this year, maybe it will be different? A few weeks ago Hiram said, “When are we going to drive around and look at lights? I like doing that.” I didn’t correct him.

1 Year + 6 Months 

2 Years + 6 Months

3 Years + 6 Months

4 Years + 6 Months 

5 Years + 6 Months


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