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2011 [a quick recap]

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A year ago when I looked forward to 2011 one thing that never crossed my mind was how often I would get peed on.

It is an understatement to call 2011 a b-i-g year. Monumental. Wow! Holy Moly. Looking back on my previous 32 years of life I can say with 100% confidence that I’ve never had such year. Change of all variety has been the constant from January 1st  to December 31st, a majority of it was great and some of it was darn tough. As the year comes to a close here is a post to highlight and capture some of the events.

Elaine started January 2011 on crutches from a broken bone in her foot from an injury that happened on her birthday in November. The short version of the story involves a slip off the curb and me carrying her the remaining 6 blocks to our house. {The longer version is a better story}  By mid January Elaine’s foot began hurting less and she stopped using her crutches on the 21st. Just two days later I would begin using the crutches after tearing my ACL at a pick-up basketball game with my co-workers. {Also a good story}

Oh by the way, we were also engaged and planning an April wedding all during this time. Not that we need an excuse to sit on our couch, but the two injuries allowed us time to get crafty on the wedding invitations. There were some stressful times during the planning ($, how to make everything fit us, and who, what and where) but there were also some really great memories of creating our future. I remember thinking, ‘If we can get through January, we can get through anything’. We did get through January but 2011 didn’t let up.

February equaled Hawaii for 6 days with my parents. It was great to get away but the injuries made it a non-active trip. We had a lot of fun at a goat dairy farm, touring a lavender farm in the rain, and eating some good food. The trip was a success and a great vacation from wedding, couches, and crutches.

March was also a big month. At one of Elaine’s follow-up appointments for her foot we learned that she was pregnant. I think we both sat in the laboratory waiting room for a minute as our eyes got wide and laughed awkwardly. Thankfully the workers were in good spirits and were able to laugh with us. Not wanting to jump the gun too much we bit our tongues, held our breath, and our brains got rolling. The Westside Neighborhood Clinic will always hold a positive place in my heart.

The end of March marked the opening of a new housing program for my work that I had been helping organize. The program got 15 former foster youth out of bad living situations and gave them their own studio apartment and case management to help them reach further goals. Our team put a lot of work into it but it changed my work load and routine pretty dramatically. On top of that we are also counting down the weeks/days/hours until our wedding at the end of April. The multiple to-do lists were growing at incredible rates.

April arrives! I know I am biased but I believe that we pulled of the best wedding weekend ever. Friday evening was a rehearsal and dinner at the Blue Agave,  Saturday afternoon was our ceremony at the Courthouse and reception at the Canary rooftop, and Sunday included brunch at Anderson’s and a get-out-of-town road trip along the PCH1. The whole week was a non-stop whirlwind but it was amazing! It was perfect.

In May we moved across town to our current apartment. Although it is drafty, and ants love invading our space, it has been a great upgrade. May also allowed us to focus on baby dreams. The reality of being parent began setting in and we began brainstorming names, reading baby books, and collecting baby necessities via Craigslist.

I had surgery to repair my ACL in June. The month was a blur to get everything covered at work and prepare for surgery. Following the repair I had 7 weeks for recovery. The first few weeks were unbearable but slowly I was able to get more movement from my knee and a little more energy. By end of the 7 weeks I was able to move around crutch free albeit slowly.

During July and August it was fun to watch Elaine’s belly grow, go to her doctor’s appointments, and have baby showers in Orange and Santa Barbara. The entire pregnancy went by so quickly (at least for me) and I am so glad that Elaine didn’t have terrible morning sickness or any serious complications. Today I was looking at some of the photos from the our entire pregnancy and most of them still blow my mind- I  can’t believe that was us!

I view September as the baby count down month and it included a lot of free floating anxiety. Some of that probably can be found on early blog posts and others are only for Elaine’s ears. On October 3rd Mason was born and here we are… In some ways life makes much more sense and everything is clear, however I often find life a little more confusing. What makes a good parent? How do I give the best to Mason and Elaine while still taking care of myself? How do I raise a well balanced child? Life’s questions have gotten more difficult recently but what I’m learning is that answers appear just as easily as questions.

As you’ve seen from previous posts October was a blur, November was full of food, and December was full of Holidays.

Life is profoundly different then last New Years. Last year we got together with friends, celebrated responsibly, and went to bed well after midnight. This year we are home, Mason is already asleep, and Elaine is explaining an article to me about how a group of women organized a breast feeding nurse-in at a Target. 2011 had a lot of challenges and I don’t know if I could have done it without Elaine. She has been nothing but lovely, supportive, and inspiring. Plus she teaches me a lot about current events that involve breast feeding.

I wouldn’t change this year’s one bit.

Happy New Year and be safe. Love, Mark


3 responses »

  1. Mom and Dad Watson

    How fun to be treated to two blogs so full of rich memories all in one morning. I was a part of many of the events you wrote about Mark, and some is new information, — a joy to read. I’m glad we could share so many of your memories with you four. And that we can now include Elaine and the Arkin family as part of our own.

    I’m sure your champagne toast to the new year was a good one. Happy 2012! Love, Mom

  2. Wow! that was fun to read! and I laughed out loud at your description of last New Year’s Eve and this one. Babies change everything. Mark, it was your turn for wonderful things to happen and they did, in a torrential downpour! much love, and Happy New Year! Deb

  3. I’m a bit tardy because New Year’s Day has flown by…I’m not caught up with what my “to do” list calls for, but it’s been a good day–one highlighted by the two blogs I just read. As I’ve mentioned before, I LIKE the way you two share your experiences. Your blogs help me recall earlier days when Lois and I experienced many similar experiences in different settings and in a different time frame. Your combination of words and photos communicate a potential “memory book” of your early time as a couple and many treasures of Mason’s growth inside Elaine’s tummy and the joy of having him as “your own” when he became a member of today’s society. It’s been quite a year…and you’ve made the most of it! Best wishes for a 2012 that’s filled with an abundance of good things for you and your family.
    G’pa W


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