From 2018.

In January, we took our boy to the Top of the Rock. We were visited by my oldest friends and Blake made a work trip out to San Francisco. I celebrated my college roommate's baby girl on the way and said goodbye to friends moving to Providence and Alabama. Blake was also made CEO of his company this month.
In February, we celebrated Valentine's Day at the NY Philharmonic. I had a work trip to Florida and a long weekend working in the city. We put up back splash in our kitchen, shelves in our bathroom and had our third annual Valentine's Day brunch. We also took Hugo to see the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and I joined a friend for a concert.
In March, we went to Charleston for our babymoon. We celebrated my grandfather's 90th in DC and celebrated the wedding of one of Blake's college roommates. We prepped a room for Maisie and moved Hugo to a big boy bed. We braved a few snowstorms and I worked my last day in the office before going fully remote for the remainder of the pregnancy.
In April, we welcomed Maisie Austen - born early but at a healthy 6 lbs. 5 oz. We were sprinkled by family and friends in her honor. We finished work on a retaining wall and did something I swore I'd never do: bought a van (we're now obsessed). We celebrated Easter, my grandmother's 80th and the christening of Blake's cousin's twins.
In May, Hugo turned three. I was on maternity leave, so I spent a lot of time this month snuggling a newborn, entertaining a preschooler and getting back into an exercise routine. We spent Memorial Day with family and were visited by sweet baby Selah. We were also visited by friends Claudine and Eugenio.
In June, we toasted to 8 years of marriage at Union League Cafe in New Haven. We went camping with family. We had our annual reunion weekend with Blake's college roommates and their families in CT. I turned 29 years old. We drove up to Boston for our friend Brian's 30th birthday. We also spent some time in the city, saw friends Valgerdur and Jack and I helped with a shower for my now sister-in-law, Becca.
In July, Hugo rode in my dad's 1927 Model T in the Independence Day parade. We went sailing with Blake's family to celebrate his brother's birthday. Gus turned 7 and we gave him some ice cream to commemorate the occasion. We went to Newport for the day, walked the Cliff Walk and filled up on summer snacks. Hugo did a week at preschool camp. We also built a swinging bench for the yard, watched the town fireworks from our yard, joined friends for drinks at the local brewery, enrolled Hugo in gymnastics and a science class, and were visited by my friend Erica.
In August, we headed out to California for a week on Newport Beach and in Disneyland. We went peach picking with friends and celebrated Blake's 31st. I also hosted a party in honor of my mom. We enjoyed concerts on the town green, sent Hugo to "Gigi and Pop Camp" and spent evenings at the beach.
In September, I went back to work. We stood by our brother and sister-in-law at their wedding, in which Hugo was also a ring bearer. He also started preschool, and rocked his first day. I had a big work event in the city, we went to the town fair (and walked with Hugo's school in the parade to ring it in) and we went apple picking with family. I was also promoted at work this month.
In October, we went hiking at Gillette Castle State Park. Maisie started sleeping through the night (for the most part). Blake had a work trip to Salt Lake City and I had a trip to DC. We celebrated my niece's first birthday, baptized our girl and dressed up as Star Wars characters for Halloween.
In November, we went to DC for Thanksgiving with family and I ran the annual turkey trot. I also ran a charity race with the local rotary and had a work trip to Chicago. We hosted Friendsgiving at our house. Blake and I saw the Drowsy Chaperone at the Goodspeed and made some design updates in our bedroom.
In December, we spent Christmas with family - Hugo was beside himself in excitement - and celebrated with colleagues and friends. We said goodbye to Blake's grandfather, who was well-loved until the end. Blake and I went to the city to see Mike Birbiglia on Broadway. We took the Polar Express. And on Christmas Eve morning, a soft blanket of white.

From 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2010.

From Christmas.

The very first for Maisie, the best yet for Hugo. Our girl playing in reindeer diapers under the tree. Our boy asking often if Santa Claus is coming to town. And he did - with a PJ Masks ship and Super Wings transformer toys and candy cane pajamas. 

We woke on Christmas Eve to the most delicious dusting of snow. It was a reminder of heaven come to earth, I think, and we rested in the silence for a good long while. 

There were carols at my sister's house, a pie night with family, afternoons with books and bouncing babies and warming homemade bread. Dates, just the two of us. An eight-month-old learning to crawl. A three-year-old still finding rest on his mama's chest. The good stuff. 


From the city.

Another Christmas, another December draped in sparkling lights and bright red bows and smelling of pine. Can't put my finger on it, but something about it makes my heart ache - like a homesickness while being at home.


Christmas celebrations.

We've been spending time celebrating over the last couple of weeks:
*with colleagues over empanada bars and Wonderland-themed decor (fog machines, neon, strobe lights - a far cry from recent nights of diapering and breastfeeding).
*with friends over cheese plates and life updates by the light of tree and fire.
*with our church community over passed candles and hymns, toddlers running up and down pews.
*in our own home over gingerbread houses and gift wrapping and advent calendars, over cups of coffee and Christmas music and jammied babies under a tree.


Maisie: 7 months.

Full of sass. Very good at drooling and worming her way across the floor. Enjoys the challenge of trying to get the dog's paw in her mouth without her parents seeing. Is a big fan of pears and whole grain rice cereal. Will laugh at anything her brother does. Has recently taken to sleeping with a scrap of her mother's baby blanket. Steals our hearts every time we see her.


A passing.

We said goodbye to Blake's grandfather last weekend: a man I only ever knew as larger-than-life, looking small in a hospice bed. We were stunned by how quickly things turned with his health. It felt like he had been sick for so long, but was too stubborn to leave us. And then - late Saturday night while the kids were sleeping, while we were having conversations about everyday things - his body passed. The dissonance between Life and life seems impossible sometimes.

We've been intentional in the words we've used with Hugo. He's so young, and can only grasp so much (things that we struggle to grasp, ourselves). I compare a person's body to a house, a dwelling space for only so many years. I tell him that Grandpa's body was very tired for having lived so much and loved for so long. I tell him that we love Grandpa. That it's ok to love a person so much that you miss them when they're gone.

I have a weakness for smart, stubborn, unfailingly honest Walker men: the one I married, the one sitting on my couch watching Cars 2, the one who has loved me like his own daughter, the one we celebrated and grieved over today. My world would look very different if this world hadn't known Fred Walker. I owe him a great debt.

All our love, Grandpa Brown.