As long as January isn’t quite over, then I think there’s still time enough for letting January be a time of reflection and resolutions. Without further ado, here’s my review of 2011 – in the format of a Christmas letter (which we did not send out this year).
THE (un-sent) NELSON 2011 CHRISTMAS LETTER
What a year for the Nelson family, full of headlines and milestones as we completed our first year with our twin daughters, Lucia and Alethia, and became increasingly rooted in Norfolk, Virginia, at Trinity Presbyterian Church. A few of these, in chronological order:
- Lucia and Alethia learn how to roll over
- Heather returns to work as a part-time counselor at Trinity Presbyterian Church after an 8 month maternity leave
- Seth turns 30 (without the fanfare Heather sought to give him, his request)
- Reverend Seth Nelson baptizes his daughters, Lucia Elizabeth and Alethia Sarah
- Lucia and Alethia begin solid foods – pureed peas and bananas are the favorites
- Trinity Presbyterian Church votes as a congregation to promote Seth to “Associate Pastor”
- Davis Family Kiawah Week 2011 introduces the twins to the beach; their favorite activity: eating sand
- Lucia and Alethia learn how to crawl
- Seth and Heather baby-proof their home, finally giving in and moving all valuables up a few shelves and moving toys into the living room
- Seth and the other assistant pastor at Trinity “hold down the fort” while our senior minister takes an 8-week sabbatical during July and August
- Seth and Heather celebrate their 5th anniversary with a brief overnight getaway to the Chesapeake Bay, while Hurricane Irene makes its way toward Norfolk
- The Nelson family evacuates Norfolk for Aunt Maryann and Uncle Glenn’s house in Raleigh, NC, as Hurricane Irene is predicted to make a direct impact
- Their home and neighborhood are spared; however their 11-year-old car breaks down – they purchase a newer one with much needed extra space
- Lucia and Alethia turn one with a ladybug birthday party; Lucia loves her cake – Alethia does not
- Alethia takes her first steps and begins walking
- Heather returns to Wheaton College for her 10 year reunion – leaving the girls (and Seth) for the first weekend since their birth
- Lucia takes her first steps and begins walking
- Alethia and Lucia begin talking – favorite words are “ball,” “dog,” “baby,” “bath,” and “door”
- The Nelsons travel to New Jersey for the girls’ first Christmas with Grandma & Grandpa Nelson; then they travel to South Carolina for New Year’s with Gigi & Pops
This captures the events of our year – and what a year! – yet falls far short of describing the fullness of our days. How I (Heather) am learning how to embrace my new calling of full-time mom without losing my sanity (which involves lots of prayer to a God who is always near, many great friends with similarly aged children, “Mrs. Becky” who watches the girls biweekly, a husband who takes my calls and rescues me when I’m really desperate, weekly women’s Bible study and baby music class). How Seth’s gifts continue to be grown and developed through his responsibilities training teachers, developing Sunday school curriculum, leading community group ministry and our missions team. How we are both learning the how’s and why’s of disciplining infants-turning-into-toddlers whose wills are exerting themselves strongly. The books we have been enjoying this year: The Help, One Thousand Gifts, Loving the Little Years, The Foundations Trilogy, East of Eden, among many others. One thing the girls are already showing is a shared love for books and “reading” like their two bookworm parents. They will often sit and just flip through board books for 10-15 minutes at a time (an eternity for 15-month-olds!). Then there’s the growing delight in Lucia and Alethia as their personalities continue to emerge, like Lucia who giggles often, waves to strangers while shopping and gives a “cheesy smile” upon request and Alethia who calls every stuffed animal “baby,” stays close to mommy in new situations and enjoys learning new skills like walking backwards (her latest greatest).
Although it’s an often quoted cliché, we are finding it to be quite true for this stage of our lives: the days are long, but the years are short. We find it hard to believe how big our girls are, increasingly thankful that these 5 week premature babies eat sooo much and are in 50th – 70th percentile for weight and 90th – 98th percentile for height. It is a gift to watch them grow and to be their parents. And it is a gift to be in a community, both locally and long distance, of ones who love us and them so much. Thank you for being part of this community!