Dear Jackson,

December 31, 2011

Another year bites the dust

Filed under: Uncategorized — aJOHNymous @ 1:54 pm

I realize quite a bit of time has passed since my last letter. You can probably take it as a sign of just how busy our lives have all become over the past few months. It’s actually incredibly difficult to put into words. It really has become quite a blur. Days melt into each other without even a warning. Sometimes I think it’s Tuesday, but it’s actually Wednesday and as soon as I figure that out, it’s Friday. It sounds ridiculous, I know. A lot of that is also a reaction to the past two months at work. November and December are our big months at work because we’re desperately trying to affect our 4th quarter numbers as well as planning and executing online sales events for Black Friday, Cyber Sunday/Monday, and everything else in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. There were several days where I never even got to see either one of you due to my schedule. Those were really rough days, doubly so for your mom, who was doing her best to handle you both by herself. For that reason I always felt like a dick whenever I had the urge to complain about work.

My opening paragraph reads like a laundry list of excuses, doesn’t it? It’s just that the last two months have been so busy that I have lacked the motivation to do just about anything. I haven’t been working out, eating healthy, or even sleeping very well. I know most of these things piggyback off each other, so when one issue rears its head, they all tend to follow suit, one after another. My hope is that the new year will once again bring a renewed sense of motivation to turn all of these negatives into positives. I feel like every yearend recap I’ve written contains the exact same sentiments: “Oh, next year is THE year. I’ll change EVERYTHING in January.” The reality of the situation is that the first quarter of every new year usually does go at least 80% according to plan, but then I find excuses to mentally allow myself to get lazy. I just want to be able to set a good example for the both of you. I’m still working on discovering how to stay motivated and kill my laziness. It’s one of life’s great challenges.

Now that we have the usual yearend rigmarole out of the way, allow me to do a bit of recapping.

Jackson first:

You’ve been doing a lot better in your bed lately. You still fight us for about the first 15-20 minutes after we’ve left the room, but eventually you settle down, stop crying, and play in your bed until I guess you just pass out. There’s an entire routine we have to go through before you are able to finally fall asleep. We turn on some music, we flip on two different nightlights, we turn on your humidifier, and we oblige you when you request 2-5 hugs, and calm you down when you climb out of bed 3-4 times and yell down the hall for us. It’s a bizarre set of rituals that I hope we can break you of this coming year.

You’re also quite taken (read: borderline obsessed) with the movies Cars and Cars 2. There is hardly ever a time where you aren’t pointing at the TV and chanting “Cars” or “Mater” (one of the main characters). We ask if you want to watch something else, and you shake your head, say no, and ask for Cars. You like what you like. I do wonder how long this love affair will last because it seems like you watch both movies at least every other day. Not to say you’re always watching TV, because you aren’t. You can also be found playing with Cars toys and driving them all over the living room, us, your brother, and the dog. Yes, it’s safe to say that you love Cars.

As far as the rest of your vocabulary, it’s still pretty lacking. Perhaps it’s due to your prematurity, I don’t really know. I’ve been told boys take longer to develop, but we have a few friends with boys younger than you who are able to put together basic sentences. It’s definitely a bit frustrating that you’re still relying pretty heavily on pointing and making one syllable sounds. Not to say you haven’t made any progress, because you have. We finally have you referring to airplanes as airplanes (formerly dee-dows) and you can count to about 5 or so. You can also identify all 26 letters of the alphabet as well as say them, with W being your only issue. You refer to both my parents not as Bopa and Nina (which is what you call your mom’s parents), but as simply Poppe. It’s actually pretty funny.

I’d also like to mention that you’re about 95% on point when it comes to identifying letters, numbers, and colors. I think it helps that we have a colorful set of both for you to play with during bath time. You’re definitely a lot smarter than your current vocabulary makes you out to be. That’s probably the most frustrating part of it. I know you’ll get there eventually, but when you’re as close as you are now, but still so far, it’s pretty tough for everyone.

And then there’s Kameron:

You’re just over 5 months old now and one of the happiest little babies I’ve ever seen. You’re almost always smiling and when you’re not it’s simply because you’re hungry and/or tired. You’re finally starting to figure out that you can grab things with your hands so that seems to be pleasing you as well. You’ll occasionally grab the dog’s face or a handful of hair and he’ll somewhat return the favor by licking your face and ears. This amuses you.

You’re also able to finally stand up on our laps with assistance. You can’t stand on your own, but we’re able to hold your hands so you can bob and sway all over us. You’ve got strong legs, just like your older brother. I imagine you’ll be sitting up without assistance pretty soon as well. And then before we even know it you’ll be crawling, and then walking. So for the most part, you’re mostly just getting bigger, stronger, and more vocal every day. It’s truly been a joy to watch.

You were also baptized a few weeks back. Our friends Emily and Justin are your Godparents and they were very excited and honored to fill those roles for you. I think it probably means a bit more to your mom than it does to me, but that’s definitely a topic for another letter.

You also enjoyed your first Christmas about as much as a five-month-old baby can. I like to think your brother had enough fun for the both of you. Of course your grandparents spoiled you, as they are wont to do. That’s good for your mom and me because money is pretty tight this year. You guys will definitely get lucky in the toy department as you grow up.

So that’s the really the state of the union when it comes to the both of you.

Since this is the end of 2011, I guess I should speak to this year’s resolutions as well as make a few new ones for 2012. By you know what? I’m not going to. I’ll just leave it at this: I didn’t accomplish in 2011 what I set out to accomplish this year. For that reason alone, I’m not going to come up with new resolutions for 2012 either. It’s time to try something new. I’m just going to go with the flow and try to be mindful of my attitude and general well-being. In other words: think positive and stay active. I guess if you really want to you can call it a resolution, but I won’t. My opinion is that creating a list invites a lot of anxiety and procrastination in that it’s easier to put something off that lower on the list in favor of a more temporary, but higher-ranked goal. So I’m not doing it this year. We’ll see how it goes.

In other news, the Packers wrapped up the regular season with an admirable 15-1 record, and solidified a first-round bye and home field advantage through the playoffs. Our only loss came at the hands of the Chiefs, who managed to end our winning streak at 13. What can I say? We simply just let that one get away from us and played like shit. It happens. It did allow us to sit our starters in the final week of the season, though. With no undefeated season to play for, we were able to rest the players who needed a break in order to come back at 100% for the playoffs. We’re definitely making a legit run at a second consecutive Super Bowl title. I’m not really that worried about any of the AFC teams we could potentially meet in the SB, I’m more worries about the NFC teams that could stop us from getting there. The Giants, Saints, and 49ers are all playing some amazing football this year so getting past them in the playoffs will be no easy feat. That said, if we play up to our full potential, we should be able to beat almost anyone. I hope I’m able to follow this up in February with a letter celebrating another SB win, but you never know. Our fingers are crossed.

And that pretty much brings us to today. The Christmas Chaos at work is finally done with and we can all breathe a sigh of relief. No more 12-hour days or weekends are expected in my near future. It’ll be nice to actually be able to see you guys in the morning and evenings again.

For all the complaining that I do about my job, I need to admit that still I have it pretty good at Kohl’s. My co-workers are excellent, my manager doesn’t really micromanage too much, and I can work from home once or twice a week if I really want to. Yes, being the lead digital copywriter for emails definitely has its perks. The big one being that I have pretty good job security. Not to sound arrogant or anything, but I think it would be a pretty tough task to replace me. The biggest downside is my compensation. For what it’s worth, I think I’m compensated fairly for what I do, but with two kids now, I’d definitely like to be making significantly more. Bills are piling up, and for the first time ever, we have more debt than money in the bank. My annual salary of $42,000 coupled with what your mom makes really needs a boost. For that reason alone I’ve actually started casually hunting for other job opportunities.

I think I’ve only sent out 4-5 resumes in the last two months, but it’s a start. I’m just trying to get my feet wet and see what’s out there. I’ve only gone on one interview so far, but I think it went pretty well. They called me back for a second interview, but it was during the holiday chaos at work so I deferred until the new year. I’m not expecting to find a dream job or anything, but if I can find something similar to what I’m doing now for a few coins more, I’d definitely strongly consider leaving Kohl’s—or at least asking if they’ll match the offer. It doesn’t hurt to see what’s out there. After all; the best time to look for a job is when you already have one.

That’s pretty much it. 2011 is done. We’ve had lots of ups and downs over the past 12 months, but this is the year that ultimately brought Kameron into all of our lives. So, really; how bad could this year possible have been? Everything else that can be construed as negative is actually trivial in comparison. Remember that.

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