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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cross Christmas Letter 2011

(Not as pretty as the formatted one, but...)

Well, if you had not noticed, its been two years since we checked in with many of you. I am writing this letter after consulting with my blog and our calendar… since there is no way in heck my mommy brain would remember all of this. {I can’t remember what I did three seconds ago} That’s the main reason I still blog, to remember what the heck happened just last week! {Yup I’m no help. I can’t remember what I did three seconds ago. Whoa déjà vu.} So in the last two years, we got pregnant again, had another kid, and are barely surviving them both… {Yup I think I’m suffering from shell shock, I can’t remember what I did three seconds ago. Wait a minute…}

Aurora took her first steps just shy of 11 months old, and got her first tooth shortly after. We had a big blow out birthday party at a nearby park in May for her 1st birthday. {I apologize to everyone for the BBQ. I have had my charcoal license suspended until Blake can teach me how to not set the BBQ on fire, or take 3 hours to get everyone’s hot dogs out.} Everyone knows that their 1st birthday party is really just for the parents. It’s all about inviting everyone and it doesn’t really matter what you do. (When they are old enough to have an opinion it’s a different story. Which is why for her second birthday we had a small get together at her FAVORITE place: Chuck E Cheese, and with all her little friends). We will do the same all out bash for Abby’s 1st birthday and can’t wait to see everyone!

As a brief backtrack, sometime around February of 2010 we decided that we were going to only have 2 children {I decided two was more than enough and finally convinced Loralyn that the stress of four kids would shorten my lifespan to sometime between last Thursday and next week}, and that we wanted to try to space them out 2 years apart, not 3 like we had previously talked about {Which is to say I decided that I wanted the last one out of the house one year sooner.} We decided to start trying again in October, and if we didn’t get pregnant by the holidays to stop trying until March to avoid a holiday baby (no offence to any holiday babies, but the holidays are hectic, and expensive enough) {Even more important, I hate the song Santa Baby}. So fast forward to November. We went to Vegas with my best friend from childhood Nicole and her husband, Jason. I was starting to get some subtle symptoms that I thought might be a sign that I was pregnant, but couldn’t believe that twice in a row I would have gotten pregnant right out of the gate. {Hung over, Pregnant… Who knew?} That next week my period was due (and the point where I could take a pregnancy test). {You all know Loralyn. Are you really surprised she mentioned her period in our Christmas letter?} It also happened to be guy’s poker night at our neighbors. Small note that three of my other friends were already pregnant (Elly was due first, then Alyssa, then Ashley). All us girls were hanging with the kids at our place. {In retrospect it was like the critical nuclear mass. Never again should so many female hormones be that close together.} I was technically due the next day and had the pregnancy test but didn’t want to take it until a few missed days. Well the girls convinced me to take it then. Surprise! It was positive. We debated the best way for me to tell Ryan, and decided the time was never better than right then. We videotaped it and it was hilarious {That was certainly not the best way, very funny yes; but not so informative or smooth}. For those who have not seen it, here is the youtube link. It’s worth your time, promise.

That’s where things started to go downhill. About two weeks after finding out, the morning sickness kicked in and I was infinitely sicker with Abby than I was with Aurora. I lost about 5 lbs and got sick at the smell of just about everything (including the smell of my own house). {Hyper ventilate just outside the house, open the door, run to the bathroom, then yell at Ryan for not steam sterilizing the house twice a day} I pretty much turned into a couch zombie for 3 months until it finally subsided. I can honestly say that it was the most horrible thing I have ever had to endure {Me too}, and that includes two natural child births; one of which was 100% pain medication free. In that time Ryan and Rory’s diet consisted of exclusively peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I survived the beautiful wedding of our cousins Philip and Nicole Cross (I just wish I could have enjoyed it more!), and the holidays, all of which were laced with my arch nemesis in pregnancy; poultry. {It instantly triggered vomiting. In retrospect it’s pretty funny. Makes Superman’s kryptonite look silly.} Um, no. Not funny, even in retrospect. Anyway, thus, the reason why no Christmas cards or letters from us made it out last year.

Earlier this year, we had THE ultrasound. We had decided keep the sex a secret until the birth but we had a defunct rad tech, and she slipped up several times; we were having a girl. {She was so bad I thought she was trying to be misleading: she’s moving around, she won’t get in position, etc. Wink wink nudge nudge. I walked away thinking we were having a boy.} But with a girl we were relieved to know that we could bunk them together in the long run and that we could stay in our condo forever after if need be, and that we would be able to reuse all of the toys, clothes and girly things. {Three women, 1.5 bathrooms; nope the need is even greater now for a new place. And I’m sure more girls means more competition and justification for more clothes – not a cost savings for sharing/reuse. Honestly, when in the history of man has a group of girls going shopping been cheaper than just one going?} The rest of my pregnancy was as comfortable as can be expected. So now between the 5 couples that we fondly call the “crew”, there are 8 kids all spanning only 2.5 years from the oldest to youngest. Enough to start a daycare just between us!

Just before Abby was born, Ryan was in a car accident in the Mazda. It was totally the other driver’s fault but in the process of the insurance companies taking their sweet time finalizing things, we realized that we didn’t really NEED a second vehicle. So we decided to pocket what they gave us and make a go at just driving the Corolla. We are still going strong and while it is a small inconvenience here and there for appointments and errands, overall we actually get more time together and are forced to tackle our errands, chores and appointments as a team instead of individually. Things become a “family” effort instead of just what Ryan does and what I do. {Now I just need to build an electric moped child carrier and then I can be the Ultra-Eco-Hipster-Megazord. That’s right Prius-Princesses and Voltron-Voltsters at the stop light I get to look down on YOU! Oh yeah and to balance out the cosmic karma I’ll upgrade the Corolla to a 15 mpg Monster-Jeff-Jeep… Muahahahaha!} Oh God help us…

Abby’s birth was wonderful and fabulous (which you all know about from Abby’s announcement and birth story) and only 4 weeks later we were in Vegas for Ryan’s brother’s wedding. Both Ryan and I got to be part of the wedding party. {Awesome groomsmen gift, almost worth wearing that suit…} We decided to leave Aurora home with my Mom, and the weekend was really wonderful and actually enjoyable even with a newborn in tow. My insanely huge breastfeeding boobies were especially fitting in the Vegas scene, and Alyssa made a beautiful bride and has finally joined the rankings as a Cross woman. {My sincerest apologies Alyssa :0) } She knew what she was getting herself into. Anyway, finishing up their wonderful news, Blake has officially been accepted into the Navy, and leaves for boot camp in January.

In August, my mom had surgery on her shoulder for a torn rotator cuff, and it was really hard not to be able to help her as much as I would have liked (seeing as how I had my hands full with two little ones!) but it was harder for her not to be able to hold the girls. Luckily, since I was off on maternity leave during that time I was at least able to visit her often and take her mind off of being all strapped down and not having use of her arm. She is doing much better now and has gained much mobility back.

I turned 30 and returned to work, both in October. {It’s more like the 9th anniversary of her 21st birthday} Returning to work was much different this time; with Aurora I was so sad and felt extremely guilty. This time, I was so excited to get a daily break where I could go pee when I needed to and take a lunch break. There is give and take though; while work offers a much needed break from the house and the girls and adult time and conversation, you still have all of your regular chores to fit into a smaller period of time. When I was home with them, I had all day to do a load of laundry, even if it was started and stopped 10 times and took all day. Now it still has to be fit in, all around two fulltime working schedules. {Welcome to earth my daughters; I will be your chauffer, waiter, busboy, trampoline, and payroll clerk, I don’t need sleep, and after you go to sleep I will only do chores.} It is hectic for sure, but our girls bring us so much joy. {And used diapers. They’ve brought us a lot of those so far.}

My brother’s girlfriend, Danielle is pregnant, and we just found out recently that they are having a boy! While it was unexpected, they are very excited and we are happy that our kids will be so close in age. {Rory is getting really good at her family trees} (Skye and I are 9 years apart but our kids will be not more than 3 years apart oldest to youngest). They have much to discuss and figure out, as Skye is trying to finish college at SDSU here and Danielle currently lives up in Northern California with her toddler son Carson, but I have never seen Skye happier than he is now and as they say, “with love, all things are possible”. They both have families that love them deeply and will support them on their journey. {“Hard work is painful when life is devoid of purpose. But when you live for something greater than yourself and the gratification of your own ego, then hard work becomes a Labor of Love.”} I couldn’t have said it better myself, my dear. And with that, we leave you with love and well wishes to you and yours as we embark on the New Year.

Much Love,
Ryan, Loralyn,
Aurora (2 ½) & Abigail (5 mo)