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My wife remarked to me the other day that she missed my blog.  I miss it too, I realized, though clearly not enough to force myself back into it until now.

I remember (vaguely) a time when I forced myself to knock off at least 250 words three times a week.  It was good for me, I know, just as exercise (another dropped habit) is good for my body, but I haven’t been good about either in the last few months.

I suspect that Nora, now four months old, has a bit to do with it.  It would be fair to say that she hasn’t gotten the same intensive chronicling that her older sister got at this age, but it’s also true that my workload now is dramatically larger.  And since my attempts to make money from writing resulted in a grand total of $50 and two subscriber copies of magazines, I can’t often justify taking the time to sit down and just create things at the computer.

christmas monster factory 2012

Jack and Ella, our Monster Factory family, sitting by the Christmas tree.

Christmas has come and gone, in all of its iterations.  We made it through four family events and even managed to sneak in our own Christmas morning with just the four of us.  I keep threatening to skip all of it, and with a raging head-cold nearly killing me for the better part of a week I came very close to actually following through on it, but that also means denying a lot of people time with the girls, and that just isn’t fair.

I’ve determined that Abby is at a lousy age for staying over in other houses; two-and-a-half-year-olds don’t seem to transfer the concept of “bedtime” easily from their own beds to inflatable mattresses.  I know that I should be thankful that I have a toddler that sleeps through the night, every night, almost without fail, but that also makes me all the less prepared to deal with one that keeps getting up to rejoin the party in the living room.

My uncle’s dad passed away over the holidays.  He was a tail gunner in a Lancaster heavy bomber during World War 2, and he was one of the kindest, finest men I have ever met.  I can’t even count how many of my students have heard me talk about his time in the war, about how he flew twenty missions when the average life-expectancy of that position was four or five, about how he saw the first German jet fighters fly in to shoot down his comrades, about how he remained a proud veteran to his dying day.  When I went to the visitation, he was lying in the plainest birch-and-plywood coffin I have ever seen (his request), and he looked very much as he had in life: tall, strong, calm, and good.

william millardRest easy, Mr. Millard.  You’ve more than earned it.

I don’t doubt that this year will be even busier than the last.  Two kids, a thesis, a busted bathroom, a class full of grade 5s, and a dozen minor things besides will probably keep me away from writing if I’m not diligent, and with diligence being one of my weakest character traits, things don’t look good for Exercising Monsters.  But in the eternal words of Bart Simpson, I promise that I will try to try.