Your First Year, 2nd Edition.

An open letter to our second born.

Dear Hedda.

You’ve miraculously made it 12 months, and it’s time to write this letter to you. Your sister got the same service, and to avoid any outcries when you’re old enough to understand English, I’m writing this for you, too. Of course I am. Just like with your birth story, also known as The Story With Too Much Information. Note, however, that you’re getting your open letter weeks before your older sister got hers.

We named you Hedda after one of the characters in the story A Day With the Animal Mechanics. Your sister demanded to read it every night before bedtime for four weeks straight, and so the name stuck with us1. A more English-sounding name probably would have been better, but you’ll be all right. There have been several famous Heddas through time. Even an asteroid.

You’ll always be compared to your sister. That’s the life of a second born. So it’s interesting to see how very, very different you are, and reading through the letter I wrote to your sister show just how much. The future with both of you will be a hoot, to put it that way.

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The Big Four Oh.

Yes, yesterday was the day. I’m now in my forties.

When I turned 30, I also wrote a post, appropriately titled “The Big Three Oh“. It contains a few bullet points summarizing my universe at the time:

  • I’m still enjoying playing video and computer games.
  • Getting kids is still a very distant idea.
  • I don’t want to buy a motorcycle yet. But maybe that’s what men do when they get to 40, not 30.
  • Marriage is right up there with the whole kids thing.
  • Politicians still confuse me.

10 years later, a lot of things have definitely changed, while other things haven’t changed a bit. The revised lists goes like this:

  • I still enjoy playing video and computer games, although it’s been ages since I turned on my PS3 for gaming. It’s mostly being used for movies now, and notice that I never made the jump to PS4. These days, it’s PC gaming all the way. I play much less than I did 10 years ago, though.
  • I’ve got two kids now!
  • I don’t want to buy a motorcycle yet. Maybe that’s what men do when they get to 50, not 40.
  • I’m actually married! Who would’ve thunk it? Not this guy.
  • I’ve pretty much given up on politics. Lately, it’s been an unbelievable mess, both at home and abroad.

So there you have it. Quite a lot has happened during the last 10 years. As I’m now entering the half-way point in life1, I’m in reasonably good health both physically and mentally, have no real worries, exercise semi-regularly, sleep well at night, and have a loving family.

What more can a scrawny guy with a rapidly receding hairline ask for? Nothing.

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Another 14 Weeks of Fatherhood.

It’s happening again. I’m taking 14 weeks of parental leave from work.

It’s been almost a year now since our second born, Hedda, saw her first daylight. Anniken has been at home,taking care of her, but in April she returns to work. Hedda won’t be starting kindergarten until early August, so it will be my job to keep her alive until then1.

Normally, April is a great time to start any kind of work leave in our slice of the northern hemisphere. Most of the snow is usually gone by now, which means that comfortable walks with Hedda in the stroller would normally be possible. But because of this year’s long, cold, and particularly snowy winter, it looks like bloody February outside. But there is a sliver of hope: It’s still two weeks until Anniken returns to work, and the temperature is occasionally tipping over on the red, and far more comfortable, side of the scale.

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Birth Two Point Oh.

Are you ready for another personal story of a birth with Too Much Information written all over it? If not, you should bail out now. But if you are indeed ready, you’re more than welcome to continue reading.

Let’s turn back the clock to the middle of May last year. We’re closing in on the due date of our second born, Hedda. We’re also fast approaching the 3 year mark of the birth of her big sister, Vilde. Anniken was getting pretty nervous, not because of the upcoming birth, but because our second child might be born on the same date as the first. Sharing birthdays? What a nightmare! But thankfully, that faithful Sunday came and went.

Hedda had the common decency to wait a day, and Anniken didn’t go into labor until early Monday morning. Or at least it was labor-ish. The contractions were semi-regular, and not particularly intense. Still, we decided to head for the hospital to beat the morning rush hour traffic. It’s not uncommon that the second birth happens a lot faster than the first when it starts, and none of us were particularly happy about the thought of getting the baby on the freeway.

But as it turned out, you don’t simply beat rush hour traffic. It started way earlier than we thought. The scheduled one hour ride to the hospital took a little longer, but we were still only two people in the car when we got there. At the hospital, they did some routine checks, and we were given the all clear. Then followed hours upon hours of eating well, staying hydrated, and walking around the hospital. The contractions continued, but they didn’t become regular, neither in frequency nor length.

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It’s the last day of 2017. Somehow time managed to move at a relatively steady pace for another year.

In summary, MMXVII was the year that…

  • I wrote the lowest number of post since the beginning of recorded history. With 39 published posts, I’m way below an average of a post a week, which is embarrassing. I started quite a few new posts that never saw the light of day, though. Currently, I have 21 different drafts from 2017 laying around. But what’s the point if I don’t manage to follow through and finish them? There are a lot of relatively good reasons for that, however, and they’ll become apparent as you make your way through the rest of this list.
  • The A Picture A Day project made it through the year. 365 shiny new photos added to the history of la familia and I.
  • I also managed to keep the A Book A Month project alive, and finished 13 books. Reading takes time, and this site suffered a bit because of that. I would have finished 14 if it wasn’t for the fact that December book turned out to such a drag. I wrote reviews of three of this year’s books. Any diligent reader would also have written a year-in-review post about the books he’d read, but no.
  • While we’re on the subject of reviews; I managed to cram out 12 new ones this year – roughly 1/3 of this year’s posts.
  • The one-liners collection continued to grow in size, with six new batches being added this year.
  • I spent more time gaming that I usually do this year. Stellaris and Euro Truck Simulator 2 got most of that gaming time. And this site suffered a bit because of that.
  • The bucket list got revised, and went from 100 to 87 items.
  • Our little family grew from three to four members. Hedda is 7 months old already, time sure flies. Having two kids sure takes a lot of time, and life becomes – if possible – even more characterized by routine and planning than with one kid. And this site suffered a bit because of that.
  • The whole family went to France this summer for the wedding of my sister-in-law and the French love of her life. Traveling with two tiny people who can’t take care of themselves was interesting.
  • While in France, we spent a week in a mold infested Airbnb. I wrote a damning review of the place! Of course I did.
  • I ran a few kilometers on the treadmill. Running takes time, and this site suffered a bit because of that. But I ran far from as much I’d have wanted. For that, too, I have loads of good excuses: With the birth of Hedda, normal life came to a halt. Then, as things normalized, it got too cold in the basement for the treadmill to work properly. When I finally managed to drag it into a room with heating, I came down with a long lasting cold. All good excuses.
  • Work started to clear out the jungle that took up most of our property. The plan is to make a proper garden next spring.
  • We discovered that there are tasty alternatives to meat.

All in all, 2017 was a good year. While nothing out of the ordinary happened, and historians won’t be writing many books about my year, I wouldn’t say it was uneventful. With two little kids, life is never uneventful. Or even remotely predictable even if we tried our best to make it so.

Here are summaries from previous years: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2004.