December 2011

While I can’t imagine that we will experience an uninteresting year anytime in the near future, this has been a particularly interesting year. It’s tough to highlight every exciting thing and all the people who have been a part of our life, but here are a few things that stood out about the year.

The cold months were blurry with Clair recovering from an open heart surgery that she had in November, 2010. Despite the surgery being reported as a success, there were several weeks of her being on a lift restriction — with a small enough weight limit she could not pick up any of our kids. As is often the case with these things, more friends than we knew we had came from all corners of the world to help with meals, driving kids, watching kids, cleaning and visiting. It was humbling and touching.

By springtime, Clair was fully recovered and the family spent some months enjoying a return to normalcy. The highlight of our spring was the joy of remembering how great normal life is.

The highlight of the summer was a trip to Frisco, Colorado for a family reunion. When Clair’s family is together, it’s a total of 40 siblings, spouses and kids. We had such a good time with everyone and loved Colorado. The weather was perfect, the town was smallish and friendly, the scenery breathtaking. Seriously. I don’t ever recall being in awe of nature until we drove through a mountain pass between Boulder and Idaho Springs. We hope to spend many weeks there in the coming years.

In early fall, the girls and I discovered that we love to go on hikes together. We made several visits to Holliday Park, Brown County State Park and Turkey Run state part. Theo joined us a time or two and impressed us with his endurance and drive to explore.

We also received some bad news this fall. I’m not a doctor, but I believe the medically accurate way of describing the situation is that the valve that Clair had installed in 2010 is jacked. Over the last few months, we’ve spent a lot of time talking to Cardiologists, surgeons and friends who are doctors about what to do next. Unfortunately, the best thing for Clair and our family is to have another surgery as soon as possible. We are planning this now, but I would imagine we’d have it performed in late January or early February. I’ll provide updates here on the blog as well as on Facebook (friend me at ericmwhite at gmail dot com) and twitter (@ericmwhite).

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a great friend to us. We hope you enjoy the holidays! Keep in touch in 2012.


Nothing is too steep for Theo to climb, no ball too heavy to throw, no surface too high to jump from. He is the master of finding ways to get through baby gates and child proof locks.

He also enjoys outings with Baba (Grandpa Ken), where he has discovered the wonders of the Children’s Museum and the culinary delights of Dunkin Donuts. Among his many helpful talents are sweeping and wiping up his messes, putting laundry into machines, handling trash, and vacuuming whenever he can.

As brutish as he seems when chucking dollhouse furniture at unsuspecting victims, he is equally as nurturing when he detects that one of his sisters or baby dolls needs comforting.

A fun fact about Theo is that when you see him, he generally is only wearing one sock on his left foot. And he trips a lot.

If you were to arrive at our house at any given point in the day, you would likely find Keira standing on the arm of a couch, readying herself to take a Nestea plunge backward onto the cushions.

You might also find her climbing across the top of the play kitchen, or on a kitchen counter scavenging for food in the upper cabinets. If you stand in the room long enough, you will eventually feel her arms wrapped around your legs, giving you one of her famous “owie hugs” (owie in that she squeezes so tight it hurts), and noticing then commenting on the good things about you. Before leaving, you surely would have seen her change from play clothes into a fancy dress, then into a princess dress-up gown, and finally into a ballet leotard and tights.  She, too, is an amazing hiker.

If you see her outside, you might also find her running down a hill (pretending with Jordan to be the Ingalls sisters).

Her favorite parts of the day are rocking Theo before bed, mealtimes, snack times, and outings to restaurants. (Noting the trend?) Keira is gracious, generous, very active, and super affectionate — expressing her love verbally and physically all day long.

Jordan keeps busy growing up and trying to run the household. She started Kindergarten this fall and loves the relationships with other kids as well as everything she is learning.  Her favorite activities include producing, directing and starring in ballet productions at home, creating elaborate dollhouse dramas, making crafty gifts, reading and writing. Her command of the stage extends to all the pretend play at home – an ambition that occasionally rankles her not always compliant younger siblings. Outside the house, she loves going on hikes and mango juice dates with me. It is fascinating for us to see her abilities to solve problems, learn and apply new concepts, and find creative ways to show love to others. We are also impressed with her super powers and song writing abilities…