Our firstborn, Violet, turned 10 this weekend.  She marked the occasion by hosting her first friend slumber party.  The house was full of super giggly fourth grade girls who were alternately grown up while doing their nails and still little girls when snuggling down with the half a dozen stuffed animals they each brought to sleep with.

Having our baby girl turn 10 has been so strange. It does not feel like a decade has gone by.  Do you guys realize that the wee children who graduated from high school in 2004 had their 10 year reunion this summer?  I don’t even know how that math works out.

Here are ten thoughts about life in the early 2000s and Violet’s first year.

1)  Ten years ago Mr Incredible and I were living in a very tiny apartment in Mesa, Arizona.   We had this hilarious, floral print couch and still basically lived like we were in college, eating a lot of Raman and cold cereal.  We made the controversial decision to get rid of our land line and to strap our cell phones to our belts permanently.  We got internet in the apartment for the first time and had a DVD player and a VCR all stacked up on our plywood entertainment center.

dad and baby sleeping on couch

Isn’t that the purtiest couch you ever saw?


2)  “Friends” was in its final season and I was hanging on to “ER” because, I’d started watching in college when George Clooney was young, and I was going to see it through to the painful end.

3)  Violet was born six weeks early, and I went from working full-time in an office, training and sending young people to the Kurdish parts of northern Iraq to help with the relief efforts there, to being home, alone with a small infant, that could have no visitors until sometime after Christmas.  I was so lonely and bored I watched ever single minute of the extended versions of The Lord of The Rings, with and without the director’s commentary and all the extras.  That took about a week and then I moved on to every BBC Jane Austin drama ever made.

6 weeks premature meant a couple of weeks in the NICU

6 weeks premature meant a couple of weeks in the NICU

4)  I had no mommy friends.  I lived on my Babycenter.com birthboard.  No decision, from what the baby should wear when we took family photos to what I should wear when we took family photos, could be made without thoroughly discussing it with e-maginary internet friends.  Looking back, I cannot believe I never thought to find a mommy group with actual people in it.

5)  My sweet friend Lisa was just getting into midwifery and had planned to come for the birth at Christmas.  Of course, she missed the actual birth but we had the best time together when she did come, after quarantine was lifted.  Lisa was with us in Afghanistan, before Violet was born, was a part of my life every year after that until this year when she switched this earthly home for her true one in Heaven.


6) We bought our first digital camera for her birth.  We then proceeded to take elevinty million pictures of her doing… well, pretty much nothing.  I included in her (first) baby book,  four pictures of her looking at our cats from her play mat because I couldn’t choose between her focused or unfocused look.

7)  By the time she turned one, Violet had been to England and we were living in Kabul, Afghanistan.  Before she turned two she’d also been to Pakistan, Tajikistan and Thailand.


camping in Tajikistan


8)  Ten years ago, Kabul was in ruins.  The airport runway was littered with burned out wreckage of planes from the war with the Soviets and the streets were lined with piles of rubble and bullet-ridden walls.  Now, the airport is gleaming (thank you Germany) and clean and even has a luggage carousel. Streets are paved and you have to search to find a pile of rubble amongst the new multi-storied shopping centers and apartment complexes.  We are privileged to have witness it’s revival.


One neighbor’s house in Kabul with bullet holes and bomb damage


Another neighbor’s house — brand new with marble and roses


9)  We were really, really young.


10) In 2004 Pixar released a new movie.  Can you guess?