Twenty Thirteen: A Year in Review

Happy Holidays from The Markles. Yes, I realize it’s February. Just pretend it’s January 1st.

Hello Family & Friends. It’s the beginning of a new year and we wanted to take some time to send along photos and highlights from our year.

Bren has changed so much this year. He’s becoming a little boy, using full sentences and expressing his own opinion, sometimes in a loud and demanding way. But one thing remains the same, he is sweet. Sweet as honeycomb, to quote a books he enjoys hearing from the library (The Great Smelly, Slobbery, Small-toothed Dog).

Bren in Feb, 13

February 2013

Bren in Nov, 13

November 2013

He’s a very bright boy–he knows his numbers to 26 and letters (no coincident that there are 26 letters in the alphabet and that’s how high he can count.) He is intensely interested in letters and numbers. He is also spelling some minor words, like YOU and TOY.

Bren Watches Winnie The Pooh Going down a slide Just Being Cute

He’s a good boy for the most part, he listens well when we are out in the big city. And when we are home he helps pick up his toys. We moved to a smaller place in Sept. so we’ve been steadfast in our rule that we only play with one set of toys at a time. There just isn’t enough room to have toys exploding across the apartment. It’s good practice for us all. Especially Syd, who isn’t always in the habit herself.

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The Incredible Shrinking Mama
Speaking of Mama, it’s been a good year. Syd has been following Weight Watchers and lost 60 lbs. this year. She is feeling great. The secret to her success: Don’t stop moving. Make small specific changes. Celebrate every win. Eat clean.

June 2012

June 2012

October 2013

October 2013

At work, she continues to make strides with her teams who are building key marketing websites for IBM. Her primary mission is to be very useful. Which works well with the corporate mission: Be Essential.

Photo Credit: Corey Leamon

Sydney Markle, Scrum Master, IBM M&C Lab, NYC. Photo Credit: Corey Leamon

In addition to her scrum master certification, Syd is now a certified scrum product owner. She has also begun taking facilitation methods training and hopes to get certified as an MTOPs Facilitator in 2014. One last class, we must mention, is Sydney is taking an Improv class at the PIT (People’s Improv Theater). Its more of an extra curricular but we felt it would help her as she’s been doing more public speaking and leading tours as part of her duties with the IBM M&C Lab.

Founder and CEO of Brennus Education Systems
Chris has been making the most of it as well. He took a Irish flute class early in 2013. He has also been active with the NYC Dad group and made a new friend–Georg and his daughter Selena. They meet up once or twice a week to let the kids play and have conversations beyond Elmo and Patty Cake. Georg, a web developer and stay-at-home-dad and his wife, Varina who works at the UN, are from Germany. They are becoming good friends and had Thanksgiving at our house, and we spent New Year’s Eve at their place.

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Chris spends a lot of time with Bren, helping to make him in the wonder you see in the photos. He always says though, the quality of his work won’t be truly revealed for another 15 years or so. It’s a long term investment, and fun one at that. It’s likely that you would not be surprised, but you might still be impressed, by the skill Chris has for organizing an outing with Bren. He’s relied on the stroller a lot this year, to bear the brunt of the weight of things you must schlep with a toddler. But starting this Fall, he’s been going out with just a backpack, and the boy. It’s an active and sometime stressful job, but one with many rewards.

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Family and Friends in the Big Apple
We had the pleasure of seeing a few of you this year. Framma came out for a visit in Sept. And Mama took Bren to Texas in July. But it never seems enough.

We miss you all so very much. Our primary goal in 2014 is to pay down some debt so we can travel more freely in 2015. So please, come see us in NYC in the meantime. We love you and hope your New Year has been merry and bright. Avalanches and tidal waves of love, coming your way from Roosevelt Island, NYC.

Two Great Ladies 10093798046_11974d02b8_c 9223953171_d5e1d82e76_b

May the new year bring you blessings & light!
Our Family


That’s the sound of 2013 falling away fast, making way for 2014. I wrote a holiday newsletter to send my family and friends but never got it in the mail. I’ve considered revising it as a “Valentine” letter but it’s really a recap of 2014. So, I’m going to post it here, under separate post.

I had good intentions. Well, at least it won’t go to waste.

BrenEdainThe other day, I was getting dressed. My three-year-old son was across from me, being dressed by his father.

He looked up at me with his big, bright blue eyes and said:
“Mama, you’re a queen.”

The moment hung in the air for a moment like a crystal bell. My heart expanded and glowed. Then he said, “And you’re wet.” I had just gotten out of the shower. I laughed and said, “Yes, son. Thank you.”

But in that crystalline moment and the moments that followed, I realized this was one of the most lovely and weighty compliments I’ve ever been given.

For my son, I am a Queen. I do not take this lightly, no Queen ever would.

I lost my voice. Then I lost the practice. And then the atrophy set in.

There was a time I wrote. Fiction. Poetry. Creative non-fiction. But it was before. And I’ve decided to stop waiting for it to come back on its own. If there is one thing that I’ve learned from my journey to lose weight, it’s that things don’t happen without intention.

I do believe in magic, but believe it requires the right conditions. Which is in the same family as the word conditioning, a synonym for prepare. I actually went over and looked at a thesaurus. A few other synonyms I like for this are: practice, ready, habituate, loosen up.

All this is to say, with intent, I am writing again.

I don’t know how long it will take to get back what I’ve lost, but I do know it will never come back if I don’t start somewhere. And, I also have a keen understanding that if I don’t write regularly and with a plan, then my intent will remain only an intention.

And so–to adapt another key habit I’ve taken on in my weight loss journey–I’m starting with one small specific commitment: On Thursdays, from 3-4, I will pick a topic and write.

This poem can changed nothing, but you can change everything for this poet. William Thomas Johnston, out of Minneapolis, is a very talented poet. And he’s going guerrilla style to publish his first book with this kickstarter campaign: One Manner of Hunger or Another: Stories, Poetry and Prose — a book of poetry, prose, and stories developed over fifteen years.

I’d like to encourage everyone I know to go and support his campaign. You won’t regret it. Go, give, read.

Seeding The Future

On Sunday, I turned 37 years old. I had a pretty mellow birthday. Chris let me sleep in, while making me bacon. I made cupcakes and Bren and I ate our good share of chocolate icing with sprinkles. Then Chris took my birthday portrait (pictured left). We had a nice dinner the night before plus a little wine. And we played Yahtzee. All in all, very nice and I could want nothing more. Our lives are so blessed and full. I’m a lucky woman.

I was thinking this morning, where will we be when I’m 40. Then I took a mental pause, redirected, and decided to ask myself where do I want to be when I’m 40? Continue reading

World’s Greatist Dad. To Infinity and Beyond.

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Yesterday, my husband built an obstacle course in our house so that Bren could have some fun indoors on a rainy day. He regularly pack and rolls the soon to be three year old to play dates, museum and zoo excursions and adventures in the city.

If you’ve not had the pleasure of spending a lot of time herding a toddler, you may not realize how much work this is–it’s a lot. At any moment, you may need to be:

  • A teacher, for right and wrong and A-B-Cs
  • An athlete dashing after him
  • A nurse soothing cuts and bumps
  • A counselor explaining hurt feelings and frustration
  • A mind reader, trying to figure out what the kid is asking for when he can’t find his words.

It’s a varied role to play and when you do it all day, every day, it’s exhausting. Many mom’s already know this. My husband does this every day, and he does it well. I wish I could stay home with my son, but I’m so glad it’s him if it can’t be me. In fact, I think he may do it better than I could.

My son, laughing, and singing is evidence. So, this post is a few days late. But I wanted to take some time and tell you about my amazing husband. About how he chooses to be a father. We play different roles than our parents, or their parent. I leave the house each morning with a kiss and a see you later alligator. And Bren is happy, happy he gets to spend the day with his Papa.

And for that, I feel so very blessed and thankful. I knew I married a good looking man. Smart, yes. Funny, as hell. Resourceful. And now I also know, I married a very good, may haps the best, parent.

P.S. Did I mention he’s learning how to cook? And helps keep the house orderly? I know, I’m a lucky woman.

When you have a bunch of smart people with a broad enough charter, you will always get something good out of it,” Nathan Myhrvold, formerly a senior executive at Microsoft, argues. “It’s one of the best investments you could possibly make—but only if you chose to value it in terms of successes. If you chose to evaluate it in terms of how many times you failed, or times you could have succeeded and didn’t, then you are bound to be unhappy. Innovation is an unruly thing. There will be some ideas that don’t get caught in your cup. But that’s not what the game is about. The game is what you catch, not what you spill.”

- Creation Myth by Malcolm Gladwell