Hello, friends! Oh, how I have missed you all. And I have missed writing my stories, but you know the drill… December is a big, fat, hairy beast. And it defeats me every single year. It is my white whale (Call me Five Baby Mama).
I did my best to make our holidays uncomplicated, yet memorable. Full of quality family time, but not so much that we feel the need to move to a deserted island with no forwarding address afterwards. I did the planning and decorating and shopping and wrapping and delivering in small increments all month long so I wouldn’t be stuck down in the basement at 2AM on December 24th with nothing but scotch tape holding my eyelids open while I tried to assemble some crazy plastic contraption with more parts than there are letters in the Chinese alphabet. But December still got the best of me.
The kids started getting sick back at Thanksgiving. I have hand-outs from our pediatrician with the following titles… the stomach flu, croup, infectious mononucleosis, and pneumonia. Fortunately, there was no cross-contamination and everyone got their own special disease. Trust me, that did not happen by accident! And they were all sick at different times, so the “sickiness” seemed to last forever. A big shout-out to Kid B for staying healthy!
Then came December 14th and my heart broke so hard and loud that I felt it on the outside of my body. I don’t normally watch the news because it feeds my anxieties in a very unhealthy way, but no one could escape the horror story. My tears did not stop falling. They still haven’t.
Then came Christmas Eve and our new family tradition of Chick-Fil-A and peppermint milkshakes, and our old traditions of Sheepdog re-telling the story of Jesus’ birth and me reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and putting out a note and cookies for Santa. Our Christmas morning was full of smiles and hugs and Skype and wrapping paper and joyful noises. We are very, very, very blessed.
Then, since I couldn’t manage to get out of it, we had Christmas dinner for thirty people at our house. No, I’m not kidding. We had to find thirty places for thirty heineys to sit and eat. And we managed to pull it off! So on the night of December 25th, Sue, Tom, Bonnie, Joe, Tooker, Josh, Stacy, Ellie, Braden, Molly, Abby, Cal, Cam, Keri, Charlie, Foster, Luke, Nora, Rob, Kelli, Wilson, Phoebe, Mallory, Quincy, Brandon, Becky, Brady, Cooper and Eden all listened (most without giggling, although Brandon always fails at this) as Reverend Bob gave the blessing. Then we sat down and ate together and laughed and shared stories and memories and made some new ones too.
And speaking of holiday memories… one of my biggest projects this December came in the form of a request from my dad.
Many, many years ago, back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, he fell deeply in love with a girl named Sue Speed. He loved her so much that he asked her to marry him when they were just nineteen years old. And being a dumb boy, he did it in a fairly unplanned, unromantic way… in the backseat of a car, with his pregnant teenage sister and her baby daddy up front driving. In the middle of the Cardiff Circle. Luckily, Sue Speed loved him back so much that she said YES anyway, and they have been together ever since.
But my dad has always regretted not having proposed with more style (partly because my mom tells him he should). So, this Christmas he had my cousin Ashley design my mom a fabulous new ring, with both old stones and new ones too, and he asked for his daughters’ help in planning a new and improved proposal that would knock her socks off. And we did it. We gathered together as many old (and some new) pictures of our family’s Christmas memories and I put together a DVD that showed them off and then featured our Top 10, with Number 1 being the lame proposal (which we so fabulously re-created using Rob and Kelli as “Uncle Bobby” and “Aunt Janice”), and at the end my dad turned to the camera and asked for a re-do.
We played the DVD on Christmas Day when all thirty of us were gathered together and at the end my dad walked over to my mom and re-proposed. He got down on one knee and talked about everlasting love and still getting excited to see her when he was driving home from work every day and it was sweet and romantic and my mom thought he was nuts. Luckily, she still loves him back so much that she accepted once again.
So, here for your viewing pleasure is the fruit of my labor and a peek into our crazy family antics…
And then I recorded the new proposal…
I am so proud to be a part of this big, goofball family. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Here’s to happiness and health in the new year. Wish me luck in 2013…