2013 Christmas Letter

Apparently, I forgot to add “take care of sick kid(s),” “go to doctor’s office and pharmacy,” and “go to doctor’s office and pharmacy (again)” to the run-on To Do list that is giving me chronic whiplash this month.  Kids C and D were both home sick on Monday.  Poor Kid D still hasn’t gone back and we are now on Day Four of the Ick.

I feel so sorry for my kids when they are sick… I dote on them, I baby them, I bring them whatever they need or want.  I let them watch movies and play video games.  I fluff their pillows and tuck (and re-tuck)(and re-re-tuck) their woobies.  I am usually a very nice Nurse Mommy.  But, frankly, by Day Four… I am a little bit over it.  Certainly by Day Four during whiplash season I am so done.  Mama’s got places to go and presents to wrap, kiddos.  How about you get better all ready?  “Sometimes you just have to be tougher than the sickness” has been heard escaping my lips a time or two in the last day, even as my child is unable to keep down crackers.

I know, I know.  I sound heartless.  But the “what if?” guilt always wins out and I’m currently muttering things while I’m on the phone with the doctor, planning our strategy and likely our next meet and greet.  And why couldn’t the kids’ pediatrician look like my OB/GYN?  That would make having sick kids totally awesome.  A girl can dream…

On a brighter note, being stuck at home has allowed me ample time to stuff and address my Christmas letters, which thankfully brought me a little more of the Christmas spirit.  I truly love planning out my cards or letter every year.  I also love hand writing each recipient’s name and address.  I think about the people and their families and what each person means to me.  I’ve even been known shed a sentimental tear or two as I write them out.  It is one of my favorite traditions… the thinking and remembering.  Not the crying.  Because a crying tradition would just be weird.

So I thought that maybe I’d like to share my card here on This Is How I Do It as well.  It required a bit of redacting, but I think it still works.  I may not get the benefit of writing out your names on an envelope, but I am very grateful for each and every one of you.

To all of my readers… Thank you for all of your comments and support.  Thank you for commiserating with me, encouraging me, and even for showing me other points of view.  Thank you for sharing my posts with your friends.  Writing this blog is a true labor of love, and knowing that there are people who care about the fruits is homemade icing on my cake.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

2013 Christmas Letter 2013 Christmas Letter 2

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Happy 2013!

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.

Kid A asked Santa for a vintage typewriter for Christmas.  The Big Guy delivered an awesome one with keys en Espanol

Kid A asked Santa for a vintage typewriter for Christmas. The Big Guy delivered an awesome one with keys en Espanol.  Click, Clack, Moo (egg nog).

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…