Archive | December, 2008

Extra Cheesy, Please (aka The Christmas Letter)

21 Dec

Here’s our 2008 Christmas letter, complete with picture (but sorry, no awesomely bad Christmas sweaters):

Family Picture

2008 in Retrospect



Mr. Dad (aka Daddy)

I still work at the same company and do handyman work on the side. My hobbies include playing volleyball and being the “fix-it guy” for our church’s new building. The highlights of my day are coming home to my girls and watching the Cowboys.


Whine: I will reserve my whine until I see how the Cowboys’ season ends up.

Cheese: We sold our snowcone stand this spring, which was a relief with the sleeplessness excitement of having a new baby.


Sars (aka Mommy)

I still stay at home with the girls. My hobbies include writing, mostly on my new blog and helping with the Women’s Ministry at church. The highlights of my day are snuggling my girls and relaxing with David after the girls go to bed.


Whine: Someday I will not be permanently covered in drool, spit up, mashed cheerios. And when that day finally comes, I’ll miss the “good old days.” I just can’t win.

Cheese: Chloe Elizabeth was born this March!! I have two delightful little daughters.  


Big Sis (aka Goose)

I turned three this September. My hobbies include playing with my Little People and playing tea party.  The highlights of my day are music class at preschool (we sang Joy to the World at our Christmas concert) and doing crafts with Mommy.


Whine:  My mother does not always appreciate my “creative” side. It wasn’t my fault that the __________ (fill in the blank) spilled all over the ___________ (fill in the blank), right?

Cheese: I got to spend a whole week in Michigan this summer. I got spoiled by my grandparents. I swam and played with my cousins. Why can’t we do that every day?


Lil’ Sis (aka Chloe-Monster)

I have bright red hair and look like my Daddy. My hobbies include crawling around looking for hazardous materials to stick in my mouth and riding around in my sling on Mommy’s hip. The highlights of my day are bath time and sister time.


Whine: If my parents expect me to play with hand-me-down toys, the least they could do is put some batteries in them!

Cheese: I’m part of a matching set. I have two girl cousins that share my middle name: Elizabeth Marie (born Dec ’07) and Avery Elizabeth (born Mar ’08).  We are a (crawling, drooling, screeching) force to be reckoned with.


From All of Us

Whine: We wish we could see you a lot more often. Really. Because then you could babysit. J

Cheese: We’re so glad to have friends and family like you. And thank goodness for cell phones, the internet and even the USPS to keep us connected.


We love you and hope your Christmas is filled with great joy over the birth of the Savior. . .

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. . .”  Luke 2:10-11

The 10-Step Plan

17 Dec

Whine: So very, very behind on every item on The List.

Cheese: Got a handmade ornament that  Big Sis made at her awesome preschool–an ornament with her handprint on it. Totally made me cry. In fact, just typing it is making me verklempt.


Anyway, I don’t like to toot my own horn. (Who am I kidding? I totally do.) But I have to confess to you that I have very nearly perfected the art of procrastination. Since it’s Christmas and all, I figure there are some of you out there who may be new to the procrastination game, so I thought I’d share the 10 Steps of Procrastination. Consider it an early Christmas gift.


1 ) Optimistically overestimate your time, talent and ability to complete a project.

2 ) Put it to the back burner (figuratively) while you deal with urgent tasks on the other burners (literally)–try not to burn the house down.

3 ) Realize that you may eventually have to complete the tasks/projects you committed yourself to.

4 ) Get overwhelmed and pretend you don’t actually have to do any of them.

5 ) Avoid, avoid, avoid. (This can be achieved a number of ways. I prefer reading the blogs of strangers and playing word games on my Social Gaming Network. Twirl is totally the new Solitaire.)

6) When you have less than 24 hours (or 12 if you’re good) to the project deadline, give up on all other tasks including, but not limited to cooking, cleaning, sleeping and personal hygeine so as to focus 109% (you gotta save 1% for blogging/facebook) on the project at hand.

7 ) Cry.

8 ) Figure out that you will have to cut at least 50% of your tasks.

9 ) Make a mad dash to the finish line. Throw some stuff together (onto a blank page, into a gift bag or into a suitcase) and tell yourself it’ll be fine.

10 ) Crash. Swear never, ever to be so foolish again. Until tomorrow.


Speaking of procrastination, I’ve got 130 unmailed Christmas cards, 6 loaves of unbaked banana bread, piles of unwrapped gifts, and lots of unfinished shopping to do. So what am I doing? I’m curling my hair with a curling iron and photographing myself. (Clearly I’m on Step 5.)

Don’t ask me what possessed me to do this*:

Awesome Hair

Clearly I had forgotten about this**:


Well, it’s almost 5pm, my kids will be up any minute, and I’m due to head to Step 6 & 7. Gotta run! Merry Christmas.


*First of all, is my forehead really that big? And yes, I’m wearing a lumberjack-inspired bathrobe. It’s a hand-me-down from my mother.

**Dude, why didn’t Mr. Dad ask me out way back then when he had the chance? I was smokin’ hot.

You’ll Shoot Yer’ Eye Out

7 Dec

Whine: Two words–blogging drought. (Don’t worry, it’s not for lack of material.)

Cheese: Homemade Cheddar Jack Queso. Mmmmmmmmmm.


When you were a kid, did you have a Magic Memory Filter? You know, the thing that makes you remember sitting rosy-cozy with your family by the fire while Dad reads the Christmas story or decorating festive sugar-cookies with Grandma in a hazy, yellow glow.  If you look back at your childhood memories and get the same feeling as you do when you watch the end of It’s a Wonderful Life, you know you had a Magic Memory Filter, because in reality, it was probably a little more like A Christmas Story**. You know, dogs eating the Christmas turkey, receiving really random, inappropriate gifts from distant relatives, and people getting their tongues stuck to frozen flagpoles.

I have a few of those rosy-cozy memories myself, I have to admit. But now that I am the Mommy (i.e., the one responsible for orchestrating said rosy-cozy memories) I realize that all of my memories that come with a rosy glow must have passed through The Filter, because I’ve discovered that any event involving children looks less idyllic and peaceful and more chaotic and tornadic. Norman Rockwell? My kids? More like Norma Wreckwells.


Childhood Memory: One of my favorite Christmas memories/traditions was going to get a real, live Christmas tree. My dear, sweet saint of a single mother obliged me every single year, even though it was almost the death of her. I remember hiking through pristine snow and getting to choose my very own tree. We then cut it down and brought it home to decorate, the scent of fresh pine emanating through our cozy apartment.

What Really Happened: We bring the tree home and it won’t fit in the stand. Undeterred, my mom bundles me back up (it was winter in Michigan) and throws me in the car, drags me to the store and bought a new stand. We get home and try again. The tree still won’t fit. Mom’s starting to get just a tad frustrated now. Somehow she comes up with a saw. I don’t remember where it came from, but I’m sure it involved either going to another store or calling up a friend. While she’s sawing off the offending branches, I’m in the bathroom and the toilet is not working. Mom comes in to investigate, removes the lid from the tank, drops it and it splits in half. My mom says a few things that if I’d been smart I’d have saved for leverage at a later date. Finally, after much ado, we fix the toilet (mostly), stuff  what is surely by now “that darned tree” into the stand and decorate it, and collapse into bed.


Fast forward twenty-some years and now I’m the Mommy (aka the Memory Maker) and I’ve got a plan.

Intended Memory: In my minds eye, we all go out to a farm and choose the perfect tree. It’s chilly, but I’ve got hot chocolate in a thermos in the truck. As Mr. Dad loads the tree in the truck, we listen to Christmas carols and sing together. We drive home then decorate, reflecting on the Reason for Christmas.

What Really Happened: We load into the truck and head to the local mega-hardware store. We choose a tree from the pile (and it is a looker, I must say), but the checkout line is long and its cold out there, so the kids and I head inside to find warmth. Big Sis finds a display of enchanting (and by enchanting I mean debilitatingly intrustive) singing snowglobes. She entertains herself by pressing the button on each snowglobe one at a time so they are singing in perfect disharmony and every time one goes off she has to restart it and between the six snowglobes she’s pretty much pusing buttons every 3 seconds and the “music” of each individual snowglobe is trying to wedge its way into my memory bank so that I’m singing six different carols at once and can’t get any of them out of my head. And then when it’s time to leave and make that special memory of getting a Christmas tree she’s screaming and hyperventilating because she really desperately needed at least one of those delightful snowglobes. She screams all the way home, even though I keep turning the volume of the Christmas songs higher and higher. And when we finally get home and stop crying (her, not me), I make the hot chocolate, but it gets cold because there’s a hungry baby, two time-outs and a potty emergency.


But I realize now that I’ve got biology on my side, because we did manage to get ourselves into our snuggly footie pajamas (I’ve got a pair, too) just in time for Mr. Dad to plug in the lights and sip some hot chocolate. And the moment he lit up those twinkly lights on that gorgeous tree, Big Sis’ eyes did the same and the Magic Memory Filter kicked into action.



I just spoke with my mother regarding the aforementioned Christmas tree debacle. She alerted me to the fact that I left out the most imporant part of the story. After she finally managed to saw off some of the bottom of the tree to make it fit, she realized too late that the tree possessed a double trunk. So once she cut it, our gorgeous, hand-picked Christmas tree split in two. I didn’t remember that part, but now all I can say is HAHAHAHAHHAHA! (Sorry, Mom.) So apparently we stuffed both halves of our once-glorious tree into the stand, propped it up against the wall and called it a day. Just further proof that The Filter exists.


**If you haven’t seen A Christmas Story, it’s about a young boy, Ralphie, who really wants a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. The classic line from the movie is when Ralphie finally gets the gumption to tell Santa what he wants for Christmas and Santa shoves him off his lap and says “You’ll shoot yer’ eye out, kid.”