Monday, December 13, 2010

Our Christmas card

Well, I believe I began last year's report with a joke concerning my refusal to join Facebook; so I suppose the introductory joke this year is that my friends will probably be reading this on Facebook.

Besides that most momentous of occasions--mine and Adam's conversion to the cult of Facebook-- 2010 has gone pretty similarly to the three years preceding it: We cleaned up many messes, tried to be nice, got farther into debt and vacationed in Utah. Glamorous right? Other than that, our second son Tate, otherwise lovingly known as Fluffer Nutter, Tater Fluff, or simply Fluff, was born in that was a pretty big deal too. It’s a short report. That being the case, let's discuss the things to which we are looking forward for 2011, shall we?

Adam will graduate from the Loma Linda School of Dentistry in May. He has worked incredibly hard and for many obvious reasons, we are looking forward to it. I have also finally managed to convince him that running is a good idea. Adam is mostly eager to graduate and begin working; we are both eager to follow the advice of propets and economists alike as we begin our ascent out of debt.

Eli is looking forward to perfecting his sharing, listening and being nice to Tate skills on which we have so diligently worked this year. He hopes to amass as many gold stars for practicing those skills as possible. He continually asks me if he can do this or that when his 4…so we have a lot to accomplish beginning April 7th. His tenacity, persistence and energy never cease to amaze us.

Tate is looking forward to being old and big enough to withstand Eli’s attempts to wrestle, smother and generally torment him. He has perfected the speed crawl in an effort to flee his attacker; but unfortunatley his girth, speed, and overall sweet, smiley and adorable temperament have been largely ineffective tools of evasion.

Much of the same could be said for Duane: He spends most of his time trying to avoid attack. Duane’s enthusiasm for running has waned as much as Adam’s has increased. I believe he is hoping to soon become a lap dog…not gonna happen.

All that being said, I am most looking forward to being able to have my boys in the same room without anyone getting hurt. And yes, I realize this could be years away. I am also ready to begin a new chapter in our lives. Mostly I try (try being the operative word in all of this) as often as I can to pause when my boys laugh together, show me or each other affection or do something so hilarious that I am forced to smile and laugh out loud. I measure my level of success as a person and a parent by those moments.

So at this time of year, I have more successes than failures. I think the nature of this most wonderful time of the year is God’s gift to mankind. For that, and countless other blessings, I am indeed grateful. Merry merry Christmas to you; we wish you a more plentiful amount of smile making moments.

Adam, Ashley, Eli, Tate and Duane

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Today was a fairytale

Not the courtroom kind I used to dream about. And certainly not the Taylor Swift kind. It centered around baking dozens of cookies for several upcoming Christmas parties whilst listening to the highly appealing background sounds of Christmas music, E accurately identifying alphabet letters on his computer, and Tate laughing while playing with Duane. There was also a Vanilla Coke Zero involved, the delectable scent of french vanilla cake cookies (apparently I am a mega fan of vanilla) and NO, I repeat NO, crying, fighting, yelling or breaking of household items. And for a brief moment, I thought "I am a damn good mother!" and then I realized soon after that I wasn't since I had thought that.

I had a similar sentiment as I was putting together our Christmas cards the other day; that activity also involved some Diet Dr. Pepper and Christmas music which almost always equals a good mood. When we took our Christmas pictures, I looked through them 100 times, slightly disappointed that there was not a perfect one that I loved, and that in each one someone was doing something not to my liking. But as I assemebled them, looking at the picture I ultimately chose over and over and over again, I started to just love it for all of its flaws; because they highlight perfectly the personalities of all of the people in it that I adore. It's like when you spend enough time with someone, you start to love them in spite of--if not for-- their inherent flaws. The more I look at our picture, the less I care that Eli isn't looking at the camera, that Tate is drooling and that Adam isn't wearing a huge grin. I am even over the fact that my hair looks like I got electrocuted and that Duane got my shirt all dirty.

I tell you this not to annoy the hell out of you, (see I'm really not a good mother because now I have sworn twice in one post) but to highlight the wonderfulness of the most wonderful time of the year. In church last Sunday, a lady mentioned that she just loved this season because she could feel the spirit of Christ while wrapping presents and decorating the won't shock you that Adam totally made fun of her for that, but I defended her: I think what she meant is that everything is just easier this time of year. Feeling the spirit is easier, getting along is easier, accepting imperfections is easier, simple things elicit immensely strong feelings of gratitude...and even I can have a fairytale morning with my kids.

PS Allison, these are what the cookies were supposed to look like