Well I have sent the card to those that needed to get it and now for your reading pleasure, or displeasure, here is our family christmas letter for 2011.
For this years Christmas letter I asked everyone to tell me what their most memorable event, that can be shared publicly, of 2011 was. So this letter will not include stories of heroism, excellent grades, stellar citizenship or really much of anything else I usually make up in my other Christmas letters. Now that you have been warned please lower your expectations before reading this letter because I know I lowered mine before I wrote it. On a side note, thanks to my going back to college and succeeding in writing I can now use semicolons with confidence. AH HA!
Daniel, age 15, favorite memories were getting his own room! No longer does he have to share a mess, er, I mean room with his younger brothers. He also got a very cool authentic Tiki mask at a yard sale. He also got his learners permit this spring and passed Drivers Ed with minimal damage to those around him. I cannot claim the same victory. He also got to go to the ocean for two weeks this summer and dug holes so deep that he could sit in them on a camp chair and still not be seen. Daniel was also very pleased to be asked to join the Bio Med Tech class at school. This is not a class you can just sign up for, you have to be invited to participate.
Ike, age 12, went to his very first boy scout camp. When I asked if he had any memories to share he said, “What happens at camp, stays at camp.” Being his mother for the past 12 years has taught me not to push a topic when a statement like that is said. I will only be shocked, horrified and the mental pictures will keep me up for nights on end. Isaac is also sporting a totally awesome new scar on his elbow. Which is good because it gave him some *street cred as he headed off to 7th grade this year. *Street cred meaning his body tried to fight the street and the street won. Ike also learned to boogie board at the ocean this summer and by the end was riding more waves than he swallowing. I see that as a huge success. He also dug holes in the sand about the depth and width of a joggers leg. I am gonna let your imagination take over on this one. This winter he did wrestling this year for Chase Middle School and made the varsity team. Good job, Ike!
Jakey, age 9, is our middle child. In fact I completely forgot to include him in this letter until I noticed only four kids were spotlighted. Jakey's most memorable moments are quite a bit different than his brothers. First and foremost, a good day for him is a day that his brothers do not notice him and therefore he does not get mauled. Secondly, a good day for him is a day that he does not get caught doing half the things he has done that he is not suppose to do. I say only half because luckily we catch him about half the time, at least I like to think we do. He likes to set his brothers up for getting into stuff that really he did and then just quietly walk away. When his is not hiding or plotting he can be found in his favorite room. No, not the bathroom. That room involves soap, his arch nemesis; nor does it include his bedroom. That room involves Ike, also his arch nemesis. Jakey's can be found usually in the Lego room. Yes, we have a room in our house dedicated just to legos; we have thousands of dollars of legos in that room. In fact the most valuable thing we own is legos. His highlights of the year include our trip to Seattle for Brick Con which is a huge Lego convention. Lego geeks from around the world show off all the amazing creations they have made instead of holding down a steady job. It truly inspired me. It inspired me to make sure my kids never grow up like that. We also stayed at Matt and Jenna Hanes' house, my brother and sister in law on Dan's side of the family. Jakey's other highlight was going to his cousin, Jimmy's birthday party while we were there.
Anna, age 6, did not have a lot to contribute to this letter. I just thought you should know that. She stated that Hello Kitty is the best and that she loves her. And that her favorite thing to do is to go to church BBQ s. So I guess that sums up Anna. Hello Kitty should not get too comfortable at the top of Anna's list. Lots of things have been up there over the year. Strawberry Shortcake, Barbie, Fancy Nancy books, Maria, bunnies, her bestest, best friend, Peyton, glitter and her brothers. I wonder, did you notice what I noticed that was missing from her list? It was ME!
Maria, age 6, loves to dance. She feels I am holding back her ballet career by not enrolling her in Julliard school of dance. Luckily we were able to buy her love by making a totally cool Hello Kitty pinata for her and Anna's birthday party. Maria's favorite things are Hello Kitty and glitter. So as you can imagine when she got a glittery Hello Kitty shirt she just about peed her Hello Kitty panties. She also loves a good BBQ and of course a nice steak. Well at least we call it steak, to her it is chicken. All meat is chicken, just in different colors. Grilled steak is black chicken to her.
On August 13, my sister Regina's birthday, I remarried to Benjamin Guhl from Palmer, Alaska. I am pleased to say that at the time I am writing this he is still here. I am sure he will eventually chew through the rope, but until then I will welcome the company. Yes, I know, Alaska is a long ways away to find someone but after reading this letter you understand how I could not look for anyone closer for fear they already knew my children, or worse yet......me.
Mom, this year has been one of finding routine and enjoying my altered family. I know it seems weird to call it altered but that how I interpret what we have gone through. Dan is never far from our thoughts and we talk about him everyday, remembering special things he liked to do or special memories we have of him. Ben is awesome in so many ways, but one that attracted me to him the most was that he is not intimidated by these memories of Dan. In fact he encourages them. Making sure to make Dan's birthday a special day for the kids and I, or keeping close tabs on me and being there for me on Dan and I's anniversary. I had sixteen years with Dan and we added five children to our family. Ben and I have many, many years ahead of us to make wonderful memories and five great kids to raise. To have a partner here with me to make that happen is a blessing I never did expect. So when you pray to God for an answer and he tells you to trust him. Do it. I did and it is one of the best choices I ever made.