Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Letter v2011

I finally received my Christmas cards today. At this point, my friends and family are going to think they're getting a card from me only because they sent one to me. It definitely isn't the case, but ... for some reason I can't manage to order them in time to get them earlier.

That's a big part of the reason I'm posting so late today. I made a deal with myself that I wouldn't post until every card was in the envelope, addressed, and stamped. I'm happy to report that they are now complete and ready for the mail tomorrow morning - hoping they still manage to get there before Christmas (obviously before Hanukkah is a lost cause).

In our cards, we always send out a letter to catch our friends and families up on our lives. It's also a great way for me to put a one page punctuation on our year - something that can go into the wee ones' memory boxes for them to read down the road.

Our cards also always include a photo of the wee ones - especially now that I've started using photo cards to make them more personal. The photo choices were limited this year, unfortunately - though not for lack of trying. This is the photo I ended up using. Honest.

Happy Holidays! For some reason – perhaps because both Mister Man and Little Miss are in school full time – this year seems so much like a repeat of last year, and that isn’t all a bad thing, I don’t think. I even only received my cards a couple days before Christmas once again. I’d say “oops” but that’s been done already.

Mister Man is still at his Catholic school and now in Second Grade. It’s hard to believe that he’s eight years old and will be making his First Communion in May. How is he possibly that old? He’s still doing Tae Kwon Do and has progressed through the entire little kid program. It’s so fun to see him doing his forms – kibon and jun-ji – and to watch him grow in confidence and maturity. He is also continuing in Cub Scouts. He’s greatly looking forward to cave (muddy!) and museum (fun) camping with Jeff again in a couple months, as well as running in the Pinewood Derby (Scouts is the one thing I don’t do). Last year, he took third place with his gold painted, Roman Lego-themed car. It was pretty cool.

Little Miss is also enjoying her first grade year, still in the program where she hears Spanish all day, except lunch, music, art, gym, and recess. It’s amazing to listen to her – especially her accent. I’m happy she’s gotten into the program and made such good friends in it. She is also a scout, although a Daisy. She’ll be selling her cookies for the first time this January (so let her know if you want any!), and she loves all the activities our amazingly creative co-leaders come up with. No, I am not one of them, although I am Cookie Mom. She’s continued with her gymnastics and is now on the preteam at her gymnastics facility, which is designed to have her start competing next year, though I’m not sure we want her to do that quite yet. She loves what she’s learning to do, which is all we care about. It is pretty cool to see how she is just one step shy of a front handspring on the vault, though.

Little Miss broke her arm at her birthday party this year, which of course we held the week after school got out in June. That made for a very quiet summer for them, with much less pool time than we’d anticipated. They did have summer school classes that they enjoyed for the first half of the summer. Just before school began again, my dad and I took them to Minnesota for the State Fair and to see a Twins game, both of which were a hoot. Although we had to pull them both from school for two days, this is something we’ll try to keep doing as long as we can. We again managed to get to Disney twice – once over Spring Break for a conference that was an incredible, pampered experience and again in October. They’re already asking to go again, but I think it’ll be a little while!

My husband’s academic team had great success last year, something he’s very proud of. They just won a tournament last weekend, so he again has high hopes. His moment of excitement came in August when he was called to tape for an episode of an unnamed game show. He and Michelle spent three days on site, visiting and staying with some of her friends while episodes taped. It hasn’t aired, so don’t ask how he did. We can’t say (or we won’t get paid!) until it airs. Between all his extra curriculars at the schools, he somehow still manages to play baseball in the summer – and this year played fall ball, too. Life is a little interesting around here!

The adults of the family also headed to Italy for two weeks in July with two other couples and spent time in Rome and Cortona. It was an amazing vacation, especially the villa atop a mountain where they stayed for a week, with cooking classes and wine tastings and more. Michelle is about ready to move to Italy, but that pesky teaching job gets in the way. This is something they would both like to do again someday, with the wee ones when they’re older.

Michelle has completely adjusted to staying at home and “not working” which basically means doing something all the time, generally for someone else. She’s trying to remove that “sucker” tag from her forehead, but agreeing to be Cookie Mom proves she’s not there yet. The hope is to have Mister Man with Little Miss at her school next year, which would mean only one PTO expecting volunteer hours – that would help a lot. Oddly, it’s not been an exciting year, but it’s certainly been a satisfying one!

I hope that your year has brought you peace and happiness.


Kori December 21, 2011 at 10:33 PM  

tee hee, I LOVE that picture!

Tami December 22, 2011 at 9:04 AM  

I personally LOVE the photo! Too many times folks are trying to get the "perfect" family photo. I like the ones that show the "real" family. It makes it all that more special!

Tara R. December 22, 2011 at 10:18 AM  

A satisfying AND busy year. The Christmas photo is perfect!

Megryansmom December 22, 2011 at 9:08 PM  

Love the picture! It certainly sums up life with two kids. Merry Christmas!

Pat December 23, 2011 at 9:11 PM  

I love the photo of the wee ones. You did a nice job on your Christmas letter, summing up the year succinctly and in an entertaining way.

I've done a Christmas letter for many years, but did not feel inspired to do so this year, partly because of my middle son's marital problems. That has left me kind of blue.

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

Michelle December 26, 2011 at 9:40 PM  

Kori - I actually do, too. It's totally goofy, which is definitely them, but still showing them working together.

Tami - I have a friend whose Christmas card a few years ago was all the rejects of her screaming kids. It was awesome.

Tara - Very busy. And fortunately, also very satisfying!

Rita - Doesn't it though? I'm sure you miss these days!

Pat - Aww, thanks. I'm so sorry you weren't up for writing a Christmas letter, but I'm sending good vibes your way - and your son's way - for the new year.

Kim/reluctant renovator December 30, 2011 at 11:27 AM  

Wow, I completely missed the game show thing. I can't wait for you to spill the beans. Oh, and Cookie Mom? That "S" signed is glowing in neon on your forehead, you brave woman.

Best wishes for the new year!

Sandra January 2, 2012 at 2:44 PM  

Back from vacay, catching up on blog reading. I enjoyed your letter! I'm grateful to have made a blogger friend in you. Here's to continued friendship and readership in 2012!

Michelle January 3, 2012 at 1:17 PM  

Kim - I'm still debating whether I write a post about reactions from people when hearing he was going to be on. The show hasn't aired yet, so mum's the word! And as far as that sucker sign goes... you don't want any Girl Scout cookies, do you? ;)

Sandra - Aww thank you. You are so sweet, and you know I'll be over for friendship and bloggy reading!

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