Hey you! Thanks for stopping in and reading this sporadic blog. Here's our family card and letter for 2016.
Insight into my mind:
1. Read last year's post on family pictures.
2. Take this year's picture.
3. Buy Groupon for $17.99 for 40 picture cards. Neglect offer for $27.99 for 70. I am not as wealthy as Scrooge McDuck and have you bought 4 books of stamps lately?! Plus, 70? I wasn't Homecoming Queen, I never rushed a sorority, and I'm an introvert.
4. Mail letters to extended family and a few close friends.
5. Regret not buying the 70 cards to have extras on hand, run short, order a few prints from CVS, dig out real, folding style cards to send out a few last-minute glad tidings. Hope that suffices.
(Love you, mean it. Merry Christmas.)
The Twelve Tidbits From Our Year
12 approximate times I used our new elliptical machine. That may average to about $60 a use. NAILED IT.
11 tactics the kids employ at bedtime for maximum sleep avoidance: 1) water 2) Jeopardy 3) YouTube funnies on our bed 4) visits from Mom and Dad bedside 5) prayers 6) “Will you stay with me till I fall asleep?”—which is both precious and guilt-inducing-- “Cat’s in the Cradle” anyone? 7) blanket retrieval 8) lovey retrieval 9) Storytime 10) deep thoughts and ways my feelings got hurt 6 months ago (a Sarah classic) 11) theological questions for the ages (“Does God poop?”).
“10 dollar founding father without a father…” A lyric from the musical Hamilton in which I became engrossed this summer and subsequently became our around-town driving music. I try to turn down the radio whenever a more colorful word is used, but I’m waiting for someone pick up on and test out one of those colorful terms. Alex and I are going to see the musical on Broadway this coming January and we can’t wait! I want to get the kids “Young, Scrappy, and Hungry” t-shirts (another lyric) and take an obnoxious number of pictures to blast on social media with references to the musical because I’m fun like that. I’m not sure how I escaped the lure of a drama program in my formative years.
9 is the age Jeremiah will turn this coming May which baffles my comprehension greatly. J is in second grade, is an avid plane enthusiast (he took his first commercial flight this year with Dad), is working hard on his reading and decoding words like a champ, and will eat 3 pounds of chips and salsa (his preferred meal) on nights we wait for his sisters to finish ballet class. He is sly, funny, perceptive, and sweet. A boy of hidden talents that surprises us daily. Firstborn love of my mother’s heart.
8 The number of childhood fads that are new or resurrected by the toy manufacturers and Netflix that my girls are mildly obsessed with: My Little Ponies, The Trolls, Care Bears, Shopkins, Frozen (Forever and Ever, Amen), EverAfter High, Secret Life of Pets, and Strawberry Shortcake. I could name at least 10 more, but you would be tempted to call Child Protective Services for all the mind-numbing animation to which we have exposed the children. (We do try to keep the TV off. Sometimes. And read. Or even go outside. Honest.) For all the silly fads that come and go, it’s been a treat to introduce the kids to the original Muppets movies, Hailey Mills classics such as Parent Trap and Summer Magic and The Christmas Story Movie (“You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.”) We read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe this summer and watched the movie. The girls are still making connections to that story.
7 is the age Sarah turns this coming January and her party was planned the second we blew out the candles on her 6th birthday “Barbie and the Rockin’ Royals” cake. Sarah is our cruise director, natural leader and extrovert. She’s the kid glue. As an introvert, it’s funny to navigate a child who just wants to meet everyone and invite them to do things! Sarah is a first grader and is involved with dance, STEAM club, and church choir. When I’m in her school to eat lunch or volunteer, it seems everyone is Sarah’s buddy. Sarah and her sister fight like cats and dogs, but she is also quick to comfort J or Rachel when they are hurt or sad. She has a sensitive spirit and became a baptized believer in Jesus this May. It is a privilege to guide her in faith, one I daily struggle to model well, but strive to make the focus of our family life.
6 The number of times I drive at minimum each weekday on Highway 96, a state road that takes me to the kid’s schools, our favored Chick Fil A, and off-shoots me to Sonic, Dad’s office, church, or Target. I have a hard time not taking this exit any time I’m on the interstate. I’d like a sash and tiara to wear as “Mrs. Highway 96” as I sit perched on the rolled down top of a Mustang convertible to collect my progeny and wave to all the parents in the carpool lane as they scroll on their phones. I think it would add a bit of panache to the whole affair.
5 My baby will be 5 in 2017. FIVE. Rachel is a force of joy. Sassy, mischievous, sharp, and a total Mama’s girl. She’s a clown and has a “I-hate-waking-up-on-your-terms-but-love-my-preschool-once-I’m-there” lifestyle. She will create a booty-shaking performance at the drop of a hat, but to my chagrin, also feels perfectly justified in lashing out at her dear mother during times of discipline with the stinging jab, “You’re a stupid butthead.” I take full responsibility for her believing she is the most beautiful, capable human in existence and ask for your prayers that she does not one day end up as a contestant on ABC’s “The Bachelor”. #MamaTried
4 weeks of the Whole 30 plan. For all my kidding around, I took a month to eat in a very limited diet of protein and vegetables with no processed carbohydrates or milk products. (DAIRY. No dairy!) I did it and liked it and felt great. It taught me some good basic principles for healthy cooking and eating that I’d like to continue to work towards.
3 rooms painted. We are not big DIYers, but took a weekend to paint the girls rooms a “Plie Pink” in keeping with the theme of being new dance students. It turned out beautifully and inspired a Great Fall Throw Out All the Junk in the Closets movement that made me preen just a bit in my homemaking skills.
2 new states visited. We took an extended family road trip this summer with Alex’s Mom, Dad and Grandma to visit the Creation Museum in Kentucky, The Cincinnati Zoo and Waterpark and visit with longtime friends from his Grandma’s childhood in Ohio. The kids did a great job on such a long car ride and really enjoyed all the sights.
1 new member to be added to our extended family. My sister Natalie and her husband James are expecting their first child, a daughter, this coming March. The whole family is buoyed with excitement this Christmas as we visit with the parents-to-be and look forward to this most desired blessing in the Mead family. The kids talk about “Aunt Natie’s baby” almost daily and we are planning to visit the family of three in Texas during the week of Spring Break. There’s so much good in store in 2017!
We sincerely hope you have a joyful Christmas with moments of wonder and peace. Thank you for being in our lives.
Alex, Melissa, Jeremiah, Sarah, and Rachel