Friday, December 20, 2013

2013 Christmas Letter

I haven't sent out a Christmas card in years. YEARS.

Christmas photo - December 2000

Partly because our life isn't that interesting, but mostly because if I have an extra $50 in December? I'm buying shoes for boys that won't stop growing, or turning off service engine lights on my beloved 17 year old vehicle that needs to last forever. Not buying postage. Sorry friends.

The older I get, the more I can't remember anything that's happened beyond last week, so this year I'm capturing what's going on in 2013 right here where it can be forever and ever. I suck at keeping a journal (my father always warned me to "never put anything in writing"), and my photo a day habit that I had kept up for years fizzled in October of 2012. Consider this letter me trying to do better.

Here goes:


The highlight of her year was spending the summer working (and not working) in California. She had the time of her life being an only child AND getting treated like an adult, living in a household where more than one person eats fruits and vegetables, and oh yeah GETTING A PAYCHECK. I missed her terribly, and although I admit it was refreshing to not hear her constantly scolding her brothers for every perceived infraction all day every day, the overwhelming man to mom ratio she left behind was depressing. Nobody to watch movies with, photoshop with, dance fight with...sigh.

She'll graduate from high school in June, and has decided that she wants to follow her life long passion of video production/editing. The laptop is constantly being hogged, as she works on her various projects, nose to the screen, eyes focused, fingers clicking away. She continues to draw, collage, and just took up making (and selling) My Little Pony clay charm things that surely have a technical name but I'm too lazy to go upstairs and ask. She has my sass, animation, and lack of time management skills, juxtaposed with her father's stubbornness and rigidity leadership qualities and love of perfection. It's a magical, exhausting ride and I've forbidden her from ever leaving and moving out on her own.


I remember when little Brendan was three and we couldn't imagine him ever being five years old. This year he turned FIFTEEN, stands 5'11, 165 pounds, and is a sophomore in high school. He's also hopelessly smitten with his big sister.

We haven't had anymore diaper incidents, but the obsession continues, along with anything Charlie Brown, Blues Clues, or Disney (going on 14 years now...I don't see this one going away anytime soon). He is the only boy in the house that isn't addicted to gaming, although there have been a few times that he's turned on the xbox, loaded the game, chose a profile, and begun playing.

He enjoys singing, drawing, "snuggling in Mommy's bed", jumping on the trampoline, swimming, pretending to swim but really just checking out baby's swim diapers, and forgetting to shut the door when going potty. Many a visitor's daughters have discovered that "boys poop loud."

Educating the youth of America, one bowel movement at a time.


I know you shouldn't label your children, but this one is truly the brains of the family.
Aside from Brendan, all of the kids are either in AP, Honors, or the PACE program, but Jordan literally can remember anything he's even read, seen,'s ridiculous.

He is the funniest teenage boy I've ever met. In this family of dramatic personalities, we somehow managed to squeeze out a serious, non-smiling, do-what-is-right, straight man that can send me into hysterics. The first time my mom caught an episode of Big Bang Theory, she called immediately and let me know that she had seen Jordan on TV.
"That character Sheldon? He sounds JUST like him."

Upon noticing my camera, he offers no smile, just a finger gun...his signature move

He loves using big words, beating his dad at any given video game, setting up web servers to play with his friends online, playing the french horn, telling people they're wrong, trying not to crack a smile when his mother and sister are making faces at him during church, and being Deacon's Quorum President. He's also taught himself piano (because his mother "refuses to discipline herself enough to teach" him) and guitar. When he asked what I wanted for Christmas, I put in my request for a performance of the opening from Guns and Roses Sweet Child of Mine. He figured it out, has been practicing vigilantly, and has informed me that I'll be "quite satisfied" with my gift come December 25. I have no doubt.


Camden started 6th grade which means middle school. It also means getting to be in band. The school lets the kids try out different instruments, figuring out what they are naturally/physically suited for, and this woodwind mama was thrilled when they said he was a natural at the saxophone. He's picked it up like nobody's business, but, also like his mother, is not a natural at wanting to devote time to practicing.

"I'm going to ignore you until you go away."

He is the BEST at cleaning up and organizing, often doing so without being asked. He's also the best at begging to go on games after said chores are completed, and would literally play if he had his way. He is in that awkward 11 year old boy phase, that seems to last for a decade {forever?}, and is not-so-patiently waiting for the impending growth spurt that happened about this time with his two older brothers.

He's been blessed with an entrepreneurial spirit. A few weeks back he was looking to earn some money and decided to knock on doors and ask neighbors if he could rake up their leaves. He came back, hours later, with a sweaty brow, blistered hands, and a pocket full of cash.  He can also now beat anyone in the family at chess.


I am convinced that the good Lord must get a kick out of looking down and watching me squirm.
Just when you think you've had enough children to have experienced every personality type and behavior issue, you get a Hayden and you start back at square one. An unbroken parent that doesn't know anything about anything. Or at least that's what it feels like, because NOTHING WORKS. I touched on this years ago, but as he gets older it's becoming even more true. If that's possible.

Hayden is the sweetest, most thoughtful helper you could ask for. He's an idea man, a free spirit, fiercely independent, and will do anything to assist his favorite brother Brendan. He loves minecraft, scouts, riding his bike, and trying to jump out of moving vehicles/running away from home when he gets mad. A few months ago he had to be dragged back home from around the corner as he screamed "FIRE! THERE'S FIRE!!" repeatedly.
He was hoping to have a neighbor hear him so that they would call the police and he would be put in jail because THAT WOULD BE BETTER THAN LIVING IN OUR HOUSE BECAUSE HE HAS TO DO CHORES.

"Nobody makes you vaccuum in prison."


He's also the designated pizza helper. I give him the exact amount of cash, and he goes inside and brings out the pies. It's a win-win: he feels like an adult, and I don't have to put shoes on.

If it were up to him, we would rescue every kitty on the planet.

Us big kids

We're the same as always. Truly.

I'm still working at Potbelly (5 years and counting...), and although I've been looking for almost a year for something different, I haven't found a dang thing that would challenge me creatively or mentally or at the very least not require wearing a hat and tucking in my shirt.
If you have any ideas for something between the hours of 9-3 on weekdays let me know.

This year I've also managed to make the bed at least twice a week, started teaching music to the Primary kids in church, and gained 10 (15?) pounds. 
I have my suspicions that all those things are somehow related.

Roger is still running his restaurant like a boss (literally), and although we don't get to see him as much as we'd like to {he gets home right before the kids go to bed}, he is enjoying having boys old enough to give him a run for his money playing basketball, football, or Call of Duty. In August we celebrated our 18th Anniversary, and I have no idea how such a neat and tidy man has tolerated almost two decades of my constant projects (read:mess and general state of unfinished-ness). He's still teaching Sunday School, and sometimes will let me make out with him after class. 
Perhaps that shouldn't be mentioned in a Christmas letter? Too late...

We wish you a season of hope, love, and may all your wildest dreams come true.

Merry Christmas!


  1. You will need to tape Guns and Roses and post that! I can't wait to hear it! Love your Christmas news letter!

    1. I'll try to figure out how to sneak a video camera in there somehow...

  2. So incredibly fun getting to know your family!

  3. You've made me feel a little better. I am in a xmas funk after moving house. We have no tree, except for the one made of cards ( that's called desperation) and my 5month old Tadpole is probably not getting anything from Santa, or her parents. ( No, she doesn't care, and wants for nothing, but still!) and there's nothing at all for my hubby either.
    Your xmas letter made me smile. You love those kids so much and seem to enjoy (mostly!) their different personalities. I feel a bit warm and fuzzy, and I kinda needed it today. So thanks. And Merry Christmas.
    (Oh, and Hayden reminds me of my sister, who, when she was little would threaten to call the cops on my mum when mum said she's get a smack, and would often run away!) Gold.

    1. 1. What your husband wants you can give him for free. If you catch my drift. And he'll love it more than anything you could buy at a store. Pinky swear.

      2. If your mum has any tips or tricks to pass along, I'd love them. Yesterday he went out to ride his bike around the block, and his older brother reported that he saw him at the park TWO MILES AWAY, riding circles around the lake. His explanation: "I just wanted to keep going past the stop sign."

      3. Merry Christmas!!

    2. 1. Good point!
      2. She has no tips. You can't fight that independent spirit!
      3. :)

  4. Oh, Rebecca! This made me smile...and laugh :-) Fun to hear how y'all are doing. Merry Christmas!

  5. You are hilarious. Thanks for the 'letter'. And you have no idea how often your wrapping tips have come to mind as I've readied our gifts this year. I keep adding doodads to the packages and they look fab. :0 Merry Christmas!

    1. Doodads are my crack. I'm sure they look awesome! Merry Christmas :)

  6. Best.letter.ever. Wishing you and yours an awesome holida

    1. Exaggerator. I know you still haven't forgiven me for the no decking of the work halls ;)

  7. I have a friend that writes a Christmas newsletter (8 pages, front and back, typed)! She makes getting new windows sound fun! I haven't done a letter in years, it all sounds so boring, but you oh dear, nothing ever sounds boring at your home! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! xoxo

    1. All of this was totally boring, but I pushed through it. People don't have to read it, it's just something to spark my memory and remind me how the "old days" were when my early onset alzheimers kicks in - I know it's coming! I couldn't even MAKE UP 8 pages worth of stories - yowza!!

  8. This was even better than a Christmas card in the mail. Even though I don't personally know your family I have really enjoying following your blog. I didn't send out a card this year either but I think I might try the blog approach you just did. Thanks for the idea!

    1. Do it! It's quicker, and nobody feels obligated to hang it on their fridge :)

  9. Love this! Merry Christmas to you and your family - wishing you loads more craziness and fun in 2014!

  10. What a great Christmas/2013 update. I totally enjoyed reading about your family. Years ago I sent out a letter that I make like a newspaper, with stories and pictures to go with some of them. I had a ball doing it and I think people enjoyed the different format. Wish I had one of them now, but it was saved many computers ago. Maybe I have one somewhere that I'll come across one day.
    This year I was concentrating more on getting things done for my Mom (by the way thanks for your kind comments and wishes on my blog) I wrote up a short letter for her and did all her cards, found gifts for her to give the family and did all the wrapping. She appreciated it so much, but it sure was trying for me. I didn't send out a single card this year. But you know, it was sure worth it for her to be happy.
    Many blessings to you in 2014 and I hope your Christmas was merry and bright.

    1. Your mother is blessed to have such a fantastic daughter!

  11. I actually had my cards printed and everything but we were hit with a flu right when I needed to get them in the mail, ugh. So close. I really like the blog letter idea. I have considered deleting my blog (that I don't even read anymore) but I can't bring myself to do it since it is the closest thing I do to journaling and even if it's only once a year at least it's something, right? Anyway, I wanted to say that I'm not sure how obsessed your son is with Blues Clues but I happen to have a Blues dog and Blues Clues backpack in my donate pile as I type. If he would like it, I would love to send it your way.

    1. Nooooo! I mean YES he would love it, but as I am on a roll with the Operation Get Rid of Stuff purge-fest, I will politely decline. So far we've gotten rid of four huge lawn/garden trash bags FULL of clothes, toys, and books, and I can't sabotage my progress :) Sounds like you've got the same thing going on in your house...

      (thank you so much for the offer though!!)

  12. hahaha, I totally understand! Purge-a-palooza over here! First step, into the garage where they can't see it, the donation station! woot! Good luck to both of us

  13. I LOVE this!!! I seriously wanna hang out at your house for a weekend.


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