It’s Christmas letter time! And a happy holiday to everyone who celebrates other holidays this time of year, although I’ve been living in the suburbs for 10 years now, so I don’t know anyone who celebrates anything else. Diversity isn’t one of our strong suits out here on the cul de sac. We also don’t have charm, large trees, or short commutes, but we do have a Target right down the road, and at this point in my life I’m grateful for cheap diapers within a mile radius.
I was all set this year to send out real cards instead of some lazy-person’s holiday email, but what with the economy and all, I took the money I’d otherwise spend on stamps and cards and sent it to your very favorite charity in your name. I’ve also been notified “wow, you sure have a lot to write in your Christmas letters” so I’ll try to keep it brief, but I’m not making any promises. I figure if you get sick of reading it, just delete it and you don’t even have to worry about wasting paper.
Jason is still working at the same job “drawing pipes”, as Aaron puts it. He did not get a 5-figure bonus, stellar promotion, or new company car. He did get a year of enjoyable work at a company he likes that treats him really well, and you know what? You can’t ask for much more than that, especially these days. In his free time, he’s been running a lot, which worries me because he’s getting to the point where he could just run to a new city and not come back, and at times, it’s got to be tempting. He also continues to churn out any home improvement project I come up with, and has really gotten good at not rolling his eyes when I mention whatever new idea I’ve come up with.
I am not putting in much time “drawing buildings”, as Aaron puts it. Being a contractor in an industry tied directly to the economy doesn’t lend itself to a lot of job security. I’ve gone back to working much more part time, and as a bonus, got to spend the summer hanging out with the kids at the YMCA pool and weaning Aaron off of his terror of water (which is going remarkably well, and after only 293582309 hours of swimming lessons!) I’ve been really lucky to keep marginally steady work, but have (mostly) enjoyed getting to spend more time with the kids, although am chagrined to have to rein in my Target sprees. I’ve been running a lot, too, but whereas Jason runs for health and enjoyment, I run for one reason only, and that’s vanity.
Aaron, age 5, started kindergarten this year! This was highly emotional for mommy for the first 2 weeks. Then mommy just got embarrassed by being on a first name basis with the principal, and annoyed that school is closed a lot more often than daycare ever was. Aaron had what can only be described as a “difficult transition” to kindergarten, and it’s a real crap shoot as to how his day is going to end up. We recently had a week of really great reports about Aaron’s behavior at school, and Jason’s mom remarked “oh, I’m so happy that Aaron seems to have gotten over his hurdles”. Jason noted to his mom “yeah, don’t get too excited. It was only a week ago that he was showing off his penis to the other kids in class”, so that should give you some idea of what we’re dealing with.
If I were writing a personal ad for Aaron, I would include that he likes reading, writing, drawing, crafty stuff, and creating games from whatever he has left after we take his toys away because he’s behaving miserably. Aaron will frequently lose access to the playroom for behavior, but when you turn around 20 minutes later and see him setting up markers and a coffee can to play a game of bowling, you can’t help but be impressed with his creativity. (And lest you think I’m bragging, let me refer you again to the penis-showing incident. And the fact that I can identify his principal’s voice from the words “Mrs. G?”)
Harper has stayed very busy this year. She’s spent most of the year avoiding the potty, fibbing about whether or not there is poo in her diaper, cutting her own bangs in a style that is best described as “avant-garde”, and yelling at everyone. If you were to walk in our house right now, she’d yell at you “HI! What is your name? I’m Harper. I’m two and a half. You need to take your shoes off! Do you like Beauty and the Beast?”, and then she’d probably ask you to sing a few verses of “Gaston”. If you did, she’d interrupt you to demand something else or maybe scream at Aaron for breathing or looking at her or something. People usually remark how much she looks like Jason and acts like me, but I would like it to be known that nowhere in my memory have I walked up to someone and said “Big ups to all my haters!”, the way Harper did recently. I didn’t even know what it meant. Harper’s hobbies also include being sassy, enjoying time outs, and being politely disobedient (as in “Harper, please pick up your toys”, and her response is “No, thank you. You do it. I’m too busy playing”). She will watch TV until her eyes water, or Jason or I feel like we should actually parent, whichever comes first. Everything about her is exuberant and over the top, and sometimes I wonder if she’s actually a 16 year old trapped in the body of a two and a half year old.
Our dogs, Babe and Storm, have spent most of the year being stinky, barking at everyone, and shedding (regardless of season). The shedding is ridiculous. You start vacuuming (and by “you”, I mean “Jason”), and I am not exaggerating that by the time you finish with the downstairs, the place that you started has got clumps of dog hair laying around. I’ve been trying to train the kids to pick it up and throw it away when they see it, but Harper has developed an irrational terror of dog hair, and Aaron’s developed selective memory, so it’s not really working out. (Yet).
As always, we hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, and a great 2009. We’d wish you a peaceful 2009, but we don’t even know what that word means anymore. Thanks to all of you for being part of our lives. Our friends and family are more important to us than anything, and the older we get, the more we realize how blessed we are to have so much of what matters most.