Monday, December 25, 2006

Number Three

I can't believe our 3rd Christmas is here, and almost gone. The fact that I have time to write this tells you something about our day. I left the house once today, to walk across the street and deliver cards to two neighbors. Other than that, we spent the whole day at home.

We slept until 8:00, because Eli slept until 8:00. We ate breakfast. We opened gifts. We played with gifts, which for me, also meant making tomato soup and chicken salad in my new "Magic Bullet". We stayed in our pj's until 1:00! We ate cookies, played music, took pictures, talked with friends and family on the phone, made pumpkin pie. We didn't watch a ball game or even turn on the TV- although we would have if it wasn't broken. I made what is hopefully becoming our traditional Christmas dinner. Crab...this year with french bread, salad, and pesto. Simple, but a treat for us.

Really, I don't even know where the day went, and even now I'm fighting the urge to go DO something, accomplish something. I know how silly that sounds. It's the kind of awkwardness that makes me feel like I'm on the verge of learning something...

Joel and I talked a few days ago about this. Christmas Eve, Christmas, the holidays, family, traditions. It's the kind of thing I thought I would just instinctively figure out by now. And now there are three of us, and this is our third Christmas, and we are learning that this will take more effort, more planning, more deciding than we will accidentally fall into. It causes us to ask bigger questions and wrestle with tougher answers because we don't want to "play" Christmas. But somewhere, there are traditions that will fit us well.

So, we're learning. I think we'll look back on these quieter Christmases and wonder why we felt the urge to make them busier. Although I'm sure those will be sweet too. Some of the joys of Christmas number three...

  • Our cheesy crackling logs fireplace cd, playing on Joel's laptop.
  • Watching the Charlie Brown Christmas special on the laptop with my husband, tearing up as Linus shares the true meaning of Christmas.
  • The Christmas Eve service- the scriptures I heard for the "first" time, the music filling the room both familiar and fresh.
  • Falling asleep at 10:00, 15 minutes into "Elf".
  • Playing on the floor with Eli & Joel- ribbons, puzzles, wrapping paper, toys.
  • Hearing Eli's feet on the hardwood as Joel chased him throughout the house.
  • Not knowing what time it was, and not caring.
  • Crab and butter.
  • Eli's red and white striped pjs and bare feet.
  • Knowing that Donna has two new puppies to take care of.
  • The funniest bath time ever- Eli talked and talked, complete with "Um's", and also checked out his plumbing.
  • Some gracious postman delivering Shane's (our nephew in Georgia) gifts on Christmas Day.
  • Eli becoming a Sufjan fan. He turns on the stereo, presses play, and dances...
  • Wondering briefly, over dinner, what next Christmas will bring.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Adel 2006

We went to visit family in Adel a few weeks ago. It took us a very long time to get there, and I was grumpy and irritable. Yes, I was less patient than a 15 month old, while Joel and Eli calmly accepted every announcement from the flight attendants and pilots. Mechanical issues, delayed paperwork, a burnt out light bulb, weather, not enough fuel, canceled flight, change of planes, delays on the runway, and then, 6 hours later, we finally left St. Louis. We got to Adel. Safely, which was something to be thankful for under the circumstances. (We weren't able to make it to Adel for Cassie's funeral, but the accident was still fresh on everyone's mind.)

We stayed with Steve and Terri in their new home, took some walks around the golf course, ate great southern food, spent time with family and friends, and had a late "Thanksgiving". Joel played some bluegrass at a benefit concert, and fit in 18 holes at Kinderlou Forrest, a nearby pro course. Eli played with Bo, Rachel and Shane, got lots of "sugar" (kisses) from Essie, Aunt Jen, and Aunt Sarah, tried (and liked) sweet tea, black eyed peas, fried okra, dumplings, and field peas. I enjoyed a great dinner and some sweet conversation with a good friend in Atlanta. We shopped a little. One early morning (was it 4:00 am?) Joel and I resorted to "driving" Eli to sleep for the first time since he was born.

All the while, St. Louis was blanketed with ice, snow, and power outages. 5 days flew by. It was a good visit, and good to be home. We left in November, came home on December 4th, and I realized, Christmas is just around the corner!

Eli, Katelyn, Essie, & Jean

Joel and Shane

Shane and Eli

Aunt Sarah, Ethan, Eli, & Melissa

Eli and Rachel

Bo & Eli being boys...

Eli and Aunt Jenn on a walk...

Merry Christmas Cards

Christmas cards. Why is this so overwhelming?

First, I build the project up in my head. The perfect card, the perfect price (affordable), the perfect picture, the perfect list, the perfect place and time to assemble and hand address the cards, the perfect letter to share perfectly fun and poignant stories of our year.

And this is why, every year, they get stuck. Stuck in my head, or in the boxes, or on our computer. (Yes, we actually wrote a letter last year!) All I really want to do is wish people a Merry Christmas.

So this year, we sent them. With labels, not hand addressed. Not signed. Some with crooked pictures, with no letter inside, and they might not even arrive on time.

So what do we have? A cute idea (thank you Tati), a picture of an adorable little boy, a mom who is learning not to wait until the perfect time, a dad who is patient and helpful, cards assembled with care, and a very blessed family wishing people we love a Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


I remember confessing to Hollie on the phone one evening,

"He's getting a tooth already! I love his little gummy smile. I'm afraid he's not going to be as cute when he gets teeth. It's just so pink and perfect that way it is."

She laughed and said I would think his smile was perfect when he gets teeth too.

I'm happy to report, 14 teeth later, that there is nothing cuter than Eli's smile. Every time he walks into the bathroom, or sees Joel or I with toothbrush in hand, you can count on hearing his husky little voice....

"Eeth? Eeth? Eeth?"

"Yes, Eli, you can brush your teeth."

And he eagerly grips his little blue toothbrush, proud and pleased.