Monday, January 4, 2010

Our "Real" Christmas Letter

Anyone else roll their eyes a bit when you receive those flowery Christmas letters, detailing children's accomplishments, world travels, and marathons completed? Don't get me wrong, if I ever complete a marathon, trust me I will be sending a Christmas letter to everyone I've ever met telling them all about it! :) But everyone has struggles, goals left unmet, and more of us than not have just average children (still worthy of praise and pride, however!). So here is what my real, honest, transparent Christmas letter would be if I were to ever be on top of things enough to send one. Enjoy!

Dear Friends and Family,

Well it is January 4th, 2010, and not only am I just now getting around to writing a Christmas letter (even an end-of-the-year-letter would be tardy at this point!), but I also went to the post office to mail my very last Christmas present today. Procrastination and perpetual late-ness remain huge character flaws of mine, ones that I don't see changing anytime soon. Regardless, we actually had a really good year in 2009. A little about each of us:

Buck: Patience of a saint, and puts up with waaaaay more from me than I do from him. I will wax on about how wonderful he is! He did accomplish a lot this year, personally and professionally. He managed to keep his great job in this tenuous economic environment, sacrficing in order to not lose a single employee (or cut salaries) at their company. He and his partners at Foster Group are quite an inspiring team. We are definitely looking forward to stronger economic times this year! He completed the Des Moines Dam-to-Dam run in June and the DM half-marathon in October (not going to brag about myself but have to do it about someone in our family!) He spent most of his Sunday afternoons in December building a giant stage for our basement with his Dad, that was the kids' big Christmas present. It is totally awesome!

Mr. Max: 7 going on 30. Already knows where he's going to college (Drake...DUH!), wants to be a chef and move to Arkansas (where we spent our family vacation this year...because they don't have tornadoes there). Lost his two front teeth right before Christmas and will roll his eyes at you if you say "did you ask Santa for your two front teeth?". This kid is the most amazing big brother to his 3 younger siblings. Thoughtful and kind, but will do just about anything to get out of picking up around the house (seriously...he offered me 5 bucks one time!).

Charlie-Man: Oh, our sweet 5-year-old. Smart and yes, manipulative, will do just about anything to get out of going to school. He will start kindergarten this September and is the polar opposite of Max in this area...doesn't want to go to school, doesn't want to play soccer, just wants to be HOME (he's his Mama's boy!). He loves tae-kwon-do, though, and is enjoying his hip hop dance class because of the costume he gets to wear for the "big show". Chars is also quite the talented drummer, and will keep us all giggling at bedtime with his prayers and songs in funny voices.

Zo-Zo: This precious girl is a month away from turning 4. With her new pink glasses and "crazy hair" she is sure to melt your heart with just one smile. Zoe is goofy and smart, learning her letters and already a pro at colors. Dance class suits her very well, and we are going to be adding gymnastics just to help her get some of that energy out! After I made a big "boo boo" with her hair (novice mom of daughter with African hair! Guilt galore!), she is patient and for the most part forgiving when I have to comb through it every day. She loves dresses and wrestling with her brothers and I can't tell you how many times I day I have to say "Zoe, please let go of Tate!" Such a great sister for all these boys!

Tater-Bug: Our sweet baby turned 1 in November, and is content to continue being a baby. We are naughty and still rock him to sleep, even when every sleep book you pick up says that is a big no-no. Buck and I both are treasuring these baby moments. Tate has taken several tentative steps and is getting closer and closer to being a full-fledged walker. He needs to be where the action is, and has already figured out how to get up and down stairs so he can find whichever brother or sister will let him play! He has a ready smile (even when he was miserable before the blessed ear tubes were placed!) and is overall a wonderful little guy, such a joyful addition to our family.

And me: Well, it's been a rollercoaster of a year. I had no idea last January where I would be right now, and I'm happy that I'm happy where I'm at! Does that make sense? Starting a midwifery practice is a tricky thing. We (my business partner Lori and I...I always say "business" partner because just saying "partner" sounds a know...) :) had a great set-up...our own business, great supporting physicians backing us up, a growing list of clients coming just from word-of-mouth. But leaving a 6-year-old, 4-year-old (at the time), 3-year-old and less than 2-month-old is tough stuff. Having a couple of completely sleepless nights and then being up all day with said children is not as easy as it sounds...and I'm no spring chicken anymore! This almost-mid-30's thing is definitely taking a toll, mostly on my need for sleep! So...very long story short, we are closing our "new" midwifery practice. Purely out of choice, and we are so grateful for the opportunities we have had, the births we've been part of, and most of all, the clients who have allowed us the honor of caring for them (well, for the most part!). ha!

I will be a mostly stay-at-home-mom (Lord help me! Seriously!), keeping a PRN (like a substitute) position at the perinatologists' office where I've helped out for the past 2 years. Our practice will continue through the end of May, until all of our current patients have delivered and had their postpartum visits. After that, I am looking forward to what is next...or not...whatever the case may be.

I'm still fighting my stupid migraines. Stupid family history! I'm pretty much single-handedly keeping the makers of Imitrex and Treximet in business. You're welcome. I've tried it all, and pretty much the only thing that works on a long-term basis is being pregnant. Which isn't happening. No big baby news in this letter!

Also, my sister got divorced this year. As much as it totally sucked for me, my kids and my mom, it sucked worse for her and her kids. It was tough. But it also solidified my knowledge that being married is a lot of hard work and committment...not making that effort can really lead to hard and devastating consequences. Buck and I are looking forward to celebrating our 10th anniversary this year, and this is the year that we have been "together" as a couple for longer than we weren't together (the first 16 years of our lives!).

Overall, I'm thrilled looking back on 2009. Believe it or not, we made it the whole year without a trip to the ER. As soon as I write that, lightning will strike and I will be posting something from the ER tomorrow night. But still. That's pretty darn good for us. I am in the process of taking off 20 extra pounds of baby-baby-baby weight, and am looking forward to setting some exciting goals for 2010. I'm working on not being so cynical, and definitely not being so critical and opinionated. I love my friends, and I want to keep them! Thanks for reading this "real" Christmas letter, and for letting me be open and transparent with you all, and with myself. I'm truly blessed, and I know it. Thanks be to God!

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