Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas letter 2005

Following last year’s tradition, this year’s Christmas letter is another collection of little stories and moments from our lives. B., Blaze, Dreamer and I visited my parents in their timeshare in Hilton Head for winter break. We had lots of long relaxing walks on the beach and much fun watching Blaze chase waves and sandpipers, and watching Dreamer learn how to crawl. The big adventure however was flying home with the two girls by myself (B. had flown back a week earlier). I managed to come down with the flu the day before, so the 4 hour plane trip with Dreamer on my lap the whole time was quite a challenge. At one point I was aching so much I had to put Dreamer down. Excited to be free, she crawled up and down the aisle grinning while everyone pointed and laughed as she went by. Even the flight attendants tolerated it, though one of them commented: “do you know how dirty that floor is?” There comes a point when you just don’t care anymore…

This summer the girls had great fun seeing Grandma and Grandpa B. and all the aunts and uncles and cousins in Kansas and South Dakota. Blaze got a little confused and started calling Norb her “Uncle Grandpa.” Stars and her cousin Taryn loved riding the horses, Miss and Rebel, and when it got too hot to ride, they’d come into the house and set up a “jump course” in the living room (laundry baskets, foot stools, pillows, you name it) and then they’d talk me into “judging” their jumping competition. A highchair wasn’t available for Dreamer , so we set her on an overturned pot on a chair and it worked okay for a while till she figured out that she could crawl right up on the table! We caught her a couple times halfway down the table pursuing someone else’s plate.

B. & I have given up trying to get away for our anniversary on the 4th of July – too much going on then! From now we’ve decided to celebrate in the fall instead. Mom and Dad babysat the girls so we could take a weekend trip to Yellowstone in September. It was a bit chilly but a perfect time for viewing golden aspens and snowy mountain scenery, and lots of wildlife. Once we pulled over for a closer look at two bison right beside the road. They passed so close to the car we could have reached out the windows and touched them. Which gave B. the idea that he’d like to pull a bison tail and so could I drive up to the bison again, and then drive away quick before the bison figured out what had happened to him? (I declined).

Hunting season always adds new funny stories to B.'s repertoire (he is great story-teller!) Last year it was all about his cooking at the hunting camp (some disaster involving jalapenos). This year the hunting misadventure involved his poor borrowed horse, who somehow ended up impaled by a branch sticking out of a log. The horse recovered quite well, fortunately, but he’s no longer borrowed – B. felt so bad about his injury, he ended up buying him! My favorite hunting story is from when B. was about 14 or 15, out bow hunting. He hid himself near a pond, and a big old buck came out to drink. He started shooting arrows at the buck, but the animal was such an old pro that he didn’t run away; he just calmly side-stepped each arrow, waiting patiently for the next one to come till B. ran out of arrows. Then B. did a great imitation of the buck shrugging “well, that’s over,” continuing on his way as if nothing had happened at all.

Funny moments with Blaze: at a friend’s birthday party at the city pool, Blaze got so excited when it was time to go swimming that she couldn’t wait to be escorted to the changing room; she started stripping down to change into her swimming suit right in the middle of the party room!

Once when I was leaving for work, I called out as usual to Blaze, “Bye honey, I love you and be careful.” Blaze responded to me, “Bye Mom, I love you too. Be careful and don’t drive too fast.”

Blaze was being too quiet in her room one day, so I peeked in to check on her. She was lying on a blanket on the floor, her hands folded on her chest, looking peacefully asleep. It wasn’t her nap time, so I was curious. “Are you awake, Blaze?” “No,” she replied, without opening her eyes. “I’m playing Sleeping Beauty.”

Our year has been full of fun, especially with our three girls, but there have been times of frustration and discouragement too. I had my usual battle with seasonal depression during the winter, but this year for some reason it went on much longer, well into May. B. has had many struggles with his excavation business, resulting in a decision to sell out and look for another job. It is often easy to lose sight of all our rich blessings when faced with some of these issues. But B. & I try to remind ourselves that there is a greater purpose in these times of trial, for God works all things for the good of those that love Him. We pass our love on to all you, our family & friends, and wish you many blessings this Christmas season – and that we all keep “looking at life through heaven’s eyes” (one of my favorite movie lines).

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