2004 has brought us darling new little girl, Dreamer (her nickname), who is nearly seven months old already. Blaze is 3 years old now, and she adores her baby sister. It has been an interesting and challenging year with Blaze, learning to talk (and talk back!), discovering Barbies (oh woe is me), potty-training and all sorts of other adventures. Instead of writing a traditional Christmas letter, I thought this year I would try something new, and share a few “vignettes” from the past year.
Stars spent Easter with us this year – sent her and Blaze on a treasure hunt all over the house to find eggs, each egg with a clue about where the next egg was hidden, with their easter baskets as the grand finale. After Stars left to go back home, we’d ask Blaze where Stars went, and she’d say, "up in the airplane." We think she thinks Stars is permanently up there, just flying around, until it’s time for her to come down and visit again.
Mom and Dad’s favorite restaurant in Laramie is called Elmer Lovejoy’s and it’s down by the railroad tracks: we love watching the trains go by while we eat (Blaze especially loves the chu chus). We are also fascinated by one server who works there, who has Viking runes tattooed on her back. One evening we saw a train go by carrying hundreds of army tanks, a grim reminder that we are at war.
My grandmother, Alfaretta Smith, celebrated her 100th birthday this year in March. I’m so thankful I was able to make it to her gala birthday party. At first she didn’t recognize me because I was six months pregnant! She passed away in May, just a couple weeks before Dreamer was born. I will always treasure memories of her reading me fairy tales, and dancing with me with silken scarves swirling around us. “Grandma, are fairies real?” “Of course they are.” She was so firm about this that to this day I still kind of believe it, myself.
Stars is 9 years old now and is no longer interested in playing with her Barbies, so this summer she gave them all to Blaze. She likes to make beds for them with the washcloths in our bathroom vanity and tuck them away in the drawers and under the sink. One afternoon I heard her heard her sigh, oh so romantically, and exclaim “Oh where are you, my son Barbie?” Her son?
B.'s Dad, Norb, stayed with us for a couple weeks this fall, helping us remodel our bathroom. To avoid confusion between two Grandpas, I told Blaze to call him “Grandpa B.” Except one time she called him Grandpa Beer by accident (or on purpose? He does like to relax in the evenings with a bottle of beer in hand!)
Went down to the county treasurer’s office to get B.’s truck registered, and noticed that there was a nun working in the office, dressed in a black habit, complete with a white wimple. Well isn’t that neat, I thought, a nun working at the office and she still dresses the old-fashioned way. Then I saw another nun come out from a back room, and then another one down the hall. Boy did I feel silly. It was the Friday right before Halloween.
At church one Sunday I was proudly holding my beautiful little baby girl, all dressed up in pink and frills with rosy cheeks, as cute as cute can be. And then right when the pastor paused during his sermon, Dreamer let out a belch that only her Daddy could be proud of. Everyone turned and stared at us, and I never felt so red and embarrassed in my life!
On a cold, snowy day in November I let Blaze go outside in the backyard to play, all bundled up in her winter clothes. Distracted for a minute (Dreamer had just spit up all over herself), the next thing I know is that my father-in-law is calling to me, “your daughter’s running around outside naked.” She had found her little wading pool in the backyard, and a watering can with water that hadn’t frozen yet, so she dumped the water in her pool and proceeded to strip down to go swimming.
Thanksgiving day – 27 members of B.’s family all crammed in one house. We spent the evening doing what every family should do on the holidays – killing each other in a friendly game of “Mafia”. Whoever draws aces get to be the mafia, jacks are cops, everyone else just plays along, hoping not to get killed before they discover who the killers are. Some creative deaths in this round: 7 year old Briana was licked to death by puppies; 15 year old Danielle was killed by a barrage of basketballs after a basketball game; Navy seaman Nathan was hung off his ship and drowned; I was killed by my horse; B. was knocked into a hole he had dug, and buried in dirt with his own excavator!