Monday, December 28, 2015

Truth, Lies, and Christmas Letters

I wrote a Christmas letter this year! I hadn't done it in a really long time; usually I can barely get a photo card out before Christmas, but this year I managed to pull an actual letter together with words and sentences and pictures and stuff.  
Deciding what to include was hard.  The super-perfect letters make me gag a little:

 "We built another orphanage and then took our whole extended family to Disneyland after hearing Johnny's valedictorian speech. Susie even flew the plane we chartered!" 

um. I mean. I'm so happy for them. yay.

But then really, who's going to include a bunch of bad stuff in a Christmas letter? 

"Merry Christmas! We've finally started to recover after our job losses and bankruptcy and our power stayed on all year!"

I totally could have gone all bare bones end-of-the-year-I-can't-take-it-anymore: 

"Merry Christmas! Here's what my year looked like...wait...Luke, get back in your chair.
Get back in your chair. Get back in your chair. Get back in your chair.
Get back in your chair. Get back in your chair. Get back in your chair. Get back in your chair.
Get back in your chair.
Get back in your chair.Get back in your chair.Get back in your chair.Get back in your chair.Get back in your chair.Get back in your chair.Get back in your chair.Get back in your chair.Get back in your chair.Get back in your chair.
Get back in your chair.Get back in your chair.Get back in your chair.
Get back in your chair.Get back in your chair.
I have a four year old. Hope your year had a broader flipping vocabulary than mine!
Get back in your chair.
Love, What's-left-of-Katie. (That's my name now, not a question, zip it.)"

Initially, I included a story about how people try to sell weed to my daughter on the light rail but my husband made me delete it. True, but not super Christmassy I guess. Honestly, I've always wanted to fill a letter with hilarious lies because it would be just that- hilarious- but I decided that was too sarcaaaaaaaastic and I couldn't go through with it. (But we found Big Foot! He's really nice- very handy with a saw- but he's quite misunderstood.)
After not really that dramatic of a process, here's the final draft. I don't blog as much as I'd like, but to all of you who pop in and read my NLT's from time to time, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Greetings Friends and Family! We haven’t written a Christmas letter in ages. Like many, we find ourselves in that end of the year quandary: some of 2015 was wonderful and full of accomplishment! And to some of 2015, we won’t hesitate to let the door do its thing on the way out. :) 
Anna graduated from high school this past May. She’s now attending a local Catholic university and has adjusted to college. (Yes, that means she’s already changed her major once.)  You know all those horror stories about kids with huge scholarships who slack off and lose said scholarships after their first semester? So not her! We’re very proud of her. She even landed herself as the chair of an undergrad community outreach institute at school. Her room is still an ever-loving disaster. Having conquered two major knee surgeries this year, she enjoys making up shark and bear attack stories for strangers on the light rail when they ask about her scars.

Jack just turned 16! Seems like yesterday he was this sweet boy obsessed with Mario Brothers and Star Wars. (Also, that was literally yesterday.) Jack is in 10th grade and is working toward his Eagle with Boy Scouts. He was the Senior Patrol Leader for much of this year and did a lot of organizing and behind-the-scenes work. He is totally dedicated to the drum line with his high school marching band, and they won 2nd place in the state this year. His grades are great, and I’d like to send a copy of his report card to his crabby old Kindergarten teacher who always gave him frownie faces for only coloring with orange. He’s still allergic to milk, but I guess you can’t have it all.

        How do you solve a problem like Sophia? (Sing it, So-fee-ahhh?) Even if there was one, she’d solve it herself anyway. Sophia loves basketball and running cross country and being on student council and singing with the church choir and playing violin and might want to take up the drums. (help) I’m fairly certain she could balance the federal budget, assuming that things like closing the refrigerator door or hanging up your towel are not prerequisites. She is a fantastic kid, and I never have to check her homework.  Also she’s TWELVE. For just a second recently, I thought I saw a glimmer of “teenage” behind her eyes, threatening to emerge, and I thought, “No! Not you, too!!” 
It’ll be okay. (Repeat as needed.)
      Luke is four and will be five in a couple of months. He loves preschool and finally learned to swim this past summer. He is looking forward to starting Kindergarten in the fall, and asks if it’s tomorrow yet all the time. While he’s in a great hurry to grow up, the rest of us wish he could stay little a while longer.  He keeps us laughing for sure.  We do our best to keep him VERY busy, because a bored Luke takes a verrrry long time to clean up after. The grocery clerk still asks if we ever got the sharpie stains out of the leather couch, and no. No we didn’t.   

      Jason is nearing five years with his company and loves his work. We are grateful for the blessing it is. As our youngest heads off to school full time this year (again), I’ll be in re-invention mode (again). Jason and I celebrated our 20th anniversary this year! While that sometimes often means emergency room trips, doctors, orthodontists, last minute science projects, never-ending dishes and laundry, flat tires, concerts and track meets that never fail to land on the same day and more, we are incredibly grateful for our kids, for each other, and for the gift of laughter. We pray for all of you, that you persevere with God’s grace in all triumphs and struggles, and for peace and gratitude in our families and communities. May the Christmas season and the promise of a new year bring you joy!