Dash—in the moving quickly sense of the word, not the hitting things forcefully sense of the word—pretty much sums it up for our family of four. Each weekday, we dash: Husband to a job he finds interesting and challenging, me to a job that helps me afford my writing habit and still get lots of time with the kids, and Daughter and Son to 1st and 3rd grade where they are greeted by teachers, friends, and a loving community we’ve come to treasure. On the weekends, we dash: to soccer fields, birthday parties, and grocery stores. Most of the time it feels like just the right amount of frenzy. We try to keep enough white space on the calendar to keep life in the fun rather than frantic category. Sometimes we mess up the balance, but we are learning to get it right more often than not.*
*This claim excludes September (start of school), November and December (the 60-day vortex that sucks in our good intentions to have this be the year we stop the madness), and June (end of school). The other eight months, this is totally sort of true.
Third Grader in Field Trip Car: Can we listen to Taylor Swift?
Field Trip Driver: Is that okay with everyone?
Most Third Graders in Car: Yes!
Son: I don’t know Taylor Swift. Do you have any Screaming Trees or Beastie Boys?*
* This moment sponsored by Husband’s music collection:
Because a holiday letter isn’t really a holiday letter until you brag about your children, it is now time for us to transition to the written equivalent of strutting like proud horses. Bear with us, or skip to the next section. Your choice. Still here? Excellent. Our kids are awesome! Truly. Sure, our kids may not run faster or jump farther than your kids. We know this because we survived track season—a series of three-hour meets in which children run in 30 (yours) or 40 (mine) second increments separated by two hours during which they spend five minutes seeing how far they can jump or throw a ball and the other 115 minutes listening to us talk about the merits of an 8th place ribbon. But, regardless of their (lack of) speed, we still think they are pretty great. They are curious, kind, and just the right amount of mischievous. Plus, they both know how to use the word literally correctly. You’re welcome.
Daughter: Once, when I was younger, I knew exactly what I wanted my husband to look like.
Me: You did?
Daughter: Yep. And, one day I saw him walking in Downtown Seattle … but he was walking with a woman and I was like, “Hey! That lady took my husband!”
Once upon a time, our house was kept in a guest-ready state at all times. The mantel was dusted, the kitchen sink freshly scrubbed, and the hand towel in the bathroom free of toothpaste swipes. That is no longer the case. The kids have noticed the ebbs and flows in our cleaning standards. Daughter recently hollered from the dining room, “Are our floors clean enough for the five second rule today?”
Embracing the what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger theory, I did what any good mother would do and hollered back, “Sure!”
Husband’s parents celebrated their 50th anniversary this year. It was a joy to gather with friends and family to honor them. We also enjoyed a spectacular family trip with them to Maui; it was the most relaxing and luxurious vacation we’ve ever had. We’re hoping they think 51 years is worth celebrating in the same way. We celebrated our 11th anniversary wearing boots on our second segment of Mt. Rainier’s Wonderland Trail. We have completed 60 miles of the 90-mile trail. We are excited to submit our permit for the final segment next year.
We squeezed in a few weekend adventures during camping season, and one epic road trip during summer vacation. Spoiler alert: We finished our journey with the same number of people we started with and the only thing we ate that tasted like chicken was … chicken. Our summer road trip took us to three National Parks: Rocky Mountain, Mesa Verde, and Arches. We saw my cousin and Husband’s grandmother and aunt along the way. We soaked up the sun, hiked many trails, raced down water slides, attended a cowboy cookout, road on a steam train, floated a lazy river, and begged librarians in small towns to lend us books based on our promises to mail them back when we returned home.
We hope your holidays are very merry. Not the your-nose-turns-red-like-Rudolph’s-while-you-get-blitzed-at-the-company-party kind of merry. The real kind of merry. The kind of merry that happens when you look around at the life you’re living and feel overwhelming gratitude for the people in it. The kind of merry where your spirits are lifted because you spend a little time lifting the spirits of others. That is the kind of merry our family wishes for yours.
Need to find us? No need for a red nose in the fog—just email us. You can also see our smiles, and the children we use to block the camera’s view of our bellies, on the book of faces.