Christmas letter

I love going to my mailbox this time of year. Usually it is only filled with junkmail and bills. This month it is filled with friends. Their faces and letters make me smile.
The Christmas letter has always baffled me a bit. I love reading them and getting to catch up on people's lives. But I have never quite known what to see.
Most of these letters seem a bit too polished. I don't mean grammatically.......more like some of the stuff of life has been left out. One of my good friends has always joked about writing a REAL Christmas letter. Starting out with something like, " This year we filed for bankruptcy" or "we managed to stay married for another year" or "my son is failing half of his classes". Imagine the response those would get!
So I will attempt a REAL letter. Some of the highlights as well as some of the lows. My tendency is to be super wordy.....but I'll do my best to keep it to a reasonable length.

When I reflect on the first thoughts are of our newest addition. Tess. Or according to Owen, Owen's Tess. Our year began in January with 2 suprising pink lines ( a positive pregnancy test). Yes we were going to start trying for baby #2... but were aiming for late Spring. Tess apparently was impatient even before conception. Owen had mixed emotions about having a sibling and mom-to-be threw up a lot. In the doctor's office sometime in May, the sonographer announced that it was a girl ( or maybe a boy, well...probably a girl). Owen threw himself on the floor and shouted "no baby sister". Despite his initial reluctance she warmed on him ... even before her arrival. A few weeks before she was born, Owen decorated my belly with Star Wars stickers ( dozens of them). Just the other day, he told me Tess could be Princess Lea. Owen loves his sister and is always asking to hold her. So far he has only dropped her on her head once.

Tess arrived on September 25 and has taught me that me and Shaun are not the parents we thought we were. Owen was pretty easy. We kind of knew that, but mostly we thought we were just really good at it. He slept through the night early and was so content because of things we had done. Tess blew that theory out of the water. We could tell even at the hospital. Don't get me wrong, she isn't extra difficult. She is probably normal. But normal is really hard. She hates to be set down and is already very opinionated. She is creeping up on 3 months and still isn't even thinking about sleeping through the night. But she smiles big and coos cutely and smells so good, and I kind of savor holding her all the time.

Owen is 3 learning new stuff every day. He's got his letters, numbers, colors, shapes and all that preschool-y stuff down. He has mastered the tricycle and even knows a little Spanish. He also has learned a few new words such as shit, damnit and the latest new phrase "what the hell?". Not only does he look and sound exactly like his dad but he has also developed his dad's love for Star Wars and legos.

We took 2 great vacations this year. One to Colorado where the fishing stank, but the bears abounded. While we were there we made the trek to the Great Sand Dunes. These were amazing. While driving up we saw a few cute dunes with large towering brown mountains behind. Driving a little closer we realized that the large brown mountains were actually the dunes. We were amazed and dazzled, until we got out of the car and were sandblasted beyond recognition. I was cleaning sand out of my teeth for weeks. We also hit the beach with my family. Owen played with his cousins and ran and out of the waves until he was silly. Dad suffered from second degree burns. Not only did we travel to the mountains and the beach but we also made many trips to the involving a 2night stay and another ending with a few staples in Owen's head.

In addition to our trips (and Tess) some of the other highlights of the year were: Owen watching ( and re-enacting) the Olympics, many summer days at the pool ( even if I did have to wear a maternity bathing suit), some good weekends at the lake, watching Owen with his sister and if you asked Shaun he would throw in the Texas Tech 10-1 season.
The lows would have to include the great flea infestation of June, ending our every-other week cleaning service, the plumbing incident that costs us a few grand and split our driveway down the middle, my November paycheck of 4$ ( teacher maternity leave stinks) and once again if you asked Shaun the Tech - OU game.

Overall it was a good year. A new baby, a new tattoo and we recently re-enstated the cleaning service. We hope the new year brings in lots of needed rest, that I can fit into my skinny jeans again and to go an entire week with out one of my kiddos getting sick. So I wish anyone reading those same things. A healthy and restful new year ( in skinny jeans).