MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM COLORADO As I put pen to paper to write our family Christmas letter, it is November and we are all sitting around the fire. The kids are all tearing through cookbooks, trying to find the recipe that will help them win The Big Family Christmas Bake Off, Daniel is quietly reading a leadership book and Joseph is asleep in his tiny bed. Let’s start with little Joseph Alec (3). What is Joseph up to these days? Let’s just put it this way, he is learning to obey (aren’t we all). He is often heard lamenting, “But, MOM,” when he is told to do something that wasn’t a part of his plan. Joseph is an early riser and sits with his Dad in the living room at 6 a.m., enjoying his morning “toffee.” Since Daniel is a coffee connoisseur himself, he takes great pride in teaching this little boy about the way to make and enjoy a good cup of Joe. I expect to walk out one day and find Joseph in slippers and a “morning coat,” reading The New York Times. When we ask Joseph whether he is a baby, little boy or big boy, he always answers with a cheeky smile, “I’m a man- Grrr!” Joseph seems to relish life in a big family and has the charisma of a politician- oh dear! Next is our soft spoken Hannah Laurie (5), who pulls on her bangs when she is upset, helping us take care of her little heart. Hannah is imaginative and often can be found cutting paper into money, writing elaborate prescriptions for patients and creating little booklets with rows of letters that read “lakjsd;lfkajsdkfajsd;kj” but in her little mind say, “Once upon a time, in the land of Campton.” Hannah loves “cwafts,” so her strict school schedule this year reads like this: Math, Language, Crafts. Hannah loves to dance and, for her age, interprets the mood of music like the very best Flamenco dancers. Hannah scratches her Dad’s back for treats and loves to take walks with her Mom, finding pinecones and pretty leaves. Our pronoun queen makes us chuckle and can often be heard throughout the house, “I took he book,” “He not do he job,” etc. Oh well, who cares about pronoun misuse at age five. Hannah loves bright, feminine clothing and makes us smile when she walks with big swinging strides, looking down at her pretty outfit. I took the two girls shopping for outfits yesterday. Every time I asked Hannah to choose between two colors, without fail, she chose the vibrant, show stopping colors and textures. Sadly, I told her we needed to pass on the purple leopard print sweater, because we could only get two outfits. I might need to pick it up for Hannah for Christmas. Shhhh…
Caetlin Grace (7) has all the emotion of one hundred hormonal women in Hobby Lobby, sparring for the last pink, glitter bow. Ok, I enjoyed that metaphor a little too much but, seriously folks, this is one passionate girl. Everything is giggles and excitement or tragedy and devastation. An apt comparison would be the verbose and dramatic Anne of Green Gables. All humor aside, Caetlin is our most tender, compassionate child. She can be found helping Joseph walk in after a small injury, as if he just survived a full length tumble down The Incline (an 2600+ step climb in Colorado Springs). Her sweet compassion extends to our neighbors, as she calls out in a serious and tragic voice, “MOMMY! I saw a sign- ANOTHER missing dog!” Caetlin loves to listen to stories and is a natural student, enjoying her moments of scholastic superiority over a couple of her brothers a little too much . Elias William (9) is Elias. That is the best description. He is observant, gifted, intense and unconventional. Who does that sound like? Elias doesn’t like the type of school where you have to sit down and do it yourself quietly. However, when Daniel handed him our new grill still in the box this summer and said, “Go ahead, put it together,” Elias’ eyes lit up like Christmas morning and in two hours we had a beautifully built grill. Elias often finds old buzzers from games or electrical appliances that have died and asks with excitement, “Can I have this, open it up and see how it works?” You can almost hear the sound of digital processing happening when Elias moves his eyes back and forth, scanning the innards of his latest electrical component. Elias usually come across like Data from Star Trek, The Next Generation- detailed, in control, smart as a whip, nothing gets to him, etc. But, truth be told, he has a very tender side, soaks up hugs and affection and loves to be given a “hands on” challenge. We are thrilled to say that the cyst in our Elias’ arm is completely healed and he is able to run and play again, as young boys should. Isaak Daniel (10) is our big hearted , robust boy. He laughs loud, laments loud and plays hard. Isaak is a unique combination of sensitive, intuitive and “all boy” that will woo a girl’s heart someday. When I read this to the boys, Joab began ribbing him, “You sly dog.” Oh my goodness, the teenage/brother years are just around the corner. In one instant, Isaak will paint a picture of the mountains and attach a note that says, “I love you so much, Mom.” The very next moment, he can be found tackling his brothers in a game of rugby, making a sickening smack as he takes them down. This morning alone, Elias came in to give me the warning, “MOM! The boys are wrestling like GRIZZLY BEARS.” It kind of goes along with
having sons, eh? I’m not looking forward to breaking up big boy fights, let me tell you; although, I have a feeling all I will need to do is give them my silent but deadly, Mom Will Not Put Up With One More Thing Look. Isaak has a strong sense of justice and will let everyone know his verdicts, using vigilante force if necessary. We need to channel that God given energy into outreach to the mistreated. I affectionately call Isaak my “Big Bear” or “Buffalo.” He has that cuddly but forceful quality. Joab Harrison (12) is that middle school age, where boys are more into Star Wars than fashion. The other day, Joab tried to wear black socks and summer flip flops out of the house. Now, that might be hip in Japan but here it screams something else. Juliette and I can only ignore so much before we insist on intervening. Typical conversation, Me: “Joab: I think you are size 18 in jeans now.” Joab: “No, these 16s fit great!” Oh my, the folks from the 1800s would frown on all that ankle showing. I looked at Joab last night and suddenly saw that my gentle baby boy, who couldn’t stay warm and loved to sleep had grown into a young man <Insert mother’s misty eyes here>. There is something profound about helping your children grow into adults but also knowing you will someday miss them so much you won’t be able to put words to it. Joab throws himself around the house, as if he still sees himself as a puppy. Let me tell you, there is nothing puppy about middle school boys. Joab is into James Bond, movie making and great stories. We are in the middle of The Horse and His Boy right now. An endearing part of this in between age- Joab still lets us call him “Tiggy” and secretly still likes hugs. And, last but not least, the lovely Juliette Holly (14)… Juliette is all cowgirl. She loves boots, Taylor Swift, southern twangs and the easy culture of country living (with a little city zest thrown in). Juliette constantly makes us laugh with her beautiful, full on, head thrown back style of laughter or the way she slaps her knee and gives us a toothy grin when we make a dumb joke. She is comical, sweet and, also, serious. Juliette is very diligent with school and we actually have to tell her to “stand down” sometimes, as she can work herself up about getting behind. This year, Juliette is volunteering in the mother baby department of the hospital. Juliette is black and white and doesn’t have an ounce of romantic in her. Every day when I remind her to read the next few chapters of her literature book, Gone with the Wind, she rolls her eyes and says, “Basically, Scarlett spends her whole life loving a man who doesn’t love her. WHAT a complete waste of time.” What a fun, wonderful age teenage-hood is. Lol. She is incredibly practical and blunt but also tenderly doesn’t like to go to sleep without having me tuck her into bed. Underneath it all, she is all mush and loves to please us! Well, our vote is a big thumbs up! What a sweetheart.
We were just commenting last night about how we are doing better than ever. We have more peace, joy, are doing what we love, etc. That isnâ€™t to say life is without its challenges, that Daniel and I donâ€™t have impassioned lovers arguments sometimes or that there are days that we wonder about how many more kid disagreements we can bear before we go bald but we feel the peace of God in our lives. Daniel loves his job and finds that it is an incredible fit with his personality and passions. I love what I am doing- mothering, writing, painting, etc. We feel passionately about caring for people around us who are struggling or are broken. If you are in a tough place this Christmas, will you let us know, so that we can pray and just be there for you? We hope you have laughter and hope filling your Christmas! With Joy and Thankfulness, Laurie For Laurie and Daniel