Tuesday, February 25, 2014

2013 in a nutshell. . . our christmas letter

 Merry Christmas!  it’s that time of year again- the one where I think, “I shouldn’t do a Christmas letter this year because maybe they are kind of silly?”  But then I read through all of our old ones (and realize that yes, they are silly), and get carried away by the Ghost of Christmas’ past, who reminds me of all of those little things that I’d have forgotten IF it hadn’t been documented in our good ‘ol Christmas letter.  So I guess you are stuck with us for at least another year.  Plus, there is nothing I like better during the month of December than visiting the mailbox every day and finding your pictures and Christmas letters (hint, hint).  I’m afraid that I sort of send my letters in hopes that I get one from you in return.  So alas, here goes the 2013 version. . .

2013.  This year flew by, just like all the other ones.  We are currently in the last stages of yet another remodel (because who doesn’t love living up to their ankles in dust?)  This adds one more to the number of major remodels Courtney and I have done together.  This time we added about seven feet to the back of the dining room (yeah, whatever you are thinking right now I‘ve probably already heard it), changed the location of the dining room door, fixed/repainted the siding. Replaced the windows along the back of the house, tore out the old unusable chimney and put in a 1916 wood burning cook stove (it’s as cool as it sounds), and are finally finishing the utility room- complete with cabinets for all of our junk.  YEAH!   However crazy you think we are, we are happy with the results and feel like it will make our home work better for us.  We love living in my Grandma and Grandpa’s house and like to think that they sometimes look down at us and are happy with what we’ve accomplished.  I’m sure they get a few good chuckles out of our efforts.  For those of you who didn’t know, my Grandma never saw the inside of the house again after she left, but I was thinking about her the other day and felt as though she was happy we are here.  I know we are!

Courtney and I are keeping busy doing whatever we do.  I’m not sure what it is that I do all the time, but it feels pretty busy!  Courtney and Grandma and Grandpa Jones have gotten the girls involved in the whole show lambs project, which is something I know mostly nothing about (the girls are quick to remind me of that!).  The past few years the girls showed lambs at the state fair along with our local county fair, and have had a lot of fun.  It is fun to watch Courtney get in there with the girls- I have to say that I kind of saw the writing on the wall, but we are the proud owners of a (very) small sheep operation.  Our little four legged friends currently reside at Grandma and Grandpa’s house but the goal is to get them here sometime very soon.   I guess we need a fence?   I told Courtney we should call it “Neverwood Farms”- because I said I ‘never would’ do it.  Yeah, I know.  I’ll just go ahead and add that to my list with all of the other things I said I’d never do.    (Along with the ever popular “My kids will never act like that” and  “My car/car seats will never look like that”.  Been there, done that.)  Now I’ll go ahead and add owning sheep/taking pictures of sheep behinds/taking sheep vacations to the list.  Awesome.

So, lets see. . . life with five children.  I was doing some reading the other day and was informed that being fourteen and female is a disorder that is actually recognized by the American Psychiatric Association.  Physical symptoms of the “fourteen and female syndrome” are said to include slumping in chairs, rolling the eyes, and standing with arms folded across the chest.  Behavioral symptoms include crying, trying on lip gloss, crying, trying on clothes, and crying.  After reading the in’s and out’s of this serious condition, I’m afraid we are seeing some of the early signs in several (four?) of our children.  We remain hopeful that we can get through the next ten (!!!!!) years as pain free as possible.  My research explained that some professors spend whole days talking about this condition in their Introduction to Psychiatry classes, so it is obviously very serious in nature.   Wish us luck please.  Prayers in our behalf are always appreciated.  We are considering the possibility of obtaining honorary doctorates of Psychiatry when we are through.  Heaven knows we will have earned it.

 Ryenne is thirteen, turning 14 in April.  Ryenne has a great sense of humor and can be a lot of fun!  She is still doing ballet, and is on pointe and loves it.  She used to play the flute, but is now playing the piccolo.   ( I think- I’ve never heard her play it because we are really awesome at practicing instruments around here).  She has suddenly gotten very tall and grown up looking.  Eeek!  She has pretty much passed me up in the height department but is convinced she is done growing.  She has suddenly gotten quite interested in friends and members of the opposite-you-know-what.  Darn it.  She had Courtney and I laughing pretty hard in church today after we asked her to switch me places so I could sit by her dad.  She said no because she didn’t want to us to “cuddle in front of everyone”.  When we teased her that if she didn’t move we’d just have to flirt across her lap, she might have rolled her eyes and questioned our understanding of what flirting ‘even is‘.  I guess we’ll have to sign up for lessons, because apparently we have a few things to learn.  (I’ll go ahead and add another thing to my “I’ll never do that” list.  We’ve officially become those parents.  You know, the embarrassing ones.)   

Kate is eleven and is in the sixth grade this year.  She likes the intermediate school and has been playing the clarinet in the band.  She has also been loving soccer.  Last spring, there was not a girls team her age and so she opted to play with the boys.  She played with them again this fall, even though she had been invited to play with a girls team because the boys make her ‘run faster’.   We had to laugh when a boy on an opposing team tried to intimidate her with an “Aren’t you supposed to be playing with the girls?”  and Kate said she almost replied, “I thought I was!”  She did opt to start playing with the girls in the spring and is really excited for soccer to start again.  Kate loves school and reading.  The other day she was tied up in knots because she needed me to edit a report “right now!”  After some questioning, I found out it wasn’t due ‘til the middle of January.  That’s how Kate rolls.  

Emmy turned nine in August and is in the third grade.  She loves her teacher this year and still hopes to be a teacher herself someday.  I can almost always find Emmy ‘teaching school’ somewhere.  She is trying to train Claire and Sam to be model students!  Her little school is complete with recess, reward systems, and high expectations!  Emmy loves anything that sparkles, and LOVES new clothes!  We are often summoned to the garage to get down “the box” of hand-me-downs to find something new to her.  She likes to look just right, and heaven help us all if she doesn’t.  (We can’t wait til prom night!)  Emmy is still taking ballet and I love to watch her leap and twirl around the house.  

Claire.  Oh, Claire.  This girl keeps us on our toes.  Claire turned five in August and because of her late birthday we decided not to send her to kindergarten.  She is a mentor student at the special needs preschool in our county and loves riding the bus to school three times a week.  She gets quite perturbed about her “days off”.  The other day she asked me why she couldn’t go to school every day.  I suggested that the teachers probably thought that she might like to stay home and have fun with her cool mom some days.  She was quiet for a minute and then piped up with, “I do like spending time with you mom, but maybe I could do that after school!”  Claire is somewhat famous for the funny things she comes up with.  Someone at school just informed me that she had been coaxed into doing her “Lord of the Rings/Gollum” impression for all the teachers.  Oh boy.  We never know what is going to come out of her mouth.  Claire started ballet this year, and LOVES it!  She is so excited for us to come watch her in her December review this week and has been counting down the “sleeps” ‘til her big performance.  Claire met with Santa Claus last night and had a serious discussion about getting her very own elf for Christmas.- complete with “pointy ears, please”.

I can’t believe it but Sam is almost 2 ½!  He is so much fun!  Although he can frequently be sighted in his favorite uniform of a pink dress, camouflage pants, and high heels- he is ALL boy!   He is obsessed with tools, and we have to keep an eye out when he finds a hammer.  He received his own little tool set for his birthday and can usually be found next to his daddy with a measuring tape or little drill in hand.  That makes his dad pretty happy!  This fall Courtney was up on the roof shingling and looked up to see Sam walking across the roof to him, blanket in one hand and a snack in the other.  It took three times of getting him off the roof that day before his dad realized he better not leave the ladder up.  (Can I just mention that I was not home that day and kind of had a mini-heart attack when I heard the story.  But yes, I’ll just go ahead and tack that onto my list of things our kids would “never do“.)  All’s well that ends well, right?  Samuel doesn’t say much but has a large repertoire of grunts that he uses to communicate.  He started speech therapy last month, and is starting to verbalize a bit more.  He is very busy, but a happy-go-lucky kid and we love having a little man around the house.

And so, another year has passed and the kids inform me it is only nine “sleeps” ‘til Christmas.  We have yet to put up our tree (that’s on the list tonight!) and as usual, things are not quite how we had planned.  Nevertheless, we are happy and have everything we need.  We can still laugh at all of our imperfections and “I-never-thought-I’d-do-that” moments.    And to top it all off, Courtney wanted me to mention that he looks smokin’ hot in our picture this year.  What more could we want?  We hope this coming year brings peace, love, and laughter your way.  We wish you the very merriest of moments this Christmas season!

Love, The Wood Family
Courtney, Kelly, Ryenne, Kate, Emmy, Claire, and Samuel
(“Wow!  That’s  a lot of kids!”)

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