The Year In Review
A note from Molly
Well, no one has ever accused me of being on top of things. Last year I did not send out Christmas cards because we were in the thick of our first round of the trial for Wave's adoption. It just felt a little too tragic when it seemed so unlikely that we would win. This year, I really looked forward to sending out Christmas cards. I made sure to agonize over picking the right pictures and the format and everything. I even got them out before Christmas (a major bonus in my book!). The problem was that I pretty much only got through my address book which was last updated in 2007. So if we have become friends in the past two years, my apologies! Your Christmas card will reach you sometime between now and Valentine's Day. Just when you are sure to want it the most I know! I did not write a letter -- just a little Costco photo center number, but between the letters we received and the start of a brand new year, I have been reflecting over the past 12 months. Since all that I usually post is life as it pertains to Wave, I thought I would post some highs and lows from the last year. A Christmas letter via blog if you will.
Some Things Changed
Well, in our case almost everything changed! We were living a different life last January! Matt was working for a company that built houses in Southern Johnson County. After 5+ years in that position he switched gears completely and in June started working for an organization in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Kansas City focusing on revitalizing and giving new life to a forgotten and oppressed part of our city. Through leadership programs and Bible studies for kids from kindergarten through high school, a new medical clinic, and an upcoming charter school, this organization is something that we believe in with the whole heart of our family. We are so excited that Matt has the opportunity to be a part of this ministry, and our minds and hearts are really changing as we are starting to understand what a tremendous obligation we all have to those among us who live in poverty.
For a variety of financial reasons we decided that I would look for part time work. While I desire most of all to be at home with our girls, some seasons are going to allow me to do that exclusively and some are not. We tried to brainstorm situations where I could work really early or really late to be with the girlies as much as possible and to put as minimal a load on our family as possible (who kindly, graciously, and lovingly watch the girls for us when we can't). This was challenging! The solution turned out to be working for Starbucks mostly from the hours of 5 AM to 11 AM four days a week. This is working really well for us. I love the people I work with and enjoy a lot of the customers. While it isn't my dream job, it seems like an American rite of passage! Call me if you need a pound of coffee! I'll put you on the rotation.
Our kids are huge. Harper turned three in late July. Her vocabulary, stream of conscienceness, and make believe play are a force to be reckoned with. She traded in her crib for a pink bed that she sprawls out in like a teenage boy, cashed in her diapers for big girl undies, and has come into her own fashion sense. Harper will argue with you that princesses do not wear jeans. She would be much happier if I agreed with her that elaborate princess outfits complete with wings, more than one tutu, plastic high heels, and a flashing strobe light ring were appropriate attire for the grocery store and preschool.
This Christmas she was into both Santa and the Christmas story. On Christmas Eve we read the account of Jesus' birthday and had a birthday cake for Him. Then we left out cookies and milk for Santa. Harper has never gone to bed as fast as she did that night after being told Santa only comes when you are sleeping. Matt was trying to review the great day we had all enjoyed together that day when she kicked him out of her room saying, "Daddy please go now. I really need to get to sleep."
When she opened her dress up clothes for Christmas she put on a fairy costume and a scarf on her head and said she was Princess Fairy Mary. As in Mary the mother of Jesus. I must not be telling her that story right!
Sweet Wavybel transformed from a baby (6 months old last Christmas) to a full fledged little girl of 18 months old.
She has a voracious appetite and will eat at least a little bit of almost anything. Christmas morning she happily ate ham and raw asparagus as she waited for the full scale breakfast we ate later that morning. Her vocabulary is growing every day and most of her arsenal pertains to food. She feels like "hmm-hmm" is sufficient for thank you but can say cookie, treat, yogurt, pancake, or banana quite clearly!
She is still an amazing sleeper logging two hour naps and fourteen to fifteen hours at night most days. It is incredible! It has been so sweet to watch the relationship between the girls blossom. Wavy always wants to know where Harper is when she wakes up from her nap, they bring each other toys and tell each other sorry if they are too rough with one another. While they absolutely fight and have problems with sharing, it is really a great relationship most of the time. Our lovely girl continues to love books about monkeys especially the one where they are jumping on the bed, playing mommy to her babies, and dancing around the house. She asks to listen to music, rocks her dolls and puts them to bed, and pretends to go to sleep -- which is just squinting her eyes and breathing hard. She is a riot.
We lost one company car when Matt changed jobs and finished the lease on the other car. So we have two new (to us) cars in the driveway. (The garage being full of junk we don't know what to do with can be filed under the things that stayed the same category.) We no longer have cable or a DVR so we are spending more time reading and talking. Some favorite authors we had not experienced before this year include Shane Claiborne, John Perkins, Leif Enger, and Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Uhm, that last one is for the younger crowd. I have fallen in love with Glee which I watch online. Harper stumbled across The Wiggles. I regret to inform you that we have logged a lot of hours in front of You Make Me Feel Like Dancing.
Some Things Stayed The Same
The same four verses hang on our fridge that I decided to leave up until Wave's adoption is finalized. I posted them there in September of 2008. My hope is that this year I will take them down and put them in the scrapbook of things that helped get us through hard times.
Matt and I celebrated our 7 year anniversary. We have figured out all of the ways to push each other's buttons during that time! But we have also fallen into a stronger and deeper love for each other. I am increasingly thankful to be married to such a good man. We have agreed repeatedly over the last year and a half that during transitions, good times, and bad times there is no way we could have done it without each other and no one is more perfectly suited for us than the other.
Our fat and ungrateful dog Ruby ran away at least forty-seven times. She tunnels out of our reinforced fence at every opportunity. She crosses major roads and the paths of big dogs. In July she spent the better part of a day lost in the inner city. True story. At least half of the times that she got out she had no collar or other identification. At my thirtieth birthday party one of my clever friends had filled Chinese cookies with fortunes specific to my life. One of the fortunes read, "a dog named Ruby will save your life." This is in reference to there surely being some greater good to this dog's ridiculous presence in our lives.
Our family and friends have helped us in what has to be a million ways as they always have. We just notice it more when times are tough. People that we love have fed us repeatedly, shared their money with us, watched our precious babies, cared for us and prayed for us. People that we don't know have done those things for us this year too. God has provided for us in huge and overwhelming ways this past year. He always does. Some times it is just easier to spot.
We fall into greater appreciation for our family each day. When we look at our two sweet girls we know that we live an amazingly blessed life. We know with one hundred per cent confidence that no two more wonderful people have ever existed in all of history (I say this with complete authority and at the same time pray you feel that way about your children too!). We have a great house where we are warm and happy, enough food to eat, and each other.
In closing, I will quote the most delightful book I read in 2009. It is called Christmas Cookies; Bite-Size Holiday Lessons.
"PEACE means no one is worried about anyone else's cookie... in this moment we are all quietly content with the cookies we have. HOPE means, I'm filled with good feelings about what will be."
Wishing you and yours a 2010 filled with PEACE and HOPE.
Molly for all