Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

As Arby approached the annual task of writing this year’s Christmas letter, he asked each person in the family what they remembered from 2012.  “It seems rather eventless…” he suggested.

“Are you kidding?” The Boss replied.  “How about…” 

When The Boss registered at the DC Doubletree last April, she didn’t realize that she was the guest of honor at a dinner thrown on her behalf.   She thought she was attending a three day briefing covering the more exotic aspects of her job, such as plotting dots on a graph and 101 uses for the slide rule.  Instead, she was the main course for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Bedbug Café, a hopping DC joint just crawling with customers.   That’s the kind of year she has had.   Somehow, during a three hour hike at a state park near Lawrence, Kansas, The Boss managed to get a severe case of poison ivy on the backs of her hands.  In March.  You wouldn’t think that poison ivy would be in full bloom before the first day of spring.  You’d be wrong.   While she spent the first half of the year looking leprotic, the second half was spent fighting off sinus infections, bronchitis, and acid reflux.  I know.  Happy Holidays.  She’s a little young to be sitting around discussing her latest ailments like it’s tea time at Merry Meadows Retirement Village.    In between these various illnesses she’s managed to continue coordinating the local American Heritage Girls Troop, work on her Geospatial Information Systems studies at the University of Denver, and build an impressive empire in Farmville II.  Oh, and she works full time.

Clearly, Arby hasn’t been taking notes.

General Mayhem gave us a wonderful gift this year when he went away to Boy Scout summer camp as a member of camp staff.   This trip fulfilled a goal he set for himself when he first visited camp during the summer of 2008 as a brand new Boy Scout.   He knew then that he wanted to be on staff.   Thankfully, he waited to go until he was at the peak of his feeding season.  The BSA became responsible for filling the bottomless pit.  He was only gone a week when The Boss opened the refrigerator and announced, “So this is what it’s like to have food in the house.”  Upon returning from camp seven weeks later, General Mayhem informed us that he wanted to test for his Karate black belt.  In August he passed his test, capping nine years of martial arts studies with the coveted black belt.  He promptly announced that he wants to earn his second degree before he goes to college.  Now in advanced studies, General Mayhem has developed a sudden interest in extremely sharp oriental weapons that he swings about his head, neck, and shoulders.  If his head is still attached to his body in two years, he might achieve his goal.

Captain Chaos earned her karate blue belt this year.  She was called up to the front of the dojo and given her belt.  She bowed to her sensei, bowed to the audience, and then returned to her seat in class waving like a Miss America pageant winner, shouting, “Thank you!  Thank you! Thank you, very much!” That’s our girl.  Captain Chaos began guitar lessons this year. It will help her in her life’s ambition of becoming a rock star. Guitar, like Karate, is excellent therapy.  Captain Chaos’s OT told us this month that the girl is very close to successfully tying her shoes, something that has eluded her to this point in life.  The Captain faces her challenges with determination.  It’s all a part of living life on her terms.  She’s a bit of a slob in the most carefree fashion.  She has no great love for school.  Captain Chaos is smart, but doesn’t like to show it.  And she is always entertaining, like the other day when she ran into the house to complain that Major Havoc pushed her too high on the swing.  Arby asked her what she wanted him to do about it.

“Tattle on him!” she replied. Then she paused, thinking about what she had said.  “Oh, wait. That's my job. Go get him in trouble!” 

Captain Chaos’s 2012 cardiac appointment gave us good results.  We are expecting a cardiac catheterization in March of 2013.  We’ll keep everyone posted on the results of her tests. 

Major Havoc easily rattled off a list of fond memories of 2012, including a trip to Six Flags Great America, spending a week alone with Grandma and Grandpa Mares in Wisconsin, a family trip to Colorado Springs, and Grandma Barrette’s Easter Tree.  He loves his new piano lessons as well. The best part of the Major’s year came when he went to Webelos summer camp. In order to qualify as a “swimmer” and be able to swim in the deep end of the pool, a scout must swim four laps, the last lap using a back stroke, and float for fifteen seconds on his back. After failing twice, he tried again, swimming four laps while loudly shouting, “I can do this!” over and over again. At one point, he managed to offer words of encouragement to a fellow scout as they passed one another in the pool. When he completed his task and earned his “Swimmer” badge, Major Havoc pumped his fists in the air and shouted with glee. It was inspirational.  One of the life guards commented that of the 1,000 swim checks he had performed this summer, the Major’s was by far his favorite. It also spurred one of Major Havoc’s Webelos den members to attempt the test. That scout passed, too. One of the best things about Major Havoc is his amazing laugh. One friend commented to The Boss that she wishes she could bottle his laugh and give it to people who need to be cheered up. It’s infectious and makes everyone around him smile.

In September of this year, Arby fulfilled a long held dream when he had an article published in the magazine Home Educating Family.   His second article was published in December.  He was offered, and accepted, a position writing a regular column in Home Educating Family beginning in February of 2013, as well as writing a monthly contribution to their website’s blog page.  It is his first paid writing job, and fulfills a dream he’s held for decades.  Who would have thought that the path to success involved quitting a full time job, staying home to raise the kids, and writing a blog just for amusement?  Arby has long believed that the stay-at-home dad gig is a great lifestyle if you can find someone to finance it, but he never thought it would bring professional success, too.  As always, he will continue to homeschool all three children.

Now, poking fun at ourselves in the annual Christmas letter is entertaining, but there is nothing that has happened in our lives during the course of the last year that is anything but an absolute blessing from God.  In our family, there is a genuine example of courage in the face of a challenge.  It is taking place in the small town of Branch, Minnesota.  That is where The Boss’s older sister Andee is battling renal cancer.  Andee’s demeanor sets the example for anyone facing a life threatening disease.   She’s fighting for her life, and living it well at the same time.  Please take a moment to pray for Andee’s full recovery, and that God’s strength and courage is shared with her husband, Kevin, and children Kyle and Kallie.   

Our prayers for you are that you have a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season.  Have a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.  May God’s blessings be visited upon you now and throughout 2013.  


TobyBo said...

Prayers for Andee and a Merry Christmas to you all. God's blessings on you!

Michelle said...

I will pray for Andee. Have a safe and happy New Year Arby!! I'm thrilled to know that your writing talents are going to be enjoyed by so many!