Well, Christmas cards got knocked off my to do list this year when I decided to simplify for the sake of my sanity. I still wanted to honor my tradition of thinking about each of my kids and documenting what they’re like right now. So, welcome to my virtual Christmas letter…
This will probably be my last Christmas where I’ll be taller than Allison and Michelle. They both wear the same size shoe as me right now too.
I love going places with Allison, because she teaches me so much about everything. Like, did you know a barcode scanner reads the white space in between the black lines?! Neither did I until Allison told me while we were Christmas shopping. Ally joined the Academic Club in her middle school and stays after school to do math for fun! After that info, it is probably not surprising that she does well in school. In her spare time, she loves reading books or reading the fan fiction online for her favorite books. She takes out 99% of the garbage bags our house produces and I’ve never heard her complain about it. She is loving her new school and the group of awesome friends she found here. The way Allison goes through hard things with an enduring attitude and smile on her face is a testament to her strength of character. Allison wants to be an author when she grows up and has made a lot of progress this year on her first novel. I believe sincerely she has what it takes – intelligence, a witty sense of humor, and a fantastic imagination.
*The best pictures of Allison and Michelle were of them together, I didn’t mean to make it a thing where my twins were together in the same picture. It just worked out that way.
Michelle is such a delight as a daughter. She is the easy, non-squeaky kid who is super helpful, dependable, genuine and kind. She had a Bells Palsy episode right as we were moving, and even when half of her face became temporarily paralyzed, she never complained! (Miracle – her face went back to normal within a few days of school starting. Hallelujah!) Compared to her siblings who can be very dramatic, Michelle is even-tempered and doesn’t get easily offended. She gets excellent grades. She is interested in politics and what is happening in the world. She’s ready for conversations about complicated topics and has such an ability to understand different sides of an issue. She is learning how to make reasonable, well thought out arguments. Michelle works hard on developing her artistic talents and is making so much progress, especially with graphic design that she works on a lot in her spare time. Michelle joined the tennis team, going way outside her comfort zone to try something new. I probably don’t tell her enough how just her presence is such a gift to our family.
Isabelle is our puppy-whisperer. She spends the most time of the kids taking care of our new puppy, Cookie. She is always willing to play with her, take her out to potty, or feed her. Izzy is still too shy to talk much outside of our home, but she makes up for it when she is with her family. It is a non-stop stream of consciousness from her, so good thing I love hearing what is on her mind. She is truly coming into her own academically and gaining confidence of her own abilities. (It is hard to be 2 years younger, but only 1 grade below twin sisters that are both extraordinarily gifted academically). Izzy is figuring out her own style of smarts, and that just because she has to study to learn something, doesn’t mean she can’t know it just as well as sisters who were born knowing how to do algebra. She is not afraid of hard work. Izzy gets excited about chores! Matt and I don’t do any project or cleaning around the house that Izzy is not 100% wanting to participate in. She just shows up wherever we are and helps. We’d be lost without her.
It was super hard for me to find a normal picture of Brian from this year because he is always dressed up in some costume or gimmick and always making some crazy face. Sometimes he’ll just attach random things to himself and declare himself to be a “New York guy” or a “snake”. Lately, he is most often Spiderman (or his own version of the ultimate superhero where he is all superheroes at once). We call him our X Factor, because we never know what he is going to bring to the equation. Sometimes he is all sweet and sometimes he is all boy. He is so strong-willed that any influence I have over him has to be done with him on board or even better, convinced it was his idea to start with. One of our first priorities while settling into this house was to put up a play set in the backyard so he had a place to burn off all of his little-boy energy. He is doing so well in kindergarten and loves the color chart system. He enacts the color system at home and many days he likes to tell me when I’ve “colored up” or “colored down”. His imagination is off the charts. If imagination is intelligence at play, Brian is a genius. And honestly, he might be, because he remembers almost any random detail of his life experiences with perfect clarity. The other day there was a YouTube video on about escape rooms that I thought was over his head. He turned to me and said “Mom, remember when we went to the escape room on sisters’ birthday. I was so bored, there was nothing for me to do.” His greatest desire, though, is to make me laugh. He is such a funny little kid, constantly cracking jokes and keeping me entertained. He will still snuggle me for tiny bursts of time, and I soak up every second, because I know all too well that I will blink and he’ll be grown.
Cookie came into our lives November 10th and things will never be the same. We are now full-fledged dog lovers. She is an f1b Mini-Goldendoodle (~75% poodle and ~25% golden retriever), which means my allergies can tolerate her. Yay!
Cookie is sweet, snuggly, and very playful. She has tripled in size from when we got her. Her vaccines finish this week and we are so excited to take her for walks and on puppy-playdates.
Matt & Mary
Matt and I are boringly doing about the same. We’re a little older and a little more tired. We love each other and we are excited about the future of our family. We are so happy to be here in little Forney, Texas.
The hardest part of writing this letter was limiting how much I said about each kid. I didn’t want to write a never-ending novel, but I could’ve gone on and on about each of my kids. They are my life and I love them as much as a mother can love.
I hope you and yours have a very very Merry Christmas.