I would have loved to have sent you a Christmas card and letter this year…but I didn't. So don't be looking for one in your mailbox. Instead, here is our digital card and letter, because we're so tech savvy around these parts.
Your envelope would have been addressed in swirly and cute print, individualized just for your family. As you tore into the envelope, this card would have fallen out, and you would have promptly hung up my adorable family on your fridge. As another option, I bet you can right click and make us your screen saver if you would like.
And then you would have gotten very excited to see that I didn't sluff off this year but actually included a nice letter about our year, printed on some very cute and trendy and festive paper [nice and thick too, cause I like you enough not to send the cheap stuff…obviously]. Here is what the letter would have said:
This past year was truly filled with JOY, LOVE, and PEACE for our family, and as we near the celebration of the birth of our Savior, we are truly thankful.
It's hard to believe we still had an infant on our hands at the start of this year! We celebrated Blythe's first birthday at the end of March [on a strangely snowy day!], and have enjoyed watching her bloom into the toddler she is today. She [finally] started walking in July, and hasn't looked back. She talks and talks and talks, though you may need Brent or me present to translate. Though just today she was looking through a book and informed me there was a "flamingo!" plain as day. She really has a fun sense of humor, and understands jokes and when she is being funny. She loves stripping down right before her bath and running through the house "nakik." She is currently on a self-imposed hunger strike , but will always eat [frozen] blueberries and oatmeal. She sleeps like a champ and lights up our life each and every day. She truly lives up to the meaning of her name: JOY.
Brent received a promotion and new job title this year, and got to move to the bank's branch here in town. He even gets to come home for lunch everyday! He works primarily with federal regulations, and makes sure that their branches are all compliant and doing what they should be doing. He enjoys it and he recently made it through the first bank examination and they did very well. When he's not working [and can we just be honest here a second: banker's hours are THE BEST!], he enjoys running and running and running… If you ask Blythe, "What does Daddy do?" she will pump her little arms back and forth and says, "Run run run!" This summer he ran a half marathon, and participated in a sprint-triathalon, but those were just to kick off his real training for his second full marathon. He is amazing and did most all of his training BEFORE he left for work in the morning so he could still spend his evenings with his girls. The first week of November he went to Indianapolis and ran a 3:28 full marathon. That's a good time, if you're wondering. Brent is still as patient and wonderful and fun to be around as ever.
I am currently in my second year as a stay-at-home mom. This switch from teaching full time hasn't always been easy, as I truly loved teaching, but knowing that I'm here for Blythe in the every day little things of life has been a blessing and I'm thankful I can do it. I was still able to be the assistant softball coach at the high school this year, which proved to be incredibly exciting. For the first time in school history we won Districts…and then continued and went all the way to state…and then won the State Championship! This is a big deal no matter where you're at, but in a small town like ours, it was a non-stop celebration for weeks! It was so fun to be a part of it all. Other than that I have been subbing occasionally to get my fix of high school kiddos, and have also enjoyed taking pictures here and there for some families. But mainly I spend my days loving on Blythe, and more recently trying to figure out this parenting an-almost-two-year-old business.
Some of our biggest news this year will really be happening next year, as I am 20 weeks pregnant and due May 5th. We are thrilled to be having another baby girl, and so thankful that everything so far has been healthy and well for both her and me.
And this year for Christmas I want to watch the amazement in Blythe's eyes as she discovers the beauty and magic of Christmas around her. I want to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" again and again, and drink eggnog until I'm sick to my stomach. I want to snuggle with my husband and be thankful for Christmas number 9 that I get to spend with him. I want to make cookies from scratch and be covered in flour and frosting and eat the dough and bring some to my friends. I want to give more than I receive and I want my house to smell like evergreens and cinnamon. I want to read the Christmas story and feel the words: and she will call him Immanuel, GOD WITH US.
I want to teach my daughter the actions and words to "Away in a Manger" and kiss her under the mistletoe. I want to build another fort and snowman in my front yard and then run inside and drink raspberry hot chocolate with mini marshmallows in a snowflake mug and tuck my toes under Brent's for warmth while we watch "Elf." I want to put Blythe to bed and rock her and sing to her the song I still have memorized from a children's program at church when I was seven: Christmas isn't Christmas 'til it happens in your heart. Somewhere deep inside you is where Christmas really starts. So give your heart to Jesus, you'll discover when you do, that it's Christmas, really Christmas, for you.
I want to eat homemade toffee and caramels and looks at all the Christmas lights around town. I want to lounge around with family and not worry about the time. I want to place my hands on my growing belly and whisper hopes and dreams for my future daughter.
And I want you to have a beautiful Christmas, full of laughter and hugs and blessings. Full of JOY, LOVE, and PEACE.
Enjoy Christ's birth.
I know it's been said many times many ways…
Merry Christmas to you!
Brent, Kelsey, and Blythe
and little baby girl on the way