Year 2013 Christmas Post

I meant to send out some sort of letter with the Christmas cards this year, but it never materialized. In fact, those few who received Christmas cards should count themselves lucky.  I’m still making my way through the list to send cards. I hope to get though it by Easter. (Give myself plenty of time!!) Nonetheless, here is a synopsis of our year, from my warped perspective, I’m sure.

Much of this year was spend growing and maturing the dog, and the baby. They have both made huge progress, and have begun a sort of yin-yang of their own. They get along wonderfully, and it will be fun to watch them grow up together. What was I thinking getting a puppy right before having a baby??  I’m still not sure.

Trousers (the dog, of course)  loved last winter, and was a bit disappointed in the lack of snow.  He is enjoying this year to a max.  I am glad to report that he has not shown an increase in size for many months. He can comfortably rest his chin on the dinner table, and can see over our 6 foot fence in the backyard if he jumps. Greta (the baby, :)) has only begun to notice snow outside. She loves to put on her winter coat but hasn’t had much chance to play in the snow just yet.  (We are still searching for boots that stay on her feet.)  She has grown tall enough to see what is on the table’s edge, and pull it off at her leisure. She is into everything, just as Trousers is starting to calm down and let things alone.

Way back in February, Gus turned 9. Both boys played basketball, Gus for the Fort Drum team and Bryce for his school, Augustinian Academy. They both did very well, and we enjoyed going to their games to cheer them on. I was secretly relieved to finish the season. It was not easy going to practices and games with a baby in tow, as Andy frequently had other things to attend to.

***Andy was handpicked to visit Afghanistan for three months in the spring, from the end of March until the beginning of June. I just remembered about it. No wonder I was going to all of these practices and games by myself. And no wonder I don’t really remember what happened between February and June! Makes perfect sense, now.

The boys finished up school in June, Gus in 3rd grade and Bryce in 6th. They both were mostly cooperative as I drug them around the North Country to various festivals and markets, as well as to work on the organic farm where we got our CSA share from this past year.  About that same time, Andy transitioned jobs from the Division Deputy Engineer to a brigade as a battalion operations officer.  We took a nice vacation to Idaho and Utah and saw family and friends.

As the summer came to a close, Bryce turned 12 and was ordained a deacon in our church.  His grandparents came out to help celebrate.  We acquired Rosie, our former furry friend, again. She and Trousers don’t exactly get along, but they do keep each other company, which has been a blessing for us humans.  Trousers now chooses to pester Rosie rather than us.  Poor, old Rosie.

I made a very last minute decision to homeschool the boys this school year. I just wasn’t ready for them to go away to school again. Much like getting a puppy, what was I thinking?? It’s actually going ok. I wish they  would apply themselves more to their work.  I do enjoy having them around most of the time. They are funny. They think they are funny.

Greta started crawling at about 10 months old. It was nice to have her immobile for so long. Now, just before Christmas, she has started walking everywhere. I had to put locks on the cabinets finally. I was hoping to not have to do that, but she is too fast. Plus, Trousers is always into the trash, so it has helped twofold. Greta turned 1 in November. She has been such a delight to have around. The boys love her and treat her like a doll.

We took a family trip to Niagara Falls. In my mind I was envisioning the hype and glam that Clark Kent and Lois Lane had back in the 80’s. Well, maybe it was because it was cold, or maybe it was because it was not a holiday/vacation time, but I was disappointed with the scene. Not with the falls themselves, but with the town. All I can say is that it is much more glamorous from the Canadian side. It was still a fun trip. But instead of getting Las Vegas, it was like visiting Reno.

In case you missed it, Andy deployed just before Halloween. He is keeping busy, and I think has finally resigned himself to his lot. He seems to sound more settled and optimistic, less overwhelmed and tired, though I don’t think he is getting any more rest or relaxation than before. He will be there until they kick him out of the country, or next summer, whichever comes first.  Since he’s left, I’ve sold his truck, and donated many of his clothes. I should take advantage of year-end sales and start building up his wardrobe again, or he’ll be a walking and shirtless when he comes back.

We spent Thanksgiving this year with my sister in DC. It was a good trip, and I am glad that we were able to go. I am glad that we have family that is within driving distance.  We held our annual gingerbread decorating party at our house this year and delivered two houses to our neighbors.  Andy was released as bishop of our ward, in absentia. Our Christmas was quiet and pretty stress-free at home.

During these long winter months, many a gardener will dream and plan out next spring’s patch, flip through seed catalogues, almanacs and such. Someday I will  live in a place long enough to have a real garden, and actually be there through harvest. At present there is no hope of a productive garden, of yard improvement. I plan only on repair. It has been several months since Trousers has chewed up anything of significant value and I am feeling optimistic about the New Year. I bought supplies to repair the walls, trim and windowsills he has chewed and I plan on refinishing our dining room table and chairs that have been gnawed. When the ice and snow melt away next spring, I will replace the chewed fence posts and fill the mine holes he has created in the backyard. For now, I just relax. Winter is a blessing.

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