Thursday, December 21, 2006

Our Christmas card, story, hoopla...

One year in Sunday school I made an advent wreath. It was constructed of a Styrofoam hoop, colorful felt, gold tinsel and birthday candles. My mother humored me and placed it in the center of our coffee table. Each week leading up to Christmas my mom would let me light one of the candles and then quickly blow it out, since its burn time was probably less than a minute. But, to me, blowing the candle out immediately after lighting it wasn’t really enough fanfare and didn’t do my beautiful piece of art any justice. After all I’d spent at least twenty minutes pouring glue on it.

One evening, after the celebratory lighting and snuffing of the advent candles, my mother shuffled my sister and me off to take a bath. As we were soaking and having fun my parents came in to say they were off to their bowling league. They gave us strict instructions to finish cleaning up and get straight to bed.

I’ll pause here in my story while you all contemplate that… and I will end your thoughts with, those were different times. I also didn’t have a car seat or a bike helmet.

When I knew the coast was clear and my parents were well on their way to the Bowladium I made my move. Naked as a Jaybird, I streaked back into the living room and gave my advent wreath one last lighting. I paused to reflect upon the beauty of the tinsel glittering from the tiny flames and then remembered I was cold and fled back to the warmth of the bathtub.

My sister and I splashed and made Santa beards with the bubbles until the odd smell of charcoal began to fill the bathroom. We sniffed, we pondered, we splashed some more and then we panicked. The Advent wreath!!! Great horrors! We slipped and slid across the tile floor and then dripping wet we sprinted across the avocado green shag carpet to see the center of the coffee table smoldering.

My precious advent wreath had completely disintegrated. We ran to the kitchen and grabbed the necessary tools; a metal spatula and a can of Pledge dusting spray. We took turns scraping the charred circle while the other would run around the living room spraying Pledge into the air in attempts to mask the smell of smoke and charred furniture. We did this until the can of Pledge was empty and we came to the realization that the coffee table was ruined, my Advent wreath was gone and we were cold, tired and naked.

I went to bed that night feeling miserable. I knew there would be a punishment. My imagination ran wild with the endless torture that my parents would surely bestow upon me. Slowly, I drifted off into a troubled sleep.

Later that night, I awoke to a warm hand touching my back and a kind voice saying my name. I sat up to see my mother’s lovely face. I immediately began to cry, I was so repentant and so guilt ridden. I don’t remember ever receiving any kind of punishment for that horrific crime; I just remember we never had another advent wreath in our house, ever. And that’s when we started having a babysitter on bowling league nights.

Breakin' it down for the Fam...

Ellen is 13. More than once this year we have bought the same shirt from a store. I’m not sure if that means I’m dressing like a teenager or that she’s dressing like a, uh, um, 25 year old. Yes, I was only 12 when I had her, isn’t that obvious? Anyway, my sweet little girl is catching up with me quickly in size and wisdom, not to mention sarcasm. She started taking a couple classes at Wildwood Christian School and has enjoyed the social aspects and the new challenges that being taught by someone other than her mom brings.

Seth is 10. His geography teacher wrote on his report card, “Seth contributes interesting comments to class discussions! He is well mannered and friendly with his fellow students.” I can only imagine what he contributes, but I know that he brings a daily dose of whacko to my world. One day during school he brought me to complete exasperation, as I laid my head down on the table he gently patted my head and sighed, “Don’t worry Mom, you won’t have to homeschool me forever.” Thank God for that and for Seth, who makes me think about things that hopefully will never have any relevance to my life.

Isaac just turned five, but if you ask him how old he is he’ll say seven or six or four. Any number but five and it’s not because he doesn’t know, it’s just to get you going. Which is all fun and games until the Pediatrician starts quizzing him and he decides to not only tell the Dr. he doesn’t know his ABC’s or how old he is, but that his little brother doesn’t know how to talk. We left that appointment with a lot of information for Parents as Teachers and were strongly suggested to have them visit us soon.

Levi is two. God help us.

Clay has again managed to coach every sport his children play. He can’t help but be involved and feels anguished if he ever misses a game or, heaven forbid, a practice. He took up hunting this year. He came home weary, cold and empty handed, but had a lot of fun holding his new gun while sitting on a tiny metal shelf nailed to a tree for the good part of a day.

We said goodbye to two loved ones this year. Clay’s mother, Susan Lovett, passed away in May. We hung many of her Christmas ornaments on our tree this year and it’s nice to have things to remember her sweet Southern style. The Lord finally gave peace to my Grandpa Herb a couple weeks ago. He was the best Santa I’ve ever known. My mind is crowded with found memories of him. We miss them both.

And then there’s me. I continue to search high and low for a place that we can call “ours”. It’s a bit like an addiction; I have to follow the path of every For Sale sign, surf the web and call about the price of land. Surely, someday soon we’ll find “IT”, and when that day comes I may need to join House Hunters Anonymous. I’m still sharing a bit of my world on my blog. We’ve raised a beautiful flock of chickens this year. We’ve had fun learning that chickens are not as dumb as we think and they poop more than I could ever explain.

That’s it from here. We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. Our door is always open, unless it’s closed; because if it's open the chickens get in.


Jessie said...

Awesome picture, great story, and fun letter! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love that story with the advent wreath -- you wrote it so well that I could picture it happening!

Maybe, should you choose to get another advent wreath, you could get an all ceramic one. That is what I have since I'm sort of scatterbrained when it comes to remembering lit candles.

Merry Christmas to y'all!
--annie :)

jennifer said...

Great story! Glad you went with the story idea again. Have a merry Christmas!

Angie Lechner said...

ok, I'm a day late but Merry Christmas anyway! I loved your post and your kid's picture. They are beautiful. That 2 year old looks precious.

Melanie said...

That is so funny girl! Merry Christmas. :-)

Jodie said...

April, glad you enjoyed some of my posts. Yes, Washburn University in Topeka! I think that is how I originally found your site, I searched on Kansas blogs. I enjoy reading yours. I too have 4 kids & love to browse the home buyers guides....smalll world :)

Bernadette said...

You have a wonderful attitude, April!

Your children get cuter, whether going from left to right or vice versa!

Your photo reminds me of the fine actress, Lindsay Duncan. I loved her in A YEAR IN PROVENCE, a BBC miniseries based on Peter Mayle's book.

hope4grace said...

What a beautiful picture! Happy Holidays!

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