Dec 21, 2016

Merry Christmas from our home to yours

I'm mailing our Christmas cards this week, but I decided since I've posted so rarely this year that I'm going to post our annual Christmas letter here for you guys, too. So you'll actually get to read it here first!

Thanks for sticking around, loyal readers. And merry Christmas!

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Grayson has finished up another year in his role as an I.T. compliance project manager. As continued annual proof that I do not really understand what he does, I had to double-check his job title with him via email. Even though I had last year’s letter pulled up and was relatively sure his job hadn’t changed since then. YES I DO SO PAY ATTENTION WHEN HE TALKS.

Aside from compliance-y project manager-y things he does, his main distractions include cycling at Oak Mountain and on nearby Lakeshore Trail. And of course his life -- and many weekends -- wouldn’t be complete without the Boy and Cub Scout activities he leads and/or participates in with Nathaniel and Jake.

As for me, I took a huge leap of faith and jumped from my long-time home in our Talent & Culture (formerly Human Resources) department to its Engineering department. And then about six weeks later was “reorged” into our Business Development line of business, but thankfully kept the manager I’d left T&C to work for, so it’s all good. I’m heading up our Change Management area, which means that I try to soften the impact of constant change (product and system rollouts) we introduce to our branches. I’ve written very little on my blog this year, not because I haven’t wanted to, but because my increasingly busy schedule has kept me from it. Oh, did I mention I added daily exercise to my schedule? Yeah, that takes time. And it stinks. Like, a healthy diet and exercise have got to be the all-time WORST way to lose weight, because it totally sucks. But I lost 46 pounds this year (only about half of that at the time our Christmas photo was taken back in September), so I guess it’s worth it? But it’s a miserable existence when all you want is Reese’s ALL. THE. TIME.

Nathaniel turned 14 on Dec. 19 and is in 8th grade. He speaks about 20 words per week to me and his earbuds have been surgically affixed to his ears. He MAY shower without them, but I cannot officially confirm that, as I do not visually monitor his showers. I am TREMENDOUSLY proud of his commitment to his schoolwork and his recent achievement of the Life Scout rank. Next up, Eagle! He’s already thinking about his Eagle project, which hopefully he’ll plan and complete before he gets interested in girls. Because then all bets are off. He’s started jogging nightly this year and slimmed down a little (not that he needed to), and he’s several inches taller than I am. It’s FREAKY.

I love: his interest in cooking, his independent completion of homework and thorough study habits. I could live without: his insistence on jogging in dark clothes at night when I warn him repeatedly he’s going to be flattened like a pancake AND MOMS ARE ALWAYS RIGHT.

Nick turned 12 on Oct. 4, and is in 6th grade. He still loves playing Minecraft and Clash of Clans online and has made friends around the world playing via Skype. He’s developed a real affinity for recreational soccer and is about to start his fourth season with Hoover Soccer Club. He loves to play and even loves to practice, which is saying something. Nick’s only been in middle school for a few months but he’s well-acquainted with the assistant principal. Always making friends, our Nick. He’s got a mischievous streak, for sure, but he’s also pulling down straight As, so …

I love: The way he loves on Amelia, that he still gives me a hug every night before bed. I could live without: the occasional subterfuge when there’s something he doesn’t want us to know. We always find out. I THINK.

Jake is 8 years old, in 3rd grade and just finished reading the entire Harry Potter series. He read it in just a few weeks and was so sad when he finished the final book -- it’s extremely rare to find Jakey without a book in his hand, and if he’s without one, it’s because he’s watching youtube videos about game theory on his iPad. Jake is a fascinating person to talk to, mainly because he speaks as though he’s about five times his age. He’s in Enrichment at his elementary school, which means he gets pulled out of class one day a week to do special activities that are a little more stimulating. Wednesday is his favorite day of the week!

I love: his unique perspective on everything, that he still gives me four or five hugs every day. I could live without: his propensity to walk away from whatever -- WHATEVER -- he was doing and leave everything right where it was (this includes eating and leaving his plate and utensils, watching TV and leaving it on, and bathrooming and leaving it unflushed).

Amelia is 5 and HAH-MAINT-NANCE. She is literally my shadow. She follows me so closely everywhere I go that often, when I turn around suddenly to go the other way, I knock her down. Then tears. (Hers.) Then apologies. (Mine.) Wash, rinse, repeat. She is obsessed -- and I do mean OBSESSED -- with animals. She loves them all. When she lists her best friends, it goes like this: “Bayla, Abby, Missy, Fred, Missy and Mira.” If you’re keeping track, those are a dog, a dog, a cat, a dog, another dog, and finally, a friend from preschool. ONE HUMAN BEING MAKES THE LIST. All the rest of y’all can suck it.

I love: her obsession with family, her love of errands, her desire to learn to read. I could live without: the whining. When do they outgrow that, again?

We are thrilled to be down to one house payment, having sold our previous home to a very nice couple who was willing to pay us for it. That was all we required of them. NOW all we require of them is that they text us twice a week to come pick up all the Amazon packages that arrive from the kids’ wish lists on which I forgot to update their shipping addresses. MERRY CHRISTMAS, NEW HOMEOWNERS!

We love you all and wish you the happiest and healthiest of Christmases and new years.

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