3 Inspiring Sons…and their Little Sister »

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Christmas 2011

Hi Stranger! How are you? I miss you. It seems like forever since we’ve talked. How does that happen? How does time just continue to slip away until you look up and realize that a new year will be here in a few days? I looked at Miss B the other day and realized that she is changing from a toddler into a little girl and my heart hurt.

Jake and I took Jacob to the movies last week and I was the last one out to the truck. When I opened the passenger door and climbed in, I had to do a double take when I saw Jacob in the driver’s seat. Rather than give in to my instinct to tell him to get in the back, I said nothing and he drove us to the theatre. How is it possible that my son will be 16 in 6 days?

Is this how it’s going to be for the rest of my life? Just a series of moments when I realize that life is not going to slow down? I’m thinking yes.

So I better not waste anymore time being shocked that I am now 38 years old. THIRTY EIGHT YEARS OLD??! Or that my children are growing up. Or that I still have a million things I want to accomplish in my life and just jump right in there and do it already!

And I really need to stop wishing for time to pass more quickly. I cannot wait to find out where we are transferring to this summer. It’s killing me not knowing and I’m SO ready for an adventure! We have never lived so long in one place before. I cannot believe we just had our 4th Christmas in the same house! That’s never happened before.

Once we find out where we are going, the time to move will be here before we know it. That being said, I think we are going to seriously miss Alaska. How could we not? We’ve lived here forever. I’ve spent 31 of the last 38 years in Alaska. Our kids were born here. (Except for poor Albuquerque Sam.) Our memories are here.

Alaska has been good to us. It is a fantastic place to live and I don’t think we can even comprehend how much we will miss it. But that being said, I’m itchin’ to try something new. We have many reasons to hope we get sent to Hawaii, but I will also be happy if we end up in the lower 48. I really want to take my kids on road trips. I want to fill up a cooler, pile everyone into the van (we’ll have to get one first) and then head out exploring! Eeek! I get excited just thinking about it!

Jake and I are sitting on the couch next to each other. It’s 9:30pm. Miss B is asleep and the boys are supposed to be getting their pajamas on. I’m blogging on my laptop and he’s reading news on his iPad. We can hear the boys messing around upstairs and I know they are going to wake up their sister.

We’re enjoying Holiday Routine. That’s when the Coast Guard base essentially shuts down for two weeks at the end of December. Jake still has to go in for duty every a few times, but for the most part, he’s off. We’ve accomplished a lot! Depending on where we move, we are considering a DITY (do it yourself) move. It’s been financially worth it in the past. Last week we purged, sorted, organized and packed. I packed up or got rid of most of our homeschool curriculum. I’ve got bigger plans for us this semester. We’re going to read, read, read. And with any luck we’ll be planning lots of road trips. We mucked out the boys room and donated 4 boxes of clothing to the local shelter. I am much more productive in a clean, organized home.

I’m moving my desk back upstairs after we take the tree down. It worked to have it in the basement when I was so busy with Simply b, but since I’ve slowed down, I’m going to enjoy having it back in the mix with the family. Speaking of Simply b, I’m excited with the direction it is taking. I’m moving towards video along with photos and I’m going to be offering an Intro to Photoshop class for those who would like to start editing their photos. It’s going to be online at the request of my oldest son. When I started talking about offering the class and how it would work, he said to me, “Do it online so that we don’t have to have people at our house all the time!” I guess they were sick of the constant cooking and cleaning that came with the Day with Amy Workshops. It hadn’t even occurred to me to do it online, but I think it’s going to be brilliant!

Remember that whole post I wrote about Disneyland? Yeah, we decided to wait. The way things are going Jake thinks we may be going to Sacramento, CA or Pensacola, FL and we just can’t justify $10,000 to take our family to Disneyland for a week when we might be moving practically next door! (When you’ve lived in Alaska forever Minnesota would be practically next door to Disney, let alone living in the same state!)

Oh my word, I obviously have had a lot on my mind! Thanks for listening.

How was your Christmas? Did you do anything grand? Ours was quiet. Our friends came over with their 3 year old son. They are like family to us. We’re going to miss them dearly when we move. Miss B and Noah were Mary and Joseph when we acted out the Nativity. It was all going great until Miss B ousted Jesus and took up residence in the manger.

The boys were slightly bored shepherds and Wise Men, but they were good sports about the whole thing. We sang the Christmas Hymns and talked about the true spirit of Christmas and it was one of the best Christmases ever. I missed my family and was sad I didn’t get to talk to my parents (Merry Christmas Mom and Dad!) but I am so thankful for all the amazing blessings we have.

We all agreed that having Christmas fall on Sunday was the best thing ever. Although Jake and I got less than 3 hours of sleep, the day was perfect. We heard Josh and Sam wake at 6:30 with all the excitement that Christmas morning brings. They scurried downstairs and whispered in voices loud enough to be heard next door. They tried in vain to wake Jacob but he was less energetic about getting up. Miss B started to squawk at 7:15 and the boys anxiously retrieved her with loud exclamations of “Santa came! Let’s go see your stocking!” We could hear her squeals of joy and knew they’d be up to wake us shortly. I heard Jacob go down and join them.

For a moment I wished that I was there to see her face, but was thankful that she could share that with her brothers. They love her so much and found as much joy in sharing the magic of Christmas with her as I would. Witnessing Christmas through her eyes this year was nothing short of wonderful. She loved the tree and only broke one ornament (She chewed Smurfette’s arm off. That girl can chew! I honestly need to write a post just about Miss B’s chewing habit.)

The boys stormed up the stairs at 7:30 to announce that Santa had come and to show all that their stockings held. Knives, transformers, legos, deodorant, body wash, a CTR ring, iTunes cards, UNO, and chocolate oranges were among the treasures.

Jake and I sat on the couch (much like we are doing now) and enjoyed the sight of our children on Christmas morning. But soon enough it was time to get ready for church. Jacob and Jake found new ties and Sam had new pants. Miss B had a new dress but that was no surprise. We were on-time for the 10am service and sang hymns of praise for the birth of our Savior with the congregation and were filled with the Spirit. After the hour long meeting, we headed home. Miss B was sound asleep as we drove through the gate to get on base.

Jake put her to bed while I got out the left overs from the night before. We ate cold ham sandwiches, chips and jello salad. Jake and I suggested we all go take a nap before opening presents, but we were overruled. While Miss B slept we began the process of giving. Sam and Josh shared the duty of handing out gifts. There was excitement each time a present was unwrapped. It seemed that every gift was the best gift ever.

Sam’s treasures included Legos, Build a Birdhouse, a safe, and Straws and Connectors. He also got Shrinky Dinks which he didn’t know anything about. He asked, “What do I do with these?” To which Jake answered, “Just make sure they don’t shrink your dink.” Nice. I live in a house full of boys who tell inappropriate jokes. And Santa brought him a pogo stick. He proclaimed it his best Christmas, EVER.

Josh’s treasures included new clothes, a watch, a safe, a book on the priesthood, and Santa brought him a leather flight jacket and a flight suit.

Jacob’s treasures included cologne, a watch, new clothes, a wallet with $40, a book on being an extraordinary missionary, a pair of boots, and Santa brought him a balance board.

Jake and I don’t do much gift giving at Christmas time, but he and the boys surprised me with a little blue box from Tiffany’s. The card on Tiffany and Co. letterhead read, “Dear Mom, Merry Christmas from the four of us! We love you! Hope you remember us every time you use your keys. Jacob, Josh, Sam and Betsy”. Inside the box was a silver star keychain with my initials A.C.E. I couldn’t help but shed a tear or two at the thoughtfulness. Stars are my favorite shape. I even wrote a post about them. I will treasure it always.

Toward the end of the unwrapping Miss B awoke and was happy as a clam. She unwrapped a present or two but was easily distracted and didn’t care too much about the gifts. Her favorite was a plastic figurine set of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald and Goofy. Her other treasures included a couple of wooden sets for her kitchen (pots and pans and some food), a stacking toy, a My Little Pony, a toy camera (which she raised to her eye right away and said, “Say Cheese”), and Santa brought her a stroller and a dolly (for which she could care less).

After all the gifts were unwrapped and the paper thrown away, there was a ringing noise from the tree. It seems there was one gift left. A phone for Josh. He was over the moon and surprised beyond belief. We had previously had a conversation with him after he had begged us for months on end that there was no way on this earth that he was getting a phone. There was no need for him to have a phone. But then we realized that maybe he did need a phone. You see, we don’t have a home phone. We rely solely on our cell phones. And Jacob never answers his phone (he takes after me). It drives Jake and I to distraction when we are out on a date, call to check in on the kids and are not able to get ahold of them. One night in particular, after repeated attempts to raise Jacob on his cell phone, Jake said, “We’re getting Josh a phone. I know he would always have it with him.” And that is how Josh came to have a phone. It may be used, but it is his pride and joy.

He’s been sending us texts constantly. He walked down the the convenience store on base today and while he was gone he texted me a dozen times and called me twice. That kid makes me smile. He says it was his best Christmas ever too.

I have to agree. I don’t think it could have been any better. I know that having the opportunity to go to church on the same day as Christmas made all the difference.

And thus concludes the 18th Christmas of the Jake Earle Family.

Dad - I shed a tear!

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