I have enjoyed having half the day off today and reading all of the 2010 updates our friends and family included in their Christmas cards. I feel inspired to write my own. Here it is. Right now. Let's go.
Bella Rose is a silly, funny, wonderful little person. She loves her big brother so much she can hardly stand that he is a whole 4 years older, thus rendering her unable to be more exactly like him in every way. She is very creative. Her room is full of little toy dioramas she has created out of food boxes, candy wrappers, anything she can find. She can create a game out of a stick and a bar of soap. She says she loves Kitty, Mommy, Aidan and Daddy. She also loves styling outfits for school, reading, counting in French (she's in French immersion) and watching The Wizards of Waverly Place. But her favorite thing ever is to play video games with Aidan. She learned to ride a bike this year and loved riding to school. She does not like hearing she looks like Scarlett Johansson, yams, cat scratches, being asked if her curls are real, raisins or bees. She has to play at someones house EVERY day. It's a sad day for Bella when her friend Aubrey can't play. She hates the word, "no" more than any living human I've ever met.
Aidan is a kind hearted, tender old soul. He enjoyed "ski school" a lot and Aunt Jen said she could forgive him for learning snowboarding instead of skiing. He has upgraded from playing the recorder to playing the clarinet. He has read everything. Seriously, everything. He reads four or five books a month and loves The Far Side in the interm. His future consists of him living alone in a small apartment with no furniture and books everywhere like Will Hunting. He loves video games to an unhealthy degree and I would be more concerned but he wants to be a game programmer one day and is taking an auxiliary programming class three times a week. He also loves Cheezits, Kitty Jane and balloons. He is very good at expressing himself. A lot. All day long. He finds the unexpected shouting of random silly words to be the height of hilarity. His favorites are "Cheese", "Peanut-butter" and "Eyelid." He does not like Mommy working, our dog Nigel most times, being too broke to go to the pharmacy for candy and the smell of coffee.
At the beginning of the year Brett was Freddy in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (the part Steve Martin played in the film) and he loved every minute of it. Well, except for the minutes he held live goldfish in his mouth. And those few minutes in rehearsal that he broke his ribs prat falling over a fence. He did love the chiropracty sessions that came after to align the broken ribs, though. He is still happily employed at Solution X and working with his brother Rodger making Internet magic for MLM clients. Brett enjoyed all of the amazing improv shows he performed in, being home with the kids while I worked (I like to pretend he did), playing his MORPGs or whatever they are called and being a social networker. He is challenged by, but enjoys, teaching his Sunday school class. He hates, but is a good sport about, how close he came to taking everyone at work in their fantasy football league, cleaning our dog's ears, having the kids touch his face, the cat meowing at the crack of dawn and his sister Kristen being sick.
At the beginning of 2010 I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease called Hashimotos. It was a huge relief to find I had a real medical issue making me feel the way I was. It's an ongoing process to get feeling normal, and some shoots are a lot harder than others, but it's an amazing realization to make about yourself. That much of who you are is not just spiritual but physical and somewhat out of your control. I was able to Art Direct a film this Summer called Wes and Ella and it was an amazing experience. I did miss my 20th class reunion due to rescheduling the shooting days, but I see almost everyone on Facebook anyway. I am grateful to the guys at Rivetal and Sorenson who were understanding about me taking a month and a half off to do the film. I'm grateful they still hired me back when the process was all over considering how capable my replacement, Dawn, is. I have loved the days I do get to be with the kids and walk them to school. I enjoy my church calling and the amazing people in our ward. We live in a wonderful neighborhood. So wonderful I keep convincing people to move here. I'm super grateful for the friendships we have made. I love our kids will grow up with these amazing people around them. (See: Ivie/Gardner and Clark families.) I love watching the kids be so much better at school work than I was. They're speaking languages and playing instruments like I wished I could. I enjoyed volunteering at Bella's class and meeting her friends. I didn't love having moles scraped from all over my body on two separate occasions this year and having minor surgery to remove "suspicious" skin on my knee. (Still have the stitches. They haven't melted just grown out through the skin, one knot at a time.) I also didn't love getting dressed in the dark most working days. But after getting an iPhone with a flashlight app, I'm set. I also didn't love gaining weight but it's par for the Hashimotos course and it could have been worse, some people in my condition gain far more than I have. Since the only mirrors in our house are situated over sinks, it makes it a lot easier not to care.
Our whole family loves swimming at the Lindon Pool, looking up talking cats on YouTube, Merritt Wellness Days, the trip we took to Disneyland (the first for the kids), Adventure Time on Cartoon Network, reading Harry Potter before bedtime, hitting 5 Guys or SmashBurger before a movie, the Freedom Festival and our new Honda Element (it happily replaced Brett's old white car that smells of gas and exhaust) and doing a family jig every time we paid off a debt. We collectively did not enjoy being sick, our lawn, the condition of our house, Charmin's "Enjoy the Go" commercials, the rain on Halloween and seeing multiple big huge hairy butt cracks while eating (or not) at the State Fair.
We look forward to paying off more debt, fixing up the house and having new family pictures taken. We pray we get to enjoy more of the little things that make us happy like being with family, riding bikes, dancing in Aidan's room after dinner, Brett singing his own words to "A Whole New World" while flying the kids to their beds and summer days spent playing in the sprinkler. We also pray for big, miraculous things like another little Merritt around and Kristin's total wellness. But as I get older I realize what a gift every day is and to be grateful for whatever comes. But I'd sure be grateful if what came was a truck full of tools.