Family Christmas Card, 2013

As I’ve mentioned before, I know who DOESN’T read my blog (recently, I referenced a post to my very own Mother, who asked, “what’s the name of your blog, again?”), so I am not sure who DOES.   Yet, the counter on the bottom of my blog shows me I have readers.  Happy Holidays, readers!  This blog was bourne from our yearly family holiday card, beginning in 2002.  Now presenting…2013. 

Drumroll, please …

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Mazel La Familigia e Amici!

Can I get a collective HALLELUJAH?!? It’s the holiday season, and if you are in “my demographic”, you are about to spend the next 12 days with your uncontrollable, seemingly crack-infused offspring with no school open for deposits. No place to leave them with a teacher who idealistically “wanted to touch the future and teach” and ended up corralling your wildly enthusiastic kids trying to keep them QUIET AND STILL (in NO way could I possibly be referring to my own). There is nothing else to say but hallelujah, right?

So, why don’t you hunker down, pour a tasty Shiraz, gather up some roasted, salty nuts from your pantry and get ready to read about Jesus and second chances with dogs named after Springsteen songs.

Hold up. I know your ears just perked up, but before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s discuss the photos on our Christmas card. I implore you, pull the card out and take a gander.

* Why did I include a photo of the octogenarian Santa and his child bride, Mrs. Santa? This was a special moment at one of my MANDATORY FAMILY FUN activities. We went on an overpriced, but festive Christmas hayride and sat for the obligatory family Santa pix, and … wait for it…THIS IS THE FIRST CHRISTMAS PHOTO WITH SANTA THAT EXSISTS OF US AS A FAMILY OF 5. I hear the audible gasps from “Pinterest Mom’s” worldwide. Yes, our baby is 2 ¾ . Yes, this is her 3rd Christmas. We are so disappointing.

* Why did I include a photo of The Husband and I with the awkward lean-away body language? More importantly, why would I allow such awful tan lines to end up in an Official Hyphenista and The Husband portrait? Drum roll… this was the only picture we could find of the two of us this year. It’s my signature move if we are standing side-by-side- the lean away. I am taller in heels than he is. We need to get out more…

* Why did I include an imperfect shot of all my children? No, not so you could admire their awesome coordinating Grinch shirts, but that you could see their teensy button noses! I peck them with kisses all day, every day. Clearly my marriage is a perfect example of primordial attraction at it’s best. I must have known on that disastrous blind date in 2001 that albeit my Patrician Roman nose (not sure how I inherited that, I believe we were of mere peasant stock in Sulmona, Italy) was handy around 40 BC, I was ready to breed it out.

Back to Jesus and second chances. Let’s start with second chances. Let’s talk about Rosie.

The last decade of my life had been riddled with A FEW mistakes, mostly attributed to my inability to care for those in my circle. I think I have disappointed Rosie, our 11-year-old Chihuahua, the most. She slinks about, waiting for my love and attention, but by 9 pm, I usually don’t have very much love left to give. This Fall, in a very short period of time, she lost half of her body weight and couldn’t stop drinking and peeing. Dr. Husband, Medicine Man, properly diagnosed her with doggy diabetes. She is now insulin dependant twice a day, but wagging her tail as she did as a puppy and moving around like the tea-cup she once was. I promised to take care of her and comfort her into the last years of her life. I should have videotaped this moment, if you can get a visual- me, after a few glasses of wine sobbing and asking my formerly-obese-elderly-puppy-mill-rescue-Chihuahua for a second chance.

Onto Jesus. My sweet The Oldest, sometimes so nice that The Husband and I scratch our collective heads wondering how our genes produced him. (Have you met us? I am not Southern nice anymore since leaving Tallahassee.) The Oldest loves to sing and play piano. He makes a lot of joyful noises. The Oldest really loves to sing about God and Jesus. It’s been an interesting spiritual evolution we have witnessed- he who was born unto one parent who doesn’t attend church and the other who has had an interesting yet tumultuous journey with religion. He has about 5 different Bibles that he rotates through. He sang “Believe” in the Christmas concert in church this year and we all needed tissues. Although he is presently a devout Protestant, The Oldest has pledged to marry a “Jewish Catholics” girl so he can create Hershey kiss latkes and make his First Penance. As you can imagine, we talk for hours.

The Middle also brought a lot of God into our house this year in a different way. I am trying to decide which one of his “incidences” had me praying more: 1.) When he was lost at Dutch Wonderland for 45 minutes and a team of security guards were radioed in (my cousin found him) or 2.) When he had an anaphylaxis reaction to a white tailed hornet sting and we took an ambulance ride to the hospital. He is the quietest of our lot, but the nuttiest. No one has actually ever seen him sit still, and sometimes my neighbors call me because they’ve found him in their garage- in his underwear wearing a Nasa space helmet. A wild boy who dangles from trees, his mischievous smile makes it hard to ever be mad at him.

The Nosy Meap is an interesting little person. Her teacher’s politely refer to her as “a bag of chips”, and I think in the South y’all would call her “sassy”. Her brothers relish in teaching her mild potty words and she loves to blurt them out in the middle of the grocery store. She is the comedienne of our family, and her favorite pastime is making “The Brothers” laugh. It is the most fun to watch The Husband play Princesses with her. I am still learning how to do girl hair.

The Husband continues to make us all kickass breakfasts when he graces us with his presence – he was on 100 flights this year, a new record for all of us. Who knew that a job as a Perkins short order cook in 1994 would pay dividends today? We celebrated 10 years of marriage this year. When I asked where my present was, I got a “check me out. You’ve gotten my love for 10 years. Chicks dig me.” Sigh.

How am I? Let’s see…the placemats from Thanksgiving are still on the dining room table. Oh, I almost had to call an ambulance for myself in November at the kids’ allergist’s office. During The Middle’s venom skin tests, I ingested white tail hornet venom and had a panic attack. How did I do this exactly? I wiped the venom off of The Middle (not really supposed to do that), and absently licked my finger (why did I do that?). My heart began racing and I thought it would explode. A hornet had never stung me and I just put venom all over my tongue. My heart continued to race. I abandoned my son, whilst in the midst of venom pricks and locked myself in the bathroom- counting to 100 backwards. There is a name for all my afflictions, just not sure what it is. Besides being a professional carpooler and occasionally writing a blog post (www.hyphenista.com), I now have a new hobby. After my “advisory counsel” told me I needed to CALM THE %$#@ DOWN (they suggested intense and regular therapy), I decided to try yoga. Although I don’t know how to properly Ohm, I have fun doing headstands with the kids. I have a lot of minor wardrobe malfunctions in class, which is interesting on an almost 37 year old whose birthed 3 kids. Humble pie tastes good.

In 2013, my 92-year-old Grandmother died in peace…and we celebrated my Pop’s 100th birthday. With The In-Laws moving a mere 15 minutes to the East of us, I can say we are officially and happily surrounded by family. I am not sure who smiles more when I unload the children upon them- the grandparents or the kids. They always have the biggest fan club at their sports games, recitals and “graduations”. They do sleepovers at The Aunts’; they see family almost every day of their lives. It’s a true gift. Although I still miss my Florida homeland (see you all in The Villages in 2043), watching Coach fish with The Middle, The Father-in-law play catch with The Oldest, The Mother-in-law let The Nosy Meap beat her at The Matching Game or My Mom hooking everyone up at the Pediatrician’s office- it is worth the cold weather! As the man I’m currently married to likes to say: “all our problems are little problems”, and he’s right. We were also lucky enough to have friends and family visit The Frozen Tundra in 2013, consider us as a finalist in your vacation plans next year! (As I mentioned, the breakfasts are SPECTACULAR!)

Lovelovelove….lovelovelove…all you need is…..

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