Friday, December 24, 2010

My first crack at a Christmas epistle


Why are we writing a Christmas letter this year?

Because we are officially old. Missy turned 40 this year, and while Walker is <40, he is Old By Proxy. And old people write Christmas letters. I know this, because my mom gets an entire basket of them each year. So I figure I should get y'all hooked in before our annual letter consists mainly of detailed descriptions of our 2-for-1 hip replacement surgeries and hilarious stories of Walker's outlandish senile induced comments. Wait a minute...

The biggest question of course is, should Missy write this Christmas letter in the third person. Considering she is used to this mode of conversation from twitter and facebook, she is quite comfortable with the procedure. So let's start with Missy. Who turned 40 on May 7. FORTY. 4-0. Ie, closer to 50 than to 30, as her mother was so very kind to point out on May 8.  Her 40th year was brought in with many friends celebrating at a Wine and Stinky Cheese Party. Thus far, Oprah was right, and her 40s have rocked. Also Missy would like to share the secret to looking good at 40. Lean in. Are you ready? Lots and LOTS of makeup. You can be cute at 40, but not accidentally.

I can't do it third person anymore. I tried.

Back to me, my favorite topic. When I'm not bossing around my children, researching the best stain fighting formula or feeling guilty over the amount of high fructose corn syrup they consume, I'm writing on my blog which actually led to me being asked to speak at a couple of women's conferences this year. Yes, I'm getting paid to talk. Wonders never cease.

Walker has begun a new job in sales. Which means, the happy go easy life of a marketing manager has come to a close and he is traveling much more. Hopefully I will soon be able to wipe away my lonely, single mom tears on the stacks of dollar bills this new opportunity will provide for us.  When not lauding the glory of computery things, he and a friend have begun writing movie screenplays. But the cool thing is he actually got an agent. Yes. Walker has an agent. One step closer to his goal of Hollywood Mogul!

Shepherd is in first grade and is brilliant - this is a Christmas letter, so of course my kids are all bright and shiny. He has a very pretty teacher this year so that takes the sting away from painful four-square defeats. I'm sad to report that his marriage, conducted last year on the kindergarten playground, did not survive summer break, but he rebounded well.  His latest obsessions are anything military - I simply avert my eyes from the camouflage fashion don't list - and Cub Scouts. Between the 14,000 events scheduled every month, both Walker and I have sought treatment for CSITSD - Cub Scout Induced Traumatic Stress Disorder. Most of our tics have subsided but navy blue polyester still sometimes makes us reach for an inhaler.

Eva Rose is six and in kindergarten. She is reading great which has put a damper on our ability to spell out secrets in her presence and type emails in front of her. Literacy can be hard on a parent. She is by far the tallest girl in her class, ie, a mutant. Her hobbies include art, dramatic acting involving evil queens who boss around smaller blonde princesses, tattling when the small blonde princess doesn't do what she says, and lobbying that 65 Barbie dolls are not adequate for a child of her position.

Mags will be 5 on December 14. Maggie is our artist-in-residence. Her hobbies include dodging Ike, wearing her shoes on the wrong feet, torturing her sister by laughing at her and then insisting she was laughing at something else, and stickers. We've scheduled an intervention and are enlisting the help of a 12 Step program for her sticker addiction.  

Ike is three and a half and has fully committed to his quest for science. As the youngest of four children, he applied for and received a government grant by which to test his hypothesis that blunt force and volume are the most effective means for creating a reaction and achieving a desired response. We've sacrificed many breakables and our eardrums in his endless pursuit of knowledge. We're very proud.

It appears he is branching out in to other sciences, as today conducted a physics experiment involving a nutcracker soldier and a toilet. Which enabled us to brush up on our finance and economics skills.

The most exciting thing happening in the Dollahon household is that we've decided to add another child to the chaos. This place is a zoo, what's one more monkey? Much of my year was spent sucking on papercuts and asking perfect strangers to notarize incredibly personal documents as part of our dossier - a fancy word for a fat lot of paperwork - so that we can adopt a baby from an orphanage in Ethiopia.

Walker and I planned to adopt since before we were married, and are thrilled that our dream is finally being realized. Ethiopia is a country with approximately five million orphans where one in eight children do not live to see their fifth birthday. Only half of children attend school, and only 12% attend high school.

We expect to bring home a baby girl, already named Bethlehem, before our Christmas cards go out in 2011.

This adoption will cost almost $30,000 and our money tree was blown down during Hurricane Ike, dangit. However, the Lord has been incredibly faithful to provide the money to bring his little girl home, much if not most of it provided through the generosity of friends and family. Recently we were blown away to receive a $4,000 matching grant from Lifesong for Orphans and Kingsland Baptist Church in Katy. If you would like to be a part of Bethie's story, we would be forever appreciative. Donations to Lifesong are tax deductible and can be sent to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40, 202 N. Ford Street, Gridley, IL 61744, and put Dollahon #1473 in the memo.

We hope that you will follow the story of our adoption - and the other crazy antics of our family - at my blog, www.ItsAlmostNaptime.blogspot.com. And I am thrilled to answer any questions you may have about adoption - or reality TV suggestions, decent crockpot recipes, whatever - you can email me at itsalmostnaptime @gmail.com.

Walker, Shepherd, Evangeline, Magdalene, Ingram and I pray that 2011 is a year of joy and peace and uneventful doctor visits for all of you, and that we might actually connect with you in an old-fashioned, non-virtual way!

Joy  to the world,  the Lord is come!

Much love,

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