Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas letter 2011

25 November 2011

Merry Christmas!
{I can now officially wish you holiday greetings because Thanksgiving is over...}
It's Black Friday. The day that many Americans are working off the calories from all that turkey and pumpkin pie by running from store to store in frantic hopes of getting killer deals on the items detailed on their Christmas gift list. I think they're crazy. {No offense intended...} I am wrapped in my bathrobe and still sitting in bed {at noon, no less} typing my Christmas letter rather than face the hordes of holiday shoppers...pumpkin pie calories and killer deals be damned. {Besides...I made a preemptive strike against those calories by going on a 3 mile run BEFORE turkey time. So I'm good, right?}

I feel I should start off with an apology. Many of you know that I write a blog. And if you've checked out that blog, you know that I am rather prolific. Which means that anything I detail in this Christmas letter will most likely be repeat. For those who find news of my blog writing,, I could just direct you to my blog address
{} and then leave you with a generic “Merry Christmas!” But even if you did venture on over there...I think the 195 blog posts I have written thus far for 2011 would likely be more than just a little overwhelming. Which is why I am using my Black Friday to summarize and hit the high points of my year in this letter.

I'm finding myself feeling a little bit old this year. Not so much in a bad way, necessarily...yes, I've been fighting those pesky gray hairs for quite a few years now despite the fact that 38 years old still seems way too early to be dealing with that sort of thing. No, this is in more of a “Holy wow...time is really passing!” sort of way. We've had quite a few markers this year that force us to acknowledge our age, even if we don't necessarily feel it.
*Bryan and I went to my 20 year high school reunion this year. And though I feel like I look better now than I did then, more than one person had to look at my name tag before exclaiming, “Sarah! I never would've recognized you!” because the changes were, apparently, extreme. {It's the whole hair color thing. Oh, and probably the fact that I'm not a scrawny 95 lb, 5'1”, 17 year old anymore.}
*But even more than a 20 year reunion for making one feel older, how about your oldest daughter entering high school and learning to drive? Yes, Rebekah is 15 and a sophomore at ----- High School. She challenges us frequently with requests that leave us floundering as we try to decide how to respond...seeing as she is our oldest and we've not come up with a parenting plan for everything yet. She's with friends more than she is home but she's a good, sweet girl and still somehow finds time to get enough of her homework done to pull a 3.8 GPA. Now, how to deal with those ever-present boys who are constantly texting and wanting to hold her hand at parties??
*Oh, oh! How about this? Bryan turns 40 in a couple of weeks. 40! FORTY! The big four-oh! This is a black balloon-worthy birthday coming up. How is it that even though he is two years older than me he still doesn't have any gray hair?
*I've also realized this year that when I sing Lex de Azevedo's “Gloria” tomorrow, it will have been 13 years since I first started singing with the Millennium Choir. Julianne was a 5-month old newborn when we started.
*And unlike when I played a young teenage “Mabel” falling in love with equally young “Frederic” in Pirates of Penzance a couple of summers ago, this year I played the part of “Ms. Susan” a wealthy, southern plantation owner that is the mother of a teenage daughter in the musical Harriet. Times are a'changing.

Maybe the reasons Bryan and I don't necessarily feel our age, despite all evidence to the contrary staring us in the face, is because of these things:
*I continue to run and bike in an attempt to ward of the results of my lack of willpower in the fight with my sweet tooth and my ever slowing metabolism. Numerous weekends this year were spent adding race numbers to my growing collection. Sleeping in vans and gym floors were not uncommon. Endurance races like Ragnar and LOTOJA, among others, tend to swing you pendulum-like from miserably brutal lows to the highest of adrenaline highs, all within one race. Which, amazingly enough, translates to exhausted awesomeness in my book. {Did I mention that I am the captain of my Ragnar team for 2012?}
*I also tried skiing this year for the first time. Ever. Worries that I wouldn't make it off that mountain without some sort of injury were unfounded. {Julianne came home with a sprained wrist a few weeks earlier after attempting snowboarding.} Apparently I bounce well...something that was repeatedly proven to me seeing as I fell on my backside 7 times!
*Bryan keeps himself active and young in mind and spirit by target shooting as much as humanly possible. The man gets practically giddy when packing all his gear. A week trip to Front Sight in Nevada, a day trip to the desert with his brothers or just a few hours up the side of the matters not. He's just happy to be shooting. Have I mentioned his up and coming “man cave” in the backyard? Not yet? Oh. Well! This detached garage-type building will house not only all his power tools and weight equipment but also...wait for it...a shooting range. With a main floor that drops 6 feet down into the ground, the building is within -------- code for personal shooting on your own property within city limits. He can now shoot more or less whenever he wants to. Giddy, I tell you.

But what really keeps us feeling young is trying to keep up with our children and their schedules. {A contradiction, really, because their rapid growth also makes our own years all the more obvious.} I mentioned already that Rebekah is in high school now. What is unique about our children's schooling, however, is that we have four children in four different schools. Julianne is 13 and in 8th grade at the Jr. High, Brandon is 10 and in 5th grade at the elementary school, and 4 year old Lilian is our caboose attending her 2nd year of preschool. My brain gets a workout trying to keep all those start and end times straight...not to mention early out Fridays and late start Tuesdays. I drive 6 carpools! Because beyond getting the kids to and from school there is also gymnastics, ballet and drama. I'm starting to feel like I run a taxi service.
*Brandon's gymnastics is the most time consuming, certainly. He is at the gym 5 days for a total of 12 hours weekly. Factor into that meet season in the winter where one meet can take up a full get the idea. But the determination, discipline, strength, confidence, friendship and pure joy it brings to Brandon makes it all very worth it. This year, beyond the various local meets, we had 2 out of state meets in Boise and Las Vegas and then the state meet in St. George. All good excuses for mini-vacations, yes?
*Rebekah and Julianne are involved in --------- Theatre...a youth acting troupe here in -------. They put on a rousing rendition of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat {try saying that 5 times fast} in the spring and are now in rehearsals for Beauty and the Beast. They also performed in the stake play Receive These Things in March...a show that I was heavily involved with also, as a ward director. Whereas Rebekah has embraced singing and performed often with the Choraliers {the 9th grade show choir} and has now fully embraced the music program at the high school, Julianne is kind of rebelling against type. Though she still loves the acting, I think she is tired of people pigeon-holing her with singing...and has branched out into other interests. She refused to take choir this year...something that made my jaw drop Sebastian style {from Little Mermaid} and instead, took acting, French and art. However, she claims one of her favorite classes is history...I don't fully know yet if she truly does love it, or if she's trying to make peace about the choir thing by buttering up her mother who has a BA in history...hmm.
*Besides preschool, Lilian also takes classes at a local ballet school...a more beautiful ballerina you've never seen. She is growing in both stature and personality. {My favorite Lilian quote this year? When handed an apple at Disneyland she looked up with equal parts innocence and suspicion...and asked, “Is it poisoned?”} Lilian seems to think that life is not complete without a playmate and has developed some serious wanderlust in her quest to find friends available for play. Luckily for her, we live in a neighborhood where there is an abundance of little friends her age.

Another thing that made me feel a little less than my years? Disneyland. The land where the child inside reigns...often with a crown of Mickey ears {or in my case, a Mad Hatters hat.} While the other kids had a summer full of camps ranging from gymnastics and science, to AFY at BYU Idaho and Retreat for Girls at Utah State University...with girls camp and a couple of trips with the grandparents thrown in for good measure, Lilian stayed home. She'd help them pack, wave goodbye and help them unpack again when the week was up. In August it was her turn. She packed her own bag this time, waved goodbye to her siblings and, with Mom and Grandma in tow, boarded her very first airplane. It being a Lilian paced trip, we spent four days doing exactly what a 4-year old desired. And if that meant we went on the Little Mermaid ride four times in a row, so be it. We had a joyously child-like time.

Funny enough, mine and Bryan's trip to NYC also made me feel young. Seasoned enough to feel only slight trepidation walking around the city on my own while Bryan worked...notwithstanding, I still turned circles in child-like awe when I found myself in Times Square for the first time. I pinched myself, literally pinched myself, when I sat down to watch Anything Goes on Broadway to make sure I wasn't dreaming. And received the ultimate compliment proving that I don't look anywhere near as old as I sometimes feel when a native NYC businessman struck up a conversation with me on the street and eventually asked me out for drinks...fully admitting to hitting on me only after I confessed that I was married.

But realistically, feeling older is a good thing. Because it means Bryan and I have been happily married for 18 years now. We've been rocked this year, watching some very close friends struggle in their marriages and contemplate divorce. Through our tears and despair we've also found ourselves clinging to each other and our little family ever more fiercely and thanking Heavenly Father for our ability to plow through when we've had problems of our own over the years and come out stronger.

We are incredibly thankful for the relationships we have with all of you! What a treasure family and good friends are! We hope you are all having a glorious Christmas season!

Bryan, Sarah, Rebekah, Julianne, Brandon and Lilian

1 comment:

DisabilityDiva said...

An amazing year! Soglad I can take a peek at yuor life through your blog! Here's to 2012!!