“I merely took the energy it takes to pout, and wrote some blues”  ~Duke Ellington

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We had a fantastic holiday break and now I have the blues. We went to Christmas Mass at Graham Chapel, where Dan and I were married. I basked in the sweetness in Grace’s voice when she saw her new sleeping bag, christmas jammies and slippers under the tree on Christmas Eve. We had a cozy and relaxing Christmas morning at home. The reindeer ate all of the oatmeal we left them and Santa enjoyed his peppermint ice cream/oreo cookie shake. He made a mistake and ate part of Grace’s rice krispie treat house, which she was irritated with and couldn’t understand (I saw that coming). The kids played and played with all of their loot before we bundled up together in the car and headed to KC.

We had another Christmas morning on the 26th with the Barmann’s which was fantastic. My mom went all out and spoiled all of us with many many special treats, including her fabulous holiday cookies.  We loved seeing our west coast brother Jim and finding out about his latest pursuits as an importer/exporter, loved spending time with Amy and with my parents, loved seeing the four cousins in the bath together and loved connecting with Rob, Alli and Missy.  We had a nice amount of time in KC to visit with family and even enjoyed a Hanukkah celebration with Dan’s family. The kids helped make my mom’s special Christmas cinnamon rolls and they also helped make latkes at the Hanukkah lunch.

We spent 4 days in Kansas City and then piled Rob, Alli, Addie, Nolan, Grace, Max, Dan and myself into our minivan and made the trip back to St. Louis. It was a hoot. I am not sure that Addie enjoyed the road trip much, but the rest of us (at least me) enjoyed the closeness of our family. We were lucky enough to have Rob’s family stay with us for three more days and to celebrate New Year’s with us. It was fantastic to get to know our neice and nephew better and to see their fabulous personalities.  Addie is a total ham and we will officially claim she is very smart once she stops pooping in the bathtub.  Nolan is calm and sweet and has a fantastic, yummy smile.  We were lucky enough to have one of our favorite babysitters (Sarah, our frog’s namesake) stay with all four kids so we could bowl in the new year.  I tricked the group into thinking I was a terrible bowler by hitting a 69 the first round, and then came from behind so much that my competitive brother had to really commit to his game just to be sure to beat me.

Life has evolved immensely for our family over the last few years, but thankfully some things never change.

When we kicked off our holiday season, I wrote that we would do our best during the holidays and then resolve to do better next year.  I don’t know what we could do better next year.  I am surprised at how fulfilling this holiday season was and how the gentle winding down has left a little emptiness.  The house is clean and decluttered, the new toys are giving the kids endless enjoyment and I am sad.  Now it is just plain old winter with a big whole year ahead of us.

I am hoping for sparks of delight in these doldrums.  Stay tuned.

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