Merry Christmas from the Cracker Sisters!

Dear friends,

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We haven’t been writing because we’ve been celebrating TOGETHER, with lots of family and fun. We’ll be back to posting regularly in the new year. Have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy your time together!

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A Charlie Brown Christmas

Dear Kristen,

I have one or two little people that could be on the naughty list here.  Or maybe four if you count their parents.  I think Gibbs is the only one who gets off this year – and that was touch and go for a little while (she likes cat poop – so gross!).  Good thing Santa’s in the business of grace and mercy, just like Jesus!  And as far as Little Mister/Monster – he’s so CUTE being naughty, I think I would just laugh and he’d continue doing it.  With these two, that’s likely the pattern we’ve established.

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So I think the story of our life is to remember that we have treasure in heaven, not in Virginia.  And things are just that – things.  Not really a big deal.  Our war with the house continues, but only in the Christmas realm, making this feel a little like Charlie Brown’s Christmas.

Our tree on the day we got it:

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Its huge – it might be the size we ordered, but I think its bigger.  And it definitely is WIDER than we’ve ever had.  So, Matt gave it a haircut.  Don’t worry, it wasn’t me doing the cutting.  When I cut hair, it comes out looking…well…bad. But Matt did it and he did a great job.  It meant we could push it back in the corner and not constantly run into it as we walk through the room.

It took two days to decorate and it was beautiful and eclectic – just like CB’s.  Not fancy, not “commercial.”  Some angels, some Santas, some crosses, some homemade…beautiful.

Then we went away for the weekend, and when we got back, this is what we found:

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Shattered glass, missing appendages, and a big mess.  Some “m&m’s” as Munchkin calls them were beyond repair.  One in particular was sad for me – a glass globe with a beach scene on top that I have a distinct memory getting with Mom at Kuhn’s one year.  But miraculously, most of the heirloom ornaments were unscathed!  The porcelain ones, not broken! A Christmas miracle.

Broken

Broken

Not broken!

Not broken!

We cleaned up and salvaged what we could.  Tied the tree off this time, redecorated (it took two days again) and voila!

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Now trees aren’t what Christmas is all about, but it helps to prepare for the birth of Jesus.  It makes us smile during this advent season, until Christmas Day.

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On the Naughty List

Dear Erin,

It looks very peaceful. Around here – a little more hectic. Not because of the holidays.

Because of the Little Mister. Since he’s turned eight months old, he’s gone crazy with the power of independence.

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This is how our days go:

Me: LM, stop playing with that cord. Leave it alone.

Him:

20141204_160145Me: Swallow your food! Stop spitting it out.

Him:

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Me: I see you, and I see those cords. Don’t even think about it!

Him:

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***

Not to mention, he’s started climbing the stairs…

Room for Improvement

Dear Erin,

Yes, a few of those have escaped my lips already. Right now, the two things I find myself repeating most often are, “Not in your mouth!” and “Leave it alone!” Not that he understands either of those phrases.

Or maybe he’s just playing dumb…

So, my days continue to be dominated by Little Mister-wrangling, but I promised I’d update on the shelf, so here you go:

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This might be the last update for the year (and what with all the holiday busyness, I don’t know that I’ll read much more anyway), so I figured I’d physically represent all the pages I’d read this time. I guess it’s not too bad; not perfect, but not too bad. Here you can see the whole shelf:

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As you can see, it’s worked out to a little less than half a shelf.

Anyway, despite my pitching and moaning, I think in the end, this has been a good project for me. It’s encouraged me to read real books, rather than just the internet, because then I’d have something to show for it. (I never, EVER thought I’d need encouragement to read. This had better just be a phase.) And reading real books is so much better for my mind – maybe not everyone has this problem, but I’m one of those who gets anxious if I only consume things at the surface level. I don’t always realize it, but after a week or so of basically skimming along on just Facebook, blogs, AVClub reviews, and articles, I start feeling fidgety and unsatisfied. A real book calms me down, as several friends have pointed out this year.

It’s also encouraged me to try new books, rather than just rereading things I know (nearly) by heart. Not that you can exactly tell that from this picture; four of the seven spines you can see belong to books I’ve read before. But most of the other pages don’t. Keeping track of my progress makes me want to make that progress a true move forward, not a cyclical turning back upon myself.

So I think I’m going to try it again next year, although if I record it here at all, it will only be in passing. I’ll try to beat my accomplishment from this year, and maybe within three years I’ll actually be achieving full shelves again.