Monday, December 21, 2009

'09 Christmas Wishes

For those of you who read my blog but did not get a Christmas letter
in your mailbox this year, here's the electronic version.

Ho, Ho, Ho, and Deck the Halls, the holidays are here.
It went so fast, and looking back, ‘09 was quite a year!
The economy staggered, then fell flat; and it’s been a bumpy ride.
PEAK’s hangin’on, at least for now, awaiting a shift in tide!

Our family now has three adults, since Brennan turned eighteen.
He’s leaving soon, which is awful and great, and everything in between!
For now he’s loving his senior year, and time is flying by.
He’s an Eagle Scout, and a starting guard for good old Carson High!

Kristi’s enduring her junior year, mostly with a smile.
Tho’ proficiency exams and AP classes can sometimes cramp her style.
She played tennis again this year, and keeps our piano in song;
Right now she’s training with a friend to run a half-marathon!

Austin is growing and changing fast – that comes with being thirteen!
He’s smart and fun, and a new Life Scout, which is pretty keen.
Austin played soccer in the fall and made the all-stars, too.
But, like his big bro’, he’d rather play guard on the team at his middle schoo’.

Dallin is ten now, believe it or not, leaving childhood quickly behind.
Sometimes we wish we could freeze him in time, or even push rewind!
He is playing bball too, with his trusty Coach Dad calling plays.
Helpful and funny; pretty smart too, we hope this is how he will stay!

Keith needs a break; a nice long vacation, to unwind and renew his vigor.
Instead he says yes to all who ask, and his plate just keeps getting bigger!

He spends time with the 14 and 15-year-old scouts - camping, biking, and more;
He works snack bars, sings at church functions, and serves on professional boards.

Karen has joined the ranks of moms who work outside the home,
But only part-time, at a local school, so there’s no cause to moan.

She enjoys her job, but better than that, she’s home when the kids are home.
And that makes her happy, and feeling okay, for she has no desire to roam.

All is well at the Shaffer’s house, and we hope you can say the same.
We hope the New Year will bring your desires, be they health, fortune, or fame!

We wish you all a joyful season, full of family and friends and love
And pray that you will feel the peace that comes from God above.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stop the ride! I wanna get off!

So life is a little crazy. 'Tis the season.

I love the holiday season, but like most everyone, I do not enjoy the stress that rides alongside. I don't carry stress around with me every minute, which is good. But I do experience stressful moments, or hours, when I want to get off the ride.

Preparing for Christmas itself hasn't been all that stressful this year:

Tight Budget + Little Time = Christmas Simplification.

That part I have liked. The Christmas cards have been sent. Most of the presents are wrapped and under the tree, with only a few odds and ends left to take care of. Christmas cookies and toffee have been baked with more batches to follow. The weather has been both frightful and delightful. We even had a snow day last week (only the second in the past 13 years), which was honestly a tender mercy from above.

The part of the holidays that stresses me out is that the rest of life doesn't stop for them. My house still needs daily maintenance, my family needs to eat, the laundry must be done, and the ironing pile continues to grow. My older kids all have finals keeping them busy, and Dallin has a biography project on Abraham Lincoln due tomorrow. [His teacher obviously doesn't have kids yet, and thought it would be just fine to give them (and their moms) something huge to do the two weeks before Christmas! He has to dress up tomorrow -- hope I have some black posterboard to make a top hat!] Oh my, the missionaries coming to dinner (again). And the tail light in the truck is still burned out. Well, at least that costs less than the fuel pump the Suburban just needed. The service project at the womens' shelter is today?!? And oh, I better pay the bills. Austin's 8th-grade basketball season is now over, but Brennan's varsity season is just beginning, and I love the games and can't possibly miss! Keith is almost a one-man show at work now, so he works long days, has meetings and then basketball practices with Dallin; we hope to get reacquainted in January?

And oh yes, I am gone at work every day from 10:45 - 3:15. A small detail.

Our ward Christmas party is this Saturday. I have to bring a batch of 'funeral potatoes', Brennan and Austin are stage hands for the program, Kristi is playing piano accompaniment for the program, plus playing a guitar duet with a friend, and Dallin is a shepherd in the primary play. It will be great. But really, I just want us all to stay home and watch a movie. Sigh.

I am really looking forward to next week. No school (or work for me). Life will slow down. The house will get messy, and we will eat too much food. Brennan will spend what might be his last Christmas with us for awhile. Dramatic pause to contemplate that. Then he will leave for Las Vegas with his basketball team. Kristi's friend MacKenzie from Oregon will come for a visit. We will sleep in past 5:00 am and stay up late. We will watch movies, see family and friends, and play games. The stress will have melted away and we will feel the holiday joy. Just thinking about that helps the stress to melt a little right now.

Take a deep breath, and have a Happy Holiday!