Yet, I love to read Christmas letters the more braggy the better. I love to hear about the successes of my friends and family. I love getting Christmas cards and hanging them in the front hall and thinking about all of our friends and family scattered all over the country. We keep all of our Christmas letters in a red basket and reread them throughout the holidays. And I often think how cool it would be to have a Christmas letter for every year of our family. And this year after reading a particularly fun letter from a high school friend (thank you Marin) I decided: I care what the Mitchells have been up to and I'm going to write a Christmas letter.
So, here goes. in January we had an exchange student from Australia for two weeks. Maddie was tons of fun. During her visit we made an on going list of unique Australian words and terms such as: pashing, rangas and hoons. (Definitions at the end of this letter for those who make it to the end.) We expect this list to grow since we are having another Australian visit in January.
In February, John turned 8. John loves chess, soccer, legos, designing and building strange contraptions and catching wild animals (this year alone he caught: lizards, snakes and a skunk) In school he had to describe himself and he wrote: "I'm John, I'm hungry and awesome!" That pretty much sums him up.
In March, John was baptized my dad came to his baptism as well as my sister and some of her kids. I love it when my sister visits because she takes the best pictures of our family and then writes all about us on her blog. (Oh yeah and she's amazing, beautiful and the most talented wonderful sister ever.)
In April, we went to D.C. to visit Bill's sister. She and her husband and two darling daughters were so welcoming and we had such a fabulous time. Highlights include: biking to Mt. Vernon, eating falafel, all of the Smithsonian, riding the metro and walking the memorials at night. Will surprised us by his love of history he went everywhere wearing his three cornered hat.
I honestly don't remember May. I think it was the whirlwind of end of the year concerts. (Lizzy plays cello and Zoey viola) and field trips and house guests.
In June, we celebrated Lizzy's 15th birthday. She wore a tiara the entire day--even running. Lizzy is more in touch with her inner princess than anyone I know. She loves to dress up. And has a real talent for getting everyone in the house to wait upon her. To be fair she in turn loves to spoil and coddle the rest of us. Lizzy walks tall and poised and really seems to get that she is a daughter of God and conducts herself as such.
Will also celebrated his birthdayin June. Will turned 6 andl is more in touch with his inner benevolent dictator than anyone I know. He has eased out of his King Arthur phase and wearing a crown all the time but he still likes to dictate family activities and acquire as much money and shiny objects as possible. I was telling someone recently how my kids do not like to perform, except maybe Will. He was listening in and said, "Yes, I like to share my magnificence with everyone!"
In July, my sister and her family came to visit.
And you can read all about it on her fabulous blog. She also made two great videos. Later in July, Bill and Lizzy embarked on their an excellent adventure. They were going to go to just to Italy but then they decided to visit France and Switzerland too.
They had such a great time. and I loved waking up every morning to pictures of their trip. Highlights for them included:going to church with my nephew Ben, staying in their own private French chateau, spooning champagne ice into plants at a fancy resaurant and visiting the swiss alps on Bill's birthday.
In August, the girls and I went to girls' camp, Lizzy went to running camp and we had friends visit from Canada. Also, my brother and his three kids also came to visit. We had so much fun with them. I do not spend enough time with my brothers. Also, in August Bill was called to be in the Stake Presidency. This call came as a total shock. And accepting was an act of faith since Bill already had a crazy busy schedule. But God always provides and I can say that --though Bill is not getting nearly enough sleep--we are getting more time with him than before this calling.
In August Zoey also turned 12 and started Young Women's.
Zoey excels at drawing, reading and playing viola. Zoey is also in touch with her inner princess, but even more in touch with her inner lawyer. We have a saying, "Zoey is always right." But she is currently correcting me and says, "It's Zoey knows everything." I stand corrected.
September was another whirlwind of back to school. Lizzy is in 10th grade, Zoey is in seventh; John in third and Will in first. With all the kids in school, I try to use my few free hours to write. I'm working on a project right now that I'm really excited about. Still, I spend a disproportionate amount of time doing laundry and dishes and try to remind myself that someday far too soon I won't have so much laundry and dishes and I'll miss them because I'll miss my kids.
In October, Bill's brother and his cute wife came to visit, we went to lots of Lizzy's x-country meets and we celebrated Halloween. One of these years I'm going to get a picture of all my kids together in their halloween costumes. The problem is they can never make up their minds and dress up as different things for different events. Will was a king and a ghost, John was a rat and a doctor (or his dad), Zoey was Alice in wonderland and a princess. Lizzy was a Starbucks' employee. Yes, a Starbucks' employee this was a mild controversy in the Mitchell home. You see Bill doesn't even like to call coffee cake coffee cake. He prefers we call it a crumble cake. Lizzy thought it would be ironic to go to the Mormon dance as a barrista. (I 'm fairly sure Bill is kidding about the whole crumble/coffee cake thing. But with Bill you never quite know.)
In November, Bill and I went on a much needed vacation to Monterey while BIll's parents watched the kids. This was a huge success because I spent time alone with Bill and got to see sea otters in the wild.
For Thanksgiving my sister and her family came to visit. And if you have nothing else to do but read about the Mitchells she blogged about this visit 1, 2, 3 times. She says some very nice things about me in her in blog. I wish half of them were true.
And now it's December and it's almost Christmas. I'm still getting used to Christmas in southern California. It's hard to get excited for Christmas without snow, thankfully I have Will who reminds me daily that Christmas is coming, sings Christmas songs non-stop and wears a Santa hat. This year Bill actually has Christmas off. Yesterday, I found out that he has work off till Jan. 2. I cried tears of joy-truly. On Dec. 29th we will celebrate 17 years of marriage.
So this letter is too long, too braggy and too cheesy but I'm glad I wrote it. Writing has been an exercise in counting my blessings. This Christmas my heart is full. I look forward to going to church today and singing praises to my Lord and King.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
P.S. Pashing=passionate kissing or making out, rangas=red heads and Hoons=idiots/hooligans particularly bad drivers