Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christmas Letter 2015

Hello again. I am sitting on my porch on this crazy, warm, December day and I am thinking about this 26th letter. Some know all the stuff that goes on in our day to day life thanks to Facebook. I thought maybe, just maybe, no letter this year, but darn it! It is a tradition, so here is my letter. Feel free to toss it in the recycle bin or use it kindling. I promise that I will understand. 

Sebastian – what is new with him? He is taller – I mean a lot taller. He finally started to grow this year. There has been a lot of maturing this year too. It is clear that Sebastian is the baby of the family because mama has been doing things for him that ended far earlier for the other two kids. We spent a great deal of the summer and beyond, learning life skills. We have made progress, but he may always be a mama’s boy. Time will tell. This year we introduced Sebastian to Harry Potter. We read some of the books together and we journeyed to that world through our imaginations. Even better, we got to take him to Universal and experience the magic first hand. He still has his group of homeschool buddies that he meets up with. They play minecraft via skype and can be heard yelling at each other even when they aren’t in the same house. They still enjoy nerf wars and pokemon. He conquered the 3 hour skill test to get his purple belt in Karate – a proud accomplishment! I still don’t understand half of what Sebastian talks to me about – gaming, computers, programming, etc. I feel like I need a translator much of the time. I do know that he is happy and content, mostly. He likes things to be very routine and he likes the security of his friends. At the same time, he is happy to go off on a trip and find an adventure – as long as I give him a detailed itinerary and he knows exactly what the plan is at all times. We will be finishing up grade school and entering into middle school in 2016. I think he will try one online class and we will go from there. I am sad in some ways to see that time end, but also excited to see who it is he is growing up to be. Of course, I am sure that he will just keep talking to me way over my knowledge level, but that is okay… I have perfected saying, “Uh huh. Mmmm. Sure.”

Savannah – aka Savy. I think it would be easier to tell you what is NOT new with her this year. New hair, new school attitude, new interests, new friends, new room, new tattoo and the list goes on. I think my girl woke up on January 1st of this year and decided this was going to be her year to shine. I have never seen her work so hard and learn so much from school. In the spring, she tried a part time job at McD’s, but mama had to say no when they kept giving her 30+ hours. Life is too short to be a slave at McD’s. She got her much wanted tattoo in honor of Timmy. Yes, she was 16 and yes, we took her. We don’t care if people don’t like it. Walk her walk, live her life and you may get an understanding of why this was so important to her. My drama queen appeared in two plays with our homeschool co-op. In summer, she worked hard on the yearbook team. Both of those things are great accomplishments, but even more so because of the fantastic friendships she made. I do believe this is the happiest I have ever seen her and she will say it has a lot to do with the friends she has made. Fall brought endless weekends of working at the haunted house. She has a talent for scaring the heck out of people. She managed the many late nights and demand of her online classes – making Tim and I extremely happy. Winter has brought a push to get that driver’s license. It is close – very close. I have watched my little girl go through some deep stuff – grief, depression, anxiety, etc – and triumph over it. She is confident, driven, happy and kind. I am so lucky that she was given to me and I can’t even express how much I love her. 

Timmy – I miss him. There are so many things I want to tell him. It was Harry Potter year, again, and that has always held a special place in my heart with Timmy. When Timmy was about 11, I ordered a bunch of stuff from some online store and they sent me a free copy of the first Harry Potter book. I had no idea what it was about, but I wrapped it up and put it under the tree anyway – I know, bad parent – whatever. He opened it that Christmas morning and he said, “Harry Porker!” Uh, no, Harry Potter. When we started back to school, I would come home from work and we would sit on the couch and read together. He struggled with reading, so I would read two pages and he would read one. We mostly read historical fiction because that’s what homeschoolers do. But, I decided to change it up and start reading this Harry Potter book. I had no idea the magic that was about to enter our lives. Each afternoon, Timmy, Savannah and I would curl up on the loveseat and we would read. It was like the world fell away and we were on this adventure. If I could go back, I would. There are times in your life that you don’t even realize it, but it really is the best days. Back then, we had to wait for the next books to come out. Timmy was growing up right along with Harry, Hermione, and Ron. Each book would come out and we would cuddle up on the loveseat and the magical world would suck us in. Even for Savannah – just a baby – she would grab that book and pull me to the spot. She loved it too. When the movies started to come out, Tim would join us on the adventure. It became a family tradition to see the movie and compare it to the book and relive the story. My life has been so blessed because of this short time. I just wish Timmy could have gone to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter because he would have said, “That is FREAKING awesome!” and he would have loved every single minute of it. I am sure he tagged along in spirit and I know he is happy we took the kids – because that is what he always wanted – for us to be happy. 

Tim and I celebrated 25 years of marriage this year. Yeah, I know there were at least a few out there from way back then that thought the odds of us getting to 25 years were pretty slim. That’s okay, I am not sure we even knew where we would end up. When I think about 25 years of marriage, I try to pinpoint exactly what sums that up. I think about kids and houses and bills and trips and illness and celebrations and on and on. There was some pretty amazing stuff. I have always said my greatest gifts have been my babies and when I look back on time – 27 years of my babies, I know that is one part that captures it. But then there have been really bad times – awful, hurt you to your very soul times. So, what does 25 years of marriage – 29 years of being together really come down to? It is as simple as love. Tim and I are not completely alike. In some ways, we are very different people. What connects us besides kids, houses, bills, etc? As simple as it sounds – it comes down to a love that is running through to our core. It changes and it grows, but ultimately – it is the same love that connected us then and continues now. We made a conscious decision this year to do more of what makes us happy. We lost somebody close to us last December and that made us, once again, look at life with the reality that time is not promised to us. Our kids had requested a trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and we felt like we needed to make that happen. We know that is not possible for everyone and it is quite a luxury. Something happened as we wandered around the magical world – we got to just relax and enjoy the moment. We don’t always get the time to do that. We decided that we enjoyed being with our kids so much that we wanted to take them on our anniversary cruise. Some thought it was my fear of leaving my kids, but the truth is that we know that Savannah has not all that long till college starts. Our time with her is going to become much more limited. When we are walking around the beautiful streets of Puerto Rico – we want her to be with us. When we are snorkeling off a reef in St. Kitts, we want Sebastian to see those fish too. This does not make us super human parents that do not get tired of our kids. We did send Sebastian to run amuck on the ship and just leave us the heck alone. It comes down to choices and we believe that right now our choices include travel, adventure and fun – along with rental house responsibilities, online classes for kids and some of that icky and required stuff. And then I thought, this is something else that sums up marriage – choices. We choose to show up, be together, and love one another. Every day you have a choice in how you are going to live… are you going to find joy? Are you going to love people enough? Are you going to do the things that make you happy? Oh and in case you didn’t get it – our family picture is in front of Hogwarts Castle! I knew the minute I saw it – that our family picture must be there – it just felt right and brought me so much joy… such a magical year! And with that, I will say give those you love a hug! My wish for you is much peace and joy!
 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
 Tim, Kari, Savannah and Sebastian
 Find me on Facebook – – a neglected blog 

In memory of my sweet and wonderful Timmy 3.5.89 to 5.14.10 Until I see you again... I love you and miss you more than any words can say.

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