Saturday, January 9, 2016

A Christmas Letter From The Olsons

Dear Friends & Family,

            We hope you had a merry Christmas, friends! By the time you’re reading this letter, you’ve probably already started tucking the tinsel away for next year.  I usually have an epiphany moment every December when my thoughts finally feel clear enough to sit down and write. This year that day felt like it was never going to come, but alas the Christmas letter lives on…
            Matt’s still enjoying his job at Stayton Middle school where he does his best to keep kids outta trouble…or get kids in trouble, I suppose it depends on whose perspective we’re talking about. A few weeks ago Emmitt and Madi started to get into a fight and I overheard Emmitt tell his sister, “It’s okay. I’ll just tell dad when he gets home cause he’s REALLY good at getting kids in trouble. That’s his JOB!” I figure it might be time for me to go back to work, because prior to that comment I was pretty sure that was my job too and that I was pretty good at it, but alas Dad pulls the trump card.
            Madi’s had a super busy year losing teeth, and attempting to regrow them. We’ve had every situation imaginable from, mom, mom, Emmitt just kicked out my tooth! To a half-asleep child stumbling into our room and saying, Dad my tooth fell out and I can’t find it! The tally is up to NINE and our dentist has assured us that there’s nothing abnormal about our lifestyle, teeth just don’t last very long around here.  Cue the look of an orthodontist rubbing hands together with excitement…
Our sweet girl continues to be the BEST big sister. She’s usually found playing school at home and kindly but firmly giving orders to her brother. She still loves to dance and performed in her third Nutcracker this month. Her latest accomplishment of a straight-leg-and-pointy-toed-cartwheel can be seen just about anywhere, including the grocery store if you’re there on a good day.  Please don’t do a cartwheel in the middle of the store. Is just another one of those statements I can add to the list of things I never thought I’d hear myself saying. We’re so thankful for our big six-year-old and all the JOY that she brings to our lives.
Emmitt has grown so much in the last year! He still loves all things sports and since he is still too young to play any organized sports he’s chosen to use his knowledge by telling his sister EXACTLY how she’s supposed to do things. (She takes it like most first-borns do – she already knew that!) We spent lots of time in the water this summer and our four year old has added swimming to his list of accomplishments. However, he still likes to argue with me about how deep a body of water needs to be before he could drowned in it, to which I ALWAYS reply, ANYbody can drowned in ANY water. So please feel free to reiterate my statement whenever you see my son.
When this boy is not burning calories, or saying, mom, I’m hungry (which has been calculated at an average of 15x/day), he absolutely loves to talk about heaven. Last week he came running into the living room at my parents’ house with anger all over his face, Mom, Jude is LYING! He thinks we’re gonna live in heaven forever and that’s NOT true! We’re gonna live on the new earth again AFTER we go to heaven!  We assured the boys that in theory they were both right, heaven will just move TO the restored earth. They both seemed satisfied and went right back to playing. We’re trying to encourage more grace in his conversations, but obviously we have a ways to go…
Our latest addition to the family, Asher David, arrived on September 19th and has brought lots of screaming (mostly on his part), but even more JOY to the family. He’s extra spicey and seems to like things to be done in a timely fashion. He’s also equally sweet and always needs to be right in the middle of whatever is happening. We love everything about him.  We chose his name because it means “happy” and “blessed” and the smiles he has brought have been irreplaceable.
I struggled with writing the Christmas letter this year because I hated the idea of not painting reality in the midst of highlighting our highpoints this year. The Christmas season came upon us in a hurry and my initial thought was to curl up in a ball and hide until it was all over.  For some reason it feels like pain is magnified when happy is all around me, no matter how hard I try to fight it.
Thankfully, the anticipation our children had for Christmas was Off. The. Charts. And as I stood back and watched their excitement unfold, my heart began to mirror their anticipation, not just for Christmas, but for the reality of what the first Christmas really brought…Christ coming again, not as a baby, but to take us home forever.
We sat around the breakfast table the day after Christmas and Emmitt said, Mom, Dad, is Christmas over? All those days leading up to the 25th, the days where he asked seven or eight times how many days it was until Christmas. The days that he begged with all that was in him to open just one present. The days he could hardly fall asleep at night because he wanted it to be Christmas so bad. They were over and it was obvious he found himself somewhat dissatisfied.  We took that moment to explain to him how much our hearts long for the day of seeing Jesus face to face and how we will have absolutely NO disappointment on that day. None. I love these children, and I love how the Lord uses them to mirror our relationship with our Jesus.
We hope you found yourselves just a little bit restless at the end of this Christmas season. Not because your day wasn’t wonderful and filled with the love of family and friends celebrating Jesus’ birth, but because we really do have something even bigger to anticipate.  Merry (late) Christmas, Friends!

With Love,

The Olsons