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Rotten Excuse for a Christmas Card…

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I’m always a little bit torn about whether to send Christmas letters, or even cards. On one hand, I love to send and receive personal notes, even if I don’t manage it very often. On the other hand, my little family usually doesn’t have a lot to report. Also, while I love getting them (friends and loved ones, please don’t be offended), I’m not very sentimental about keeping cards. My best friend is a card-keeping ninja. She puts me to shame, but apparently not enough to change my ways. I hope you’ll accept our cheap, online approximation of a personal card.

This year, we shook things up a bit. We moved back home last spring, after nearly 13 years in Iowa. Shortly after we sold our home, my husband injured his shoulder, which complicated his job search. Lovely, lovely friends helped us load the moving truck and we said our goodbyes. Less than a month after our move, the husband underwent (expensive) surgery and quite a lot of physical therapy before starting at a new job in a different field. Our eight year old left good friends and started at a new school. One of our beloved dogs died, and we brought home a rambunctious, athletic, seven-month-old puppy shortly thereafter. I recently started working part-time and our three-year-old started preschool. To sum up, we made all the life changes this year.

Moving is always difficult, even if the move is a good one, and ours was no exception. That said, our families have supported us in every possible way. They graciously shouldered so much of our stress and continue to offer their help and company. Having them close is a huge source of joy for us and we hope that we can return their kindness.

Our fantastic girls are full of irritat– vibrant energy. It is never not noisy at our house. Our oldest is trying ballet, loves to read and play outside and lives in her imagination. She talks non-stop. She surprises, amuses, and terrifies us with her quick mind and tongue. It is beautiful to see her growing thoughtfulness. Her little sister is a sweet, cranky, articulate, mischievousĀ little thing. She is methodical where her sister is creative. She also screams a lot.

Honestly, the last eight or so months have left me too tired to reflect on any insights or draw any pretty conclusions about our experiences. We’re just looking forward to continued settling. Being nearer family has triggered some nostalgia and greater desire to honor/create traditions for my own kids. We’re looking forward to a 2019 full of opportunites to do just that.

Cheers, 2019! Have a peaceful year, all!

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Sally

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When I brought Sally home she was four months old. I had just turned 22. Today, twelve and a half years later, we lost her. The tears just won’t stop coming.

I married very young, and in many ways, my husband and I were still learning to navigate married life. We had moved from our home-state four months earlier. My husband had made his position on a dog clear (NO!), but I ignored his wishes and went with a friend to see Sally – a terrier mix with big, searching eyes and a quiet demeanor. Even now, I feel deeply sorry that I made such a decision without my partner on-board, but she won him over in a heartbeat, and I am so glad that she did.

Sally’s arrival really marked the beginning of my adult journey. She taught me that I could bear the weight of another creature’s physical and emotional needs – that I could be depended upon. We had tried raising a puppy once before, and it pains me to confess that I didn’t have the maturity or forethought for a puppy. But when Sally came, I was ready. I poured into her the time, attention and unconditional devotion that she needed. Not that I was a great (or even good) trainer or super intuitive, but I loved her so much. Maybe it seems like a lot to put on a dog, but she paved the way for my children. My firstborn came nearly five years after Sally, and my second baby another nearly five years after that. Four months ago, we moved back to our hometown, and I can’t help but feel that Sally’s death just closed the door on a significant part of my life.

Sally was an intelligent dog; she would watch me from across the room and seemed to understand the conversations going on around her. I will miss her quiet presence at my feet and beside me on the couch or bed. She had a bit of an independent streak. She was a stubborn thing, but I never could fault her for that. Nothing got her more excited than a rabbit, and nothing more focused than a mouse. I really thought she would chase them here a while longer.

Rest well, Sally. I miss you.