Happy New Year!

We used to have a tradition where we’d get together with our college friends every New Year’s Eve. We were the official hosts with the standing invitation that our house was always open from noon on the 31st to noon on the first, meaning we could stay up as late as we wanted and crash as necessary, ensuring the end and the beginning of each year were shared among friends. We ate, we talked, we laughed, we played Mafia, and we reminisced about previous years. It was always a blast and the one time we were guaranteed to connect after we’d gone our separate ways post-college.

Time has a way of changing things, ironically, given that our celebrations were all about the passing of time. Our families grew which made the house shrink, even when less and less of our friends were able to make it each year. With small children and all of us getting older, all nighters started to become out of the question. And, as more and more of us moved further and further away, New Year’s Eve became an increasingly impractical way of holding a reunion. We had to switch our focus from our past adventures to our growing families.

We miss these gatherings, but it also allows us the opportunity to form new traditions. This year, we’ll celebrate in a more quiet fashion (I hope) with some friends from church, while the kids have a special night with Nana & Paw-Paw.

One of our newest traditions, which I’m not exactly happy about, seems to be a sick child. In the past several years, we seem to have either ended the year or begun the year (or both) with severe colds in one or both of the children. We’ve even had a run to the ER a few years ago for a fever over 106. This year appears to be no different, as Zoë is now coughing like a seal and running a fever of 104.

Some traditions are meant to die, and I’m hoping this one goes the way of the college gathering. In the meantime, here’s wishing all of you a safe and happy new year, filled with love, peace, and joy!

Yes, Dante, there is a Santa Claus

So… Last night hubby and I had this “inspiration” to let the kids “wait up for Santa.” I’d like to go on record as saying, “If either of us mention this to you as an option for next year, direct us to this post.” This was a monumentally BAD idea. Here’s a brief rundown of the past 12-24 hours:

  • Kids spent the evening “being worn out” by Memaw, Poppy, and “Mac” (as is Uncle Matt’s new name thanks to Zoë) while hubby and I went to work tech for the Christmas Eve service at church.
  • Kids opened new pjs and then laid out sleeping bags and got ready to camp out in the living room.
  • The consumption of cookies, burnt popcorn (that isn’t some weird tradition, we just weren’t paying attention), and warm milk (in the hopes that the kiddos would fall asleep) happened while we were attempting to put together brunch items for the morning.
  • www.noradsanta.org kept us updated on Santa’s whereabouts while watching Charlie Brown Christmas.
  • Somewhere around the middle of “Christmas Eve on Sesame Street,” a meltdown required us to take Zoë to her bed, where she fussed off and on for the rest of the night.
  • By 10:30 or 11:00, Dante was still wide awake, so we popped in “Elmo’s World: Happy Holidays” at his request, thinking he’d have to fall asleep during that. Mommy did. Dante kept waking her up so she wouldn’t miss Santa.
  • About midnight, we finally convinced Dante that Santa wouldn’t come if he wasn’t sleeping, and that we’d wake him if we caught Santa.
  • “Santa” finally arrived after midnight, ate the cookies & drank the soy milk we’d set out, fed his reindeer the carrots, filled stockings, left presents under the tree & a note for the sleeping kids, and collapsed for the night.
  • Zoë fussed several times through the remainder of the night, allowing us a sum total of an hour or so of uninterrupted sleep at any point through the night.
  • Dante woke around 5:30/6:00 a.m. and spent the next hour and a half asking every 10 minutes if it was time to open presents while his sister blissfully slept until 8:00.
  • Opening presents with a cranky toddler is not fun. She spent most of her time dissolving into a pool of tears or wandering around the room lost. Poor girl had no clue what was going on.
  • “Uncle Mike & Aunt Ami” arrived for brunch, more gifts, and general relaxation.
    Both kids are now resting quietly in their beds, allowing the grown-ups to enjoy some “peace on earth,” naptime, and playing with new toys!

Next year, we’ll rethink the Christmas Eve plan. It was a fun experiment, but I think it was a bit much for kids as young as ours. The good thing is, our son still believes in Santa and the magic of the holiday!

Here’s wishing all of you a day of rest and relaxation!

The Obligatory Family Christmas Letter

2009 has come to an end (or nearly so), and it’s been a rough and busy year for the Burkholder family. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves and grown stronger as a family. We’ve also come to appreciate the many blessings that God showers on us in the way of friends and family. Here’s what we’ve been up to:

Jeff’s job at D&E Communications (henceforth known as Windstream) is ending as of January 8, so he will be looking for a new job. He will continue working as tech guy at Hosanna! part-time, but welcomes any suggestions or job leads you may have in the “full-time” realm. He’s also greatly enjoying his online creative outlets and publishing pursuits in the areas of short story collaborations (www.gloaminggap.com) and his comic strips (www.zoidland.com).

Nean’s got her hands full being a full-time mommy. She’s had a rough year emotionally, but is on the upswing thanks to new medication and the incredible support of family and friends. She spends a lot of time making jewelry and writing stories and poetry (http://nean-laughingatthemoon.blogspot.com).

Siblings (taken by Krista Pelletier)

Dante has started Kindergarten and continues to amaze us with the things he learns both in school and from reading every book he can get his hands on. He’s recently gotten into Peanuts comic strips and even went trick-or-treating as Linus this year. He has decided that he wants to be an eye-doctor or an artist, or possibly both when he grows up.

Dante at age 6 (taken by Krista Pelletier)Dante enjoying the snow day!

Zoë has flung herself fully from baby-hood to toddler-hood. She’s developing quite a personality, as well as the vocabulary to match it. She’s a strong-willed little girl who has no fear and keeps us on our toes! She’s busy making everyone laugh or smile in addition to picking on her older brother whom she idolizes.

Zoë at age 2 (taken by Krista Pelletier)Zoë's first experience in the snow!

This is the time of year to send cards to the people you love, but we stopped doing that a few years ago for several reasons:

  1. As environmentally conscious people, we can’t justify sending out a bunch of cards and pictures that most people will just throw away after the holidays are over.
  2. Postage is so expensive and money is tight.
  3. Most of the people we’d send cards to, we either see or talk to regularly already, or they have access to our fairly extensive online presence anyway.
  4. We honestly don’t have the time or energy to do justice to the extent of our love and appreciation for the vast number of people who have become a vital part of our lives.

All that being said (and even though we realize we’re late for some of them), we wish each and every person that we trust, love and cherish in our lives joy and love for your Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, Kwanzaa, Bodhi, Diwali, Eid al-Adha, Decemberween, Festivus, or whatever other holiday you celebrate. We also wish you a year full of hope and beauty in 2010.