The Christmas Letter

So yes, I’ve bombed Christmas this year. But as I pondered ways to ‘bring Christmas back’ (really, ‘bring Christmas. Period.’) I thought, why not send out an old-fashioned Christmas letter. Except, of course, this one has nothing to do with anything and is entirely void of any achievements or accomplishments.

The Method

I’m either an eternal optimist or severely delusional because in addition to signing up for a grueling ‘apprenticeship’ I also decided to begin an exercise regime. Simultaneously. Which is another way of saying I thought I would spend 8-10 hours a day standing on my feet chopping vegetables and then go home and do exercises.

I even convinced the professor to do the exercises with me, which was no small feat because he tends to mumble about how men can’t do ‘women exercises’ whenever I try to involve him in one of my very short-lived attempts to become physically fit.

So it was Day 1 and we gathered in the basement. We were to do as many reps as possible – but no more than 40 (as if) of sixteen prescribed exercises. I relied on the photographs in the book to clue me in about how to actually do the exercises, since the verbal descriptions didn’t make much sense.

We completed Day 1, snorting at the mention of vectors and cross-vectors and attitudes and the pouty-lipped instructor who prompted the Hen to say ‘why is she not happy?’ I was determined to do Day 2, even if it meant exercising at 10pm, which it did. So I dutifully did the exercises and then I realized you’re also supposed to do 20-40 minutes of cardio at the end. Maybe next year.

The Nose

For the last two or three months young Percy has battled a congested nose, causing him to lie in bed (anywhere from 9pm to 5am), sniff loudly, and cry ‘I can’t smelllllllllll!’ followed by a lamentation of biblical proportions until that one magical moment when his sense of smell is (temporarily) restored; at which point the whole thing stops and we’re all allowed to return to sleep. Temporarily. It’s wearing, obviously, because the youngest member of the house is now three and still a full night’s sleep eludes us.

All members of the household have grown weary of the little man’s plight. The Gort has told him several times ‘just breathe through your nose!’ And the Hen, who was lying in bed with us a couple of weeks ago while his baby brother was wailing about his inability to smell, kindly patted him on the back before asking ‘are you EVER going to stop crying?’

We tried the Facebook-advertised remedy of rubbing the bottoms of his feet with Vicks (well, a green herbal salve, actually) but this led to epic battles about having something rubbed on his feet and having to wear socks and I decided waking up 3 times a night was better than getting kicked in the face by an angry, congested donkey.

The Vomit

It being ‘the season’ there was a brief dalliance with illness amongst our boy-children. It began with Percy waking up at 3am one Friday with croup. Three point five hours later, the Hen puked in the hallway. And three days after that, it was the Gort’s turn. I heard the sound of someone tossing their cookies and, assuming it was the Hen, pretended not to hear anything so the professor would have to deal with it. I felt slightly bad about it, because the professor hates nothing more than mouth-matter, but truly I have deal with the lion’s share of tossed cookies since we became parents. He can handle it this one time, I thought to myself.

As it turned out, it was the Gort. Who made it all the way to the toilet, only to hurl on top of a lidded toilet. Apparently the matter had hit walls and window frames and whoknowswhatelse. And the poor professor nearly succumbed from the horror of it all.

Perhaps one of the best decisions I made in 2012.

The Nog

The professor has these three adorable boy-children and, thus far, it remains to be seen whether they’ll actually adopt any of his interests: namely, baseball. But this year, the professor managed to successfully transfer one major obsession to his blond-brown-boy-wonders: Eggnog.

Yes, every year, he procures the vile pale yellow beverage and drinks it toute seule, or shares it with his brothers and brothers-in-law. But this year he gained a following. ‘Dad, can we have some more of that stuff that looks like juice but tastes better?’ the Hen asked one day, referring to the juice-like carton with the milky beverage.

The Bark

I got some peppermint bark from a friend. In my head I thought ‘it’s not really my thing, but at least the boys will like it.’ Apparently I’d completely suppressed my mild-obsession with Williams Sonoma’s peppermint bark, back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. One nibble and I was hooked. Again. I came home from work one night and discovered the bark was gone. Consumed, I’m guessing, by one desperate man trying to survive his stint as solo parent.

So I made a second batch on Saturday night; splurging on a big hunk of Callebaut white chocolate. Calgary was utterly void of candy cane and the professor had to drive to 3 different places to find anything minty. He actually called me at one point and said ‘all they have are these NHL candy canes that are blue….’ hoping I’d say yes, let’s make blue peppermint bark!

After the bark had solidified, I broke it into pieces and filled two (very small) bags for our dinner guests. And then the professor and I (mostly I) proceeded to polish it off….

Merry Christmas! I meant to give you a little bag of peppermint bark but I ate it all. Here’s to 2013 – less bark, more exercise, and getting out of our pajamas before noon!


Love, the Johnsons

6 thoughts on “The Christmas Letter

  1. Merry Christmas! Best wishes for another year of fun adventures to share with you readership!! Enjoy your holidays, eggnog, and exercise all!

  2. Rachel, I’m hoping we can become a little more active this year, like your clan! Steph, it’s not a slanket, it’s this robe my mom bought me many years ago 🙂 It was Christmas Eve morning and I felt like I needed a family picture and I figured it captured us quite accurately.


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