Santa Letters 2015

Every Christmas, my dad writes letters from “Santa” to all his grandchildren. This is one of my favorite traditions, and I know the kids will love reading these sweet words some day. Here are this year’s three letters:

Dear Grayson,

It is my great privilege to again be with you this Christmas Eve.  Being Santa is the greatest job in the world, but one of the compromises is that I can only be with my special friends while they sleep.  If we were to start talking and playing and carrying on I would never get to everybody.  So I am jotting down some thoughts on your parents’ laptop that I hope will stay with you until I come again next Christmas.

And I will come again, because Christmas is a promise.  God promised us that we would never be without Him, and he came personally to prove it.  Christmas comes in good times and bad, whether we are happy or sad or naughty or nice.  It causes me to ho ho ho when I hear people say that Christmas sneaks up on them, before they are ready.   None of us are ever ready, which is why the gift we are given is called Emmanuel – God wit love, and you show us that with your patience, sweet spirit, and especially by never being afraid. Your journey has taken you through valleys too numerous to count, but you show us that every valley, every valley, shall be exalted!  

Merry Christmas Grayson.  See you next year.

Dear Charlotte,

I thought of you over Germany when Dancing Queen came through my Beats by Dre wireless headphones. Orderliness may not be your thing, but joyful celebration surely is – joyful celebration and verbalizing the obvious.  Some people have the job of tending flocks by night.  Others get to shake them up by proclaiming “Glory to God in the Highest”.  There is no doubt as to your calling, Charlotte.

Make no mistake, Christmas Eve is all about disruption and stating the obvious.  Yes, the night we remember did start out silent, but only because there was nothing to say.  Everybody walked in darkness because their sin left them no choice.

Then, suddenly, there was a little child who would have a lot to say.  Some were not happy about His coming, but choirs of angels were, not to mention camels, sheep, wise men and even the stars in the sky.  The obvious had arrived.  The Word had become flesh.

I know that you are just beginning to understand all that – but what you were created for is fully formed.  You were made to bring energy and truth to the world.  You were made to discover and to proclaim.  I know.  I am Santa.  I check everything twice. 

So enjoy what I brought you and tell everybody about it in a thousand words or more.  Create a mess and rejoice in it.  Above all, state the obvious.  Joy to the World! 

Ho ho ho!  Merry Christmas Charlotte!   

Dear Nolan

Welcome first timer!  It would seem that you should be welcoming me, as I am standing in your house, for goodness sake.  But that’s not how it works on this particular evening.  You are about to experience the greatest tradition of our world, celebrating the now eternal covenant between God and Man. 

First, some basics.  I am Santa Clause, the gift guy.  I bring gifts to children all over the world as a symbol of the God’s gift of salvation, about which you will keep learning as long as you live.  I spend most of the year at the North Pole making gifts with a staff of elves, which I deliver every year on this evening via sleigh, even though most of the world’s children live in warm climates without snow.  Every year I come to South Texas to replicate how Northern Germans celebrate an event that occurred in the Middle East.  Go figure. 

Regarding Christmas tradition and celebration, here are some other things you should know.

·         The official dates are December 24 (Christmas Eve) and December 25 (Christmas Day)

·         Everybody pauses from their work and school activities

·         Lots of decorations are put up.  You have probably noticed the lights

·         You have probably also heard the seasonal music.  Get used to it.  The Christmas music canon was permanently closed when Julie Andrews stopped singing with the London Philharmonic

·         Families gather

·         Lots of food is served

·         Everyone says Merry Christmas before the day and Happy New Year after  


As to why we do all this stuff, it’s all summed up in a single phrase in a book by which your parents are raising you.

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

That Savior’s name is Jesus, Nolan.  He is the Lord of the Universe.  The fact that He came to us that evening is why I am able to watch you sleep on this evening.  You need never be afraid.

 So, I hope you enjoy what I have brought you.  Playing with the wrapping paper should be fun as well.  I will be back next year, and every year thereafter with more to this story.  Merry Christmas, Nolan!



Why We Don’t Do Family Dinners

Typically, this is how dinner/bedtime goes. 

1. After Grayson’s nurse arrives and takes him in his room to get ready for bed, put some combination of chicken/fruit/cheese on a plate. 
2. Pour almond milk and pray it’s in the “right” cup to avoid toddler meltdown
3. Charlotte eats meal while watching yet another play-doh or Peppa Pig video, and gets out of her chair about half a dozen times to play with actual play-doh. I nurse Nolan while she eats. 
4. I feel guilty that we are not having a family dinner, that she’s having screen time, and that she’s not eating vegetables. 
5. If I’m feeling super motivated, and Grayson’s nurse is here, and Nolan isn’t screaming, I’ll give Charlotte a bath. The other 4 or 5 nights, either Ryan or I wrestle her into a new diaper and nightgown, read her a couple books, and put her in bed. With all her craziness, she is awesome at bedtime. Doesn’t give us any trouble and is quick!
6. Let go of my guilt and replace it with pride and relief that I now have a 12 hour break from 2 of the 3 children.
7. Bathe Nolan, feed him, and put him to bed.
8. Ryan and I eat our own, seperate dinner in peace. 
Tonight, I had the wild idea to make everyone quesadillas that we could eat at the same time. What could go wrong?
1. Before I start dinner, I decide to trim Nolan’s fingernails. I get to the very last one, the thumb on his right hand. He was squriming and I missed. Oh the blood and screaming. I feel AWFUL, and he’s currently sleeping with guaze around his little thumb and a sock over his hand. 
2. Already stressed, I start making the quesadillas. Charlotte starts screaming. Her chair is soaking wet and there’s a puddle on the floor. Turns out we forgot to put a diaper on her after she sat on the potty earlier. (Potty training is obvisouly going really well). 
3. Ryan cleans up the mess, gets her cleaned up, and I keep cooking. 
4. Nolan is screaming. He’s always screaming unless I’m holding him. 
5. Charlotte comes into the kitchen with her full cup of milk. My back was to her but she starts screaming. I turn- she’s slipped on and conked her head on the floor, and her milk cup went flying. Now I have a kid with a possible head injury who is screaming, milk splattered all over the kitchen, an infant who is screaming, and tortillas burning on the stove. 
6. Charlotte is fine, but Nolan has knocked the bandage off his thumb and is still bleeding, and is getting blood all over himself. Re-wrap his finger and hand him back to Ryan. 
7. Clean up milk in kitchen, and abandon all hope of family dinner. I take Nolan, hold him in one arm while I eat with the other, dropping chicken and tomatoes all over the couch. 
8. Charlotte has another meltdown when I tell her she can’t have blue play-doh (because for the love she is going to bed in 5 minutes). 
9. Curse to myself that we have no wine in the house but then I remember the tube of cookie dough n the fridge that I bought earlier today. That will work. 
10. Take the screaming, bloody infant upstairs and we close ourselves in the dark, QUIET bedroom and let Daddy finish dealing with the hot-mess toddler downstairs. 
No, apparently true family dinners just aren’t in the cards for us during this season. And I’m too exhausted to lose any sleep over it tonight. 


My third and final attempt at exclusively breastfeeding a baby ended this weekend. Nolan had a weight check on Friday, and despite my best efforts to get him to gain enough weight on breastmilk alone, he’s fallen completely off the growth chart. Sigh. 

I won’t lie, I’m really disappointed. I’m annoyed at my body because it has never produced enough milk for my babies. I’m irritated at the stress in my life that is most likely contributing to a low supply. I’m mad at myself that I spent a ton of money renting a pump that I never had time or motivation to really use, and then when I did use it, barely got any output anyway. And I’m sad that this isn’t working as well as it needs to, because it is working. Nolan is my first baby who breastfeeding isn’t painful, and from the beginning has been so much easier. And I don’t want to buy formula, or wash bottles. 
So, waaaaa. Whine, whine, whine. And moving on. 
I know- it’s not about me. It’s about making sure he’s fed, and growing. And he’s still getting breastmilk for the majortity of his food (we are starting with supplementing about 8 oz/day with formula).
I’m about ready to close this “infant feeding” chapter of my life- it’s been a really stressful, emotional road, and I’m tired of thinking, and overthinking, it. 
But this teeny tiny (hopefully not for much longer) milk-drunk baby- he’s the best. 

Letters to Nolan: 3 Months

Dear Nolan,

Nolan, Nolan, Nolan. Oh how I love you so. You are sweet, cuddly, and definitely a mama’s boy. And I love holding you, nursing you, and being physically close to you. But, oh my goodness, sweet baby, it really  is ok to be held by someone else, or God forbid, be by yourself for a few minutes. The last few weeks have been really challenging- you have been really fussy a lot of the time and if it’s possible to hate the car more than you did last month, it’s happening. Thankfully, Daddy’s football season is over so he is home a lot more helping with your brother and sister, so I’m able to (mostly) give you the attention you crave. 

Nolan, at 3 months, you:
– Weigh 10 pounds, 10 ounces, up a pound from last month. I’m a little concerned about your size and weight gain, and we have an appointment with the doctor on Friday to see if she’s concerned too. 

– Nurse every 2-3 hours during the day and about 2 times during the night. 
– Sleep a 6-7 hour stretch at night and then go about 3 hours after that. You don’t nap consistently during the day yet, but that’s my fault. We are usually out of the house most of the day, so I wear you or if I’m lucky you will fall asleep in the car. 

– Wear size 1 diapers and size 0-3 month clothes. 
– Look like a miniature old man more than a baby. 
–  Are tracking with your eyes REALLY well, are starting to coo a little, and occasionally roll over from tummy to back. 

You just celebrated your first Thanksgiving and will celebrate your first Christmas in a few weeks. This year, I am most thankful for you and what a precious gift from God you are. Happy 3 months sweet little guy.