If you have a teenager you’ll recognize our title from a song by Matchbox Twenty. Ben plays it in his room and the little ones love to dance to it.
And at the end of the year it is amazing to look back and see how far we’ve come. Last year we almost didn’t send out cards because we were so consumed with worry and stress ( I won’t bore you with the details)– yet here we are a year later and our problems have shrunk or been resolved. It actually feels like we are in the golden era of Lehnardtdom.
I state this as an expression of gratitude, not bragging, and hopefully as a bit of encouragement if you are going through a hard year or season. The bad times do pass. Unresolvable problems do resolve themselves. God is truly in his heaven.
I love Christmas letters. And I especially love the long, braggy ones! They tell me so much more than just a photo and a signature. Besides, how else am I going to know that your kid got a full-ride scholarship or played his flute with the symphony? So please, if you were too modest to send us a letter please email and let us know the good stuff!
Like I said. It’s been a good year at our house. Everyone is out of diapers but not out of the house. We’ve been parents long enough that we can see how quickly they grow up so we are savoring all the goofiness and sweetness. I have really, honestly, let the house get messy. I am trying to stay within health code standards, but it’s not going to be truly clean for another 12 years or so.
Our days are filled with school, driving, sports and music lessons and our dinner table discussions are full of laughter, heated political discussions, a book review or two and always, always spilt milk.
One of the biggest impacts on our family this year was the death of our dear neighbor Kent Sorensen. Kent was a man among men. He had the unique ability to see the best in everyone. He wrestled on the grass with the boys, taught Ben to play the guitar and expressed sincere interest in whatever Erik and I wanted to talk to him about. He attended my Gospel Doctrine class and I could always count on him to make some incredible comment that brought the Spirit simply rushing into the classroom. The youth especially loved Kent. He served as the Stake Young Men’s President up to his death and inspired and truly loved every boy he met.
Because he lived with such vigor and enthusiasm– waterskiing, hiking, hunting, travelling– we simply didn’t believe Kent would die. Miracles happen all the time, don’t they? And certainly a man like Kent warranted a miracle. As Mormons we constantly talk about people being preserved to do important work on earth. But through Kent we’ve learned that some of the best people on earth are taken to do their work in heaven.
We’re lucky enough to have a CD of Kent singing and Ben loves to listen to it at night. Ben has grown up so much this year literally and figuratively. He is now taller than me and for the first time this fall he outgrew his pants rather than wearing them out. He is a sophomore in high school, taking really hard classes and loving it. He has a newfound appreciation for his viola (since I found him a young, cute college girl to teach him) and the piano (also a young, cute college girl). Ben loves to ski and play lacrosse but he won’t run cross-country no matter how much I beg him to.
Stefan has finally found his sport in tennis. He loves it and would play every day if he could. He is in 8th grade and is making it through. I think 8th grade is about the hardest year of anyone’s life so I’m not sure why the schools employ so many mean 8th grade teachers. He still manages to do well at school and is a joy at home.
Hans and Xander are just happy little elves. They love to read and play and cause a ton of noise and chaos. They’re easy. Gabe is my love bug and Mary has turned into a girly girl playing house and baby and princesses. She said yesterday, “I like being nice because then I am happy!” She has a keen awareness of when she is not nice and usually apologizes later. Right now she is jumping on the couch.
Erik has been running for years but this year he turned into a runner. He started attending my speed group workouts (which I’ve since dropped out of) and discovered the joy of running with and competing against other people. I’ve talked him into running the St. George Marathon next October and then, hopefully, we’ll head to the Boston Marathon for our 40th birthdays in 2009.
I’m happy. My store is smaller now and not as scary and stressful as last year. I’ve rediscovered my love of photography and hope to phase out the store and just work on writing and photography by the end of next year– oh yeah, and raising my family too. 🙂 I’m so grateful to Erik and the kids for just letting me be me. I’m not organized and pulled together like other moms but they laugh and help and generally put up with my craziness.
May God’s blessings be with you this year. Our hearts reach out to you in times of sorrow and also in times of joy. Please, please write to us and let us cry and rejoice with you.