Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Here Is Our Christmas Letter: Merry Christmas From the Family!

With three kids, family life for us has become less a linear storyline than the veritable three-ring circus, with different acts beginning and ending at all times. Yes, a family circus. I just made that up myself.

Those of us lucky enough to be at the show are constantly vascillating between joy, amazement, laughter, fear and outright disgust. And now I'll drop the ridiculously cliched metaphor and lay out a few of the big events that went down here this year:

1. We had us a baby.

That's little Toth (I won't publish his real name here). One balmy July evening we thought we'd walk over to the local hospital. We saw some bunnies hopping through yards and families enjoying block parties, and one hour after we reached our destination, this easy-going and adorable new family member splashed into the birthing tub. Seemed like he was smiling about five minutes later.

Now Toth is 5 months old, and you know those 5-month-old babies. So we're pretty much glad we decided to have a third baby, since we ended up getting the best boy baby in the world.

2. Nutmeg started kindergarten

Nutmeg loves kindergarten and kindergarten loves her. She reacted very well to the behavior reward systems set up there; for example good behavior can get you chances in a school-wide raffle. Here's a picture of her holding her won and only prize so far, a four-pack of markers.

If only I had known that all it takes to get kids to behave is the possibility of winning a 99-cent pack of markers!
Nutmeg also performed in the village ice show, aka cuteness on parade.

and she earned herself a yellow belt in tae kwon do before retiring from the marial arts in order to take an after-school art class.

3. Pebbles rained Terrible Twoness down upon us, but made up for it by being herself.

When we brought the baby home, Pebbles suddenly realized that she is 2 years old and should be making us miserable. She launched into a scorched-earth campaign of complaints and tantrums. But, being a sweet little thing by nature, she just couldn't keep it up for the whole year. These days, the words I hear from her most are, "Oh, dank-you!" and "I wuv you Mommy."

Pebbles has also fallen head-over-heels in love with her baby brother, so they keep one another occupied for long stretches of the day.

4. I expanded my work-from-home life with a new blog. Literally just as I was about to have a baby, my career as a "frugal mom blogger" took off. I appeared on a local TV show and in the Chicago Tribune to talk about aggressive coupon shopping, and then the Tribune hired me to write a blog called Frugalista on its new blog network, Chicago Now. You can find it at

Here are Toth and me at a blogging conference when he was just 11 days old:

I love doing this work, and am trying to build it into a regular source of income. It makes being a mom to three quite a challenge, and readers of my family blog, My Funny, Funny Family, will notice that I don't have as much time to just marvel over my kids as they grow. But I love writing and I love being a mom, so I'm trying to balance the two.

5. Epu is still makin' the video games, and being the actual No. 1 Best Dad (all such claims made by others are fraudulent).

He has been the one to bring Nutmeg to school each day, which allows him to be up to date with everything going on over at Kindergarten. He also takes Pebbles to her tot gymnastics class, and event they both look forward to every week.
Epu's dad went through cancer treatment this year, a harrowing experience for the whole family, and we are so grateful that he is now in remission. Episodes like this make us realize how fragile our whole happy world is, and how very lucky we are. There were a few months this year when the girls couldn't visit their Grandpa because of his treatment, and it turns out that a missing Grandpa leaves a very big gap in their lives. So we couldn't be happier that Grandpa is open for visitors once again.
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Love, Carrie, Epu, Nutmeg, Pebbles and Toth

p.s. The studio portraits are by Laura Gorzek, a Milwaukee photagrapher who is not only talented but also really cool. The shot of me with Toth at BlogHer is by April Bowers.


Sara said...

beautiful pics! and i am so, so happy to hear about epu's dad. wonderful news.

Red Headed Mama said...

Not sure if you were trying to be funny or not..but you actually published baby boy's name, right after you said you weren't going to! I might just be sleep deprived, but I thought that might have been a mistake :)

Carrie said...

Red Headed Mama, not trying to be funny, I'm just sleep deprived too! Thanks!

Mikaila said...

Fabulous pictures! And (what seems like) a very accurate portrayal of your beautiful family!

margaret said...

I love all the news and pictures and just wish we could see you all more often. Toth's smile is the best.