We've decided to go green this year and use our blog to do the Christmas card. You can call it a little bit of procrastination/laziness, but also we are finding out that this is our 'Year of Late'. Raising Topher has taught us many things, but the most recurring of lessons is that we can't be as productive as we were before him. So when the week of December 21st began on Monday and we were getting Christmas cards from our friends and family in the mail, we had yet to begin one. I think both Macie and I were in agreement at that point that we wouldn't be sending out a newsletter/Christmas card this year. Also we kind of feel that since we started our blog in January, people have been able to get their Clark-related news at anytime, making it a little less necessary to send our Clark Bark out through the mail. Hopefully this explanation is satisfactory in explaining why you won't be receiving a Christmas card from our family this year, if you really need something to hang on your fridge, feel free to hit the print screen button after you finish reading this.
In keeping with holiday tradition, we'd like to offer you a little summary of a rather eventful year for our little family. I've chosen to write this through a pleasant anagram. Enjoy!
C- C is for camping. We took Topher camping for the first time near Strawberry Point, Iowa over July 4th weekend. He was a pretty good sport, but the experience was just another lesson to Macie and I on how difficult things can be with a 9-month old. At this point, Topher was crawling (another C) but even the grass was new to him. So we couldn't trust putting him down for long without him attempting to eat the scenery.
H- H is for house, as in getting rid of our house. We finished re-construction of our Cambridge house in May. It was the gratifying end to a seemingly endless effort (with much help from family and friends). Once completed, I think we were in agreement that the house was in better shape than when we purchased it 4 years ago.
R- R is for reunions. We traveled (flew) out to Bear Lake, Utah to join in Macie's bi-annual Berbert family reunion. It was a trip with many highlights and a couple poignant low-lights (once again the perils of traveling with a 9-month old). It was our first "big" vacation as a family. We found out that Topher loves lakes, but hates airplanes. We vowed not to go on another plane with him until he is at least 3 years old.
R is also for retirement. My dad retired after 30 years with John Deere in October. My parents threw a big party for family and friends at their home and it a very enjoyable time had by all.
I- I is for ice. We began the month of December with a big blizzard, certainly the worst snow storm in at least 10 years for the state (15" of snow here in Des Moines). My office (along with every school district, and most other businesses) was closed for the following day. Many schools continued to stay closed for several days afterwards as the clean-up and digging out was a pretty big undertaking. Needless to say, Macie and Topher stayed nice and warm in our Ankeny home and I lifted my snow shovelexactly zero times since our townhome association takes care of snow removal (one of the perks of our new home).
S- S is for our son! Topher has grown by leaps and bounds this year, resembling very little the baby of last Christmas. He has a seemingly endless supply of energy that keeps Macie on her toes everyday; anyone that doesn't believe stay-at-home mom to be an actual job should follow Topher around for a day. He believes it to be his job to move around the house, creating messes wherever he goes. Still, we can't help but be completely in love with our growing baby boy, he has a disarming smile and a sense of humor that rivals my own. This year we have been proud to watch him scoot, crawl, laugh, talk, and now begin walking.
S is also for "same ole routine". Work remains the same for me, Pioneer Hi-Bred continues to be a steady employer. I especially enjoy that after my office/lab relocated and we moved, my work commute is now under 4 miles one way.
T- T is for trip. Before the Utah trek, we ventured up to Minneapolis to celebrate our first Valentine's Day as a family. In one of our braver moments as parents, we took our 4-month old Topher on a 3-hr. car ride, to the Mall of America, then out to dinner at a restaurant, all in the same day! Was braver the word I was looking for there?? What were we thinking??? We followed that feat up with putting Topher in his first swimming pool at the hotel that same night. Unfortunately it was unheated and was quite the disaster. I'm thinking Topher will be celebrating Valentine's Day 2010 with Grandpa and Grandma Clark. :)
T is also for Truman. We lost our wonderful little ferret, Truman in early September just days before moving to our new home. He was a compliment to his kind, never biting a soul. We'll forever miss you little guy with your funny little dances and trash-can tipping ways.
M- M is for moving. After waiting for what seemed like forever, we finally were able to celebrate the closing of the sale of our house (it was pending for 2 months). We promptly closed on our new townhome in Ankeny, Iowa 2 days later and moved in on Macie's birthday. We still can't believe how fortunate we were to get out of a seemingly impossible selling situation in our old house. Surely there was some divine intervention working on our behalf. We do miss our neighbors (Heather and Justin) and our fenced yard, but overall we never looked back and couldn't be happier.
A- A is for anniversary. Macie and I celebrated our 4th anniversary this year, we still don't believe that it's already been 4 years. I still have crystal clear recollections of our time in Oregon when we were still engaged (and our time in college for that matter). Macie still looks every bit to me like the adorable little chick that I brought home to my parents on the back of my motorcycle. A memory that she still guilt-trips me on because it just happened to be about 35 degrees on that ride (for 4.5 hours). We are still madly in love and we're glad we have each other because, as we always joke, Topher is AT LEAST a two-person job.
S- S is for Savior. We wouldn't have Christmas to celebrate without that special night 2000 years ago. This is a wonderful time of the year when many of us feel the Holy Ghost touches us most deeply. We have been looking forward to celebrating this Christmas with Topher and will continue to cherish this time of year and make it extra special for him so that he knows the true meaning of Christmas.
The Clarks wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!! Safe travels to all of our friends and family and we hope to see you all soon in 2010!