Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year from the Gillespie Family

My annual Christmas card fell to the bottom of the list this year and suddenly it's almost 2012. But I hope it's not too late for us to reach out to you, to wish you the best and let you know what we've been up to this year.

Little Elisabeth is about to turn three and therefore much too grown up to answer to her former nickname "Meat." But be not dismayed because this year her face reached an all time level of fatness to the point that our pediatrician had her evaluated her for Cushings disease. We're happy to report that she wasn't sick, she was just excessively fat. As we've neared the year's end it appears that much of that beloved baby chub has melted away from her face and down to her stomach. As sad as it is to see her growing away from her baby years and into a lovely little girl, we're grateful for the movie The Goonies and the opportunity it has afforded to teach Elisabeth "the Truffle Shuffle." Like her Goonies predecessor "Chunk," Elisabeth regularly climbs up onto a chair, pulls up her shirt and jiggles her belly fat for all to enjoy. She'll perform the Truffle Shuffle on demand and it's the sort of thing that makes me get all misty eyed and sentimental about being mother to such a delicate little girl!  

I have recently elected eight year old Madeleine as President and Chairman of our Family. At eight years old Madeleine continues to be meticulous in every area of her life with free time left over to critique mine. Mom, shouldn't we be leaving by now if we want to be on time? Don't you think you should pack us a snack first? And are you really going to wear that?  But before you peg her as the village harpie, let me assure you that it's largely thanks to Madeleine's efforts that our family runs smoothly and Katherine got any sleep this year. In fact, for the last four years those two have shared a room and we periodically overhear Madeleine lecturing Katherine to settle down and go to sleep so that everyone will be happy in the morning. Needless to say we love Madeleine the best and wish we'd stopped after the first.

Okay, while that's not exactly true it feels true every evening between the hours of seven thirty and nine-thirty pm. We recently switched the bedrooms around and now six year old Katherine is sharing with Elisabeth. We knew within three hours of making the switch that leaving Katherine in charge was maybe not the most effective plan if we hope to get them to bed before ten o'clock at night. For the past week Elisabeth has appeared in our doorway multiple times to issue some sort of report that always begins with, Katherine told me to tell you that....the possibilities of what follow this statement are endless. Her sheets are crooked. She hears a weird knocking noise. Her toe hurts. This week Katherine started punctuating all of her sentences with the phrase because that's the way I roll. As in, I eat ketchup on my macaroni and cheese because that's the way I roll. We're not sure where she picked it up, but what an apt descriptor of her personality. Katherine rolls through her life. She rolls in whatever direction her fickle whims blow her and usually it involves tormenting someone else. But the hopeless truth is that when it comes to Katherine we can't help ourselves. No matter how many naughty things she does we cannot help but be in love with the sassy little girl with the toothy smile.

Jeremy often feels like there's never anything significant to report about his life from year to year, but I'm pleased to announce that 2011 was a landmark year for Jeremy. Back in May we joined my family for a Mediterranean cruise in honor of my dad's sixtieth birthday. A few weeks before the cruise Jeremy made a harmless bet with his wife that he ended up losing, and was therefore obligated to wear the speedo of my choice on board the cruise ship. Initially I was hoping for some sort of flashy American flag speedo, but the moment I saw the gold and black tiger striped speedo I knew it was fate. In the end I felt Jeremy's parade around the cruise ship was wasted on the flesh baring Europeans, but I'm quite sure there was never such a high point in our entire family history as when we stood together watching Jeremy whistle his way around the pool deck. It's these sort of moments that bind a family together and help them remember why they love each other! Jeremy and I have been married eleven years this month and if there was ever a doubt that he is the man for me, I believe his speedo wearing ways rest the case. I've been telling Jeremy for years that I married him for his manly physique and now everyone in Europe can bear witness. He. Is. The. Man.

It's possible I wasn't the best person to be writing this update since I spent at least six weeks of 2011 in a mono-induced fog. When I was in high school I always hoped to get mono since all the girls afflicted with said disease ended up looking twenty pounds lighter, and who can argue with the allure of lying in bed watching movies all day and losing weight? Unfortunately it's not quite the same when you're in your thirties with three young kids! Jeremy and I feel incredibly indebted to all the wonderful family, friends and neighbors who stepped in and smoothed the way for our family while I was sick. With the mono and a few other curve balls this year felt like harder work for me than other years and so I'm not entirely sad to say goodbye to 2011. But whatever unnecessary equipment I discarded along the path, I made it to the top of the mountain with everything that is true and important still intact, and that's what counts. I suppose that is our family's message to take with you into the New Year; as the trail gets steeper take stock of what is good and necessary and then be willing to let everything else go.

Much Love,

Jeremy, Lauren, Madeleine, Katherine and Elisabeth


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