Since he is our newest member of the Grogan clan, Murray gets to start it off.
This is our dog Murray. We got Murray last year for Christmas. He was a perfectly timed gift from God. We needed some four-legged furry joy in our lives right about then. I also needed something to keep me busy. Wow, nobody told us how much work puppies can be! Actually, I take that back. They probably did tell us, but when you have puppies on the brain, you tend to tune out all that negative talk. But I am glad we tuned it out because he has been worth it.
Even though he is kind of dumb. He balked on the crate-training, he took ten months to potty train and he becomes 'fluff on speed' everytime we have visitors. He is also very co-dependent. He has to always be near us--always. He can't even go outside and do his business by himself. We have to walk down the deck steps and stand there and say 'Potty' twenty-five times and then jump up and down and do a cheer when he goes. If you have spent any time on the phone with me at all, you have witnessed me saying, 'stupid dog' on more than one occasion... So, I just re-read what I wrote. He actually sounds quite manipulative and in charge. Maybe it's his owner that's the dumb one?
Oh well, we all love him (well, one member of our family tolerates him--I'm not going to mention any names).
Before we leave the subject of Murray, I just have one more thing to say. Isn't his underbite endearing?
Who can we pick on next? How about Jeremiah?
Jeremiah is now five and started Kindergarten this year. School makes him feel extremely important. Jeremiah is a hard one to get mad at...especially because he is the best hugger in the world, has a sweet, squeaky voice and calls his pajamas 'jamamas'. (On a side note, Jeremiah drew my name at Christmas. I told him that 'yo mama needs some jamamas'. There must have been a miscommunication because I got pillows).
Wes immediately replied, dead-panned, 'If there is a tomorrow. There could not be a tomorrow, you know.'
Way to look at the bright side, Wes.
In general, Wes is kind of quiet. But it is a fisod. His wheels are always turning, and when he shares his thoughts, they can be quite complex. We like to call them 'Wes-isms'. Here is another one for ya: 'Mom, you know the first day when God created light? Well, was that January 1? Because it seems like the first day would be at the beginning of the year. But, the weird thing is, it would have been cold and Adam & Eve barely had any clothes on.'
Sophie, Sophers, Soph...what can I say? She adds a lot of diversity and interest to our lifes! And she thinks...BIG. Like a few weeks back when she dragged a bunch of extra lumber into our yard and tried to make a treehouse. She is a free spirit and I love that about her. Go here, if you want to read a 'fall-down laughing' story about Sophie from earlier this year. I will share this one last thing to give you a complete picture of Soph:
Our kids go to a school one day a week on Fridays and take various extra-curricular classes. This past fall I enrolled Sophie in knitting. I was so excited. I figured she would learn and teach me what she was learning...I envisioned she and I sitting together, sipping tea and knitting beautiful scarves...
Now, I will jump forward a couple months. Myself and my friend, Michelle, are helping Sophie organize her room one night. About every six months or so, I have to take a deep breath, brace myself and go in her room armed with trash bags. This is the second time in the past two years that I've had to call in reinforcement (hence, Michelle). Sophie is a superb 'stuffer' (things can look great on the surface, but everything is stuffed under the bed, behind the dresser, in the closet toy chest...) She is also a pack rat and hates to part with anything. Stuffer+Pack Rat=Deadly Combination. So, we are working away when I suddenly find a lone knitting needle (to knit you have to have two).
'Sophie, where is your other knitting needle?' (still hopeful that that earlier vision could still become a reality).
'Remember--didn't I tell you? Dad ran over it with the lawn mower.'
What? What? Why was your knitting needle outside??!! Oh, nevermind! Why am I even asking why? Did I happen to mention the term 'organizationally challenged'? I'm pretty sure she gets that from her dad...
Okay, moving right along (I get the feeling you're not buying that last statement).
...on to our oldest born, Joshua. Joshua is as far to the other side of the spectrum as you can get from his sister, Sophie. When I think of their extreme differences, I get this picture of them one day as adults: Sophie dressed in some get-up that she put little thought into (with a coffee stain running down the front), and Joshua dressed in a heavily starched button down and perfectly pressed pair of khakis. They have always been polar opposites. ALWAYS. Sophie does things super fast; Joshua is a slow, methodical turtle. Sophie makes rash decisions; Joshua weighs things carefully. When they were younger, their personalities clashed like oil and water. Thankfully, as they have matured, so has their relationship.
Joshua is 11 going on 40--not 11 going on 18, but 11 going on 40. Don't believe me? Here are some recent statements from him over the past couple of days:
As we are taking down our Christmas decorations, 'before we know it, we'll be putting these right back up again, you know it?'
As we are driving up to an intersection, 'That was smart of them to change the intersection light from a flashing red light to a yellow one. Now we won't have to sit at this intersection as long.'
Everytime someone comes to the door, 'Sorry things are a little bit messy around here. We've haven't had time yet to pick up.'
...Yep, 11 going on 40...
His dream would be if we handed all parental authority over to him because he is pretty sure he knows all the answers! First-borns--where would we be without them?
Last, but definitely not least (he would never allow 'least') is our little Owen, whom we lovingly refer to as 'the O Factor'. O is best known for his shenanigans earlier this year involving toothbrushes. All of our toothbrushes kept disappearing. Finally, after much investigating, we solved the case of the missing toothbrushes. Our O Factor had been throwing them into a small, one inch hole in our drywall. Yes, many a toothbrush now sits inside our wall, giving some mice something to munch on.
Actually, Owen has made significant progress this year. He has really grown up and the 'hard-core fit-throwing' is becoming more seldom these days. That's not to say he doesn't still have moments. Usually, these moments occur during transitions. He doesn't transition well into new surroundings. Like the time a couple of months ago when our church was still meeting at a hotel. We dropped him off at his classroom in the care of a young, newly engaged couple. This was their first time to work in Owen's age group. I guess Owen wanted to break them in. A few minutes after drop off, he busts through the child's gate and runs, shrieking through the hotel and does a nose plant right in front of the buffet table, startling two hotel workers. The sweet, unsuspecting, new teacher is running after him with a terrified look on her face. The two hotel workers are just staring down at him looking a little perplexed. Me? I'm pretending I don't know who that little guy belongs to. As Eric goes to retrieve him, I yell, 'can't you keep that kid under control?'
Yep, that's our O.
I hesitate to let you in on this last bit of info, but hey, why not? Owen is having personal issues of the worst kind this past month--issues of the #2 variety. Don't you use #2 terminology? Or maybe you are a little more blunt and call it poop (i can't believe i just said that). But that is what our Christmas vacation has been centered around--trying to get Owen to go #2 because he has a phobia about going and about getting changed after he goes. It's really brought Eric and I closer together. We've bonded as we've had to work as a team: 'now you hold the legs, while I wipe...' Too much information? Hey, just trying to keep it real.
Lastly, what's up with Eric and I? Well, the last paragraph gave you a pretty good picture...aside from that, well, we're probably doing a lot of the same kinds of things you are doing! Living life the best way we know how and hoping and praying somehow in the end we will have made a difference for Jesus.
That's it. That's all I've got. Hard-core fit-thrower is letting one loose. Hoping there will be a fourth and final part of this letter. We'll see.