It happened again. We received our first Christmas card in the mail the weekend after Thanksgiving. Thank you, friends, for sending us picture perfect cards and letters touting your families’ accomplishments. We are incapable of maintaining an address list, so once again we are excited to share with you our digital “Christmas Card Rant!”
2017 was certainly full of God’s blessings along with rare, “Oregon Trail style” infectious diseases. We give thanks to God for sparing us from another shigella outbreak. Unfortunately, Brick’s ridiculously high fever and red splotches turned out to be a case of scarlet fever this past September. We were honored to know that our pediatrician hadn’t seen a case of it for the last 15 years! That’s the kind of impressive feat at which the Dennisons excel. We enjoyed taking four days off from work as our son’s skin peeled away and he screamed from the discomfort.
After surviving the great scarlet fever outbreak of September 2017, October brought us multiple bouts of impetigo that drug into November. When it comes to non-fatal, semi-urgent, somewhat-obscure, medical conditions, we Dennisons are always outdoing ourselves. We had not one, but TWO children who finished a round of antibiotics, only to have the impetigo COME BACK a week after finishing their medicine. We continue to marvel at the amazing health feats of our children. 2017 also brought 6 cases of strep, an uncountable number of ear infections, and one set of tubes for our youngest.
Although we once again battled illness, we were thankful for a wonderful family vacation to Breckenridge in July! Upon arriving at the airport, Brick threw up all over the Southwest airlines check-in area. It was a great start to a week of family memories! Brick missed the trashcan at the airport, BUT he managed to hit the bag on the flight and rental car ride to our hotel! After a restless first night, Mindy came down with strep and an upper respiratory infection. Brick spent the first 24 hours asking when we were going to go home. We spent $1,000 on last minute flights to send both Mindy and Brick home on the third morning.
Daniel, Ruth, and McKenna were determined to finish out the trip, but in true Dennison style! On the night after Mindy and Brick left, McKenna threw up in the restaurant at dinner. Ruthie spent the rest of the trip whining that she didn’t get to spend enough time with her cousin who was also in town. To top of this magical trip, Daniel did $5,000 worth of damage to his rental car while trying to get out of the hotel parking garage.
Although our kids have drained our checking account with medical expenses and ruined every family vacation, they really are gifts from God. Our crowning achievement as parents in 2017 is knowing that Ruthie only missed the bus one time in first grade! We are also proud to announce that she has finally stopped repeating herself under her breath. Unfortunately her hoarding problem has reached a level in which we are afraid she might end up on a television show later in life. She recently sang at her choir’s Christmas program and managed to not know half the lyrics.
Our little McKenna is growing up quickly. She began PreK this year! Despite recently turning five years old, she still has to wear a pull-up at night. She is clearly behind academically, as our four year old knows his numbers and letters much better. She does show some promise with her resourcefulness, like when she stole a cell phone at daycare earlier this year. We are hopeful her lisp will work itself out on its own. She began gymnastics this year and actually shows some promise. It was the first time in our parenting career that one of our kids was put in an “advanced” class of any kind. We have pinned all our parenting hopes and dreams on McKenna’s 2028 Olympic hopes.
We are excited at how Brick continues to grow and mature. He has become much more tolerable to be around in 2017. Brick lags way behind his peers in body weight, but makes up for it with his large ears. He spent most of 2017 grabbing himself, but we are thankful that he appears to have gotten over that gross habit. He loves to watch ipad and TV whenever he can. We are hopeful that his once a week accidents at daycare will subside by the time he gets to PreK.
With all of the many special blessings our kids bring to us, it’s no surprise that Mindy has even less patience with our kids then ever. The upside is that our children’s vocabulary has expanded greatly thanks to Mindy’s regular outbursts. We didn’t think it was possible, but the laundry actually gets done less often then ever. We are very proud of Mindy’s weight loss this year through her commitment to weigh watchers, but of late she has stalled out thanks to her commitment to her new favorite Riesling.
Speaking of drinking too much, Daniel managed to gain more weight in 2017. He has thrown out his back multiple times this year and recently started blood pressure medication due to the amount of stress our children cause him. He still goes to the CrossFit gym regularly, but has shown very little improvement in strength, agility, or endurance. In October Daniel bought some landscaping materials to update our backyard. The fact they’re still sitting in the garage could be construed as preparedness for next spring and not procrastination at getting the work done. And let’s not get started on what the garage looks like!
As we pause to reflect on 2017, we would be remiss if we failed to mention the most important member of our family, Sandra. Sandra cleans our house every other Tuesday and it’s the two greatest days of each month! We thank God for the gift that she is to our lazy family.
As 2017 comes to a close, we give thanks for the gift of family and friends. Even ones who clearly have it together and make us feel like subpar parents. We hope you and your picture perfect families continue to outshine us in 2018! Merry Christmas!