Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year from an American Girl

Hey Peeps—

Happy New Year!  I know I’m not the only one who isn’t used to the idea of 2012 yet.  Can I get a show of hands?   I’m also betting that I’m not the only one regretting some of my food choices over the past week.  Today while at Target I actually considered licking all the grocery cart handles, in hopes of picking up a quick post holiday GI infection.  I figure I could drop about 5 lbs in 24 hours, rather than go the traditional route of eating right and exercising.  Due to my hypochondria, I decided against it and spent a lame 40 minutes in my home gym (aka:  on my elliptical in the freezing basement that smells like kitty litter). 

Traditionally, Christmas morning starts early in our house—usually right about 6:00 am.  Not this year though.  It was right about 4:44, while the rest of the world was still sleeping as they should, we were woken up in the dark by Jack, as he was bending over our white duvet to tell us he had a bloody nose.  You don’t get that kind of news and easily go back to sleep, so once Billy controlled the bleeding, we headed downstairs to open gifts.  There were about 13 people surrounding the tree, and believe it or not, we were able to maintain some orderly structure as we watched our children’s Christmas lists come to life. 

Jack and Will received the typical things:  Legos, science kits, action figures, and other boyish kinds of items.  (They each got a pillow pet too, but might be embarrassed to have you know that).   Faith’s main gift this year was something I never thought we’d buy.  Ever.   This year she received a gift card to purchase her very own American Girl doll. 

Faith is a girly girl in every way, except that she’s never liked dolls.  It’s not that I haven’t tried either.  Every doll she got from about age 2 on, she would tell me,  “My new doll smells funny”.  And then she’d never play with it again.  I did not expect her to get into the whole American Girl trend, and frankly, I was great with that.  Until about two months ago, when she came downstairs holding a catalog saying, “Mommy, I need $243.18 by Dec. 1 in order to get free shipping”.  I snorted out loud, thinking she was joking.  She was not.  So as any good mother ought to do, I got down on her level and said in my most nicest voice, “Honey, remember your daddy?  Well, he’s the only one with a job in our family, and if we bought that doll, we might not have enough money for groceries”.  She seemed to understand and didn’t ask me again. 

Through the month of November she did talk about her savings and how she’d have enough for a doll by March.  I don’t know what came over me, but the next thing I knew, I’d was telling Billy we needed to get the girl a gift card for Christmas to pick out her very own doll.  Billy never argues with me, unless its about how many times I dropped my phone that day, so he jumped on board and were about to be the best parents in the world. 

On December 26th, we headed down south to the fanciest mall in town.  I’m so glad I didn’t go with my typical active wear that day, considering the way the other mom’s were dressed as they shopped in the American Girl store.  It felt sort of like a contest—who was the cutest mom/daughter pair, and how many accessories were they buying???  We would’ve totally won for best pair, (thanks to Faith’s killer looks) except that we didn’t get the new doll’s hair done in the store’s salon.  Yeah, I know.  Totally creepy.  Plus, we only bought one outfit to go with the doll, and that seemed a little minimal compared to those waiting in line with us. 

I’m trying very hard to be supportive of my daughter’s new friend, even though her eyes freak me out when they randomly open and close.  Faith takes her all over the house.  She props her up to watch her play games and make crafts.  At bedtime, Faith carefully lays her next to the bed, bundled up all snuggly and warm with a stuffed animal.  Watching Faith enjoy her gift makes me happy.  She calls her doll by name, like a real friend would. At first, Faith thought a good name for her doll would be Hope, but after two hours, Faith decided Grace was better.  I don’t know about you, but I’m holding on to my Faith, as I hope for the grace to teach my daughter who she is, Who God is, and how to always look for ways to let her little light shine!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Annual Christmas Letter!

Merry Christmas Peeps!

I’d like to paint you a beautiful picture of my family sitting around the tree, reading a beautiful Christmas devotion, as the music softly plays.  I listen as the children are asking with wide eyes, all about the morning Jesus was born.  Unfortunately this picture is all a big fat figment of my imagination and reality is the four of them are laughing hysterically at the Big Balls on Wipeout.   

There’s a running theme in 2011 at the Repenning house:  Survival and Thankfulness.  Mostly we’re just thankful we survived. 

We’re thankful Jack is 11 and doesn’t ever change.  The boy wakes up every day ready to go, and lives life in overdrive. In order of things he loves most: legos, cats, and video games.   He also took several Parkour classes this year.  I know you are wondering what that is, and I wish I could tell you.   Just rest assured it’s very European and trendy, and for once, the Repennings are cutting edge.  Jack loves to show Will what he’s learned, and makes sure to emphasize his “mad skills” while they run all over the backyard like crazy people.  The highlight of Jack’s year was going to Outdoor Lab with his 6th grade class in October. He did all sorts of outdoorsy things, and came home smelling like he had a good time while avoiding all manners of basic hygiene.

We’re also thankful for Faith.  Here’s what I know about her:  if you’re feeling insecure about your IQ, probably you shouldn’t play Scrabble with Faith.  I learned this the other day when she spelled out “equator”.  Faith is 8 years old and in 3rd grade.  She loves school and her friends, and this year she began playing soccer.  When she’s not making arts and crafts, she’s bossing her brothers and admiring herself in the mirror.  She offered to give me “fashion lessons” the other day, as she saw me struggling in my closet to find something to wear.  I questioned where her fashion knowledge came from, as she was wearing mismatched polka dotted knee-hi socks.  That’s just Faith—she’s quietly confident and knows who she is.

And Will—yes, we’re thankful for him too.  The boy is 6, in 1st grade, and continues to surprise us every day.  People say Will is just like Billy—he’s animated, hilarious, is always singing something, and doesn’t like to be forced to perform.  He also has a tendency to stress out over nothing, another trait I’m sure that came from Billy.  This past summer it seems Will grew up so much.  He learned to swim, went on lots of bike rides, and refused to let losing a couple of toenails make him wear sneakers like I begged him to.  Not a day goes by, where Will doesn’t have something brilliant to say.  For example, last Saturday morning when I went in his room to ask how him how he was feeling.  His response was, “I feel like a piece of pooh in a rat trap”.  You get the picture.

Billy continues to be the man of the house, thankfully, and he does it with a good attitude.  In June of this year, he went through a time of introspective growth and maturity.  He took a long hard look at himself, without his shirt on, and said, “Polos make me look fat”.   Nowadays you may see him wearing shiny shirts from time to time, as he is expanding his wardrobe into the “active wear” category.  At first I liked the new look, until one day I stumbled upon he and Jack in the kitchen rubbing their shiny stomachs together, while one of them was struggling to not wet his pants laughing.

And myself, well, the year hasn’t been easy, but it’s been good.  I began Nursing school in January, and am currently wrapping up my second semester.   Probably the number one question I get, now that I’m in Nursing school is, “What kind of a wart do you think that is?”    Once I get past the dry heaves I say,   “That’s definitely a plantar’s wart”.  It’s the only wart name I know, and it seems to get me out of further examination.    

Billy says I’ll make a good nurse, and he’s speaking from experience.  He let me practice putting an IV in his arm so I could be ready to do it on a real live person someday.  At first he was real nervous, and questioned the sterile field I’d prepared on the kitchen table.  I reminded him it was me that was in school, not him, so stop worrying.  My first attempt didn’t go very well.  Billy got all white and sweaty (I think there’s a technical term for that, but not sure) so I let him take a break and eat graham crackers.  When he was ready, I attempted again on his other arm, and believe it or not, I’m almost 50% sure I hit the vein. He didn’t faint, so I count that as success!  However, Faith did pass out the other day, and if my instructors had seen my reaction, I’m pretty sure they would ask me to try something other than a career in Nursing.  Not only did I misdiagnose Faith’s episode, I screamed hysterically, moved her limp body, and never once thought to clear her airway.  All the while I was doing everything wrong, Billy fell down our stairs from top to bottom while running to call 9-1-1.  Jack stood ready at the bottom of the stairs, holding the phone out for Billy when he came to, as Will sat and watched the whole thing play out, while calmly eating his breakfast.   Faith, as it turned out, was just fine.   

A few other random tidbits…We had no major trips to report on this year, unless you count camping, which I don’t.  Only one visit to Urgent Care, and go ahead and laugh at me all you want, but that splinter was huge.  We’re thankful for our extended family, and in particular, for my sister who kicked her stool softener habit, as I’ve heard that’s a tough one to conquer.  I still hate cooking, and Billy still doesn’t seem to mind.  We don’t live fancy, but we live with joy, and most days we even find something to laugh about.  And thanks be to God that Billy has kept his job another year, doing something with computers, or phones, something about apples…I never really know for sure.  But we’re thankful nonetheless.  We have three kids who were baptized this year, who seem to get the idea of grace and forgiveness more than we ever will.  We feel totally supported by friends who pray for us, who offer to help us out, who text me in the middle of class, just to let me know they care.  We feel humbled and unworthy, and don’t take these blessings lightly.  Well, sometimes we do, but we try not to. 

Well I’ve rambled on too long.  Thanks for letting me share.  We hope you have a wonderful Christmas and send our happiest wishes your way.  


Lisa, Billy, Jack, Faith, and Will