The Hall Family Christmas Letter (Better Late Than…Whatever)

I got the idea to share our Christmas letter from my friend Stephanie, at Mommy, for Real. She did her’s before Christmas. Mine’s a little late. What’s two weeks?

A slightly abbreviated copy of our 2012 Christmas letter (yes, it’s long, but I’m covering an entire year here).

The 2012 Hall Christmas Letter!

Here we are on New Year’s Eve and I’m just sitting down to write our Christmas letter. Which is pretty indicative of how our life has been this year. With my natural-born talent for procrastinating, combined with three kids, I find myself stressing out hours before any deadline, leaving my family in the wake of my maniacal, crying frenzies. I gave myself some slack this year and decided to make this a Valentine’s Day letter. So, I’m way ahead of the game. Be Mine.

The advantage of procrastinating is that our Christmas letter will have a better chance of being read, seeing as how our competition, by now, among your realfriends and family, has diminished significantly – we’re strategic like that.
Our year started with preparing for the entire family to head to China to adopt the beautiful, outgoing, independent, sassiest, 3-year old, Autumn. We adopted her on March 12thin Yangzhou, a two hour train ride northwest of Shanghai.We stayed in Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong for a total of 17 looooong days. The boys spent most of their time playing their new love, Angry Birds, while Steve and I got acquainted with Autumn, mostly in a bent-at-the-waist-position chasing her around the hotel lobby, the airport, the hotel lobby, restaurants, and the hotel lobby. I cannot express well enough how active and curious she is. We’ve taken photo after photo of her with creams, lotions and toothpaste she has taken and rubbed all over her face and/or bodyas I have rushed through my coveted tri-weekly showers.
As we adjusted to having a new addition to the family, the boys continued their China-trip born obsession with Angry Birds, often locking themselves in their room for hours to avoid Baby Hueytheir new sister. Their other love, Star Wars, has not only produced three Darth Vadar minions walking around our house with intense, heavy breathing, but Josiah yielding a light saber and in his most serious voice, saying things like, “This light saber belongs to Obi Wan Pinnochio.” They’ve been excited to combine their two loves into one toy. As I type, they’re putting together the Angry Birds Star Wars Death Piggy.

This year, the boys attended a few summer camps, continued swimming lessons and speech class, and started gymnastics. Gymnastics has been a nice time for me to be alone for 45 minutes per week while all the kids participate, minus the four to six times Autumn exits the class to say she needs to use the potty, get a drink, show me a boo-boo, or just to say she’s tired of gymnastics.
Sheehan, now eight and in 2ndgrade, is maturing before our eyes. It’s been a delight to find him beginning to “get” adult humor. I’m excited to finally have someone else laughing at my jokes, besides me. He’s still our little family “police officer”, but is getting better at tempering his reaction to his sibling’s offenses. He visited the orthodontist for the first time this week and will probably be getting an expander and braces this year. No surgery is planned for his cleft palate this year, but will most likely occur in the future.
Josiah, now seven and in 1stgrade, is following in his mother’s OCD footsteps with a ferocious interest in de-cluttering (although I don’t think my OCD consisted of de-cluttering – mine was more of “Can’t you see you’re stepping on the string hanging out of my back and tangling up my world” kind of OCD). He’s taken on the responsibility of clearing the floors of debris and straightening all our shoes in the foyer. On the surface de-cluttering sounds great. And I appreciate not having a jumbled mess of shoes by the front door, but when I find clean, foldedclothes at the bottom of the clothes hamper and Autumn’s toys and important papers in the trash, then I’ve seen how a good thing has gone a little far. We’re working on how to develop this into something that benefits…me. Yeah, I guess it really benefits me. Because I’m the one who would pick the stuff up otherwise.Josiah is slated to have minor surgery on his cleft palate this spring and the addition of an appliance.
Autumn was born with a cleft lip/palate on only one side. She won’t require any surgery or orthodontics for a few years, only speech therapy through the school district. Our wallets are cheering!She will be four at the end of March. Her English is improving every day. Her most common and eloquent use of English is “Ewww. Skusting!” most often used when referring to the food I put in front of her at most meals. A few weeks ago I noticed the bathroom light on and turned the corner to see what she was doing. She was standing on top of the toilet blowing her nose. Upon seeing me, and with furrowed brow, she shouted out, “Stop, Mommm! Pri-a-cy! Pri-a-cy!”Um…You’re blowing your nose and you’re three. You don’t need privacy. 

We had Autumn dedicated at our church in October. What is typically a rather respectful and solemn event turned into me in fits of uncontrolled laughter as I attempted to disuade Autumn from repeatedly grabbing my personal nether regions as everyone watchedduring the only requestedopen-eyed prayer ever in the history of prayer!
I continue to stay at home with the kids and homeschool – on good days. We had to change our curriculum to be more workbook-oriented as Autumn interrupts approximately every 2 minutes, 24 seconds during school time.  I’m still vegetable gardening, reading, writing and blogging. Steve and I celebrated our 10thanniversary this year. How do youspell romance? We spell it: W-O-R-M-F-A-R-M. That’s what I got for our anniversary. I’m still in love.

My life, when not consumed by homeschooling, wiping poop off the walls and the remote control, and answering bizarre questions, revolves around my blog and the marketing to build it. I changed it from a focus on our adoption journeys to a lifestyle blog (with a LOT of humor). Most of my waking moments are consumed with thoughts about stories for the blog, jokes to share, tweets to twit, and memes to create. I’m still waiting on that intervention. I hope to turn my obsession into a money-making venture some day. A book deal would be nice. 

And I’m doing all of this, while trying to maintain the family’s non-processed, low-sugar, whole-foods diet…but most of the time failing miserably and seeking solace, under a McDonald’s Playplace, with fourHappy Meals and one medium Peppermint Mocha spread out across the table.
Steve is in his 20thyear at his job. The big change for this coming year will be the move in August, of his company to an hour away from our home. Steve plans to drive there through next winter to see how it goes. If it’s unbearable then we’ll be moving again. I’m hoping it’s not unbearable, but I’m fairly flexible…in a rigid, thick, metal pipe, kind of way. When not working and fending off his Mahjong addiction (minus the 2-month SongPop addiction, both husband and wife shared) he is playing with the kids and defending his body from that age-old adage called Old Age that is slowly, and without apology, invading our home with gray hair, disappearing hair, unwanted reappearing hair and sagging everything, all while continuing to lead a Bible study at our church.
We took two major family trips this year, other than China, both to visit family. In June, we traveled to Maryland and Virginia, then in November, to Colorado. After these, we decided that we’re not ready to take the kids on any vacations for at least another six months or perhaps six years.
Our Christmas photo-taking experience was not without the typical issues one faces when dragging three not-so-excited kids to the studio without back-up and ammunition.  I left the studio in a state very different from when I arrived. When I got home I hastily sent out the following tweet:

Took my kids to the portrait studio without my husband today. Only could have been more fun if they tagged on a rectal exam with it.
— AnotherBottleofWhine (@KateWhineHall) November 14, 2012

I vowed to never go to the portrait studio alone with them again. Ever.

Yes, Sheehan is whistling.

Now, for some highlights from the 3rdsomewhat Annual “Let’s Ask the Hall Boys Some Questions and See What’s Going on in Their Minds”interview…

What is your best memory of last year?
Sheehan: Everything except picking “Little Autumn” up and when she destroys everything. (so pretty much not his little sister)


What is your favorite thing about having a new sister?

Sheehan: Nothing.

What is your favorite part about homeschool?
Sheehan: You don’t have to take a 10,000 mile stroll just to get to school.
Josiah: I don’t have to go to school everyday and be away from you. (Awww.)
What are your hopes and dreams for 2013?
Sheehan: Nothing really. Mom, you might not like it that much…a pet. (WHAT??? First time I’m hearing this. Not happening.) And a new Poke-ball.
Josiah: To always be with you, Mama…and to get a Buzz Lightyear toy.
Happy New Year and a Fuzzy Valentine’s Day!

The Hall Family



  1. says

    Josiah is such a sweetheart! Man, I bet they all are! Awesome letter Kate, super funny and touching too! I think I’m going to start one ( I think I said that after I read Stephanie’s too). I loved getting to know more about your family. Thanks for sharing it with us! X

  2. says

    This is awesome! I love your organizer :)

    My 5 year old learned somewhere (not at home that’s for sure!) that elbows are not supposed to be on the table. He has been reminding us of this constantly for the last couple weeks. It’s not annoying at all, especially at breakfast before Mommy’s had her coffee…

  3. says

    LOL! We get some of this too. The worst is when my kids remind me to swallow my food before I talk – which is what I say to them at least five times per meal.

  4. says

    Kate this was awesome and seriously better late then never, because seriously was cracking up reading it. I remember when you took the kids for that picture and how we were commiserating over that, but as bad of an experience, the picture of the three of them is priceless and just so cute. Also, loved the questions and the kids honest answers at the end. Thanks for sharing :)

  5. Natalie the Singingfool says

    Great Valentine’s Letter! You’re so on top of things. I forewent the letter this year because I’m lazy, plus we didn’t really do anything that wasn’t chronicled on the blog. See? Lazy.
    My favorite part of this? “Um…You’re blowing your nose and you’re three. You don’t need privacy.” You’re such a good mother in my eyes.

  6. says

    Thanks Janine! No more portrait studios. I just never thought about how hard it would be – even having done it twice before – but we only had the boys then and one time my husband was with us. Crazy.

  7. says

    LOL! I got most of my letter from my blog. I figured a lot of my family/friends aren’t reading the blog, so they’re clueless. Plus, it’s always good to market those old posts. 😉

  8. Stephanie Sprenger says

    I always want to chronicle my favorite parts of your posts: “coveted tri-weekly showers”, “Ew, skusting” and flexible as a “rigid, thick, metal pipe” had me rolling…but there were just so many fantastic parts of that letter, I can’t stand it! I am SO glad you did this! Awesome picture too- classic. :)

Say something, will ya...