Sunday, January 22, 2012

Christmas Letter 2011

Christmas 2011

I have decided that Christmas letters can be somewhat of a sham and have not sent one out for a few years (although, I do enjoy Jeff Berns’ Christmas update each year, he is a very amusing man). So, if I were to go back to writing a Christmas letter, it would reveal the true, day in and day out life that the Longprés are currently experiencing…a no holds barred, bare facts look at life. So, here it is…

Sorry this is late, but in true Longpré fashion, it is not late until the end of the month in which the holiday occurs. By the way, we celebrate “Little Christmas” or “Kings Day” on January 6, so per family rules, I am actually early!

We had a few milestones this year. In December, the 14th to be exact, I was 1 year from the day the state of Idaho declared me a “minimally sufficient parent.” This was as a result of a witch hunt by the state to justify the thousands of dollars they are pouring into the Longpré adopted children and why these “minimally affected” children are still having problems. Now, they used much bigger words, some of them not repeatable and spent many thousands of dollars taking me to court 4 or 5 times. However, I have not changed my “minimally sufficient” parenting and will continue to hold the state accountable for their heinous actions that left these children with their birth parents. By the way, the state was the only entity that felt I was not doing a good job, so kudos to the team that stood behind myself and my family…the list is too long to publish here.

Ray and I have now been married 30 years. Each year I joke and say, “I want the money from the bets that were taken at the wedding thinking I was pregnant (disproved that theory) or that it wouldn’t last.” I need to put some flooring in my new family room and the money was large. I won’t mention any names, you know who you are… But seriously, we are still plodding along, looking forward to retirement and having the house to ourselves in 10 or so years. Our church is still allowing us to have some influence. We have taken what we have learned and turned into a Special Needs Ministry. We also are kid bouncers for the kids Sunday School singing time—we try to keep them in by promising to stop our singing!

Erich moved into a home about a mile from ours—still seems to sniff out “steak” night at our home. He has a lovely wife and cute daughter, who is now 2. She is the apple of our eye, looks a lot like Carolyn did at that age, and will be a big sister in April. Erich is working his father’s dream job at the Big 5 and trying to complete his Master’s Degree in Counseling.

Carolyn, now over 21, is a dental assistant who is working as a food server at the local retirement home. She is trying to find full time employment and move out of the beehive that is home. She desires to have finished walls, less noisy upstairs neighbors, a shorter line at the bathroom and electrical outlets in her room. On the plus side, she doesn’t pay rent, insurance or a car payment, so it all evens out.

Will, 19, is looking for the perfect employment situation. He is also starting school to become a pharmacy technician. He is struggling with his mother’s poor genetics and has to deal with his health on an all too frequent basis. He too would like to move out, but living upstairs with electrical power, right across from the bathroom and having no car payment make it too difficult to leave.

Tim, 15, is in high school. He attends LifeSkills class and is currently working at the local food bank a few hours per week. If he could play video games for a living, he would be rich. He is very content to watch movies, play video games and humor his mom by sliding down the slide at the community pool. He loves to talk about cars or the latest fact filled book he has read. He lives in the room right next to Carolyn and tends to not pay attention to who he is annoying.

Hope is 10, in 5th grade and is learning how difficult being a survivor of trauma can be. She is dealing with the poor choices of the original trusted adults in her life. We continue to work with our trusted advisors to seek out the best for Hope. As she enters adolescence, she is realizing how different she is from her peers. We will continue to work on her strengths and pray for contentment in her mind.

Anna, 9, 4th grade, also struggles with the past. Her intelligence, however, is allowing her to move beyond very slowly and we have seen some progress in the last year. She endured the state’s investigation of her and me and that seemed to bring out some maturity we hadn’t seen before. She is about to surpass her 18 month older (and 2 times bigger) sister and that is not sitting well with the sister!

Benj, 8, is our biggest trial but also has the farthest journey to travel. Apparently, alcohol during pregnancy (not mine) causes “holes” in your brain. Things drain out through those holes including manners, self-control and common sense. He continues to challenge both Ray and I on a daily basis. We are blessed to have an understanding team surrounding us. He is one of the kids that is receiving benefit from the new ministry in which Ray and I are involved.

The dog, Holly (who looks like my old dog Muffy), is still alive, about 9 years old and now snores. She sleeps with Will, though, so it doesn’t bug me. She loves to play in the snow, literally scoops it up on her snout and throws it. It is a blast to watch. Other than that, she pretty much just sleeps and barks.

My dad, bless his heart, still comes to dinner three times a week. He enjoys chatting with Felicity (Erich’s 2 year old) so I sit them next to each other. They have eating contests, especially on steak night. Felicity usually wins. She really likes steak and Pop-Pop thinks she is the cutest little girl in the world!

I said my final good-bye to my dear Aunt Hilde (99) and Grandma Bernice (92) this year. Both were incredible ladies and lived lives that were, by any standard, amazing. This world is poorer, but Heaven is richer.

So, that is life at the Longpré home. Add some health problems on my part (2 MRIs and 1 surgical consult later, now waiting for 2 more appointments to decide what is the next step) and things can get interesting. On the other hand, God promised never to give us more than we can handle, but He didn’t say how close He would bring us.

May you have a blessed 2012, filled with health, job security, faith in a risen Savior and satisfaction of a life well spent. Please know that I am praying for you and look forward to updates on your life, including annual Christmas letters. But please, feel free to share the good and bad, the things that go right and the things that go wrong. Some of us need to hear that others’ lives are not perfect, just like mine!

Donna and crew