Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Jennifer Hatch, November, Christmas preparations

My November project was to budget and plan for Christmas gifts and do a Christmas card, something I used to enjoy but haven't done since 2010. Really, I think I like to give gifts. I like to come up with ideas and make or find gifts for friends and family for no reason. But I like to do it on my own terms, without a deadline. Somehow, the expectation of gift-giving associated with Christmas takes the fun out of it for me. Plus, we haven't been in a position to have money saved for Christmas this year, and I hate the financial strain of the holiday. Bah, humbug.

As for my project, I cannot convince my husband how crippled I feel not having a budget at all, or one for Christmas. I am not prepared for Christmas that way yet, so did not meet that aspect of my project.

But I got started on my Christmas card! 

I used to really like making cards and sending them out. I'm not sure why that stopped. I think because my family didn't seem to care much, so why bother. I'm learning more and more, however, to honor my own motivation.

I don't have very high production values or budget (text on photos and the copy store are about as high-tech as I get), but I like executing ideas. One year I folded paper into a hat, designing the letter I printed to fit in the folds. The year my youngest was born we hadn't yet sent out his birth announcement. The front page of that Christmas card said, "Hope your holiday is ..." and had a picture of him peeking out through a star-shaped cut-out, next to which I printed his birth specs. The inside of the card opened up to reveal him surrounded by his siblings, with the caption " ... is a perfect fit." Clearly, if I could find the card I would show you a picture. Boo hoo. Two years ago I wrote a holiday letter on my blog in my teenage son's voice. That was funny because people really thought it was him. Check it out here.

I like to use a simple photo for our cards. Here are some of my favorites:

2010. The white image is a
snowball. After many attempts of trying to get it in flight, I settled for having another child hold it up close to the camera. Psst, don't tell.



Here's the start of this year's card. I wrote the letter TODAY for this post.  I want to format the letter into angled shapes on a single page and cut them out to make into a long triangle, like a banner, get it? Still working on that part of it. This photo is pathetic, but my family was so ornery in getting it that I dare not try again. Seriously it was awful. Plus my oldest son is away at school, which limits group photo ops. I made the banner in the car on the way up to Thanksgiving dinner at grandma's ... because that's how I roll.

Happy holidays to all of you at Projects Connect!

Merry Christmas from the Hatch family.

We’ve had a banner year! The experiences of this year have stretched us as they’ve unfurled, sometimes whipping us in the face, but other times waving gently and urging us forward. We’ve had setbacks, sure, but we’ve also had triumphs. We feel very blessed as a family.

Our most profound event was Jeff’s brain surgery on March 3. (He would disagree with this ranking, but trust me, it was huge.) What started as headaches in February advanced to intermittent speech difficulties and numbness in one hand, the symptom that ultimately compelled him to the hospital. We discovered that he had a chronic subdural hematoma; chronic because fluid built up over time causing a delayed onset of pressure and symptoms. Jeff fell while ice skating on Dec. 26 and went to the doctor at that time for stitches. This surely is the event that triggered the rest, although we had no idea then what was to come.

We are so grateful that Jeff is doing extremely well.  This experience was terrifying, all the more so to watch Jeff seize and struggle for breath when the pressure in his head was too much. We are glad he was in his hospital bed awaiting tests at the time and not behind the wheel. That is sobering.

Jeff has been able to resume all the activities he loves, including rappelling. (Not sure how much he loves ice skating, however.) He sports two permanent dime-sized holes in his skull now (burr holes for the surgeon’s access, one shy of a bowling ball), but you can hardly notice the scars on the left side of his head.

What I hope never fades is the force of our gratitude. We felt Heavenly Father’s love most intensely as friends and family carried us through. Thank you for your prayers and support.

Other notables from our year include Kyle’s nail-biting graduation from high school. He is 18 and attends Utah State University, majoring in new freedom and minoring in responsibility. Emma, 16, excels as a junior at Davis High School and is a beautiful poised ballerina. Last year she and Kyle had the same teacher for different subjects; when I attended parent teacher conferences that teacher was bewildered to learn Kyle and Emma are related. “Wait. You mean, you’re mother to both of them?” Yep. I scratch my head, too. It has been a treat to see these two have pleasant conversations when Kyle comes home from college.

Elise, 13, started junior high. She is in her element and is a star student. She loves being in the Young Women program. She too is a lovely dancer and also has learned to play the violin.

James, 10, and Samuel, 7, did recreational soccer for the first time ever. I’m surprised how much I enjoyed the experience myself, especially cheering them on in games. James is a gentle boy who gets himself up and ready each day without complaint, often packing Samuel’s lunch too. Getting Samuel to school has been gut-wrenching lately. Yet I’m sustained by the special twinkle in his smile, and want to coax it out more. I am glad we have resources to help him through his debilitating anxiety.

Jeff works for the LDS Church and I teach piano lessons from home. I would love to work in the schools, but so far have not had any luck with applying for jobs. Just as well, I suppose, because I am far from caught up on the home front.  Someday, right?

I am more grateful than ever this year for my Savior, and wish you a wonderful holiday as we celebrate His birth. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers.

Psalms 20:5, “We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners; the Lord fulfill all thy petitions.”

With love,

Jenni and the rest of the Hatch family

December's project: Further study and improve my French. When I chose this at the beginning of the year I wasn't sure how to, you know, make this a presentable project. Then I remembered my former neighbor Tressa Spigarelli (whom some of you also know), whose family picked a different culture each year and celebrated Christmas that way. Four of my children are studying French in school. I think it will be fun to incorporate French foods and customs into our holiday plans and learn Christmas carols in French. It will also be meaningful for my husband to share his memories as a missionary in Montreal (although my 7-year-old tells declares that Dad doesn't know REAL French). 


Dana said...

I love your Christmas cards! They are so fun and creative. And I'm glad to hear your husband is doing well. It has been quite an eventful year for your family. I've been trying to improve my French as well, I've been using Duolingo for six months and just ordered Rosetta Stone for our family. My kids used it with their homeschool for two years and we've been without it for awhile. I'm so excited to get everyone back into it. We should practice together sometime!

Nora Mair said...

I love Christmas cards and yours are filled to the brim with thought and heart. French makes my head whirl but it's so beautiful to hear. So nice.