Ava’s Christmas Show

Last night was Ava’s school Christmas Concert.  This is the story of our night.

At breakfast I ask Jeff, “Hey, did you know you have a 3:30 appointment today?  Why did you schedule something for 3:30?!  We’re supposed to go out to eat before Ava’s Christmas concert.  I want to leave for the restaurant by 4:30 so we are for sure to the church by 6:15.  How is that going to work?”

Deer in the headlights.  “Ummm, I guess I forgot we had talked about that.  Well, it should be a short appointment, maybe I can just meet you at the restaurant?”  This, in my mind, is translated to “I won’t be here to help you get everyone ready and out the door… good luck.”  Awesome.

The afternoon rolls around.  Because I feel like some things should be celebrated and dressed up for, and because Ava is supposed to wear her “dressy best”, I’ve decided we are all getting spiffed up tonight.  Oakley and Obed have new matching outfits that will compliment Ava’s dress.  I’m going to actually fix my hair, Jeff is going to wear a tie.  We are going all out tonight.  However, going all out takes time!  You can’t just blow dry and roller brush your hair in 2 minutes and now I’m running slightly behind schedule.  Two little boys need their shirts buttoned, Ava needs her hair braided and straightened.  Too late for the straightener, there’s no time.  We finally run out of the house at 4:43.  At least everyone is in their dressy best and Jeff has called to say he will get us a table and put in our order.

I make it to the end of the alley, “Dang it!  I forgot the camera!”  Too late, there isn’t time to go back to get it.  I’m pretty disappointed about this as I had really wanted a picture of all the matching cuteness before it unraveled.

Two blocks down the street, “Dang it!  I forgot to turn off the straightener!”  This one requires a quick prayer that our house will still be standing when we return tonight.

We arrive at Grizzly’s downtown.  Parking is tricky downtown… there’s not much of it.  I pull into the lot next to the restaurant and am delighted to find front row parking.  As I’m hustling everyone out of the van and towards the restaurant door, I notice the huge sign “NO GRIZZLY’S PARKING.”  Dang it!  I would have risked it had there not been a parking attendant standing right there watching me.  I deposit the children inside and run back out to move the van.

Van parking is secured three blocks away.  As I’m bundling up for the walk back to the restaurant, I notice one of my gloves is missing.  Dang it!  I’m forever losing gloves!  I seriously need them attached to a string that runs through my jacket arms.  It’s ridiculous.

As I approach the restaurant, I decide to check the parking lot for my missing glove, just in case.  Sure enough, there in my previous parking space is my now wet, muddy, and run-over glove.  I pick it up, shake it off best I can and continue inside, mostly happy to have recovered the missing mitt.

I finally make it inside to find my little family happy waiting for our food to arrive.  “Hey, where’s your tie??”  I ask Jeff.  “I forgot it in the car.  I’ll put it on before we go into the concert.”  Dinner proceeds with record speed and at 5:52 we are about ready to walk out the door.  Perfect amount of time to get Ava to the church by the required 6:15.  However, as I lift Obed out of the high chair,  I get a whiff of his diaper.  “Oh Buddy, come on now!”  After weeks of not having a poopy diaper past 2pm, today is the evening he decides to fill his pants.  Great.  Off to the bathroom we rush to change said dirty diaper.

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My pretty girl in her dressy best

Finally we are hustling down the street to the van.  Obed weighs about 30lbs in his car seat and it’s a bit of a work out to lug him around in that thing.  We make it to the van, everyone gets buckled in and Jeff says he’ll meet us at the church.  He’s only in a two-hour parking spot.

I pull into the church parking lot at 6:20.  It appears everyone and their Grandma has decided to be ON TIME for the elementary Christmas concert because the parking lot is a sea of parked cars.  I circle around and find ONE open spot.  It is unfortunate that I may very well be the world’s worst parker and this spot is a mite bit smaller than average.  I attempt my first pull in.  Nope.  Reverse, re approach.  Nope.  Reverse, re approach.  Nope.  Reverse, re approach.  At this point it may be worth a mention that I have absolutely no idea as to what I’m doing or how I’m going to get our huge mini van into this parking spot.  I debate attempting to turn around and find a different parking location but that would require me pulling into this parking spot.  Dang it!  GOD HELP ME!

It’s at this moment I hear a knock on the window.  I turn in shame to see just who has been watching my pathetic parking attempts.  What luck!  It’s Jeff!

“I can’t park the van!!”  I practically wail to him the obvious.

“Get out and take Ava inside.  I’ll park.”

I more than gladly surrender the parking debacle to him and the mess I’ve made of trying to get the van into this minuscule space.  Ava and I rush inside.  She’s in place before 6:30, which is the program start time, so I’m calling this mostly a success.

However, because everyone and their Grandma seems to have arrived by 5:45, I could only find seating towards the back.  This was a bummer.  What is also a bummer is everyone wanting to film every second of life on their cell phones.  At this moment I’m glad I’ve forgotten the camera.  Put the phones away people!  The true view is better.

Jeff, Oakley, and Obed finally make it inside after apparently succeeding at parking the monster van.  “Hey, you forgot to put on your tie.”  Bummer.

Kindergarten through 2nd grade perform first.  Three songs.  Everyone is so pleased.

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Here is my ironic cell phone picture of Ava performing.

3rd through 5th grades perform next.  There is a lovely rendition of ‘Carol of the Bells’ by the 4th grade and their recorders.  Then it’s announced that 5th grade will now demonstrate their guitar skills with Jingle Bells.  As the students retrieve their guitars, there is a loud crash.  The music teacher assures that it’s fine, that happens all the time.  However, one 5th grade boy turns around with a pretty forlorn look on his face and a guitar who’s handle is now in two pieces.  The obvious question on his face is “How am I going to play this???”

Jeff and I about died laughing.  Jingle Bells commences.  I’m not sure what I was expecting… perhaps mini guitar heroes… but 5th grade guitar players pretty much just pluck out Jingle Bells.  Second time around, the audience is encouraged to sing along and Broken Guitar Boy has talked another boy into giving him his guitar.  He is now happily plucking out Jingle Bells to his heart’s content.

And then the evening came to a close.  Ava’s first Christmas Concert is in the books.

Heading to the van to drive home, I notice Jeff has some how managed to park the van by BACKING INTO the tiny parking space.  Nice and tidy and straight.  What the heck.  I hate parking.

Driving home I remember the hair straightener and I’m practically expecting sirens and fire trucks to greet us at home, but thankfully it is not so.  Our house did not burn down due to a forgotten hair straightener.  A great end the the evening.

Best Gift EVER {Hirschoff Christmas Letter}

The other night I was getting Obed ready for bed, changing his diaper and putting on his pajama’s.  The jammies he was wearing that night was a purchase by Grandma- green and white striped footies with the words “Best Gift EVER” across the front.  He’s worn these pajama’s many times, but that night the words really caught my attention.  Best Gift EVER.  Obed is a pretty special gift, and my thoughts naturally wondered if he was our best gift this year.  And then I started thinking about this year.  It’s been a big year.  A good year.  What WAS our best gift ever this year?

We got our first Christmas card in the mail this week.  I LOVE getting Christmas cards and year-end letters.  Love it.  For as much as I love getting these cards and letters, I’m absolutely terrible about sending them.  But thanks to cyber space, I can still write a letter and you can read it.  Not as cool as getting an addressed and stamped envelope in the mail, but this is as good as it will get.  Here is our 2014 Christmas letter:

2014 BEST GIFT EVER

January:  2014 started out pretty shaky.  January 1 found Ava in the hospital and nobody could figure out what was wrong.  She spent a total of two weeks in the hospital, had surgery on her shunt and a recovery of several weeks.  This has been Ava’s last major hospitalization… read:  Ava has not been in the hospital for 321 days (as of this writing).  BEST GIFT EVER!

February:  My birthday.  I like to think I’m at least a few people’s best gift ever! 🙂

March:  Obed Hudson joined our family on the night of March 8.  His birth experience was by far the easiest out of our three and he came smoothly into the world after only two pushes.  Every mama knows this is the BEST GIFT EVER!

April:  Ava had a MRI that showed no active tumor cells and only a very small mass for which the doctors didn’t know how to label.  After two years of our heartache, this was the BEST GIFT EVER.

May:  Ava turned 5!!!  BEST GIFT EVER to celebrate another birthday with her.  Our hearts are so thankful.  Jeff turned 39.  I’ll let him comment on whether or not this was the best gift ever.

June:  The ice finally melted off Lake Superior and we finally turned off our heater.  After literally months of not seeing the temperature above 0* and the most brutal winter I’ve ever experienced, this was the  BEST GIFT EVER.

July:  Auntie Trina arrived for her summer visit and we vacationed in Wisconsin Dells.  Having my sister along on our vacation and having her spend her summers with us is always the BEST GIFT EVER.

August:  Jeff started a new job this summer.  He’s now doing exterior home sales for the Home Depot.  A big change for us in that this job’s compensation is 100% commission.  It has been exciting (!), and at times nail biting, to see how God will provide for our family each month.  So far He has taken good care of us.  BEST GIFT EVER.  Relying on God to directly provide for our monthly needs has both stretched and strengthened our faith.

September:  Ava started Kindergarten!  She loves every minute of it and is excited every morning to head to school.  Oakley took it a bit harder and sobbed the first day when he was told he could not go with her.  He has slowly adjusted but I think the best part of his day is when Ava comes home.  Ava is learning many new things at school, but one thing her and I are learning together is how to read.  Teaching Ava to read and helping her unlock the mystery and power of words has been one of my BEST GIFTS EVER this year.  At parent teacher conferences, Ava’s teacher said Ava is kind to others, polite and well mannered, listens well, catches on quickly and is one of her top students.  After all Ava has been through, all the warnings from our doctors about what radiation and chemo could do to Ava’s brain, this was the BEST GIFT EVER.

October:  Ava had another MRI.  Again, her scan showed NO TUMOR and the doctor felt that the abnormality still showing on the scan was likely scar tissue.  This means Ava’s next MRI will be in ONE YEAR!  And she was able to have her port removed.  Having her port removed was probably Ava’s BEST GIFT EVER.  A clear MRI was mine and Jeff’s.

November:  Ava lost her first tooth.  She’ll tell you she got two pennies for it.  (They were quarters, for the record).  She thought this was the BEST GIFT EVER.  The first snow fell this month and with it, Oakley wanting to be out shoveling at all times.  Someday, this eagerness to shovel will be Jeff’s BEST GIFT EVER.

December:  Jeff and I will celebrate 8 years of marital bliss.  We all know it hasn’t been all bliss, but Jeff continues to be my BEST GIFT EVER.  Oakley will turn 3 years old this December.  He easy going, sweet and charming, cuddly and spunky.  Oakley has weathered many storms with ease and grace.  His personality has been on of our BEST GIFTS EVER.

Our Good Lord has blessed us much this year.  As the Christmas season approaches, and I reflect on the past year, I grow more and more thankful that God loved me…US!… enough to send his only Son to earth as a little baby.  That truly was the BEST GIFT EVER.

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