Blessingmas Report, The Christmas Meltdown, & Family Photos

I’ve been putting off an after-holiday blog because there’s too much to recap in an orderly fashion.

Let me just start by saying that at our after-church lunch on Sunday, I was waiting outside the one-staller bathroom for my turn when the lady occupying the restroom came out, made eye contact with me, said, “Hold on just a second…”, turned back around, flushed the toilet, and came back out. So that’s how we do, now. We only flush if we make eye contact with the next person in line. Thank you for reading this.

Blessingmas Report

I’m sure most of you are wondering about Blessingmas 2012. The anticipation of it all has probably kept you up at night. I’m happy to report that a few dozen neighborhoods across the US were baked-treated.

Here are a few of the treats delivered by friends near and far and, fine, a picture or two of Beckett delivering ours:


If you did something similar, I hope you and your family enjoyed it. Let’s swap stories . And you should read Christie’s story.

My heart almost exploded watching my little boy carefully place chunk cookie containers on our neighbor’s doorsteps. Watching him use his little hands and feet doing something for other people…it was almost too much to handle.

Maybe I’ll post more about it one day. But, alas, we’ve got too much uninteresting yet very informative ground to cover right now.

In the meantime, Blessingmas is a great jump start to do stuff year round for those around you. Keep your eyes open. Linger an extra minute or two at the mailbox. Take walks up and down your street. The door has been ever so slightly opened for you…let’s not wait until Blessingmas 2013 to work on those relationships.

The Christmas Meltdown

I think I was a little misinformed about toddlers and Christmas presents. All I kept hearing was “This year will be so fun!!” and I was so SO excited for Beckett to open his gifts. Mostly because, unlike the umpteenth hardback book in a row for your father-in-law’s present, you know a Tonka truck for a little boy is a guaranteed hit.

The thing is, he was totally into the present thing…for about 2 gifts. Multiply an average of 5 presents at 4 different Christmases: it was a rollercoaster of emotions.

His little brain couldn’t handle all the excitement, so we ended one of the Christmases with his sobbing himself to sleep. Something about the ladder placement on his new fire engine was causing a freakout but no one could figure out how to fix it. No amount of “uh-oh” or “help me, please” conveyed what the problem was. Is there such a thing as toddler OCD? He might be exhibiting signs.

Before I wisk him off to therapy, let me take a minute to show you three really hilarious pictures from Christmas:

Top left: a regifted birthday present. Not really sure why he was that excited, but it made for a great picture.

Top right: this picture make me laugh so. hard. He had a costume change at Christmas with our Brooks family in Kansas. He’s wearing the second half of the outfit: his smoking jacket that he put on when he retired to the sitting room with his after-dinner pipe and scotch. As far as his pose, I have no words.

Bottom: could not be more boy in one picture. The truck was his Christmas present from JoJo & Pops. I guarantee if it fit into his crib he’d sleep in it.

Family Photos

“I’m pretty sure family photos destroy more families than they help.”

-Taylor Brooks

So true, babe. So true.

I’ve decided that group photography is not my favorite thing in the whole world, but I do LOVE the outcome. Brooke Ogilvie is the genius behind the Brooks’ family photos, and they turned out awesome. Big thanks to her and to Taylor’s parents for arranging it all.

All of us except Beckett had fun being documented (he was way more into the leaves), and we can’t wait to get our massive canvases of our kid’s face. Isn’t Taylor’s family so cute?!

Sibling remarks:

1. Evy is awesome. She lives in Nashville and waves at Dolly Parton on occasion. We always have fun when she comes to visit.

2. Having Wes, Ellen, & Linc in the states for 9 weeks on furlough from Chile was awesome. We loved having them here so much, but we are so proud of their work in Chile and are excited for them to head back and continue growing their church there. You should follow their journey here. (And, Linc, if you’re reading this, please don’t lose any of your cheeks between now and when we come visit. I wasn’t quite done kissing them. Thanks. Love, Aunt Sarah.)

Now on to the Sparks side of life…

If you don’t know, my dad, the one and only Curt Sparks, has a photography obsession hobby. We give him a hard time, but he really is an incredible nature photographer, of BIF (birds in flight), specifically. (For proof: check out the book we made him for Christmas using his pictures) He set his little tripod on up and we snapped a few family photos of our own in the snow.

Sibling remark: Could Jared be any cuter, really? All the single ladies…give me a holler. I’ll set you up real nice.


As much stress goes into family style pictures, the final product makes me all gooshy and I look at the pictures at least 8 times every day. We love our giant, crazy family.

Speaking of…know how I know I’m a parent? Beckett peed in the toilet* the other day and I saved it until Taylor woke up. I saved urine. In a kiddie potty. I almost took a picture of it, too, but I bottled it up as a keepsake instead. Just kidding. (Maybe.)

*a very small bit. We aren’t potty training yet because he isn’t ready, but we do have a potty that we talk about and occasionally sit on. And each time he accidentally pees in it a little, I give him 18 snickers bars and one puppy as a reward. When in doubt, choose bribery.

Finally, this:

Taylor went sledding for the first time. He took Beckett. When Beckett got a face full of snow, this is how Taylor comforted him.

You’re welcome.

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