“blessed are the people who know the festal shout,
who walk, o lord, in the light of thy countenance,
who exult in thy name all the day,
and extol thy righteousness.
for thou art the glory of their strength;
by thy favor our horn is exalted.
for our shield belongs to the lord,
our king to the holy one of israel.”  psalm 89:15-18

the ottos have enjoyed another good year tromping around after god.  no matter where we go, or what we do, it seems we can do it with a smile on our faces.  god is good.  every morning we wake up and pile together on the couch to read the bible.  when we sit there kicking and squirming in our jammies, pulling toes, snuggling fuzzy cheeks, smelling stinky breath, we’re practically neck deep in love.  and then god piles on more.  when he is for us, who can be against us?  the greatness of the gospel is that it transcends everything.  it meets us where we are and it makes magic.  what i have noticed this year is that we really don’t accomplish anything great.  we didn’t go on vacation, move, find a new job, buy a new house.  but we loved every second of being where we were.  home.  in an ordinary life, in an ordinary house, with ordinary stuff, grow some of the most extraordinary things.  and we can’t help but celebrate.

this has been the year of our christmas baby.  we cannot imagine life without her.  just today jehu observed a family going into kinkos, “look, they have kids!  two boys and one girl.”  after an audible sigh he said, “that’s just not enough.”  baby rabies is the total icing on the cake.  when she wakes from her nap all three kids burst into her room singing, “queen of brasil!  queen of brasil!  queen of brasil!”  (i’m not quite sure why.)  and she stands in her crib basking in the adulation.  she is most commonly seen being carried by any of the children, with one leg smashed into her ear as an extra arm and the other dangling helplessly below, usually at an alarming speed with a confused look on her face to unknown peril.  also known as fun.

jael is my young padawan learner.  she follows me everywhere insisting on helping, mostly only if it involves scissors, knives, the oven, saran wrap, anything messy, liquid, or potentially hazardous.  but if you tell her to do something dull, like put away clothes, she becomes decidedly less enthusiastic.  if she wants to do something on the other hand, no matter how many times you have told her not to, she usually finds a way to do it anyways.  where there is a will, there is a way, and jael was there way ahead of you.  just follow her swath of destruction.  she has yet to decide whether to use her powers for good, or for evil.  but the force is with her.

this is my little kitty.  my handsomest, sweetest, politest, most charming little man ever.  an absolute joy.  a dream.  (yeah, i still love his little sister, i just have to beat this one less.)  it’s been fun to watch him grow into himself.  if you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up he will say an artist and a graphics designer.  (because mommy needs someone who knows how to run photoshop for her.)  he loves coloring, doing his schoolwork, “quiet time,” and eating strange foods; like sushi, boba tea, anything with peppermint, or that has been soaked in brine until unrecognizable.  he is homeschooling through kindergarten this year and just taught himself how to read.  (that’s what bob books are for.)  now he is pulling books off the shelf and reading them with this dawning look of “oh, this is how you do it.”  all the while he remains pretty much inseparable from gideon.  the two kick around all day, jehu bringing up the rear.  until after dinner…when the wild kitty comes out.  he generally strips off his clothes, makes like tarzan, and kicks gideon’s patooty.  i call it even.

and here is my number one son.  the giant headed, pasty, moley, underwear bunched masterpiece i call my pride and joy.  i love this guy.  gideon is always thinking.  always imagining, always reading, always adventuring.  he’s super serious and principled and always wants to be and do what is right.  (and will be voting for ron paul in 2012.)  whenever his sins find him out he is mortified.  he is super lovey and sweet, until you introduce him to someone and then he eyes them up and down like they just got out of prison and goes and reads.  (it doesn’t matter what it is, if it’s in print and in a 5 foot radius, he will be staring at it helplessly.  in gideon’s world, books have force fields.)  the rest of the time he’s playing soccer.  usually with five or six imaginary friends, during some kind of epic battle, with a stick, no shirt, an imaginary missile launcher, and two chickens.  all while talking to himself non-stop.

as for me, i’m pretty much a party animal.  we love having people over.  if you look at me wrong i’ll be inviting you over to dinner.  the kids love it, even the husband enjoys it, the vintage punchbowl gets to make it down from the attic to say hi now and then, and mommy has an excuse to make (and eat) tiramisu.  when i am not hot after licentious living i can be found doing laundry, planning menu’s, telling people what to do, delivering spelling tests, and getting ideas.  i am always getting ideas.

i asked boy the other day why he put up with me, since i drive most people crazy.  he just looked at me and said, “well…i guess i’m not dead set on being bored.  …but then again, i don’t like being excited.”  yes, i’d better watch it.  he does give me the dirty harry now and again, but secretly, i think he likes me.  just not as much as he likes treestuff.  when he is not watching rigging videos on youtube or coveting pulleys, he can be found reading books about dirt, watching barcelona cream real madrid, or listening to lectures on architecture in ancient greece on his ipod, usually all while eating grape-nuts…with someone on his lap.

merry christmas 2011!

the ottos

marc, miranda, gideon, jehu, jael, & rahab


4 Responses to “shout!”

  1. 1 Grammy December 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    That is a nice letter. Well done.

  2. 3 aunt meggy December 21, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    such an adorable family. love you all.

  3. 4 Anonymous December 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    You sure do have a way with words. I totally agree with everything you said. Merry Christmas !! Can’t wait to experience the family in person. Love Mom

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