This year we decided that the head of this family should write the Christmas letter. So even though I am only 16 months old, I, Justin, accepted the job. Some of you may be thinking “16 months? What’s he know – maybe 10 words? How interesting is that gonna be?” Well, let me tell you, I may be able to only speak a limited number of words right now, but in writing I have the vocabulary of a brilliant 33 year old. And as far as interesting goes, I’m too young to have inhibitions or know the difference between appropriate and inappropriate, so you should be entertained.
Let me start this letter by telling you about myself. My name is Justin Edwards and I am the youngest of 4 kids. Mommy and Dad just keep getting better and better at this kid-making thing as the quality has improved dramatically with each child (Sorry J-M, I got to be honest). I am a terribly busy man with big plans for this family, so be grateful I am finding time to write this.
I like to read, although most books are too simplistic for me and fail to hold my attention. I play an important job in this home as the chief safety inspector. It’s very time consuming as it involves climbing every possible bench, stool, chair, couch, and ladder and being constantly on the lookout for sharp items, as well as testing choking hazards. This is NOT a safe house. I have fallen countless times and made numerous appeals that go ignored. Sure, they think they’ve got the stools and marbles hidden, but I find them.
It’s also my job to inspect all the bags and containers that come into this house, such as purses and wallets. I’m a little suspicious my parents are doing something illegal because they keep pulling me away. Oh well, that’s what quiet time is for.
Another serious duty I perform is making sure this family doesn’t have more kids anytime soon. I’m not exactly sure how it works, but I keep a close eye on Daddy and Mommy and make sure they don’t have any time alone. This requires a short nap in the evening, but then I’m good till they go sleep. I’d be completely successful if it wasn’t for interfering aunties who take us away and leave Mommy and Daddy unprotected.
I’m not sure why they would want more kids, since I believe I am everything they could want in a child. I’m smart, cuddly, adorable, and for the most part have a sweet disposition. Enough about me (I can’t believe I just wrote that…). Let me tell you about my older siblings.
The little boy who came just before me is my wrestling partner and primary competition for Mommy’s lap. Everybody talks about how well he talks, but that doesn’t impress me much. The real trick is getting him to shut up. I joke. The kid does have a sweet side. Like when he prayed at the breakfast table: “Help Mom to be more good. Help her to be more ‘escouraging.” Then he sweetly looked up at Mommy with his big eyes: “Wasn’t that nice? ‘Cause sometimes you’re mad at us and we show you love.” Someone needs a reality check.
Elijah thinks he has a great sense of humor and is always making up jokes. They’re not funny, but I laugh at them to protect his fragile ego. For example, he wanted us to call our next kid “George Dumptruck.”
Elijah is also obsessed with fashion. It’s not healthy for a guy to care so much about what he wears. Oh well, I guess it’s better like that than having Daddy’s fashion sense. Elijah also has the extreme over-confidence that comes with being three. Last summer he brought a hammer to Dad and asked if he could have a nail, then added, “Don’t worry, I won’t kill myself with it.” I was like, “are you sure?!” After all, this is the guy who tore his nostril on a dresser!
This girl I like. I love to play with her, even if it does mean that sometimes I end up in a dress or some weird hairstyle. I can’t complain about the way she treats me. Sophia loves to play on the piano and has quite a knack for repeating the songs she’s hears. Most girls would love go hear the Piano Guys. Not Soph. She wants the Piano Guys to come hear her.
Sophia is also quite the sleep-walker. Her night travels are very entertaining. This girl sleeps so hard that when she gets up to use the bathroom, she winds up other places. Like the night the bathroom door was almost shut, so she walked into the wall next to it. Or when she went into the kitchen and grabbed the coffeemaker on the counter, thinking it was her waterbottle. Or when she plucked at Mommy’s pant leg, trying to get toilet paper from it. Or when she left underwear in the toilet. Or when she nearly substituted the guest room bed and the couch for the toilet. In the spirit of fair disclosure, I may have to slip this info onto her E-Harmony Profile someday.
Sophia started grade 1 in our home school this year and now she likes to read to Elijah and me. She is also learning to cook and be a lady. I’ll just say there’s plenty of room for improvement in both those areas. But we all love her so much and what she adds to this home.
Big bro here sets a pretty tough act to follow. Outsiders see him has this sweet, intelligent, kind boy, but there’s more to him than that. Don’t get me wrong: he is all those things, but he’s slso kind of a control freak. He is always planning ideas, and games, and telling our family what we’re gonna be doing. The guy has founded a town called “Rock Powder” with his cousins, so that involves a newspaper and learning about how government works. J-M also loves to read. He has devoured several Redwall books, now is even into cookbooks and books on horticulture. (I told you I had a big vocabulary.) On weekends he is obsessed with Lego and Technic, which means I get chased away a lot.
But J-M is not all plants and museums. He also loves to read his Bible and talk about God. Sadly, he also demonstrated the hazards of going diaperless when he got diarrhea all over the bathroom in the middle of the night. Thankfully, my hero Daddy who was also very sick got it all cleaned up, but that’s why I’m sticking with diapers! If the system’s not broke, why fix it?
J-M is also very eloquent at prayer time, like on Father’s Day he prayed one of the most beautiful prayers I’ve ever heard: “Dear God, thank you that Daddy is with us, that he is nice to us, and that he is not drunk. Amen.” No wonder Daddy struggles with pride!
In all seriousness, J-M has a very sensitive heart and is quick to help Mommy and encourage her, and make her breakfast in bed, even if he gets impatient and brings it into her room before she’s ready to wake up. I am very glad to have such a responsible big brother who takes such good care of us.
Mommy is incredible. I can’t get enough of her. Even though I weigh almost as much as Elijah (which really isn’t saying much – he is so diminutive) she still lugs me around on her back in our Ergo carrier. This is either very sweet, or just more evidence my parents are up to something illegal and desperately need to keep me out of their documents. I have to admit I still have a soft spot for being held. I know I should be growing out of it, but it just feels so good.
Mommy has been working for the last few years on revising the book she wrote about her sister Katrina. She is almost done and the book is almost available for order or Kindle download. We’ll all be so glad for her to be done. Though her writing gave me lots of chances for undercover investigations, which sadly have led to a mild addiction to TUMs, (what an antacid trip that is!) and the narcotic Orajel. (Talk about an amazing high that stuff gives me. I have learned to throw a crying fit just to get Mommy to rub some of that liquid magic on my gums.)
There is a reason Daddy is so nuts about Mommy and why I have to keep such a close eye on him. The woman is gorgeous and such a charmer. She’s a great cook, educator, and such a loving woman.
Daddy spends A LOT of time reading and writing and talking to Mommy about the stuff he is thinking about. I guess it’s his fault this house is overflowing with books. But he always takes time to wrestle me and help me with my juggling lessons. He works with Uncle Jonathan building stuff and even drives a school bus sometimes.
We also have to go on VERY long drives so Daddy can speak at places. I don’t know why he can’t just speak at our house. We spent so much time in our van this year. We went to Whitefish, MT, so Daddy could rest after he finished teaching his Church History course. We went Helena, MT, for Uncle Josiah’s wedding to Auntie Audrey, then a month later we went to Bismark, North Dakota, for Uncle Joel’s wedding to Auntie Mikayla. On the way there we got to go to a really cool dinosaur museum, but on the way back something scary happened, which I’ll tell you about later.
In July we went to a camp in Washington state, where Daddy spoke at a teen camp and I made lots of cool friends. In September, Dad spoke at a film intensive in Didsbury, AB. Don’t ask me why Dad was asked to speak at a film intensive… with all due respect, he can barely shoot a home movie! In October we drove all the way to Manitoba where Daddy got speak at the same place that Josties were on their tour! It was so good to see Uncle Judah and my aunties. Then it was a long time before we saw them again.
In June, we were coming back from Uncle Joel’s wedding and I had been sick with a fever for two days. I don’t remember what happened but I woke up in a hospital room with scary people trying to stick things in my skin and Daddy wrestling me.
I was so sick I had a seizure. We were in Shelby, MT, when Sophia looked at me and noticed something was wrong. We rushed to the hospital, where they wrongly diagnosed me with pneumonia. Because they thought that was why I was having trouble breathing, they wouldn’t let me leave the hospital except in an ambulance. I got to ride with Mommy in one ambulance to the Canada border, then another ambulance took us to Lethbridge. Daddy drove behind with the other kids. I heard later that Elijah tried to comfort Sophia by saying, “Don’t worry, Justin has Jesus in the palm of his hand.”
I had to spend almost three days in the hospital while they waited for test results. They took good care of us, but I did not like always being hooked up to tubes and wires and I hated when they put that cold stuff into my foot. But I got to wear a mask when Daddy took me for a walk and we got to watch Jostie Flicks and Veggie Tales on his Ipod. It felt so good to come home, and crawl free, and start my walking lessons. As far as we know, the seizure was just caused by my fever and it shouldn’t happen again when I’m bigger. So many people prayed for me and God provided for all the medical bills.
I’m too young to sermonize, but I’ll try. Bear with me. I think God really wants us to trust him. He sees everything that will happen to us, and he knows how to bring good out of the bad things. It’s like when our family went on a LONG hike in the prairies. We walked for almost four miles and saw cows and snakes. On the way back, Sophia was scared that Daddy was lost and we wouldn’t be able to find our van. But we kept following Daddy, and then we came over a hill and saw the van. Sophia jumped up and down and said, “You were right, Dad!”
God sometimes does things that don’t make sense and we wonder what he is doing. But someday, we will understand, and I believe we will all celebrate and say to God, “You were right, Dad!”
Well, I should get back to my busy life. I’ve got lots of areas that need checking out before supper. Thanks for reading! Merry Christmas, from us all!
Love, Justin Jost (16 Months)
P.S. Individual kid photos and our family photo were taken by my aunt Hannah-Grace. Aren’t her camera skills sweet?