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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling like time passes MUCH too quickly. And it’s very easy in the busyness of the season to let the business of keeping in touch with our friends and loved ones fall by the wayside. But since these letters help me remember the past year and get it recorded, I’m determined to do it, so let’s jump right in!
The Hubs continues in his arrangement working part time for a local civil engineering firm and part time for himself. His private client base has exploded with perfect timing since commercial building is at almost a standstill. God is so good! When he’s not working, he has been busy with the never ending “honey-do” list an old house brings. This year’s big project has been massive amounts of rewiring since we’ve come close to having the house burn down a few times with all the old, fraying wires in our walls. He also continues to serve on the leadership team at church and runs the sound or power point or both almost every week.

Scott is 13 now, and is 5’ 7”. I have to buy him “man clothes”. Where did the time go? Scott took a hiatus from piano this year. He is struggling greatly with schoolwork, and piano was one more thing to have to harp on him about, so we decided to take a break. He has however continued to participate in sailing, and enjoys crewing for adult regattas almost more than sailing on his own. My goal this year for Scott’s schooling has been to really push hard to bring him up to some semblance of “average” despite his learning challenges. It is a difficult year for both of us! When I am not asking academic progress from him, he is very easy going, and is by far the most social of our children. He’s never met a stranger and has many friends in our homeschool group and throughout our neighborhood.

Mimi is 11 and she too has grown some this year. She’s turning into a young woman before our eyes. Mimi continues to be our artistic child, and always, always is dreaming and creating. She has written a few plays this year and comes up with the most elaborate plans to stage them. If only she could keep her room clean for more than 24 hours she could have her friends over and give it a try! Em took a babysitting class this year, and is looking to start doing more babysitting in the new year, but for now The Hubs and I are able to leave the house without children, and she and Scott can hold down the fort. It is a beautiful thing!

TJ is 9 and as easy going as ever. Physical comedy is still his thing, and he loves to make us laugh. He enjoys playing soccer and had the chance to play this fall in a neighboring town. He is looking forward to playing again in January. TJ is diligent and obedient and a joy to have around.

Sari is 5 and she joined us this year as an official member of “Our Academy”. She, like her sister, loves to create things and is happiest when I let her paint ANYTHING. In school, she has started reading and is working on some basic math facts, as well as focusing on one letter each week. Sari loves to be read to and to play games, and has an amazing imagination, as evidenced by some of the VERY unusual scenes I find created with our nativity.
That just leaves me! I continue to be a stay at home mom, homeschooling all four kids. It’s not easy, and it’s not always even fun (as ANY teacher can attest to), but the rewards are great. My photography business is growing slowly, which is fine because I stay busy enough being mom, wife, teacher, taxi, chief cook and bottle washer without being crazy-busy with that too. I am still reviewing homeschool products for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine as part of the TOS Crew, and I still sing with United in Praise, serve in children’s ministry at church, and sing on the mid-week service worship team. The biggest change this year is that I was finally able to find someone else to lead our homeschool group, so the weight leading a group of 250 families has fallen off my shoulders! It is wonderful!!!
As for our menagerie, we still have Riley the crazy dog, and the three outdoor cats who have adopted us- Mittens, Skitter, and Bobbin. Abby, our indoor mama cat returned to the great outdoors this year as that was where her heart was, but her kitten Noelle is still with us. Thumper the bunny is still here, inside as I type this because of the cold temps outdoors. We added 4 chickens this spring (one for each kid, of course). We got them as 3 day old chicks, and now we have farm fresh eggs every day. I never dreamed that would be our reality in a million years, but there you have it!
Our family enjoyed our annual trip to NY this past summer. As a bonus, we were able to see friends on the way up in PA and on the way back in VA, and we hope to visit with even more this year coming up. We also got to spend a few days at the beach with my mom in Sanibel. It had been a few years since we had done that, and we really enjoyed it. Then, in October and November, we had two more impromptu trips to the gulf coast as the older kids and I had the chance to be extras in a movie! It’s (currently) called “Dolphin Tale” and is being shot in 3-D. It stars Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, and Harry Conick, Jr. We were just background folks, but we got to work for several days and it gave the kids an experience they will never forget- not to mention a little extra money in their pockets.
Since I’m finishing this letter 3 days before Christmas, it’s unlikely anyone will get it before then, so I hope you had a wonderful, Merry Christmas. As cliché as it sounds, Jesus really IS the reason for this season, no matter how our world tries to spin it. Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you. He will never leave you nor forsake you, and loves you so much He was born as a baby in a manger so He could one day die on a cross just to make you blameless and righteous. Remember that this Christmas season and always!


OBM, The Hubs, Scott, Mimi, TJ, and Sari
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