From the Kids (being encouraged to share about their year with you):
Caleb: “I have a new teacher at school. I've gone from 'I' Books to 'L' books. We have an advent calendar, we have our stockings up... and we have three new video games. My favorite video games are 'the Incredibles' and 'Mario Party 7.' I got new Lego for my birthday. We have our tree up. I've made new friends at school.”
Katie: “I go to school. I have a good teacher. I like to play with my brothers. I love my family. I like my friends and their moms and dads. I'm excited about Christmas because we celebrate that Jesus is born. I liked Caleb's birthday because it was a special day. We got to have ice cream. I liked that my aunts visited. I like to go to school. I like that Caleb's at school with me. I like that Reuben is three now. I like that Jordan is a baby and I like to play with him. I like that our Christmas tree is up. We have our stockings up, and we have our advent calendar with candy and verses. I like that the Christmas ornaments are up. I like the video games. I like my stocking. I like to watch tv. I like to play on the computer. I like to read books. I like to cuddle with my Mom and Dad. I like to have a wrestling match with my brothers and Dad. I like that the star is on the tree. I like to play with toys and Pollys. I like my cat. I like all my necklaces. I like the pictures on the wall. I watched 'WallE' before. I like to play downstairs.”
Reuben: declines comment
Jordan: “No...” and something about “doggies”
“It's the most wonderful time of the year!” The kids have been very excited about decorating for Christmas, making Christmas crafts, playing in the snow (when we have some), and Jordan is especially excited about pulling ornaments off the tree and running off with them.
As the year draws to an end, it's a good time to reflect on what's happened in 2008. (And it's funny that, while being a good time for reflection, the mind tends to draw a blank as Katie screams something about the havoc the younger boys are creating in the next room).
Caleb has just turned 7, is in grade 1, loves his teacher, and has become an expert on all things. He is enjoying school (despite his comments to the contrary) and his reading has improved tremendously this year. He especially enjoys the “Magic Treehouse” books- evident in the fact that we found him reading in our bathroom at 5 am- and takes great pride in that he now reads chapter books. He is constantly thinking, creating, and plotting- and seems to identify with pirates at the moment.
Katie, 5 years old, is eager to let everyone know that she is now in school. She loves it and loves her teacher. She stays after school once a week at the “After the Bell” program (just playing games) and would probably choose to stay late every day given the option. She loves the social life and we scratch our heads wondering how we ever produced such a girly girl- it's all about the dresses and the hair... she decorated her lips with marker, not being permitted lipstick. She's made lots of new friends this year, though she sometimes struggles to recall their names. She loves to play “mama” to the boys and to her “babies,” and is actually quite effective in the role and a great help.
Reuben, 3, is very active and energetic, not to mention creative. His list of achievements include flushing the bathtub plug down the toilet (resulting in the purchase of a new toilet); repeat episodes of dumping baby powder, soap, toothpaste, coffee, etc., all over the floor; and “sledding” down the stairs in a laundry basket. We have endeavored to channel some of this “creative energy” by enrolling Reuben in a soccer program. Although he enjoys soccer, he tells us every week that he wishes the teacher wasn't there.
Jordan, at 18 months, appears to be following closely in Reuben's footsteps: very affectionate at one moment, aggressive the next. He enjoys “performing,” always looking to see who's watching him as he takes a fall on purpose, dances (spinning around until he stumbles everywhere) and “sings” (he's also becoming quite the pianist). It's been a “whole new world” (as it always is) since Jordan started walking (while Jon was in the Czech Republic this summer) and is now climbing everywhere. He loves animals and is just beginning to accept that they have names other than “doggy.”
It's been a busy year filled with excitement and new challenges in our ministry at New Minas Baptist Church, especially with the completion and opening of the new expansion of the church. God has been challenging us in the way that we minister to families and children, and we're looking forward to even greater opportunities in our church and community as we enter our fifth year here. God has been so faithful and our family has been blessed to be part of a growing community of faith (and also blessed to be able to contribute numerically to that growth with the birth of our fifth child in February).
As we reflect on the challenges that we've had this year, and on the challenges that we face in the new year, we are so thankful to be able to celebrate Christmas and the coming of Emmanuel: “God with us”- we are not alone and nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ. That news is just as incredibly good today as it was to the shepherds over two thousand years ago. We hope that you and your families will have a wonderful time of celebration this Christmas.
the Dixon clan