Monday, December 26, 2016

2016 Christmas Letter

Here we are at Christmas 2016 and we're just sitting to write a few notes of greeting and reflection. These years seem to get faster as we go. It's a costly thing to blink.

Here's a few reflections on the kids this year:

We added Baby Lucy to our crew in February.  She is a blessing! We can't imagine life without her smiles, laughter (she's a ticklish one), babbling... she's a good eater, a poor sleeper, and a Mama's girl but loved by all! Chloe, our dog, treats her like her own, always bathing her face, licking her fingers (perhaps she just tastes good?). Lucy is now 10 months old and is pulling herself up, cruising furniture, climbing stairs.  She has a temper and has recently discovered a new decibel!

Amos is an active and independent lad.  He is always looking to help, running to get whatever you need at the slightest request.  His comprehension exceeds his speech, but even that is coming along.  He has stopped biting and hitting for the most part and for that, we are truly thankful.  He loves to climb and jump.

Zeke is a bright boy but often distracted & in his own world.  He turned four this year and so is expected to go to school in the coming year.  This seems hardly possible.  He is a loving chap and can often be heard to say, "Hey! I didn't get my morning hug yet!" He is learning his letters pretty well; he has finally conceded to try to print them, as well.  He LOVES to cut EVERYTHING and tape, lots of tape!

Emily is as much a spitfire as ever. Her summer was one of firsts: swimming / belly flopping [she won a bellyflop competition at camp], riding a two wheeler, climbing the tree.  She loves bugs, worms, and often takes her time getting into the house from the bus after school as the pull of nature is too strong.  She must first be up the tree or digging in the dirt.  She also loves dresses and skirts which she wears every day... matching or not.. with colorful socks and leggings.  She is a sensitive and passionate soul.

Molly tends to be level headed, less given to the mood roller coaster.  She likes jeans and hoodies; her hair always in a pony tail she does herself.  She is a great climber - loves flipping on the bars.  She is a confident and practical girl.  She does love pretty things, too; she loves making things (always wants to bake), and drawing.  She makes it a point to see Lucy as soon as she gets home and is adored by her baby sister.

Jordan still has his head in the clouds, yet can pick up academic facts about the world around him quite well.  Details such as where his belongings are or which direction to wear his shirt, however, tend to elude him.  He is quick with a joke and loves his comics - this year he had a debut performance as a standup comedian at school. He has been learning the recorder and quite enjoys it.  He is imaginative and always has an idea to keep him occupied. He's pretty easy going... unless Reuben is involved.

Reuben is ever our risk taker and antagonist.  Just when we think we've seen it all, he'll surprise us.  Very creative! He has recently been learning the yoyo.  He taught himself basic crochet. He is often thinking on some new invention or hatching a plot.  He is loving middle school because they are in the gym every day.  He has also been learning the trombone.  His greatest challenge, however, is the discovery that one cannot be expert at everything at first attempt.

Kathryn is in her last year of middle school.  Being able to work at camp in the summer was the highlight of her year.  With social media, she's been able to keep contact with friends she made there.  She does enjoy her social life, but loves being home as well. She continues to visit a barn & horses each week, this year taking a younger sister along when she goes. She has been busily working on sewing projects lately, being mentored by a wonderful lady from the church.  We are so grateful for people who are so generous as to invest in our children.

Caleb is in his first year of high school (grade 9).  He enjoys it for the most part.  His loves, of course, are the works of Lewis, Tolkien, and a few other Inklings writers.  He can be found most times reading, working on any one of his various Rubik's cubes (they come in a varied number of sizes and shapes), or teaching himself ukulele and guitar.  He still enjoys playing trumpet and euphonium in the band.  He loved working at camp this year, as well. Camp has changed all our lives, for sure.

Wow! Did you get through all that? Parenting this crew is definitely getting more challenging.  It's a balance of trying to pull them in to give them a strong foundation, yet releasing them to discover and change the world.  We fail often and are in such need of wisdom higher than our own.  We are so blessed to have a God who is near whenever we call on Him and who gives wisdom generously when we ask.  When we realize we've got nothing, we realize that He is everything!

Merry Christmas! "Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you may go!" (Joshua 1:9)

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