Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Here's my New Year's letter this year. Aaron said it sounded like I was writing a blog post - I told him that I had always written it that way, it's just that now I actually have a blog.

Friends and Family –
Don’t be too shocked, but you may actually receive this letter before the New Year. Try not to let it throw off your normal holiday routine TOO much.

This year has been very full, and I fear we will go onto two pages again, as we did back in ’04 when Leah was born and we moved to West Fargo. We put the house on the market at the end of March and left town for the weekend. We hadn’t really started looking at houses yet, of course. I’ve always kind of believe the cliché, “God only gives you what you can handle.” And it must be true, because God knew I couldn’t do months of open houses with 2 kids under 4 years – we got an acceptable offer after that first weekend! We didn’t even get a “For Sale” sign in the yard, folks – it went that fast. Too fast. We didn’t have a house to move into! Thankfully, we were able to rent my friend Caroline’s vacant but fully furnished home in north Fargo. We were there for about 2 ½ months until we closed on our new house in July. There is lots of remodeling/redecorating to do, too, but nothing too major. Aaron has worked miracles in the short amount of time we’ve been here. You should come get the tour!

Aaron has made sure we’ve used up our medical savings account. He had Lasik eye surgery in April, and then in May had his ACL and both meniscuses repaired in his right knee after re-injuring it playing basketball in January. This meant he was on crutches and off work for 6 weeks, starting about a week before our first move. God provided for us, of course, in the form of lots of help from friends and family. Thank you!

Leah is 4…and a HALF, as she insists. Her princess birthday party in May was quite the event, with all the girls coming dressed up. She was in Super Tots gymnastics this year, and although she’s the smallest student, she did finally learn how to do a backwards-roll – “You just go really fast!” We are trying dance (ballet/jazz/tap) this year, and she loves it, of course. Leah also started in the Awana program at church, and looks forward to it all week. These activities, plus other events in my MOMS Club keep her waaay too busy for preschool. She’s reading some words and doing addition and subtraction, so I’m not too worried about her academics. Conflict resolution, however, may be an issue for the kindergarten teacher next year.

Ben is completely and utterly a BOY. With the small exception of when he begs to play Pretty Pretty Princess – although he does demand to be the BLUE princess shoe. He loves to run, jump, and kick, and his favorite toys are trucks, cars and trains. Although at 2 ½ he seems to be ahead of his age group in physical coordination (we are concerned and shocked at what he attempts – usually successfully) he is definitely behind verbally. He was in speech therapy for about 5 months, and then we decided to take a break and see what would happen. He kept adding words at the same pace, so we haven’t gone back. Now he has quite the list of words in his vocabulary, and is starting to put 2 or 3 together, although pantomime and context are still very important! Ben started gymnastics this fall and absolutely loved it. Of course, it helped that Leah tutored him at home.

He frustrated by having to take it very easy on his knees this summer – he didn’t even go golfing until August. Hopefully some extra physical training will help him gain confidence and be able to go back to his usual winter activities of snowboarding and basketball. Home improvement has been a huge focus, as he’s painted quite a few rooms, replaced trim, and shopped for doors and carpet. He also fenced our backyard this summer, with some extra manpower from my Dad.

I am still active with my local MOMS Club, the women’s Bible study at church, and my book club. I am no longer a Creative Memories consultant, although I am still a devotee. Digital scrapbooking is my latest discovery! However, the biggest addition to my list of activities is my blog. I started it in January and now have over 300 posts and 50-some visitors a day! You should stop and visit – . Aaron and I both joined Facebook – along with the rest of my entire family, parents included. If you are there, find us! It’s a fun way to keep in touch.

We hosted Aaron’s family at Thanksgiving this year – 22 folks, including my parents and us. It was a great time, and the house lived up to our hosting expectations. We were also able to share the news that we are expecting another baby at the beginning of June! It was an exercise in self control for me to wait until 14 weeks to announce our pregnancy, but it was worth it for the shocked expressions on our friends’ faces. They couldn’t believe I had kept quiet for that long! J
My folks are both keeping busy– Dad retired from the Guard this fall, but started a new job, again as an aircraft mechanic. Mom is working as a med tech in a hospital’s lab, and keeps busy enough with that and her other projects that we sometimes go a week without a visit from her! They keep talking about moving out to the farm in Hebron, but I won’t believe it until they set a date. They enjoy their grandchildren too much. And we enjoy their free babysitting!

Aaron’s parents are also doing well. Clarence has actually said the word “retirement” although we have yet to see anything concrete happen. This summer he was re-siding their house in 30 mph winds, on scaffolding, holding sheets of Styrofoam! We kept waiting to see him sail past the window. Golfing is a major priority, which Aaron enjoys whenever they are together.

Clarence & Bobbie celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in December last year, and the family gathered in Lake Havasu City, Arizona to honor them. Eight of their nine children were able to make it, as well as two in-laws – me, and my sister-in-law Erica. It was a great (kid-free…thanks Mom and Dad!) weekend. I celebrated my birthday in July by visiting my sister Ruth and her husband at their new place in Chicago. A highlight was seeing the musical Wicked, even though we had nose-bleed seats. Did I mention this trip happened a week after we moved into the new house? And did I also mention that I have an incredible husband? Who even (with friends) threw a little birthday party for me when I got back? Thanks, honey!

There were also lots of smaller trips: to Minneapolis for our niece’s wedding reception and shopping at IKEA, and a trip out West to visit the Ranch and see the Medora Musical – which got rained/hailed out after about 45 minutes. We also spent a long weekend at my grandma’s in Park River for my cousin Kelli’s wedding. Leah got to be a flowergirl, and was positively overjoyed to be given a tiara to wear.

I’m hoping you have had an equally blessed year, knowing that the Lord loves and treasures you. If you are traveling through, give us a call – we’d love to have you drop in or spend the night. Or two.

God bless you and your family!


Ruth said...

very nice! happy holidays abound!

Blue Castle said...

I saw your title, and tried to stop reading so when I get your letter, it will be new to me, but I couldn't stop reading.

It's so nice to read a well-written Christmas letter. :)

AJ said...

Uh-oh. Now nobody will read the actual letter, because I am sure they all read your blog. =)

Noel said...

Nice letter for those who aren't digitally connected, although even as a faithful reader of the blog I learned a few new things and even speculated on the cause of Aaron's original knee injury...perhaps a heroic, game winning lay-up in a ND class B baskball championship?

This weekend we'll probably make an attempt at getting our first letter out in the last few years. Things have gotten harder with added authors/critics. It also doesn't help that one writer's style is "lab report" and other family members prefer a warmer, less clinical style.

My mom, on the other hand, has faithfully been putting out Christmas letters since 1964 and in the process has written a fine and consistent family history. I fear much of our contemporary Blogspot, Facebook, and email chronicles will be lost to encoding and transfer technology changes. Paper persists and some inks do as well.

Lyz said...

I'm hoping that my letter will get those non-blog-visitors to stop by! We'll see. I hope they comment!

Blue Castle - I take great pride in my Christmas letters!

Noel - This is why I'm a scrapbooker, in addition to a blogger. I have a special album for holday photos sent to us, as well as my parents' and our letters/cards.