Sunday, December 20

Our Christmas Card, 2015 Edition

Hello! If you're here by way of our Christmas card, welcome!

Years have gone by and I keep meaning to type up a family newsletter to include in our Christmas cards, but for various reasons it hasn't happened and I haven't made it a priority.  Then I realized I could include it here for anyone who would like a quick update on our family. :)

2015 has mostly come and gone in a fury!  Our family took a major trip in September- a drive to the northeast to see family and Pope Francis, a few smaller weekend trips, Ryan and I celebrated our 10-year anniversary with a vow renewal and reception, Beth had a two-day stay in the hospital thanks to an infected cut, and we almost sold our house (twice).  And we have three school-aged students now, which has been quite a change for me!  We had a few major events, but for the most part we're continuing to all grow and change, each of us in our own time. 

Ryan turned 35 this year, without fanfare!  He celebrated 9 years with his company this year, a family-friendly 8-5 job at a local company that continues to treat him respectfully and generously.  He used all of his vacation days this calendar year- which was a first!  Ryan has enjoyed a few good books this year, reading alongside Beth in her school work and of course, reading Little House books (again) to a couple of boys who are very interested in being Farmer Boys.  Ryan used his talent and time to build shields for the boy's club that we belong to, and took me on a fantastic trip to Antigua to celebrate our 10-year anniversary! He continues to support and guide me and our family as our spiritual head, and our relationship continues to grow and flourish as we live our busy and beloved lives!

I have had a year in which I've cut back on events and commitments and tried to be more intentional and reflective.  In some ways I was busier, taking advantage of Ryan's vacation days to travel and making a monthtly commitment to a day dedicated to spiritual practices, but I've also cut a lot out of my schedule.  The biggest change was this year I took only 4 doula clients (the previous year I had 14), and I've decided to end my career, at least for now, as a doula.  We switched to a new co-op, which entails more driving for Caeli and me, but has been a huge blessing to me as it's a drop-off program and I'm no longer responsible for teaching a class of kindergarteners!  The kids also love it, which in turn makes me a happier mama too!  I've read more this year than last, started attending some seriously awesome classes at the gym and ran a 3-mile race, and while I haven't been crafting as much as I'd like, I did manage to sew a few skirts for Caeli in May.  I discerned that I should drop out of social media completely (Instagram and Facebook), so you can check here periodically for updates, or give me a good old-fashioned call. :)

Beth will turn 9 in a week, is in third grade, and I have to admit that I am really looking forward to this next "phase" of girlhood.  She is leaving early childhood behind and becoming a young woman who is a delight and a pleasure to be around.  She devours books as soon as she can get her hands on them, reading late into the night and checking out books from the library as much as I'll allow her! On our Christmas card, the photo of her with her hands in the air is my favorite picture of her celebrating coming home from the hospital after a brief but dramatic stay!  She's learned to rollerblade this year, started piano lessons, and some days she completely takes over the kitchen from me and will bake until her heart is content.  Her sense of humor is maturing and while she occasionally rolls her eyes, she's still such a joy to my heart.

Luke turned 7 in October and is currently missing 3 teeth.  He's very proud of that fact!  He is in first grade, learning to read, and is preparing to make his First Holy Communion in the Spring.  We call him our worker man, because he has a deep innate desire to be constantly moving and using his body for God's glory!  He and Jack have dug holes in the backyard and filled them back up again, created "secret hiding places," taken apart broken appliances, and asked questions about pretty much everything.  He has a natural talent for math and building, and can get lost for hours in a pile of Legos.  He can also be super sweet and cuddly with me, planting slobbery kisses and giving tender hugs.  I accept because I don't know how long they will last!

Jackson is five-and-a-half, as he will proudly announce, and started kindergarten this year.  He is also learning how to read, loves doing his math workbook, and spends a lot of time playing dress up.  He's gone through phases of being a knights or priests, and right now he likes to dress up as a shepherd.  He loves to draw, play outside, and basically do anything that Luke does! We had a big baseball-themed fifth birthday for him in the summertime, which he loved despite the fact that he sometimes can be very shy.  He doesn't particularly love going to Sunday School or co-op, but he always has a good time with his friends in the classes!

Caeli Rose will be 2 in a few weeks!  She continues to be a huge blessing a joy to me.  We all always marvel at how cute she is, and Beth takes delight in knowing that Caeli acts and plays the same way that she did.  She is starting to speak clearly now, loves identifying animals and body parts, and she's definitely the most expressive child we've ever had!  She speaks not only with words but with her hands and head- well, her whole body!  She dances and sings, reminds us to pray before we eat, and just loves playing baby and tea party.  She loves Beth and her brothers, running to give them a hug or kiss when they wake up in the morning.  She's not quite sleeping through the night consistently yet, though it has happened a handful of times and we have hope that it will happen soon!

Please feel free to explore my blog, click around and read away.  What's here is written for you; it's not too personal for me to share.  I opted to not publish a few things that maybe were on the verge of being too much information, but what I've shared here is because I think these things are worthy of being discussed.  I renamed my blog in January and have used that as a platform to sort of dissect my feelings and struggles this year.  My true hope is that, as my children grow and venture out into this world, they see this blog as a memory book of their adventures and lives.  That is truly why this little blog is here!

God's blessings to you and your family in 2016!  May we all grow to know and accept His peace and will in our hearts and lives. 

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