Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
We want to wish you all a Merry Christmas! Since I didn’t get around to writing a Christmas Letter this year, I thought I’d take a moment to highlight 2013 for our family.
Spencer spent a good portion of this year at BYU Provo, finishing up his freshman year in April and returning for a second year in September. We missed him (especially me!) but this year was easier than last fall. Spencer roomed with his good friend, Keenan in the spring but went back to an apartment full of strangers in the fall. It has been a hard adjustment – no roommate chemistry going on, unfortunately. A month or so into the semester, Spencer made friends with an apartment full of girls from his church congregation and things have been better since then. He is looking at a computer science major and has found those classes pretty challenging but also interesting. Spencer spent the summer at home with us and worked at Target doing early morning stocking. We were surprised and impressed that he was able to manage getting up every morning at 3:30am to get to work. The summer went by too quickly and we miss him around here when he is gone.
Andrew finished his 7th grade year, struggling along the way with minimal school support. We were all offering up heartfelt thanks when the year ended and we could take a break from all the homework battles. Tom & I decided it was time to see if there were any learning disabilities going on in addition to his emotional challenges. Lo and behold Andrew is struggling along with dyslexia too! So not fair!! But a change of schools, a change in his school support system, and a better understanding of what tools can help has made his 8th grade much smoother and more enjoyable for all of us (though Andrew would be quick to add that he still doesn’t like school much!) Andrew has also grown about a foot this year and is quickly approaching Spencer’s height.
Haley “graduated” from elementary school this year (it is hard to believe that after 13 years we don’t have any kids at our local school anymore). She has jumped right into middle school, playing flute with the middle school band and taking French (we tried to convince her to take Spanish since both Tom and I speak it, but she wasn’t interested). She is still one of the shortest kids in her class but we think she is one of the cutest too. After two years of horseback riding lessons, her teacher closed up shop. Haley was pretty sad to stop riding Ebony but she took up soccer in the fall and really enjoyed it, so hopefully this will be a reasonable substitute (although I think Haley would say nothing beats horses).
Tom changed jobs the first part of the year when his department at Catholic Health Initiatives was outsourced to India. He now works for Great West Financial and though the pace of the job is slower than at CHI, the environment is a lot friendlier. He volunteers as the financial clerk for our church congregation and continues to keep us happy with his creative and delicious dinners. He was disappointed by the BYU football team, but has really enjoyed the basketball team this fall – there have been some exciting games!
I’m still working part time and running our home full time. The only major home diy project I worked on this year involved Tom – we finally built a workbench in the garage and cleaned our act up. The garage was beautiful for a couple of months (but we couldn’t park our van inside because the garage is not long enough??) but then I made the mistake of removing the broken steps on our deck. Before we knew it, a simple repair job became a big demolition and rebuild project and we have a bunch of wood for our deck rebuild stacked in the garage. We’ve got the framing done and hope to finish the decking sometime in the early spring (cross fingers). I did a lot of reading (shocker, I know!) and I’m still volunteering as the secretary for our church youth group for girls. It is fun to work with the girls and Haley really likes that I’m with her. My claim to fame this year was crocheting a lap blanket for Tom’s mom for her 90th birthday in about 24 hours. I was still frantically crocheting just minutes before she started opening gifts. That will teach me to leave things to the last minute!!
We hope that this holiday season will inspire each of you (and us) to be a little kinder and love a little more fully – to honor the life of our Savior Jesus Christ not only during the Christmas festivities but all year long, by the way we live and how we treat each other. We rejoice in John’s words: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).
Much love and all the best for 2014!!