First of all let me apologize to any of you who may be getting empty envelopes instead of Christmas cards. The kids were in charge of stuffing and sealing, so who knows what kind of mischief happened there.
This year has been a great one, highlighted by a move to California and finding a pair of socks in the freezer. (I actually though about making this whole post about things I have found in random places this year, but you would not believe half of it.)
We headed off to sunny California in August, arriving here just a few days before school started. Our new home is great and we have met some incredible people. Luke has been called to serve as a ward missionary and I am in the YW Presidency--which basically means I get to play hard, go out to Taco Bell late at night, and laugh too much.
Luke continues his work at IBM and loves it. A highlight this year was meeting Will Clark (the San Francisco Giants is one of his accounts). When he is not working or doing something for church, he can be found outside or on the floor playing with the kids...he truly enjoys being with them. He taught seminary again this year and sorely misses it now that we've moved. His goal for 2014 is to buy me a new car....I just need to inform him of that first!
I continue my work here at home, trying to get my ducklings to follow in a nice, neat, quiet little row. It doesn't always work, but it's fun anyway. Besides my work at church, I volunteer as much as possible at the kids' schools and try to get out for a run every once in a while. I did get the chance to do a Ragnar in July, which was a great experience! My goal in 2014 is to find some quiet time to read a book or two.
Emmeline is nearly 12 now and is soooooooo excited for what this coming year will bring. She is still an exceptional student, receiving her "PhD" in math last year (an award only received by two other 5th graders, ever) and winning the school award for most library books checked out! She is in 6th grade now and while she is enjoying middle school, has made the decision to be homeschooled beginning in January. I think she sorely underestimating "Mean Mom School", but I am curious and excited to push and expand her capabilities. When she is not reading, you can find EmJ swimming, sewing, cooking, or playing with the little girls. Her goal in 2014 is to make a boatload of money babysitting.
Joshua is 9 1/2 and is our athlete and fashionista (he will kill me for writing that)! He had the hardest time with our move, but is now fully invested in the 4th grade social scene. He loves scouts and skinny jeans and ran track last year...performing very well. He loved the California perk of being able to play fall baseball and can't wait for his little League season. He spends most of his time outside, active and sweating. No surprise that we get along pretty well! His goal in 2014 is to be an All-Star.
Benjamin is almost 8! He is so excited about being baptized in February! Benjamin found a new talent this year--in running. Turns out this kid is an energizer bunny and I hope that in a few years he can be my running buddy. Benjamin entered the big, bad world of Mean Mom School this year and thoroughly loves it. I love being his teacher and love spending so much time with him. He is an exceptional learner and currently wants to be a scientist when he grows up...or Santa Claus. He is excited to start scouts in a few months, too. His goal in 2014 is to start Taw Kwon Do.
Samantha. Oh, that girl! Sam has recently decided that she would like to join the circus and has been relentless on that topic. I hope that gymnastics lessons will be enough for now. Sam shined in preschool, and is excelling in kindergarten. Her teacher has been incredible in pushing her to her very limits instead of making her do the required kindergarten work. We are so grateful for that teacher! Sam learned how to tie her shoes and ride a bike this year. She also took ballet and ran cross country. Sam is a leader among her friends, is always smiling, makes her own rules, and is very much The Boss. Her goal--the circus.
Reillee is 3 1/2 and is our little princess! She will only wear dresses, only likes things that are pink, and would like some nail polish for Christmas, please. To my delight, she is starting to show some neat-freakish tendencies--like sleeping on top of her covers so they won't get wrinkled. Yes! Reillee loves dancing and story time and being bossed around by Sam. She learns quickly and observes EVERYTHING and is learning to work the system. For example, this afternoon she tried to pull one over on me by saying, "I finished my lunch so I can have some dessert! But, man, you gave Kaylyn a LOT of food!" Her goal in 2014 is to learn to read.
Kaylyn is 19 months old and is our super cute "Blue". She can climb on anything and do somersaults, but refuses to talk. We get screams and signs and an occasional "mama", but that's about it. Like Joshua, she is very athletic and social. Like Sam, she has no regard for authority. Like Reillee, she loves anything sparkly, frilly, or fluffy. Like Benjamin, she eats enough for an army. And she looks just like EmJ. This year it will be fun to see Kaylym blossom into her unique self. Talking would be appreciated, too!
And that is all! May you all have a magnificent Christmas season and find much joy in spending time with your family and friends, remembering always the reason that we celebrate--the birth and perfect life of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May we all seek to follow in his example not only during this Christmas time, but every day, giving thanks always for His mercies and miracles.