I figured the cost of our cards and stamps this year - yikes! I definately think that I will scale way back next year. It is hard, though, to decide who will be taken off the Christmas list. Well, I have a whole year to decide.
I chose to print our letter here at home instead of making copies. Of course we ran out of toner and don't have the $80 it takes to replace it, so I tried to put letters in the cards addressed to those who don't check our blog. If you get a card without a letter it is because you are of the elite group who get to read our letter on the blog. lol. And, really, if you are keeping up with us through the blog, then the Christmas letter will be nothing new to you. If you didn't get a Christmas card it is because we don't have your address. It is always fun to get regular mail, so send us your address and we can send you a card. :)
Yep, it’s that time of year again – Christmas letters and cards are sent, lights are up, cookies are baking, shopping is done and most important of all, we slow down to reflect on the “Reason for the Season”. We are grateful for so many things this year. We are growing together as a family and that is reason enough to celebrate.
We continue to be grateful for Greg’s willingness to work hard for his family. He is still working two jobs (three in the summer when he cuts grass) and is enjoying both. Being a captain, he has decided, is much like being a father to a bunch of boys. His attention is in constant demand at the station, - he doesn’t get much reprieve when he is home, either. J He is still working at the City Recycling Center and was very grateful for the award his facility won this year. The state of Georgia awarded him and the center the “Keep Georgia Beautiful-Waste Reduction” award. It was a very neat deal. Greg is still in the bishopric and while that also takes up much of his time, he is quick to put family first when he needs to. He and Calvin are working their way through the Chronicles of Narnia and have almost completed the series. He is grateful for the time he has with Calvin and their deep discussions of what they have read. Greg is a wonderful dad.
I am grateful for my children and the constant reminder that I am not alone. I continue to be busy, but am being a bit more selective about the activities in which I am engaged. This summer Greg and I decided that we would homeschool the boys this school year. This was not an easy decision to make, but it is working out very well so far. We will take it year by year and see how much longer the Lord would like us to continue this venture of ours. This fall Greg and I coached Josh’s soccer team. That was quite an adventure, and one that we will not likely repeat for some time (at least not until Olivia is older). I am also grateful this year for apples! We ordered a few bushels of apples this fall and went to work canning. We have put up quite a bit of applesauce, apple butter, and apple pie filling. In addition to our usual strawberry and blackberry jellies, we also canned (for the first time) pear preserves with orange zest. Our pantry shelves are very pretty, I must say. J
Calvin is grateful for his extra time spent at home with the family. He is in fourth grade and is loving it. He feels very grown up to have his own fourth grade school books and understands that much is expected of him now that he is a big boy. He continues to enjoy reading books and has written many of his own books. He is also showing us his new-found entrepreneurial skills by constantly developing ideas on how to make money! He played soccer this fall as well and is now in karate with Josh. Calvin also became the very pleased owner of a set of braces this year. Each month he changes the band color to match something that is going on in his life. He is a very bright young man and is always amazing us with his memory and understanding. Many times he becomes my teacher as we discuss things in our day. He is wonderful.
Josh is grateful for his brother and sister. He continues to be a joy to our family. He is also developing a bit of a comedian side to him. He likes to make us smile and laugh and will often ask what he can do to make us smile. He is very genuine and feels a great deal for others. Josh is in first grade, but will soon be finishing a second grade math book. He is also working quickly through his first grade English and amazes us at his quick ability to comprehend what we are teaching him. Josh is a wonderful big brother and is very protective over Olivia. He is quick to offer his babysitting services when I need to get something done around the house, and keeps Olivia laughing and happy. He still has blonde hair, and insists that it will always be blonde – we are the parents of a blonde, a brunette, and a red head.
Olivia is a gem and we are quite certain that she is most grateful for her daddy. She loves to talk to him on the phone and certainly has a lot to say. She learned sign language this year (as her brothers did at her age) and mastered the signs for: milk, juice, water, please, cookie, bath, more, and potty (yes, she tells us when he needs a diaper change). Now that she is talking more, her signs are naturally disappearing. We are sad to see them go as it means that she is growing up more. She is 18 months at the time of this letter, and has truly blessed our family during her short time with us. She has reminded us to slow down and to be more gentle with one another. Her sweet feminine spirit is also showing through in her need to nurture her baby dolls and her family.
We are very grateful this year for prayer. Our theme at the beginning of 2008 was: Prayer is great in 2008. Indeed it is. We love the gospel of Jesus Christ and we love the promise we have to be an eternal family. We are most grateful for the Savior and his gifts to us. We know that He lives and we know that He loves and cares for us.
We wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas season – full of charity and peace.