This is my version of a Christmas letter. I enjoy getting Christmas letters and reading what is going on in the lives of people that I don't see regularly. I suppose with Facebook, there probably aren't too many that don't already know way more about our family than they would like! ex..catching preschool puke in my hand to save the bedsheets..I know..a yucky facebook post!
2013 has been a busy and eventful year..a good one though. Paige and Peyton turned 13..celebrated with an overnight party at the YMCA. Sounded like a good idea when we booked it, I wasn't so sure the day it arrived! Kids had fun and there were plenty of adults that hung out with us. The big girls and I also headed down to Buncombe Il (out in the middle of nowhere) to visit my dear friend Betsy and her little family. This was a great trip..low tech and lots of outdoor time.
Paige and Peyton are now extremely busy 8th graders. They went to church camp in New York this past summer and LOVED it! Reese and I went along and stayed at the nearby Inn and Conference Center. James and the dogs enjoyed the peace and quiet at home. The Word of Life Camp, Conference Center, Teens Involved, all became a big part of our lives last year, and we have enjoyed it. God has used some great people and this ministry to work in our lives and in the kids' lives. We are blessed and thankful!
We took 2 trips to the Wisconsin Dells this year. This trip seems to be our family tradition and we love it! We would definitely recommend The Wilderness in the Dells as a great and affordable vacation spot for families. Enough of the commercial for the Resort..
James and I went to Branson for a few days this past summer. We mostly enjoyed our 4 wheeling excursion and our day in St. Louis. If you are ever in Branson, there is a family that has a 4 wheeling business just outside of town, and it is lots of fun, we highly recommend it.
Peyton went on a short term mission trip with her grandparents, Steve and Marie Thornsbrough, this past summer. They went to Cedine Bible Camp in Tennessee. This was a great experience for Peyton to serve others, they also found plenty of time to have fun! Paige opted to stay home and go to gymnastics camp. That brings us to weekly activities...
...I need to consult my planner every day or I get confused...Paige takes gymnastics at DIG (Danville Institute of Gymnastics) and really loves it. Reese has also been taking classes there since the spring and (usually) loves it too! Both Peyton and Paige were in a play this fall. They worked very hard and had a great time in the Homeschool production of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." Peyton has been playing basketball this fall also. Paige has continued with guitar lessons and loves it participating in praise band at church. Peyton is busy drumming (she got a full drum set last Christmas) and she also participates in praise band. Peyton is also on the Bell choir at Calvary this year. Her first performance is coming up this Sunday..she is excited!
Speaking of drums..Peyton and I took a trip to Chicago this past fall. It was a great few days together and we enjoyed the city and using public transportation! Peyton and I spend lots of time at The Music Garage's Vic's Drum Shop. Peyton attended a drum clinic and got to spend lots of time checking out different types of drums. We also went on a Segway tour of downtown Chicago. This was an extremely fun and educational activity. I would definitely recommend one of these tours if you are looking for something to do in Chicago.
Paige and I went to Chicago in the late spring and it was a totally different trip. We used the hop on hop off trolley and checked out lots of museums. We spend the majority of the time at the Art Museum, Paige was in art heaven! These trips with just myself and my young teen girls individually were fantastic and so worth it. It was time I will always treasure to spend rare time alone with these girls! James was fantastic to keep Reese at home and take care of everything here so that we were able to go.
Another highlight of the year..the year of the dirty 5k's! Started out with the Dirty Girl 5k that I got to do with a bunch of coworkers. It is an all women 5k with tons of mud and obstacles that raises money for breast cancer. We were the "Trauma Queens," and it was the most valuable team building exercise I have every done in all my years of health care..and it wasn't even officially work related! Then James, Peyton, Paige and I did the Foam Fest 5k in June. This was fun to do with the girls. Of course, it was freezing and pouring..and the trail was a bit dangerous. I spend half of it praying that I wouldn't all and break a wrist, ankle, leg..We finished up with the Warrior Dash in August. This was what we did for my 39th birthday. I was slower than anyone in our group, but we had a great time! I realized I definitely need to get into better shape!
Our end of summer activity was the Finest vs Bravest Softball game that features the Wounded Warrior team. This was, as always, a great event and James loves to play for the Finest..and Peyton loves to win a dance contest...James made the last out, so he looked cute in his pink tutu!
Lots of changes this year. Reese turned 4 and moved out of the nursery and into the Beginner's Sunday School class, sniff sniff..my baby is getting big! We also had people that were regulars in our lives that moved away this year, this was tough on me..and more so on the girls. It is a good lesson on how God puts people in your lives for specific time periods and purposes. We don't always understand why they have to move on, but we can pray for them, and be happy when visits are possible! Specifically talking about Dan and Jessica Somerville, Sara Day Hyland, and The Molyneux family. Paige and Peyton also had some special friends from their homeschool group that moved and this had left an impact in their lives.
Is it safe to say with 2 weeks left in the year that no one ended up in the ER or hospital this year?? (gulp) We are very thankful for good health!
As this Christmas season is upon us, I am looking forward to the annual reading of the Christmas story from the Bible that is usually done by my Uncle John at our Christmas Eve Reese family gathering. It is my favorite Christmas memory and tradition. To look around at my aunts, uncles cousins and our children, I am reminded of the true meaning of Christmas, and to slow down and enjoy these moments..that go by sooo fast.
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife,[a] who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Glory in the Highest
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold,[b] an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”[c]
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”[c]
15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely[d] known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.