Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Christmas Card Round-Up

Well, here it is folks: the only picture of the entire family looking at the camera that was captured this year.

We are at a roadside cranberry bog in Cape Cod.  When I say roadside, I mean we looked for one near us on the map, pulled up next to it, and asked the men harvesting if we could walk around and look if we promised not to touch anything (oh, outings with children).  I would love to say that I'll get around to writing about our fall trip to the Cape, but my track record this year says don't hold your breath.  I'll just say it was a borderline magical time.  (Again, thanks Janie and Big!)

Anyhow, I had Mary snap a few shots real quick because the previous day's attempt to snap a family photo in a picturesque spot yielded only this:

And here's grace- I didn't even plan our color coordinated outfits in the bog picture.  (Not that I coordinated our outfits in this picture either.  Please don't think I approve of G's T-shirt/fleece vest/track pants combo.)

Anyhow, here's what we've been up to this year:

Joe and Me:

Oh, you know, surviving.  Just kidding.  Sort of.  We did a whole lot of thriving too.  Joe did some great furniture projects: an incredible farm table with bench, plus a table and chairs for the playroom. He also took up the guitar.  Joe has been meaning to do this since college (because it seems the ladies love a Christian guy that can play a few worship songs on the guitar).  I don't think that is his current reason for playing and it's been really fun for all of us.  I have dabbled alongside on the ukelele, but am not near as disciplined as Joe.  I can still only eke out a few chords. My other main activity this year has been working out on a regular basis.  In the Spring I started attending group fitness classes at my gym and it has CHANGED MY LIFE.  Or at least my workout life. I look forward to going to the gym, I actually GO consistently, I workout way harder than I ever would on my own, and I am in the best shape I've been in since high school.  Not saying I LOOK like I did in high school. Mercy. Anyhow, to the moms out there thinking about joining a gym in the new year- find one that has good child care and GO TO A CLASS.  I take boot camp type classes and cardio kickboxing, but any class will do.  And it's a great outing for the kiddos.

G (6):

Well, as you can tell from this picture, orthodontia is in our near future.  Bless his heart, between Joe and I his teeth never had a chance.  Neither did his lungs.  But I digress. He's in first grade and really enjoys school.  You will rarely meet a more social kid in your life.  If he has to go a day without playing with his friends it is ROUGH.  It often involves weeping and gnashing of teeth.   You know, sackcloth, ashes, the whole bit.  His favorite thing right now, by far, is Pokemon.  Good grief.  The neighborhood kids introduced him and since then every single allowance dollar has been spent on Pokemon cards.  We can't understand it, but I guess there are worse things.  He also loves scootering, baseball, spaghetti, and his sister.  

Joshua (4):
Looking at cranberries.
At the beginning of this year our therapist predicted that big things would happen for Joshua between the ages of 4 and 5.  Namely, we hoped he would potty train and make huge strides in his expressive language.  In the middle of last year's winter both of those things seemed impossible.  At the end of the summer it still seemed highly unlikely.  But something changed this fall.  He decided he didn't want to use a diaper any more and between school and home working together he has potty trained.  What a joy to not change a 4.5 year old's diapers any more!!!

Even greater, he has decided to start talking in the last month.  What??!!!  Who is this boy? It is such a huge change, I can barely describe to it.  He is able to tell us with one or two words what he wants, be prompted to say almost anything, and is WAY more interactive.  Plus, he is able to show us what he knows and we (home, school, therapy) have all been shocked to learn how much! He knows all his letters and their sounds, his numbers, shapes, and his colors. He can identify at least a few sight words in books plus his name and again, colors.  Because of his communication we have had FAR less tantrums.  This change in him has been such a gift: we are thrilled for him and yet feel undeserving on our end of things.

Baby A (2):

Oh, this girl.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again: she is such a gift.  I'm sure there has never been a more precious child.  She recently turned two and is just at the most fun stage.  Lots of new words and lots of opinions.  Baby A continues to be laid back, happy, fairly obedient and is a BIG TIME Mama's girl.  Her brothers ("Bubba" and "Jahwah") are the light of her life, even though "Jahwah" (Joshua) still doesn't give her the time of day.  The highlight of her day is going to get the boys off the bus. Other favorites are Mickey ("Key"), Thomas the Train ("Nomas"), baby doll with stroller, talking in general, and anything someone else is currently playing with.  We love having a little girl in the family and I can tell that G is (im)patiently waiting for her to be a bit older so they can really play. 

A big KUDOS for those of you that have made it this far.  Merry, merry Christmas! Thanks for being a part of our lives this and every year.  

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