Wednesday, December 17, 2008

2008 Christmas Letter

Well here we are at the end of another wonderful year. It is so hard to look back and capture all the amazing things that have gone on. Of course the highlight of the year was welcoming our Sweet little Samuel Royal.

He arrived on August 16th, one month early. After 8 weeks of several doctor appointments, he finally figured out how to suck and he is now growing like a weed. He has such a wonderful temperament. He sleeps or just looks around all day long. So far he loves to suck on his fist. Occasionally he captures a thumb. We are hoping that he doesn't find it permanently! We are very blessed to have such a wonderful little healthy baby.

Gideon Maverick turned 2 on September 1st. He is such a sweet guy. He has to be the friendly-est kid I know. He is really cute when we go to church and he walks to our seat waving to everyone and loudly saying ,"Hi Guys". He is so fun. He is however at a very curious stage of his life. Many times he has gotten into things he shouldn't have. He loved playing outside this summer. One time he came in the house very excitedly and showed me a snail that he had found in the garden. I pretended to be really excited too. Soon there was several in the house on the kitchen table. This was a good time to talk about how bugs and gross things belong outside.

Ephraim Nolan is now four. He had a fun swim party on the 16th of July. He has really changed a lot this year. I think that he has grown the most too! He is now the same height Faith was when she was 6 1/2. I guess he is going to be a tall one. I've noticed that the little round tummy is now stretched thin! Ephraim is such a great brother to Gideon and Samuel. He really loves them. I love having him home with me and the other boys during the day. He is such a great helper. This year he has learned how to use the computer,(which now makes it harder for me to use it!) started preschool, and was superman for 6 months straight. Needless to say when it came to Halloween he wanted to be a vampire.

Hope Madelin has been 6 since February 3rd. She is so grown up! She started first grade in the fall. She has a wonderful teacher and is doing so well. I am so amazed at how fast she learned to read. Her teacher is so encouraging and Hope is just taking off! She is so inventive. If she needs something she can make it out of paper. She made herself a laptop computer like Faith's so she could e-mail her homework too. She has lost 6 teeth in the last three months. It was a scary ordeal for her on the last one. She really hates blood and it makes her a little worried about it being pulled out. But, when it came she was thrilled!

Malachi Daniel turned 9 in April. All he wanted to do for his party was to have his very best friends come over and play video games all night. Easy enough! He gave us a scare in May. He was hospitalized when a large amount of blood was detected in his urine. He had a blessing and some antibiotics. After two days in the hospital, some testing, and some follow appointments he is now fine. We are still not sure why his kidneys produced masses of blood cells in them, but we are glad that they are gone. Truly an answer to our prayers. He started 4th grade and has for the first time the same teacher Faith had. Mr. Carlo has been wonderful for Malachi. He really seems to connect with Mal. Malachi is pretty smart. He is on the Honor Roll and is trying to beat everyone in his class for the most reading points. Malachi has discovered a series of books that he really likes. They are called Hank, the cow dog. There are 53 books in the series. I think he has read at least 20. He is so into these books that he got his whole class to raise money to buy the complete set. Almost everyone in our family is a character in the book. He goes around calling Samuel "J.T.", the rooster and Gideon "Eddie", a curious Raccoon. He got glasses for seeing the front board of the class room. He says they make him look smarter. He also ran for the cross country team this year. We were real excited when he made it to the City Finals. Malachi is also really enjoying Scouts.

Faith Nicole, boy what can I say. Definitely a teenager. She will be 13 on the 9th of March. But in my book she is already 13. I had no idea how fun a teenager could be. She almost feels like a little friend to me. She got me hooked on the Twilight books. I was really bummed when the movie was rated PG-13. It was hard for her to not get to go see the movie. We hope it comes out on DVD in time for her birthday. We have fun arguing about being on Team Edward or Team Jacob. I still think Jacob is better. She really has grown a lot. She has had so many fun experiences this last year. She promoted from 6th grade being on the Honor Roll, and rode in a Limo in June. She made the Junior Varsity Cheer team, and was accepted to the laptop program at her Junior High. Her harp skills have really grown. She played for an entire hour for a wedding reception, a garden reception for several book authors, and performed with the Tenaya Junior High orchestra. We are looking forward to buying her the concert pedal harp in the coming year. This will open her up to new material. Her goal is to get straight A's this year. She is working real hard. We are real proud of her.

Tiffani, well I am doing fine. The highlight of my year was giving birth to my 6th and last child. And well, getting a new van. I was so excited to get a new Honda Odyssey. It is my favorite color and has all the bells and whistles that I always wanted. And no, there isn't DVD player. We watch enough TV! My favorite part is the automatic doors. I can open them from several feet away and say "okay get in" and by the time I reach the car they are buckled and ready to go. So COOL! One of the sadder points of my year was being released from being 1st councilor in the Primary. I knew it was coming but still had a hard time letting go. I really loved being in there the last 3 years. I never knew how much I love kids until I had that calling. After my release I was immediately called to be on the Enrichment board. I have enjoyed the three events that we have put together. It has been really fun. Shortly after Samuel was born I was also called to teach the Marriage and Family class during Sunday school. I really love to teach that class. The materials and the topics are just wonderful. I am amazed at how much my marriage and relationships with my children have gotten better.

My children keep me busy. I now know why when people have three boys in a row they stop having kids. Boy, is it going to be crazy. I already can't keep up with the cleaning and the eating. I have realized that I have to be ultra organized or I am going to go crazy. I think having things planned ahead helps me accomplish so many things. I am also Malachi and Hope's room mom's this year. Our Holiday parties are going to be fun! I really enjoy being a mother.

Richard, is teaching Chemistry and Physics again this year at Hoover High School. During the summer he had an opportunity to teach some students involved in an upward-bound program through UC Merced. It was a wonderful experience for him. They asked him to teach several Saturdays this fall as well. He is really doing a wonderful job teaching.

In March our Stake had a few ward boundaries re-drawn. This brought on many changes in our ward. It has been wonderful to welcome so many new people into our ward. In November his first councilor moved and a new councilor was called. Once again new challenges but he is doing great. Richard has been doing wonderful things as a bishop in our ward. I am always amazed at how much he can accomplish each day. I have no idea how he deals with so many things. I am truly thankful for the leadership in our ward that help him make everything work.

Well that's about it. We are grateful for the blessings of this year. We are grateful to have an income, a warm home, and food to put on the table. We are grateful for our many friends and family that do so much for us. We have had so much help through out this year especially when Malachi was sick and when Samuel was born. What a blessing it is to have the gospel that provides us friends and the knowledge that we need to help us through our trials. May the Lord bless each of you and your families during this coming year. And may we as our Prophet Thomas S. Monson has said "Find joy in our Journey".


melissa and nathan said...

I ate up every word in your letter. Thank you for putting one together. You are amazing and I am inspired by you!
I wish I could come and just hang out with you!

Kristen said...

Please tell me that the picture of Gideon is not him EATING the snails he found! ;)

Older and Wisor said...

What a great idea....I never got serious about making our cards, and well - you can guess the rest. The kids are getting so big. And poor Faith, having to wait ;) Sierra's seen the movie but hasn't read the books (I think they are way more steamy than the movie). Hey, and what's this your supposed to stop having kids after 3 boys in a row? I've got 4...I must've missed the memo....