Merry Christmas, and greetings in the Lord Jesus Christ!
As I sit here typing this letter, our yard has been snowily transformed from Autumn into Winter, with one fell swoop. It’s still amazing to me to see that, having grown up as a California girl with no snow! I must say I am very thankful for a warm fireplace! I’m going to attempt to write this Christmas letter with the help of my three biggest girls, so it shall be interesting to see how it will read!
Another year has passed so quickly, filled with many new adventures, birthdays, books to read, and all sorts of other happenings. We took our first official family vacation to California – we loved the ocean, and were blessed to see family and sweet friends, too!
Matt is in his fourth year with his Police Department and is quite settled in the department. He was recently assigned as the new motor officer, so he’s looking forward to learning to ride a motorcycle, and all the differences the position will bring. He’s just finished building us a lovely picket fence, and a nice tall fence in the backyard so the littlest ones can play outside as much as they’d like (though with all the snow it only takes a minute or two for them to exclaim that they’re freezing – or "beezing", as Juliette says!) If he manages to find a few minutes to read, he still loves his PG Wodehouse books, and studying church history and such. And he’s taken to reading aloud to the girls from longer books – the Hobbit and Heidi were their most recent reads. The girls love when he reads a book in his "British" accent! Isabelle says "Daddy seems to really like his new job of being a motorcycle cop."
I am thrilled with my "birthday present" from Matt – a gift for our whole family, really! This year Matt decided we could get a horse. God blessed us with a very sweet Arabian filly named Farah (which means joy in Arabic). She has a lovely, kind disposition. The girls love to brush her, and we all go out on walks together, since she’s too young to ride yet. We’re all learning quite a bit more about horses as we go along, and we are hopeful that we will be able to enjoy Farah for many, many years to come! We’ve been blessed with friends who are able to help us out, having had horses much longer than us. I love having a place to go for some time away from my normal routine, and Matt’s so kind as to let me go out and play with my horse – I always come home refreshed and ready for all my little girls! Bella says "my mommy seems to be extremely pleased with her horse that my kind, kind daddy bought for her!"
We girls all have school time when Matt’s at work, and we’ve been enjoying it very much this year. Isabelle is a full-fledged first grader, and Hannah’s a K/1 girl. Juliette and Naomi are my preschool bunnies. Alyssa sits in with us for circle time, and then thankfully naps quite nicely through the rest of school time. We read and pray and sing, practice letters and numbers, write and trace, and practice our church liturgy so the girls can enjoy it on Sundays. Isabelle wants me to say "we have cancelled school time for a bit because we have had such a busy week; and today is very exciting because after dinner, guess what?! Are you going to guess when you get this letter? We get to roast marshmallows, which Hannah calls marshwiggles, and I call marshabiggles!"
Isabelle, who just turned six, is so much like I was when I was a little girl – she’s a bookworm! Once she started reading, she sort of jumped into longer books, and I think she reads almost as fast as I do now! I certainly can’t keep up with her, so we’re thankful for books like Narnia that we know are great for her to read! She says some of her favorite reads are Rosa of Linden Castle and the Narnia books (she said to tell you that "Rosa is a book about a knight and a girl who seems like a princess, but really isn’t – that is Rosa. And her mother dies, sadly enough, in the story, and her father is captured by his cruel enemy, Kunerick. And Rosa works as a servant to the gatekeeper and she gets to see her father. And she finds a way to get him out of prison – that is her pleading when she asked Kunerick to let her father out. In the end Kunerick repents, and Kunerick was as surprised as anything to hear that! It’s a very happy ending in the end!") Isabelle also wants me to mention that she loves our horse, and babies, too. Happily enough for me, she’s even learned how to dress and diaper Alyssa when needed!
Hannah, who is four and a half, is our sweet little Penny, and a very hard worker in school – she tries her best to make letters and to read words. It’s very endearing to see the cute looks of concentration upon her face. She still loves her food – she wanted me to write in this letter that today for Sabbath they had little mini-cakes in small pans. She loves her little toy horse, named King, her little toy puppy named Legolas, and her dolly named Jane. She has had her hair cut this year, and looks adorable with what we have dubbed the "Penny-Bob". She wants to tell you that she loves horses like her mommy, she loves to roast marshmallows, and she loves to put ornaments on the Christmas tree! I will add that she also loves to color and have James Herriot’s children’s books (and other great stories) read aloud to her! She just came in from playing in the snow, and very profoundly mentioned that she’s cold!
Naomi, who’s almost four, is growing tall and lovely, and we think she’s even a bit taller than Hannah! She’s enjoying her speech therapy classes – she gets very excited on Wednesdays to go practice words and make projects there! She and
Juliette are little buddies, and they play together very sweetly (well … most of the time!) She is sitting next to me right now, and says to tell you that she likes her brown shoes and her boots. She was quite afraid of animals at the beginning of the year, and thus has been quite the little trooper around all our friends’ dogs and horses. Now she loves Farah, and can’t wait for her turn to brush her. I think the highlight of her year was playing in a giant sandbox when we went to the ocean! She also wants you to know that she likes having purple beads in her hair very, very much!
Juliette is almost three, and still so petite! She’s our little Juli-bunny. She LOVES to read books. Just about every day after breakfast, she gets a giant stack of books from the shelf, and curls up with them in a flower chair (for some reason she calls this swimming, or rather "wimming"). She loves to practice "speech therapy" with Naomi during our school time. Isabelle, who is now sitting with me, says "Juliette is a very cute little girl and she is extremely obsessed with her blanket and horsey that she takes to bed every nap and every night."
Alyssa is sixteen months old, and I’m quite sure she’s the busiest baby I’ve ever had! In no time flat that girl is into some sort of mischief! Mommy is never bored when she’s awake! She’s excessively cute and has a darling little voice. And she gives her mommy the best baby snuggles in the whole world! Isabelle says "whoever sees her just can’t help loving her, as I can’t help loving her myself!" (Can you tell Isabelle’s a bit of an "Anne of Green Gables" sort of girl?) I think Alyssa’s biggest accomplishment this year was learning to sit nicely on my lap for church (well … most of the time!) All in all, she’s a very sweet baby and we all adore her!
I think our Christmas letters are destined to be longer than one page with all these little girlies to write about! All four big girls are in here now, and say "We love you, and hope you have a very, very Merry Christmas!" I’m sure Alyssa is thinking that, too, whilst she naps! May God bless you richly during this season as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ our Saviour!
Matthew, Melissa, Isabelle, Hannah, Naomi, Juliette & little Alyssa