For my birthday this year, I asked Matt if he’d be willing to let me have a photo session with my horse. Being the dear he is, he obliged, and a friend of ours who happens to be a wonderful photographer came out to take the photos. It was great fun! Here are some of my favorites:
Happy Christmas Everyone!
This year has been a bit of a wild ride for our family, but I’m starting to think every year is crazy in it’s own way. Melissa started out the year quite pregnant and having the roughest one yet. With lots of help from Matt, we made it through to the summer, and welcomed the sweetest baby boy we could have asked for – William has successfully captured the heart of everyone who’s met him! Round and chubby, smiley and cuddly, the biggest problem he presents is that not everyone can hold him at the same time! At five months he’s getting bigger, eating messily, and still making us all talk in ooey-gooey voices to make him smile! We never knew what fun having a little boy would be!
Speaking of little boys, we now have two! While pregnant with Will, we also started the process of adopting a foster child. Thinking it would take a few years, we decided to get the paperwork going. God surprised us by bringing Zander home just a few months after William. Zander is six, just about Hannah’s age, and is a grand little fellow! He’s introduced us all to the fine world of legos and dinosaurs, racecars and bakugan toys! He and his sisters get along smashingly, make all kinds of fun noise and keep us busier than we had ever planned! We’re so glad he’s here- it feels a bit like he always was! He’s happy and affectionate, smart and silly – good stuff for a little guy to be!
Belle is losing lots of teeth, reading more books than mommy, excited to be getting her first pair of glasses, and playing lovely piano pieces for us all to enjoy. She has a few lessons and classes out of the home this year, and has loved the independence they have brought (she looks rather cute in her backpack, too, since it’s almost as big as she is!) Oh, and she’s a brilliant babysitter – however did I manage to have babies without an eight year old before?
Hannah is still sweet and silly, and is a pretty clever little second grader these days. She’s taking a piano class, too, and is loving it! She dreams of owning her own small pet (shhh…don’t tell her a parakeet’s coming at Christmas!)Her favorite pastime is holding William (and she would do that all day if I didn’t force her to get some schoolwork and such done!) -they have fun times together. She recently lost her first tooth, and apparently bribed the tooth fairy pretty successfully (with a piece of popcorn and a little jewel), as she ended up with a golden dollar coin!
Naomi is getting taller and taller – I tried to tell her to stop growing, but it doesn’t seem to have worked! She’s learning to read and write, helping mommy whenever she can in the kitchen, and enjoying having a big brother to jump around and play with. Actually, she’s pretty talented at jumping around – I took her to a gymnastics day and I’m pretty sure she’s a natural! She’s lately been excited to learn how to curl her locks, and she’s been losing teeth too! Too much candy around here, apparently!
Juliette has such an imagination that sometimes I get lost in the translation of all her thoughts and dreams! She’s learning to read, too (and write and use numbers, and all manner of kindergartenish things!) She loves to watch over baby William, and has the most interesting conversations with him in the process! She’s also the best at ‘becoming’ various animals – you never know when a cute little yipping Juliette puppy will start pawing at your leg around here!
Alyssa continues to prove herself mommy’s personal penguin. She rather likes to stay in the same room as me – even going so far as writing her school papers on my back if there’s no other table around. She likes pretending to be an elephant. It must have given her good ears during the kindergarteners’ school time, as she’s already managed to learn all of her letters and their sounds. I sometimes think her greatest talent is getting into mischief, but at least we never lack amusement with her around. She’s pretty sure she actually runs the house and takes care of the rest of us. She’s a little blond beauty with a smile that melts our hearts! And she’s dinky, so she gets to ride around on my back more often than three year olds might usually do if they were bigger.
Matt’s still the most handsome motor cop I know, and he loves to read aloud to his crew of little people here at home. He also happened to build us the cutest little bedroom out of a tiny, ugly extra room downstairs. It’s great – our own special retreat in our busy home! We had fun picking out colors and paints and such, and were so happy to complete the whole project (including a gorgeous wood floor finished by Matt!)
Dobby continues his happy existence of wandering from one heater vent or pillow to the next, occasionally being stepped on, as he’s often underfoot. I’m sure this is made up for by the fact that seven children manage to drop lots of food for him to enjoy!
Farah is having the year off to finish growing and getting strong knees, and perhaps next year we’ll actually have some more time to go and play with her! She’s currently hoofing it around with her horsey pal, April, in a friend’s pasture (with a few icicles hanging off her mane!)
I sure like my seven little munchkins (it is the number of perfection, right?!) I’m certainly busier than before and trying to convince myself to get up earlier in the morning to make up for the extra people around here. It doesn’t seem to be working… I think my favorite part of this season has been going sledding with all my people!
Hope you all have a blessed holiday and rejoice in celebrating the birth of Christ in your little corners of the world, as we shall in ours’! All our love to you this Christmas season, and prayers for a blessed new year!
Lots of good cheer from all of us!
Matthew, Melissa, Isabelle, Hannah, Alexander, Naomi, Juliette, Alyssa and William
Well, I still lack time for blog writing, but I happen to think I have an excellent reason. You see, I am now the very blessed mother of seven little ones. God has given us not one, but two wonderful sons! We were overjoyed to welcome home our new son, Zander, last month. Somehow God led us to this little boy who truly was made for our family, and we for him. We’ve had a grand month getting all settled together, and can’t express how much we love this little guy! Here are some pictures of our family:
Advent Greetings and Merry Christmas, too!
I had fully intended not to write a Christmas letter this year – a plan to make me feel better about the fact that I was sure I wouldn’t have time! But it seems I’m addicted to writing a yearly letter, and as I presume you enjoy all the fun tidbits and news about the family (however cheesily they may be presented), here goes another:
Matt’s finishing up his first year as the Motorcycle Traffic Enforcement Officer with his department, and he really loves his new niche. So much, in fact, that he bought his own motorcycle for the commute, and I don’t think I’ve seen him so giddy in quite awhile. Don’t worry, he’s a very safe and careful rider! I’d have to say one of his other little happinesses this year (if I’m not mixing up my years) was the finding of our dog, Dobby the House Dog. Matt really missed the basset hound we once owned, and though I did not especially miss her, I hunted around for yet another one for my hubby. The perfect dog for us happened to be a stray basset who wandered into a local pound. The “hound from the pound” came home, and settled very happily into our house. Matt adores him, the girls all love him, and I must admit he’s a perfect dog for us…he must think so, too, as he never runs away, and he has mapped out every warm area in the house where he can lay down and fulfill his calling as “the great lump.”
Matt had expressed a desire for our family to become more musical, and grow in our knowledge and understanding of music as a way to bring joy and beauty, and of course to glorify our Father. To that end, Isabelle and I joined the church choir, and we absolutely love it! I’m thankful they took us, as I often wondered if I was tone deaf, but we are learning some incredibly beautiful music, growing in our ability to sing (and not have to take so many breaths!), and blessed to be sitting under a brilliant choir director who teaches us more than she realizes, and makes us laugh, too – many blessings. We were also thrilled when our churches formed a singing/music school for all the little ones in our community. Four of our five girls are happily skipping off to music school each week, and learning delightful songs to fill our days – everything from Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, to bits of classical masterpieces – we are so thankful for this lovely and fun new addition to our week!
Isabelle at 7 still delights in reading through massive amounts of books – I think she stays up later reading than I do. She says King Arthur and his knights is her favorite book, but she was rather hard pressed to actually name just one! She also started piano lessons this year, which is a perfect addition to singing school and choir. She’s having to “learn to read” all over again with musical notation, but she’s already surpassing her mom and dad’s ability in this area! She also learned to ride a two-wheel bike this summer, and has now lost her first tooth!
Hannah, who is five and half, is a creative little gem who comes up with the most entertaining illustrated stories. She somehow thinks of wildly different plots each time she writes one, draws with devotion, and we love reading her little phonetically spelled adventures! She’s getting quicker at reading, and loves to do math…not that I had really intended to teach her first grade math at five, but she always asks to do that first. Mommy’s footsteps, indeed, we had to have another little math-lover! Oh, and she learned to ride a two-wheeler as well…good times!
Naomi is four and a half, and I think she’s grown even taller than Hannah! She’s growing up in so many ways, which I think suits her as she’s always preferred doing “real” things to playing. She loves when I make potatoes, because she can sit and cut up all the peels! She loves to sing (in her beautiful “singing voice”) all the fun songs from singing school, and she still loves to dance. In fact, she always has about ten times more energy than I do … I need to figure out how to get some of that, too! She loves “preschool time” with mom and Juli, and is learning the letters in her name. Her grandma taught her to play a couple of board games this year, and she would happily do that all the time if she could!
Juliette, who will turn four in a few weeks time, always entertains us with her unique view of the world. She sees everything just a bit differently than the rest of us, and it usually either confounds us completely or makes us chuckle. She was absolutely thrilled to become part of singing school, as she was a bit too young when they first began. She’s joined in for two weeks now, and done beautifully – it’s nice having her and Naomi together as they are often quite inseparable. She adores princesses – tiny or big, and has a strange habit of storing everything she loves in the world behind the header of her bed – it’s amazing how much she can stuff back there (and usually includes at least a few princesses)! I would also say Juliette loves Dobby more than anyone else except perhaps daddy. It’s not unusual to find her in the corner, with her arms around his neck – if she can get him to stay there!
Alyssa is our little blondie, and looks just like her Hungarian daddy. She has far more personality than I’m sure ought to be allowed in a two-year old! I’m also pretty sure she thinks that she runs the world, and she learned to speak well early on, just so she could tell us so! She definitely keeps us on our toes and finds all sorts of unique mischief to get herself into. Nonetheless, she’s an adorable little helper – practically sprinting to put things in the hamper or garbage for me. She gives the sweetest kisses, and the best “squeezy hugs” in the world! She is a delight to us all, and has particularly attached herself to mommy like a little magnet…it’s earned her the nickname of my “personal penguin”– if you don’t know what that is, you’ll have to google it! When she’s not stuck to mom, you might find her trying to convince Dobby to let her ride on him!
Oh, a bit about me is in order, I suppose. Well, if I didn’t mention it before, I’m a bit pregnant – a wee baby is in the tummy! I’m just about to finish up my first trimester, so the new little one should arrive in summer. This pregnancy has taken quite a toll on me, so I’m more thankful than ever before for a husband who loves and serves me so sweetly! I still try to get out and work with our horse, Farah, but that has been put on hold a bit till I get past these (hopefully few!) sick weeks…that, and I’m a wimp when the weather is in the teens! When it’s not so freezing, and I’m not too sick, though, we all enjoy Farah- she’s a delightfully easy horse to train, and is happy for any of us to ride her! Wonder if she’ll still be happy when I’ve gained twenty more pounds…
All in all, we’re chugging along pretty happily over here, even if we’re doing a lot less than usual till I’m past this trimester. God has, as always, been incredibly kind to us, and we are so thankful for His blessings and the peace He bestows upon His children. We pray this joy and peace will be yours in abundance this Christmas season. Know that we are thankful for you, our loving friends and family, even though we are far from many of you. Blessings and God’s grace to you all!
Matthew, Melissa, Isabelle, Hannah, Naomi, Juliette, Alyssa, and little Baby….
Hi everybody – I know I’ve been absent for ages again, but in theory I’d really like to get going with little updates here and there, if nothing else. Latest update: I’m pregnant! I happen to be feeling wretched with this particular pregnancy, so that doesn’t really tend toward helping me blog consistently. Nonetheless, I’m trying to figure out a better picture system again, and think I may have one. Please let me know if you can see either or both of these pictures! Thanks, and happy Advent to you all!
Happy Autumn everyone! It’s my favorite weather season at last, and soon will be my favorite season of the church calender, too – Advent…happy times! We’re a couple of weeks into our school year, and I’m rather pleased with how things are going at this point. The first week was a bit choppy, as we all managed to come down with swine flu. Now that we’re well and have gotten past the preliminary "lessons", its lovely to find out what works well, and to tweak what doesn’t work for us.
I do believe today might have been summer weather’s last hurrah at 92 degrees, and hopefully it will get cooler from here. In the midst of starting school, we also enjoyed visiting the apple orchard – fresh pears and apples, fun with dear friends, and lots of freshly pressed cider! It will be nice to have the cooler weather come just as we’re feeling more settled into our school routine – I must admit the first couple weeks were rocky in ways other than illness with plenty of attitude troubles!
I’m always amazed at how school seems to be largely for teaching character at this point – cheerfulness when corrected, working happily under authority, doing one’s best, being diligent and honest, being patient for one’s turn, doing our duty with a glad heart, and so much more is addressed more thoroughly than any math or reading lesson! But the math and reading lessons are there, and it’s fun to see how much each of my girls has grown. Isabelle writes just beautifully, and is very excited to be starting cursive (among other things) this year! Hannah has decided to write her lowercase "a’s" the way they are typed, so I often find her with her cute little tongue sticking out the side of her lips as she tries to get that little curlicue on top of the "a". She’s such a hard little worker, and seems to have quite the brain for numbers. Naomi’s speech has improved amazingly since last year, and since we use a lot of phonics for her speech practice, she’s learned all of her letters, too! We’ve also discovered she can draw a very convincing little pig. Juliette delights in drawing princesses and cakes, and making many, many "letters" for us to read. Alyssa has become quite the sweetheart at playing quietly during the big girls’ reading lessons (which is saying a lot for her!), and her favorite part of "school" is drinking a bottle and watching PraiseBaby in the middle. I think the little girls all like silly putty the best (they get to play with it while I read aloud), and the big girls all like the new Notgrass "Draw The Bible" lessons best (though I’d have to ask them, perhaps they’d pick a different favorite).
Today was one of those rare (and lovely) days in which we actually finished all of our planned schoolwork early, as well as our afternoon "fun" school. The girls got to veg and watch Tinkerbell while I was able to re-lock all of Naomi’s little braids! And Isabelle and I still made it to choir in time. It was a good day! Here’s hoping we all have more of the pleasant days and fewer of the challenging ones – though I suppose those are the ones God uses to sanctify us all the more. Happy new school year to you all!