Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Card 2009

Dear friends,

Merry Christmas 2009! This year has brought many new things to our family. Last December, despite last-minute closing glitches and a major ice storm that delayed our move, we had the privilege of purchasing our first home. It has been a wonderful blessing to be close to family, friends, and our church again! Our first winter here was a crash course in New England home ownership. We learned valuable lessons, like never to choose a paint color online, how to replace a toilet, and to fill the oil tank before an ice-cold shower alerts you that it is empty. In spite of the six-foot icicles and an ant infestation (yes, in winter!), we have really enjoyed having more space for our growing family, our own yard, and a living/dining area that is perfect for hosting social gatherings - something we love to do!

In addition to indoor parties, we have enjoyed several outdoor evenings with friends toasting marshmallows over a campfire in the firepit Don built. In late spring, we also decided to repair and open our inground pool. After six straight weeks of rain and a leak issue, we were finally able to enjoy a few pool parties and several afternoon swims during the warmer weather of August. Another major investment this spring was the purchase of a minivan to fit three car seats, which has been quite a luxury after sharing one small car for over a year. Our new purchase was made possible, in part, by an unexpected blessing: when he was not even seeking it, Don got a new job! His new position in the IT department at a large hospital has provided for our family’s needs and shortened his commute significantly. And though he took the summer off, Don has continued to coach gymnastics – his true passion – a few evenings a week through most of the year. His dream is still to own his own gymnastics facility, and we eagerly look forward to having the resources necessary to make that a reality.

On June 11, after a long and slow labor, our daughter Lydia Faith was born by cesarean section. She is such a joy and blessing to our family. She is a good natured baby who sleeps well, eats well, and bestows enormous grins on anyone who talks to her. Lydia’s brothers adore her, often showering her with hugs, songs, and baby talk. It is hard to believe she is halfway to her first birthday already! Manda is happy to be a mom of three, and even though she has less time to blog about the details, she enjoys her busy days at home…some of which are even busier thanks to our friends’ two little girls, whom Manda watches two mornings a week. In our spare bits of free time, Don and Manda are likely to be found working out, having people over, or serving as volunteer youth leaders for the youth ministry at church.

Our Hayden is now a bright and affectionate three year old, while Donny is turning five, and just as imaginative and intelligent as ever. This year Donny has been working on intricate creations with his “tiny” Legos, even mastering a building kit that is supposedly for ages 8-10! He also loves crafts, especially making cards for people. Hayden is often singing and loves working out with Daddy. He is currently perfecting his forward roll, which makes his gymnastics coach Daddy very proud! In September, we also started more formal homeschooling with the boys. We are using My Father’s World kindergarten for Donny, and Hayden keeps up with most of the lessons. So far we have had fun learning about the sun, moon, leaves, apples, nests, and turtles together.

In September, the five of us also enjoyed our annual apple picking excursion and a trip to Kittery Trading Post, where Don purchased his first shotgun. He hopes to complete a hunter safety course in time for hunting season next year. September also brought challenges to our family: Hayden was hospitalized for two days with wheezing and pneumonia. It appears that he has developed a viral-induced asthma that leaves him coughing and wheezing whenever he catches the slightest germ. He is currently on a daily nebulizer medication to prevent symptoms, and whenever he gets a cold, additional medications are necessary to help him breathe. It is difficult to see our little guy so uncomfortable, but we praise God for doctors and medicines to help him, and for Hayden’s joyful spirit. He has been quite a trooper, from charming the hospital nurses to enduring twice-daily nebulizer treatments without complaint.

Now that we have been in our home for nearly one year, we are excited to spend our first Christmas here, complete with our first real Christmas tree! As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior, we thank God for the gifts He has given us, but we thank Him for His Son most of all. It is because of the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we, broken and sinful people, can have hope for our family and our future. We pray that you too will find new life in Christ this Christmas season!

With love,
Don, Manda, Donny, Hayden, and Lydia

The LORD has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.

Psalm 126:3

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