To my bloggy friends and readers, I do not pretend to have the time to be consistent in blogging, but I do hope to at least get back to periodic updates on our family happenings and occasional musings on daily life as a lamb in His arms. For those who may have missed it, here is our our annual family newletter sent to family and friends at the conclusion of 2010. Hopefully, I will be able to update again soon! ~ Manda
Dear friends and family,
Merry Christmas 2010! We hope that this holiday season finds you in good health and good cheer. Despite being the only year of our marriage when we neither moved nor had a new baby, 2010 has been a busy year for our family. God has blessed Don with a few new career opportunities, including the day job he started this summer. He is still programming for hospital software, but his new job is 100 percent telecommuting, so he gets to do it all from home! Don is thankful not to have to battle Boston traffic anymore, and the children love having Daddy around all the time.
In addition, Don completed his certification early this year to become a NASM Personal Trainer, and in April he opened his own personal training business. His most recent endeavor has been teaching a 12 week fitness course that he designed to teach adults how and why to work out. After this success of the first Fitness Challenge, he is planning to teach the same course at other local places of business.
When he isn't working, Don's biggest hobby this year has been guns. We purchased our first handgun at the Kittery Trading Post, and a membership to the local Fish and Game Club has allowed us to have many shooting dates. Don also went hunting for the first time, and while he didn't see any deer, he did get a coyote! Besides shooting and working out, we have enjoyed many church and family activities, trips to the zoo and aquarium, visits to the beach, the fair, minigolf, and summer days at the lake. In late summer, Don and Manda even swam all the way across Rock Pond! We also transitioned from helping with the teen youth group to leading a Bible study in our home for the college-age young adults at our church.
Hayden is now four years old while Donny just turned six. Donny lost his first two teeth this fall after his adult teeth had already come in – he had a few extras for a while! The boys' days are busy with helping Mumma (they now unload the dishwasher together without any help!), imaginative play (Legos and their stuffed animals are favorites), inventing their own craft projects, and homeschooling. Just this month, we finished Kindergarten, and we plan to start My Father's World First Grade in January. They are both very curious and intelligent, and it has been amazing to hear them recite Bible verses, watch them sound out words, and answer their questions about science and geography. If you visit our home, be prepared to hear all about their latest Lego creations: most of Hayden's creations are guns, jets, or rocket ships, while Donny builds intricate buildings, vehicles, and other machinery that usually require ample explanation. Donny is considering a future career as a scientist or model builder; Hayden says he wants to be a dad.
Lydia has blossomed into a spirited, entertaining one and a half year old. Like many toddlers, she could live on apples and Cheerios, her favorite word of the moment is "no," and she can charm her way out of trouble with her smile. She loves books, balls, babies (her term for dolls, stuffed animals, and pretty much any inanimate object with a face!), being silly, and playing with her brothers, Donny and "Hay-da." She is an eager helper, ready to grab a rag to wipe the table or put laundry away – though her idea of "away" is to throw everything into the bathroom closet!
People sometimes ask us, "How do you do it?" and the answer is simply, by God's grace. He gives us wisdom to raise our children, and as we seek to know Him better, He blesses us with joy and peace. We pray that you will have the same hope in the Savior during this Christmas season!
Don, Manda, Donny, Hayden, and Lydia
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. ~ Titus 2:11-14