Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

(Once again, we are not sending Christmas cards out in the traditional way - see the end of this post for more on that...We hope you enjoy this online version! If you regularly read my blog, some of these stories will sound familiar...)

Definition of ABIDE
transitive verb
1: to wait for : await
2a : to endure without yielding : withstand
b : to bear patiently : tolerate abide
such hatred
3: to accept without objection abide
your decision
intransitive verb
1: to remain stable or fixed in a state
2: to continue in a place : sojourn
— abid·er noun
— abide by
1: to conform to, abide by the rules
2: to acquiesce in abide by
your decision

Examples of ABIDE
abide in the house of the Lord
a love that abided till the end of their lives

Synonyms: stay, dwell, hang around, remain, stick around, tarry

 ****(I promise, this is our Christmas letter for 2012, 
not just a vocab lesson!  Keep reading…)****

       As I read through the letters of Christmas past (you can find the last 4 years on the blog – 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011), I was struck by the fullness of each year.  Like I always do, I scrolled through the photos from this past year to help compile a list of all that we have done.  To my surprise, the list was pretty short in comparison to years past!  I looked over our calendar, tried to think of any major life changing events that I might not have photographed, re-read past Christmas letters…but in the end I was a little sad to realize not much has happened in 2012.  Then I remembered that in some cases, that was a good thing!  No major heartbreaks, no major losses, no health issues…praise God!  As you may know, I enjoy writing special creative Christmas letters and at that point I realized I had little inspiration as to how or what to write!  No news is good news, but apparently not if you pride yourself on your mad Christmas letter writing skills.  I scoured pinterest, googled stuff and kept Dave awake with my questions, self-doubt and tossing and turning.  (Well, not really, that man can insert appropriate-enough responses into my monologues so well that I believe he’s listening!  How one can snore for 2 minutes, answer me in 30 seconds and go right back to snoring, I will never know…!)  Finally, I decided to chuck all of the amateur looking infographics and cheesy photo collages and just pray about the whole thing.  (Seriously, why didn’t I just do that in the first place?!)  Over the next few days I began to realize that this past year we have been holding steady in a lot of ways.  Have you heard the saying, “Keep on, keepin' on?”  Well that’s us.  As always, I wanted a better word to describe that state we’ve been in and I went to my thesaurus.  (The online one – I do still have and use the ‘real’ one but when there is a baby running around it’s easier to use the laptop than holing up in a stack of books.)  The word ABIDE jumped off the screen and I didn’t need to look any further.  We’ve been abiding…each month of the past year has found us enjoying the little things in our daily lives…

January – We celebrated the 1 year anniversary of Colleen’s adoption and her dedication to the Lord on the same day.  Later in the month, Dave and I completed a massive 2000 piece puzzle! 
February – We introduced 3 new chicks to Pippa and Lois and finally got some snow for sledding!  Two of my cousins were so kind to come and make cut out cookies with the kids – they loved making different colored frosting and of course, eating them =)
March – I was in a church drama, the chicks grew into pullets and I got a little better at doing Curly Sue’s (and consequently Colleen’s) hair.  I played Tamar in the drama and was able say I achieved one of my goals for the year!  I also started kicking my butt in gear and going running, which means I can check off another one of my goals.
After a big storm, on the Gulf of Mexico in TX
Spring Break – We were in Texas again, for the second year in a row!  This time we checked out the beach in Galveston and visited the Space Center in Houston.  It’s looking like prices are really cheap again this year, but we might change it up and go somewhere else, assuming we can find decent prices. 
April – Moses began to ride a 2 wheeler (he flies now!), the tree fort was completed and the garden boxes were set up in the front yard.  (Grow food, not lawns!)  During the spring months I took entirely too many photos of everything budding and blooming, but what can I say?  When we moved into this house and the years following that, I planted so many of my favorite things!!  Sadly, though, I think I need to replant some tulips.  The 80 or so bulbs I started with have slowly been disappearing to the squirrels, yard improvement projects and probably just age.   Who wants to come help me plant this spring?
May – We were enjoying the spring sun and the end of the school year programs.  We attended our county’s celebration of foster families, put in some new windows, went for hikes and stopped at a covered bridge to take some silly photos!
Moses with the Lakeland College head football coach
June – We celebrated the first of 4 summer birthdays and traveled locally.  One of the bittersweet times we had this month was when my uncle passed away. These are the moments we feel sad, but blessed to be able to celebrate a life lived well with the rest of the family.  We delivered some roosters to a friend (yeah...maybe we should get sexed chicks next time!), hit a bunch of semi-local parks (including Bay Beach!), and Mo went to Lakeland College’s football camp.  It was both fun and nerve-wracking for this momma to see her sweet boy out there running drills and using his brain to outsmart some tackles.  He loved it and since it was one of the hottest weeks of the year, he also loved the free popsicles too!  Dave and I also celebrated our anniversary by staying in a B&B - special thanks to his Mom for babysitting!  
Me + You = 4EVER
July – There was an awesome triple birthday party (Curly Sue, Colleen and Dewey) and more local travel.  It was a another hot day for the birthday party so I was able to try out something I saw on pinterest.  Dave helped me freeze ‘treasures’ in blocks of ice and the kids worked on chipping them out!  It kept them busy and cooled them off =)  It was also a hoot seeing them strategize how to get the dollar store toys out…We continued to watch the garden grow and hang out in nature – up north, in Madison and Milwaukee.
August – This month contained quite possibly the biggest events of the year – Colleen was a patient at Children’s Hospital for 2 weeks.  I stayed with her while she was undergoing intense feeding therapy.  (There’s a few blog posts on that…)  We got a pass to get out of the hospital for the State Fair and to go to the zoo as a family.  We also had a backyard bash for Moses’ birthday – Army style!   We painted our faces, did a little boot camp workout, an obstacle course, tossed balloon grenades from the fort and of course deconstructed a cake with Army tanks and men on it. Our church celebrated local heroes/civil servants by hosting them, all their vehicles, and equipment.  Flight for Life even came! 
Goodbye kindergarten - movin' on to 1st grade!
September – This Momma saw one sweet boy off to his first day of 1st grade, as well as 2 pretty little ladies off to their first day of kindergarten!  It was such a blessing that Grandma could come and hang out with Dewey while I took photos at school.  Not only that, but Daddy even got to join us.  It was a pretty special morning…
1st day of kindergarten!!
October – We went to a pumpkin farm and watched the lake as the effects of the storm Sandy could be seen even here in WI.  The weather was still nice so we got out into the boat a few times.  We also went to Denver for Fall Break.  We enjoyed God’s creation at Garden of the Gods, a random park when it started snowing, Pikes’ Peak, Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, and from the outdoor hot tub!
Pikes Peak, CO after the cog railway train ride to the top
November – We voted and boated!! In fact, Thanksgiving day was a beautiful 60* day – I hung wash, let the chickens out, saw a bald eagle and Dave went boating for his birthday!  The Sunday after Thanksgiving found us hiking by the lake.  It was a brisk, foggy day but we enjoyed moving around and seeing God's creation without her usual covering of snow this late in the year!
December – The kids’ school hosted a family dance party - it was so much fun!!  We also enjoyed school and church Christmas programs.   We fed the chickens some leftover pumpkins and ate kale out of the garden.  See, even the weather has been pretty much staying the same this year!
On the cordwalk at Kohler Andrae State Park
       Family, friends and random strangers reading – make no mistake.  The absence of big exciting events in our year doesn’t mean it was a bad one.  As you can tell – I started this post by saying not much happened and then I still wrote about a lot of good stuff!  I think one of the reasons I liked the word abide for our year was because it reminds me of a Bible verse…
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.  
John 15:5  (KJV)
(Yes, I used the King James Version – don’t fret, it won’t hurt you.  Besides, you can feel free to pick up your own version of the Bible and read the same verse.  Better yet, I encourage you to read the whole chapter!  It’s that good!)  Apart from Our Heavenly Father, we can do nothing.  All glory, honor and thanksgiving goes to Him, for He sent a savior to walk on the Earth as one of us.  So whether we have a year jam-packed with action or a quiet one keepin’ on, we abide in Him and He in us. 
Merry Christmas and God bless you! 
Love from our family to yours!
Many thanks to my friend Hyori for taking our family pictures!
We hope you enjoyed this green version of our Christmas card! (If you still wish to receive a paper copy, leave a comment.) There are lots of reasons we decided to do things differently this year (again!)'s a few:
1) Save postage. We love you, but we're cheap!
2) Save paper. You just recycle those cards after you read do recycle them eventually, don't you??
3) Save printing costs. See reason #1!
4) Save stress. Nothing to print, sign, stuff, address...
5) Expand our options! Now you can see a practically limitless amount of photos.
6) Our greeting to you is saved in cyber-space for posterity! Yes, we can be that vain sometimes!
7) It went so well the past years...we heard a lot of positive responses, and even some people who said they'd try it themselves. Welcome to the dark (green) side! (Sorry that was a goofy Star Wars joke...)


D(ea)r Abby said...

Mel, that family photo is great! You must have had a very talented photographer to get four energetic kids to pose and smile all at once. Cheers to a happily mellow year!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

A great Christmas letter! Good photo, too.

Zippy said...

Sorry that I am so late in sending this. I just got around to reading it! I really enjoy reading your Christmas letters and your pics are gr8! Miss you very much! Love ya <3