For the first time in...many years, I am not sending out Christmas letters. This will be my first year doing a cyber-letter. Call me Scrooge, but we are trying to save a buck. Ho ho ho!
We've had a busy year, filled with all the things that make the parents of any senior in high schoola bit crazy. After a full year of college visits, applications, and auditions, Stephanie (19) is happily settled in at Bemidji State University where she is a freshman majoring in music. Her senior year was a blur of concerts and plays and "lasts" which we enjoyed to the utmost. In April, Ron and Victoria and I were able to go along on the band/choir trip to New York City as chaperones and thoroughly enjoyed taking in the sights, seeing plays on Broadway, and watching our musicians perform. A week after we got back, I had to have an extensive eye surgery and was so thankful for wonderful family and friends who helped with Stephie's grad party.
In May, Kimberly and Peter gave birth to their second son, Sawyer Matthew. Cohen (2 1/2) is the model big brother and can make Sawyer laugh faster than anyone else. Pete keeps busy remodeling their house, landscaping the yard, working at Floor to Ceiling, and refereeing basketball games. Kimberly is still working a couple nights a week at SCS and has gone back to work Saturdays as a stylist for Salon Eclips. She fills the boys' days with ECFE classes, story hours, and trips to the park.
In August, Amy and Ryan had their first child, Paisley Juliana, and I was honored to be present for her birth. What an amazing experience that was to be part of such a special moment in time! Amy has been able to stay home with Paisley--enjoying all the delights of homemaking, but still doing some contract work with Church of the Open Door. Ryan loves his job as a project manager with Merrill Corp. and is working on site in the Bahamas this week. He hosted a deck-raising party at their home this past summer, working together with his dad, Ron, and Peter to construct a beautiful new deck on the back of their house.
Michael (21) continues to deliver pizza for Dominos, but switched to their Fargo location when he moved there in August to attend college. He is undecided on his major and is taking general/business classes.
Victoria (11) is in the 5th grade. She swam on the local swim team for her 5th season this summer and is rapidly perfecting the backstroke. She is in her 6th year of piano and her 2nd year of trumpet. She keeps our house full of music! Victoria also got her own "baby" this year for her birthday. The baby is a Ragdoll kitten named Mimzy and Victoria is getting in lots of mothering practice!
When Ron is not at his job with Synstelien Community Services, you can find him working on some project in the house or yard. This past year he put in a beautiful pavered patio behind our house, along with lots of landscaping work. (Thanks Loren and Darlene and James and Heidi for your inspiration and muscle!) He also laid wood floors in our basement and put in an extra bathroom for our guest suite. I am in my 3rd year working as a para-professional at Victoria's school and I love my job working with 1st and 2nd graders and serving lunch. My main focus is to stay ahead of everyone else's schedule and drop everything when our kids come home. I hope to get caught up on my scrapbooking in 2009!
With all the new babies around here this past year, Christmas is more wonderful than ever. I think sober thoughts of Mary--a real person--who gave birth to a real baby in far from ideal conditions. And, as I watch my daughters with their sweet and perfect babies, I think of that young mother long ago who wiped a tiny nose, kissed little feet, and lovingly cared for a child who would all too soon grow up and become far more than anyone ever dreamed. I can't hear the song, "Mary Did You Know," without tearing up at the line about her kissing the face of God. How did God dare do it? Sending His Son here is unthinkable--like us sending Baby Sawyer or Baby Paisley to be raised by wolves! (And not friendly ones, like in The Jungle Book, either.) In the very first days of His life, people were already determined to kill Jesus until they finally succeeded three short decades later. God sent His Son--as a gift...to ungrateful, undeserving people. As I sit looking into the eyes of my newest grandchild, love like that is beyond understanding and I am in awe of what was really given to me at Christmas. Wishing you the unsearchable riches that are yours in Christ this season....
Dawn, et al.