I was pondering the wisdom of sending out a letter with our annual Christmas card, but my self-conscious nature overcame me. Instead, I’ll post my draft here on the internet, where even more people could see it, should they ever stumble upon this sputtering old blog.
Little A (21 months) would like to report that 2014 was a great year for learning to walk, turning one, jumping and climbing, and acquiring useful phrases such as “I hungry,” “Itchy, ow, ow,” “Doggie, woof, woof,” “CANDY!” and the dual-use “Si,” which denotes either brother. Impishly petite with deep dimples and thumb-sucking-induced buck teeth, she’s always busy unless she’s splayed out on the floor with her beloved dirty pink blankey. Stereotypically obsessed with shoes, purses, and credit cards, she’s also got a keen ear for trash trucks and sirens and loves the sound of ripping book pages. She hasn’t met a playground slide or ladder she can’t conquer but when asked if she’d like to sit on the potty, her knees start to quake and her palms become sweaty. Asked what she’d choose for her last earthly meal, she replied, “Orange juice and Halloween candy. Thanks.”
Middle Son (turning 4 on January 16) helped us meet all out-of-pocket health insurance expenses this year and last as he enjoyed a 9-day stay at Hotel Children’s Hospital at the tail-end of 2013 having a thrice-broken arm repaired and bone infection treated. He got his PICC line out in February and finished all antibiotics on the first day of Spring. We figure he’s called to the medical profession because he just can’t get enough; forehead stitches resulting in a Harry Potter-esque scar were in order in March. But he’s been up to other things, too, like riding a two-wheeler and learning how to write his name, honing his sharp attention to details, narrating imaginary worlds as he builds with Duplos, dreaming—nay planning—of playing professional baseball for the Nationals when he grows up, and issuing frequent hyperbolic statements. “Aw, shucks!” and “such-and-such is my BEST!” are catchphrases these days.
Older Son (5 ½), or our “first baby,” as he frequently characterizes himself, is busy avoiding all attempts at formalized education. He’s in homeschool Kindergarten and is learning to read, to add and subtract, and is busy preparing a paper for a symposium on the Four Laws of Thermodynamics. In all seriousness, his interests reside in the realm of (military) history, and highlights include his birthday tour of the United States Naval Academy and a trip to Ft. McHenry. His favorite colors are “red, white and blue AND camouflage.” He finds himself a burgeoning Anglophile (“It’s called the ‘boot’ in England, not the ‘trunk.’”) and needs frequent reassurances that Great Britain and the United States have been able to move past the War of 1812. He dreams of the day he can own a lawn care business, comprised solely of leaf-blowing services. He’s a great big brother, albeit a bit bossy, and has certainly mastered Tom Sawyer’s strategy of getting the fence white-washed.
Aaron graduated this year, donning the old cap and gown to receive a hard-earned Bachelor’s in Accounting (3.9 GPA, thanks for asking) from the University of Maryland University College. We enjoyed a fabulous graduation party in our backyard, highlighting both Aaron’s achievements and our massive new deck (thanks, Uncle Mike and countless others!). When he’s not fighting crime in our nation’s fair capital, he can be found playing tennis, perfecting his barefoot running technique, serving on our church plant’s steering committee, or eating away at the 11 lb. Nutella tub he received for Fathers’ Day.
Miriam finds herself tutoring at our local Classical Conversations community on Mondays, desperately hoping to impart the importance of memorizing John 1:1-7 in Latin and the parts of the endocrine and circulatory systems to a group of wily and wiggly 4 and 5 year olds. Her zinnias and tomatoes did phenomenally well this year, if she does say so herself. A little bookkeeping for two DC churches ensures that she spends most of her online time doing more productive things than drowning in Pinterest project overload. When she does find free time—not already filled with eating Bon-Bons—she loves to paint paintings, furniture, walls, and anything else she can reach with a paintbrush.
We enjoyed several trips as a family this year: a birthday train ride to the aquarium in Baltimore, a week in North Carolina at the beloved Sneads Ferry home, with friends along to enjoy the beach and the endless search for shark teeth; a four-day weekend in Pittsburgh and Grove City to see old friends and celebrate a college reunion; several trips to enjoy Potomac River tubing and the sights of Harpers’ Ferry; and jaunts up 95N to visit with family in Pennsylvania.
This letter has become longer than etiquette would allow, so we’ll leave you with many thanks for the way you have loved and supported us through this past year, and prayers that you would each know joy in Christ this Advent and Christmas season.