Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Greetings from RHome410

Life isn't allowing much blogging time these days, but I adapted a blog-version of our family Christmas letter, which I thought (hope!) you might enjoy....

Merry Christmas 2014!

Once again, it’s been a busy, whirlwind of a year.  The kids get older, and some even move out, but life doesn’t slow, activities don’t decrease, and even the food bill seems to hold steady!  Not to complain, because we can be nothing but thankful for the family, health, interests, and abilities that make all of this busyness possible.

Bossy, Artiste, Eager, Sassy
Princess Bossy and Prince Helium continue life in the state far away, homeowners and doggy parents.  Helium works in a downtown law firm, and Bossy works part-time in the exec asst position for a dean at the law school.  
She more than fills the rest of her time with various ministries at church, plus community organizations.  For work, she attended a conference in The Netherlands in October.  With most of Helium’s relatives living in Holland, they’d been long hoping to visit there, so were happy to take advantage of this opportunity.  Helium went along, and they added days for sightseeing and visiting family.  It was amazing to look at the photographs and see they actually stood amongst the scenery and architecture we’ve seen only in movies and in books.  With that trip and Bossy’s visit home in July, we will have to miss seeing them this Christmas.
Prince Stoic is in year 2 of his electrical apprenticeship, currently working in a commercial, high-rise project.  He is one of the high school youth leaders at a Presbyterian Church near his home in the Big City.  Much of his spare time is spent working on his BMW or his motorcycles.  We count it as blessing that he doesn’t have a garage, so he comes home to use ours.  
Inventive, Artiste, Stoic
He made a trip to California for a motorcycle course, took a couple of jaunts with friends to Oregon, and will fly to the state far away to celebrate the arrival of 2015 with Bossy and Helium.  It is fun to see how close he stays to all his siblings.  He is happy to host them and they can count on him to provide support and advice (and join in some silliness).

Princess Sassy, Prince Steadfast, and the Grandprince were finally able to move into the space above our new garage a few months before Grandprince’s first birthday.  Steadfast is back at school this year, into his full-time, junior year in Engineering, but still working full-time, too.  Sassy is blossoming as a mommy and homemaker, enjoying nesting and creating their own little home.  

She enjoys attending the MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) program at church to fellowship with other young moms.  She still nannies occasionally & coaches junior high track in the spring. Grandprince goes along, a big hit with the kids.  He is growing so fast, and is so capable and smart -- He started walking before his birthday, and has so many words already!  We love being so close, seeing all of his new developments and discoveries, and getting playtime and cuddles.

Prince Inventive finished his Assoc in Arts degree at the nearby community college in June, and decided to take some time off before finishing a degree to build his savings and be sure about what he wanted to pursue… to be sure he was on the path God intends for him.  He moved to the Big City in July, and into an apartment with his original best friend and roommate, Stoic.  He thought he might become an electrical apprentice, too, but decided, instead, to continue his education, and will begin classes in January at a Christian University, Bossy's alma mater.  
He intends to complete his degree in Marketing, and hopes to represent the school as an admissions counselor after graduation.  Right now he works 2 jobs.  He has an impact position in the stock room at a nationwide clothing retailer, and also nannies, 9 hours a day, 2 days a week, for 3 kiddos, ages 2, 4, and 6.  He’ll continue to do that after he starts school.  Like Stoic, he loves working on, and driving, his BMW.

Prince Artiste finished high school in the spring, and thought she’d be following in her also-homeschooled siblings’ footsteps by attending community college before applying to a university.  A combination academic and athletic scholarship offer from a small, private college changed all that.  She decided to jump at the seemingly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and this birdie left the nest in August-- the 2nd to do so in 2 months.  It was a tough adjustment in the house. In addition to classes and cross country practices and meets, she’s worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor at the YMCA, worked in the school library, and co-founded a Christian athletes’ group. 
It’s been a learning experience, but the school hasn’t been able to meet all of her expectations and needs. Artiste is currently working on her transfer to the same school as Inventive, where she plans to major in interior design.  She believes the school, program, and environment will be a better fit for her.  She’ll live on campus, and her brothers look forward to having her nearby. 

Prince Go-for-It played baseball on school and select teams this year, so we spent much of the summer traveling the state for baseball tournaments.  He’s a good hitter and made amazing outfield plays. He was so fun to watch, and Mom got the best tan she’d had since she was 17!  ;-) Thankfully, it was the last tournament of the season when he was hit by a pitch that broke his hand. 
Go-for-it’s love for running has won out, and he is making it his only sport. He ran on the varsity cross-country team again this year, and earned his way to the district championship meet.  He plans to train hard to make the state meet next year, and, also, catch the eyes of college scouts in track this spring, and cross-country next fall.  His schedule is so full this year with his junior-year classes, drivers ed., running, his job at a local golf course, Young Life and Campaigners, and, of course, friends.  He’s showing impressive improvement in his academics, growth in his faith, and leadership potential.

Princess Eager is in 9th grade already!  She is quite the photographer and the pictures she took during Go-for-It’s baseball games were in high demand by all of his teammates.  She takes photos for friends, and was the official photographer for the Steadfast/Sassy family Christmas photos.  She gets the credit for pushing to attend the Prefontaine Classic track meet at Univ of Oregon in May, where she, Artiste, and Mom got to see world-class athletes compete.  We hope to make that an annual thing. Eager took her first ever airplane trip (alone) to visit the Bossy/Heliums for 10 days over Thanksgiving.  She had a great time, visiting attractions, helping Bossy with ministry projects, sharing Thanksgiving with B & H’s surrogate family, and ‘Black Friday’ shopping with her big sister.  Eager also ran for the high school cross-country team this year, and earned her varsity letter.  She went to the district championship meet as an alternate, which was her goal.  She still works as a childcare provider at church during MOPS and special events.
Prince CuddleBunny is a homeschooled 5th grader this year.  He is his mom’s sidekick, especially dedicated to accompanying her twice a week to take lunch to Grandpa on Wednesdays, and lunch and dinner on Sundays.  He always looks forward to making Grandpa’s gin and tonic at the appointed hour every Sunday, and exercising Gpa’s puppy.  
CuddleBunny played his first year of Little League baseball as a 3rd baseman, and was awarded his team’s Most Improved trophy.  He started the season understandably hesitant, but finished strong on defense, and hitting doubles and a triple.  His LL coaches switched to a select team, the same organization Go-for-It played with last year, so CuddleBunny made the move, too.  He loves the year-around practices, and can’t wait to start playing games in the spring.  He is truly Grandprince’s ‘Awesome Uncle CB.’  The little guy loves him so much, and CuddleBunny is a big help to Sassy when she needs an extra pair of eyes and hands.  He has been learning to fish from Go-for-It, and enjoyed a hiking/camping trip with Dad and Inventive in August.
While the rest of us gallivanted to sports events, Hubby worked 2 extra jobs this summer, also continuing progress on the garage addition.  He taught immigrant teens in the woodshop at a skills center near the Big City, and was also the work-based learning coordinator there for the summer. After that, he helped with framing on a commercial construction project.  He is disappointed in changes at school… The switch from trimesters to semesters, and other changes mean the students have less opportunity to take electives, including career prep courses like his.  He feels it is a disservice to the students who need those classes and is frustrated.  He is considering program changes to meet both student needs and changing district priorities. This fall season was his 6th as the cross-country assistant coach. 
Sassy recently suggested he try a Paleo diet… No dairy or grains… in order to lose weight and retain his health for the long haul.  He has dropped a few pounds, breathes easier at night, and he feels better, overall.  He enjoys taking our Lab, Rosie, for walks in the forest, while Go-for-It runs trails there.  He asked that Grandprince call him “Pop” instead of “Grandpa,” but in current Grandprince language, he’s “Bop!”

Life without my mom is a hard adjustment, and I feel spread especially thin this year, as wife/homemaker/homeschooling mom/sports-fan mom/mom to those at home and to those living elsewhere/grandma, and also loving daughter and sister.  Things like home projects, gardening, blogging, and sewing have given way to driving people and feeding people… or driving to feed people!  

I fit in hugs and good talks, blessed to share in my kids’ interests and developing lives, and to spend time with my dad (who had a tough bout with pneumonia in Oct, but is doing well and getting stronger). Really, I have never driven as many miles as this year, and have a ‘frozen’ shoulder that often objects.  Thankfully, the sore one is the left, so doesn’t interfere too much with the rest of life (unless sleep counts!), the family is healthy, and our messy, ever-evolving house has the promise of a nice home underneath the drop-it-and-run-off-again mounds. --It has a protective clutter coating…?   ;-)

The Bible study group Hubby and I belong to feeds us in ways we need, both the studies we’ve done and the people in it we love, and who love us.  We’re learning a lot about taking each day as it comes, and doing what the Lord has for us in each one.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year… 
We hope you’ve accepted, or will accept, the best gift of all:
God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.  
1 John 4:9-10


All of us at  RHome410

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