|I finally let the kids decorate the tree all by themselves this year. I thought they did a pretty good job and unlike me, they feel less is more. I was really proud of them. All the bulbs are plastic and Rina-friendly.|
Family Christmas Letter – 2016
We are in a very busy and full season of life as we now have children ranging in age from 13 to 19 months. It has forced us to slow down in some aspects, but with older children and their activities you can't slow down too much just because you have a baby. A lot of tag teaming goes on in order to accomplish our goals as a family, but it is certainly helping us develop an atmosphere of teamwork.
Michael was able to travel to the Balkans again in the spring for a special mission with the Oregon National Guard. He was able to visit Lithuania and Romania this time. He really loved seeing Dracula's castle and eating local foods. He discovered that boiled pig's ear was not his favorite! He was home for a few months and then off again to Warrant Officer's school at Fort Lee, VA for two months. I was blessed to have family and friends watch all the kids and the homestead so I could go back and visit him for a week. We saw a lot of Civil War history and got to play in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. We had such a good time together! He is now traveling back to the La Grande shop to work as his promotion caused a rank inversion at the shop where he was working in Umatilla. In order to keep his job, they had to move him. Going over the Blue Mountains in the winter is not fun, so prayers for his safety are appreciated.
Josiah turned 13 in September and has discovered his niche in Boy Scouts. He just achieved his 2nd Class rank and is already working on the next rank. He is making good friends and enjoying time with his dad as Michael has become an Assistant Scout Leader for the troop. He is doing well in homeschooling and enjoys doing chores and creating all kinds of things out of scraps he finds in Michael's shop. He has made knives and is working on building a big fort behind the shop. His Boy Scout friends and cousins love to come over and help him with it.
Hailey turned 9 in August and is still enjoying gymnastics. She is discovering the joy of a good book and we continue to work on her reading which has been a struggle for her. She likes to work with our farm animals (sheep and chickens) and plays with her sister outside so I can get a few things done. I've always said Hailey would make an outstanding big sister and I was right. She adores Rina.
Rina is a 19 month old towhead and proving that she has every bit the energy and spunk her older siblings possess. She is into everything and quite vocal. She adores her family and all the pets we have around here. She is entertained for hours by the sheep and chickens.
I'm busy homeschooling and running the day to day operations of our homestead and household. We are doing a Narnia unit study with our homeschool co-op that meets every Friday. We also keep busy with homeschool sports, field trips and other activities. This summer I was asked to start doing on-call tours for the Pendleton Underground. I had done them 20+ years ago when I was a poor college student. I forgot how much I loved doing it! It gets me out of the house for a couple hours at a time and I'm using all the money to fund dream trips. It is how I was able to go to Virginia and then on a sister trip to Vancouver, BC this last summer. Now I'm saving to go to Greece in May with my sister and her in-laws. To say I'm excited is an understatement!
As 2016 closes, my prayer is that God will draw you near to Himself. That despite what is going on in the world and even in our country, our hope would be in Jesus, the Son of God, who came down to this earth as a lowly babe and was sacrificed for our sins but then rose again so those who believe can live with Him in paradise. I'm praying that no matter what circumstances you find yourselves in 2017, that God's perfect peace would surround you. With that, I want to wish all our friends and family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Jackie and Family