I'm sure you can understand that our lives have been extremely busy these last few months! My choices came down to spending time with my kids over Christmas break, or sending out our usual cards and Christmas letter, by snail mail. You can see which one I chose, below... ;)
Dear Family and Friends,
If you are reading this letter...congratulations! The Mayans were wrong! :) As we close out another year, we have so much to be thankful for. We are surrounded by so much love and amazing, supportive people; but we'll get to that in a bit. First, let us catch you up on what our little family has been busy with, this last year!
Bailey turned 11 this year and started 6th grade. She is still attending charter school and is doing fantastic! She was placed in Latin, after testing out of spelling and while it's not her favorite class, she is doing well. When we got her placement scores back from the end of 5th grade we were shocked to see that she tested at a 10th grade level in math problem solving and post high school level in math procedures. She still needs to work a bit in vocabulary and reading, but we are extremely proud of her. She started dance this year and just performed in her first recital a couple weeks ago. She is a very social girl and loves spending time with her friends. Bay has grown up a lot this year and her insight and mature attitude still catches us off guard from time to time.
Ryleigh turned 9 this year and started 4th grade. She loves school and plans on being an orthopedic surgeon when she grows up. She has loved being able to watch eye, heart and lung dissections as part of her science class, at school. She was placed in math and reading classes above her grade level, and we know that with her brains and drive, her dreams can be accomplished! She started gymnastics this fall and has loved working with their pre-competition team. She is in the gym practicing four hours a week and then practices at home for countless more hours. Ry is a happy kid, who likes to be helpful and brings so much love to our family.
Avery turned 7 this year and started 2nd grade. She is also doing really well in school and although she needs to work a bit on her reading, she tested at a 5th grade level in math procedures. We are truly impressed with what she is able to accomplish. She started Taekwondo this year and recently moved up from a white belt, to a yellow stripe. She took first place at her recent tournament, even after taking a pretty hard kick to the face! She is still in therapy and taking medication daily. We realize that this may likely be a lifelong struggle for her, however it doesn't define her. Avers is an amazingly bright, thoughtful, determined little girl, who will one day change this world, with her independent spirit.
Luke turned 6 this year and started 1st grade. He loves school and has been bringing home all A's and B's. He was just recently moved up in his reading group, to a 2nd grade level, and we are so proud of him. He is our typical rambunctious boy, with an overabundance of energy. He also started Taekwondo this year and just like Avery, recently moved up to a yellow stripe belt. Due to the limited number of white belts at the recent tournament, he had to spar with a higher belt and still took third place. We were so happy for him, even though he was a little disappointed. Lukey loves playing computer games and is constantly inventing contraptions all over the house.
Presley turned 4 this year and started preschool. She has mastered writing her name and several other simple words (mom, dad, cat, ect.). She loves going to school and while we worried there would be some separation anxiety at first, she has done amazingly well (and so has her Mommy!). She started taking dance this year and participated in the same recital that Bailey did. She was so adorable up on stage, with her teeny, tiny bun and itty, bitty dance shoes. Peanut may be the baby of the family, but she makes sure her voice is heard, loud and clear. She loves animals and does a great job of making sure our pets have food and water, every single day.
Josh ran his first marathon this year! He loved it and he plans to do more in the future. He is still working for the same company, working crazy rotating hours. He is still in school, as well, working on his Associates Degree. He recently finished up a math and English class, putting him about halfway done. He is working toward a business degree for now and then plans to focus more in finance. He was able to go hunting this year, although sadly, he didn't get anything.
Leeann received her acceptance to nursing school in March and just finished her first semester with a 3.8 GPA! She did her clinical hours at a long term care facility this semester, but she looks forward to working in the hospital next spring. She is still working part time, from home, along with school, so it seems that she spends the better part of every day in front of a computer. If it weren't for an amazingly patient family, there is no way she could have survived.
One of Leeann's best friends, Bek, has been living with the family this year and they could not have endured these last few months, without her. When Josh is working 12 hour shifts and Leeann is doing a 12 hour clinical shift, Bek steps in and runs kids to school, to extracurricular activities and to playdates. She graduated with a Bachelors of Psychology this spring (probably the only way she survives this crazy bunch!) and is currently working on her personal fitness certification. She also works full time, from home, so along with everyone else, she has her plate full!
This has been a year of changes, stress and adaptation. It has not been easy adjusting to everyone's demanding school requirements, new extracurricular schedules, and Leeann's nursing program. It has taken a lot of careful planning and extreme amounts of patience from everyone. Without the love and support of many friends and family, there is no way that it would have worked out. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, to those that have brought dinners over, driven our children to activities, taken various children for the night, or simply called to check in. We can never repay you for your kindness and love.