December 25, 2010
Dear friends and family,
At this point in my life, I can barely remember what happened last week. So thinking about the whole year in review is a little daunting. We'll see how I do.
This has been a big year for Susannah (9, 4th grade). Nothing "big" per se, but a real understanding has come over Brandon and I, that childhood really does go fast! She is becoming a young lady, and has a reputation for common sense, helpfulness, respect and hard work that is wonderful to behold. At school she loves math particularly, is continuing to grow in her Spanish abilities, and is involved in an after school community service club. On the sports front, Susannah played basketball and softball and did summer swim team. She loves sleepovers with friends, playing Monopoly, is in demand as a "mother's helper," making potholders, and is involved in all kinds of things at church. The youngest child in me sometimes does not understand the first child in her, but we are working on it!
Abigael (7, 2nd grade) is the energy of the house! She is an extremely sensitive and passionate person, and goes after whatever it is with all of her being! She loves reading, art, God and cartwheeling everywhere. I really do not know how she sits still at school. Abbey has moved up to 2 hours a week of gymnastics, and is doing swim team even through the winter. She has the body of a greyhound, and is making a name for herself in both gymnastics and swimming, and at whatever sport she tries her hand at. She is challenging to contain, and all her activities are a futile attempt to use up her energy. The most recent development is that we will be adopting a puppy/dog that will surely become Abbey's best playmate. This follows years of begging...
Jesse (newly 5) started Kindergarten this year. I went back and forth with my nerves about sending a then 4 year old, but my nerves prevailed. Jesse has thrived, and LOVED every minute of it. He is apparently the model student, despite the dubious honor of being the first of our kids to lose recess one day! He is picking up Spanish quicker than you could believe, and is now reading. I love kids growing up! Jess did soccer this year, learned to ride his bike this summer, learned how to surface dive, keep up with his fish-sisters, and loves AWANA at church. He is popular, handsome and very capable of dealing with his sisters. Jess has a tendency to be shy, needs alone time and is slightly pouty. I regularly tap into my husbands vast experience in dealing with this personality trait.
And then there's Mag. Magdelena (2.5 years) has many of the stereotypical last born traits. But you can leave out the part about wanting to be the coddled baby! She is a force to be reckoned with, is deliberate, watchful, intense, loving, charming and funny. She spent most of the year not speaking much, though still communicating to be sure. Of course I worried about it, but now would give my right arm to relive those quiet moments. Maggie is weaned, potty trained, learned to swim, sleep in a big bed and started preschool (which she LOVES). She does succeed in keeping up with everyone, as well as wearing the most interesting ensembles and loving her Music Together classes. We are thankful she was not our first child, and are learning to really appreciate her self confidence! Look out world.
Brandon's world is pretty similar to last year. He still works at Sanger High, loves fantasy football, plays volleyball on Tuesdays. He works hard, relaxes hard and makes family time a priority. The kids love walking on his back, helping him with the yard chores, getting up on the roof with him to put up the Christmas lights, riding the city bus etc. etc.
My world is a ditto as well. Saying goodbye to the baby stage was not sad for me, but has still taken some adjustment. Doing kindergarten pick up in the middle of the day as well as at 2 o clock is pretty much for the birds. However, I do get a lot of life from doing the childbirth education/labor assisting I do with birthing families and sewing and fun creative projects around the house. I started working at AWANA at Church and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I have a couple hours without kids when Mag is at preschool and it gives me a taste of what might be to come. I have found a little group of fun ladies in my neighborhood that I walk with and am enjoying our meetings of the "Sunnyside Ladies Jigsaw Club." I also have a couple of new and exciting possibilities for the new year. I am eager to see what's in store.
As a family, we've enjoyed trips to Monterey, the Bay Area, Redding, Yosemite, and lots of surrounding areas. It feels good to get away and have some perspective. We camped quite a bit this summer, and it is getting slowly-but-surely easier! Our church has experienced some tragedy this year but we are enjoying being connected to a House Church at our home, and getting involved in different ways. We started playing tennis as a family this fall, and despite it looking like a circus, we are loving it. Life is definitely full and bursting. We struggle to keep up the house, find everyone's shoes and return phone calls promptly, but we feel incredibly blessed.
We hope you have had a peaceful and blessed year. Thanks so much for loving us. We value your friendship and support, and love hearing from you. Come see us if you are in town, and we will endeavor to do the same!
Sarah, for the Ellis family