Annual Christmas Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

As I attempt to write this, putting ‘pen to paper’ brings life into sharp focus. Many things this year have stayed very much the same. Instead of looking at that as a boring continuation, I prefer to see it as comforting stability.

I recently read a quote that said, ‘The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.’ It is hard to keep priorities straight this time of year, but meditating on God’s truest gifts and looking forward to the New Year and the Season of Light certainly helps.

Dennis is very thankfully still employed at Prudential. After putting in all his hours at work – Dennis works some more! Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Greenbrook Hockey all benefit from Dennis’ energy and passion. At one point this summer, he was gone on an 11-day camping stint – first with Gavin and then with Mikey. (That left me home watching Breaking Bad and feeding the other kids lots of pizza). A never-ending flurry of meetings fills Dennis’ calendar. He continues to play hockey himself – usually VERY late at night.

If there is someone in the family who met a milestone this year, it was Ethan. Dennis and I hosted a large party full of family and friends to commemorate the exciting occasion of him turning 18. I was so pleased that he loved the party so much. He has new opportunities at The Midland School that have been a very good fit for him. He has risen to each occasion they have presented so far. Ethan keeps us flustered and harried, and laughing all the way.

Gavin is a busy guy, who is about to earn the title of ‘teen’. His varied interests keep him glued to fascinating documentaries, playing roller hockey and running to lots of classes and activities. This year, Gavin tested and earned a NJ State Bow Hunting License. Another new venture is volunteering at our local library – a great use of his skills. He works hard at scouts, and it’s a pleasure to see him growing into such a fine young man – when he is not driving us completely nutty. Mouthy kids with a penchant for arguing have promising futures, right?

Mikey still buzzes around the roller hockey rink and is everyone’s best friend. This is his last year of cub scouts, before he too, becomes a Boy Scout. I can’t pin down Mikey’s interests and activities, because he seems just as happy to be at inside or outside or on the computer, at a hockey game or a movie – he is easy to entertain.  Mostly, he just wants to be with his many friends. He is an eager help in the kitchen and around the house. I am working on exploiting encouraging those interests 😉

Sean recently turned 5 and I find that really offensive – I would like him to remain the small mascot of our family – but he currently views himself as the CEO. He is a challenge and a joy. He thinks whatever is good enough for Mikey, is good enough for him – he calls Mikey his best buddy! They spend a lot of time together building with Lego bricks.

Here’s a little ‘highlights’ list:

  • We added a cat to our house this year – Gabby. It’s nice to have a little critter padding around the house. She is playful and curious and we enjoy her antics.
  • We did not take a vacation this year, but we had a lot of nice trips – like this, this, & this.
  • We spent a lot of nice days at the beach.
  • We had a wonderful visit with my aunt from Scotland.
  • Our family was chosen to be featured in a short documentary about a program that I love to participate in.
  • We were blessed to be able to care for two babies for an adoption agency on a very short term basis – truly short but sweet visits. One, Sean nicknamed ‘Flower’ and the other I called ‘Romeo’.

Whether your family has had an exciting year, a boring year, or a difficult year – the close of the year gives an opportunity for retrospection as well as the chance to start anew.  Christmas gives us a chance to appreciate what we do have –  the great and the small gifts – not the ones under the tree.

We wish you a Very Merry Christmas & a Joyous New Year!

Love came down at Christmas; love all lovely, love divine;
love was born at Christmas, stars and angels gave the sign.

~ Christina G. Rossetti quotes (English Poet. 18301894)

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