December 20, 2002
We’ve been enjoying all of the Christmas cards that we’ve been receiving – thank you to each of you that has sent us one. We feel at home here in Kentucky. Just the other day, our neighbor gave us Wesley’s coat. Roger had forgotten that he’d left it at the courthouse in Jackson 3 weeks earlier. Turns out it made its way from the courthouse all the way to our house through people who knew people who knew us. That makes us feel like we’re residents here.J
Our seven weeks of summer camp went well. We’re learning lots about how to balance family with such a life-consuming job. We’re very fortunate to have so many people here during the summer who are willing to help with whatever needs to be done.
We took the opportunity of a free week over July 4th to take a family vacation (which was greatly needed.) We went to Gatlinburg to see the new Ripley’s Aquarium, and stayed in a cabin with a hot tub. Judah was just telling us last night, “Mom, when we get a new house, I think we should get a different kind of bathtub. Like when we went on ‘cation and stayed in that cabin with that really big bathtub.” I’m finding that 4-year-olds remember everything. (Except for where they took their shoes off.)
In April, for our 5th anniversary, I surprised Roger with a 2nd honeymoon to the place that we never made it to the first time. We stayed at a bed and breakfast in Chimney Rock, NC – The Esmeralda Inn. Roger had made reservations there for our honeymoon, but two weeks before our wedding, a friend happened to mention to Roger that the inn had burned down. Needless to say, we made other arrangements. What a shock that would have been, had we just shown up on our wedding day. They have since rebuilt the inn – and everything was just beautiful, with all the dogwoods and azaleas in bloom.
After having two September babies, being pregnant all summer was a breeze. (Well, that sounds good anyway, huh?J) This time around, my due date was August 22nd, and since both of the boys came early, I was convinced this one would too. Wrong. My mom came up Friday the 23rd, thinking it would be an easier transition for us to leave the boys with her if she was here a day or two early. Well, after waiting ten more days, it was a really smooth transition! I don’t think they even missed us. Mom told them we went to the hospital to bring home the baby, and they never asked about us again. Should I back up a little? Sunday, Sept. 1st, we celebrated Judah’s birthday, complete with a cool tiger cake. That night, about 10:30, I started into labor, finally getting to hold Malin Brooke the next morning, Sept. 2nd, around 10:30. By the time Wesley’s 2nd birthday rolled around the following Sunday, Sept. 8, his little sister got to join in on the fun. Do you see a pattern here? I’m convinced that if I have another baby, it will show up in March, just to be different! (Do I even need to mention that for the next 16 years or so, the first week of September will be the biggest one of our whole year? )
The last three months have been a joy – three beautiful kids to love on, take pictures of, laugh at and with, etc. Wesley has been learning to talk, and Judah gets excited when he says something new, “Mom! Wesley said ______! That’s a new word for him!”
Judah is at that age when you never know what he’ll say next. One day, back in March, he was sitting at the table while Roger was washing dishes. Out of the blue, he said, “Dad, you fell in love with mommy?” Roger said, “Yeah, I’m still in love with her.” Judah was quiet for a while, then he said, “Dad, I fell in love with my brother.”
Wesley has his way of making us laugh too. He was riding his rocking horse the other night and Roger said, “Good riding, boy!” Wesley looked at him, shook his head and said, “Uh-uh. Man.” Roger said, “You’re not a boy? You’re a man?” Wesley nodded his head and kept on riding.
When Malin was a month old, Judah carried her all the way down the hall to me. I had left all three of them on my bed, which is pretty high, and I was a little confused about how he managed it. I said, “Judah, how did you get her off the bed?” He said, “Well… Wesley just kind of pushed her down into my arms.” Two things that those boys know how to do is work together and fight over toys. I have to laugh sometimes when I hear them talk. The other day I heard Judah calling, “Brother! Brother!” Wesley said, “Huh?” and jumped up to go see what he wanted. They love their little sister and both do a super job of being brothers. The first time that they got it into their heads that they wanted to burp her, she obliged them both and gave each of them a nice little burp as they happily held her over their shoulders and patted her back.
We’ve stayed pretty busy this fall. In September we had our first annual Bethel Camp Auction, which raised around $3500. We’ve hardly had a free weekend since, with fall retreats, a board meeting and a church campout (not our church.) Roger is finally getting around to doing some remodeling work on “the cottage,” a little 2-bedroom house across from our church. We’re planning on using it to house staff next summer.
In October, Roger’s guitar was stolen from the church. (We bought that guitar together on our first real date – I was sad to see it go.) I guess he just can’t live without making some kind of music, because he pulled our violin out of the closet and has been playing it most nights, and even in church some. I really enjoyed playing with him during our Christmas program. For years, I’ve looked at that flute and violin in our closet and wanted to play them together.
For Thanksgiving we were together with all of my family in North Carolina at Jonathan and Joel’s houses. I’m finding that children are the highlights of holidays. I could hardly wait to get there and meet our newest niece, Eliot Linden Hunsberger, (Jonathan & Scottie’s daughter) who was born one week after Malin. Judah and Wesley really enjoyed playing with Abram, now that he gets around on his own. One of my favorite memories of the week was one evening when the boys had turned out the lights in the living room and my dad was laying on the floor by the couch, reaching out to grab them as they ran by. All three of them ran shrieking back and forth between the living room and the kitchen (Wesley was hollering “Monster! Monster!”) and for about 5 minutes, chaos reigned. I love chaos. (Or maybe I should say I love the feeling of being relaxed enough that I can enjoy the chaos as my boys have fun with their cousin and Papaw.)
And now the boys can’t wait to see their other cousins. All of Roger’s family will be here on the 23rd to celebrate Christmas at our house. Judah picked out some books for Abbie to read in her room at night “because they might not bring any books with them.” When I ask Wesley who his cousins are, I love to hear him say, “Grace?”
Well, this letter is getting long enough, although I could keep writing for several more pages. We love you, our friends and family, and wish that we could spend time with each of you over the holidays. We can’t, so we send –
Roger & Ruthie,
Judah, Wesley & Malin
“Fragile finger sent to heal us, tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us, unto us is born…
So wrap our injured flesh around you, breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy, perfect son of God…”