Happy New Year to you! Thank you for all of the Christmas cards, letters and family pictures. Our family has very much enjoyed keeping up with each of you. It’s especially fun when we receive pictures to share with our children. I’m enjoying a peaceful, sunny afternoon as the girls nap and Roger gets the boys out of the house on their last day of Christmas break. They’ve gone to run errands in town.
It feels good to just sit after all of the running around of the holidays – everything is unpacked, the laundry is mostly done, and the house is getting back to it’s not-so-spotless state. (An improvement from the absolute disaster that we left it in on Christmas Day!) So far this winter, we’ve been healthy and we’ve enjoyed lots of good family time. We spent Thanksgiving in Holly Springs and Durham, NC with my brothers, and then had plans to get together with all of Roger’s family in Andover, KS. Then I got the December school calendar and realized that the boys were out of school for the whole week before Christmas! So, in between the church Christmas program and the Thursday night Christmas party, we snuck in a quick trip to Seneca, SC – to visit my brother Marcus. We hadn’t been down there since last Christmas and he had since acquired my parent’s piano – which he claimed was in desperate need of tuning. The move must have been beneficial to the piano, because when we got there, it didn’t sound so bad. But Roger messed around with it some anyway – and we had a really nice visit. The boys loved playing his games – no, not Candyland or Monopoly… Zelda and Animal Crossings – on his computer and his Xbox. He packed us a picnic lunch and treated us to a day at the Greenville Zoo. (A good time was had by all.) 🙂
Despite the warm weather that just didn’t feel right, Christmas was a fun family day. I think it took us close to 3 hours to open presents that morning. Roger and I enjoyed watching the kids take time to play with different toys instead of just rushing on to open the next gift. We left out that afternoon to be with the Voths in Kansas. The time together is never long enough….
On our way home from Kansas, with my hands empty and nothing to do, I started making out a to-do list. It filled up a whole page – anyone want to come give us a hand? 🙂 Actually we are planning on getting some good help this spring. Justin and Julia Kurtz from Asheville, NC, will be coming up in March & April while she does her clinicals at the Hazard Hospital. Justin will spend the 6 weeks volunteering his time around camp. Then, overlapping with them, in April, Shaun & Wendy Davis from Hickory, NC will be starting a year-long term here at Bethel Camp. (Along with their new Lily Grace who arrived Dec. 27th!) Roger and I are really looking forward to, not just the extra help that the 4 of them will offer, but the fellowship and friendships that go along with it.
Now I come to the hard part – how do I manage to sum up each of my children in a tidy little paragraph for you? Probably the wisest thing for me to do at this point is direct you to my blog where I pretty regularly write stories about them. All of the funny little moments from the year that I’ve taken the time to write down have already been recorded there. If you have the time and are interested, here’s the address: http://www.xanga.com/ten4ruthie
Aside from that…. This year, I tend to think of them in pairs. Judah and Wesley are 8 and 6 years old, and have both started their first year of “real” school (away from home) at Riverside Christian School. Wesley enjoys kindergarten except for the fact that he’s had to revert back to taking a nap every day. Some days he’s still groggy when I pick them up from the bus stop. He’s one of the brighter kids in the class. I look forward to next year in 1st grade where hopefully he will be challenged a little more. Judah also enjoys school and seems to be excelling. His class published a hardcover book “The Thankful Book” that features Judah’s drawing on the front.
This fall, after 2 failed attempts, the boys entered the realm of… bunny breeders? Or at least bunny feeders. The daddy bunny is in his own cage in an attempt at population control. Nevertheless, we’ve had two batches of bunnies born – to 2 different mommies. The boys, Wesley especially, have a hard time waiting for two weeks to be able to hold the new babies. They sold most of the first batch to True Value. Judah and Wesley enjoyed getting a percentage of the money to spend as they wished.
Malin and Avery… my 4 and 2-year-old daughters…. Living, breathing, running, giggling, chattering proof that I don’t have a baby in the house anymore. We mostly enjoy our days with the boys off at school. The girls really keep each other occupied. They play together most of the morning every day with very few arguments for me to settle. So far, Avery has been quite the compliant little sister. (Not that you should be feeling sorry for her. She can stand her own against all three of them when she decides that the time is right!)
I love that my girls are so feminine. They do their share of playing trains (with or without the boys) and cars – and Malin enjoys building with Legos – but I definitely see the nurturing side of them both as they take care of their babies, Emily and Jessie. Their dress-up clothes, dishes and pretend food get lots of playtime as well. When we were with the Voths, we had our first girls-only tea party. Avery got the biggest kick out of clunking around in high heeled sandals. She walked around the kitchen laughing at herself.
I’ve enjoyed the pleasure of running weekly errands with just the two girls to keep track of. Most weeks we go to the library, either in Jackson or in Hazard, for story time which the girls both look forward to. Judah and Wesley also love having a chance to go to the Hazard library, since they have a computer room in the children’s section with lots of games for them to try out.
This fall has been a busy time for Roger and me. Not nearly as hectic as the summer weeks, but still quite full. We’ve hosted more groups here at camp this fall than any year since we moved here. I’ve done almost enough changing beds, cleaning rooms and laundry to be tired of it. But now there’s a break until the warmer spring months. And now Roger doesn’t have to schedule his projects in between getting ready for rental groups and cleaning up after them.
In the next few months we have: t-shirts to design and order, a Valentine’s banquet to plan and prepare, staff applications to send out, staff manuals and songbooks to rework for ’07, spring retreats to plan, summer camp schedules to plan, counselors and staff to line up, craft projects to get ready for the summer, Krestan Hall to finish and furnish, a decayed bathroom to redo, a rock chimney to finish, a website to renovate and maintain, a spring newsletter to get out… Does it look like we’re going to get around to redoing the carpet/hardwood in our own living room and kitchen? Ha – probably not. (That list was just a sampling for those of you who were wondering, “What do you do in the off-season?”)
And I think that about sums this letter up. I hope that your Christmas was lovely, and if you didn’t find peace during the season, that you will find it in the aftermath. We’d love to hear from you throughout the year, in any way, shape or form. And if you ever happen to be passing through the southeast corner of Kentucky, stop in and see us! We have beds galore and we love to have them filled up – especially with friends. We’ll take you in at a moment’s notice.
the rest of the Voths: Roger, Judah, Wesley, Malin & Avery