Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas Greetings

We joyfully greet you from Texas this year! Yes, I know you are hardly even surprised to hear that we would do something so crazy. It has been a wild ride, with such a complex story that I finally began this family journal, or blog, in an attempt to document the details. There is no way the highlights of this year could fit into one letter, so you are now essentially at the doorway to a book! But please don't let that scare you off. Take your time, bookmark the page, come back and catch up on old articles whenever it suits you. I try to add to it at least once a week. Be sure to check out the photo albums listed to the right, as well as links to my recipe website (all my favorites are here!) and a few other sites I find notable.

In the first half of the year, we renovated our kitchen and basement, provided accomodations and hospitality to guests at least five different times, hosted four parties of 10 or more people, and attended the third and final Burdine family wedding in a 15 month period. That alone was my entire to-do list for the year, and it was complete by July!

Then, suddenly the way opened up in front of us to move to Texas, something we have been desiring to do for five years. Read more about the process, starting as we shared our intentions with our friends in Salt Lake in June, and continuing through August. We arrived in Texas August 13, just two days before our 10th wedding anniversary. Right now we are living with Justin's parents in College Station as we continue to wait for our house to sell in a slow market.

As far as a summary of what our life is like right now, many of the entries from September through November share about family events. See Weekend Expeditions for a sample. We have squeezed so much into this year! However, our life is probably still similar to yours in that we spend a lot of our time and energy on the mundane.

Maren is doing so well in Kindergarten. She is reading, which makes Mommy very proud! Her teacher works with the class every day on storytelling techniques; I am certain that every one of the students in the class is prepared to become a professional author! Maren's favorite time of day is the last half-hour when they have self-directed time in the different centers. We hear the most about it because that's the last part of the day. Sometimes she plays with blocks, sometimes on the art easel. But her favorite center of all is the home center, where they have a chance to play in the play kitchen, and with baby dolls. She also enjoys getting in the kitchen with Grammy at home any chance she can get.

Jesse is all the things you might imagine about a two year old. He is exploring his world, testing limits, and bursting with personality. If left alone more than 30 seconds unsupervised, beware to the world around him! Sigh... in fact, as if to prove the point, while I was writing that last sentence he was playing with a Sharpie marker someone left lying around... Like many younger siblings, he is a performer, with a wonderful belly laugh that invites you to laugh along. He plays hard and naps well, although we see him at any random hour of the night, trying to climb into bed with us. And what is it about naming the beast, that makes it come out? I am now grateful for document recovery on my computer, as Jesse just climbed under my desk and turned off my power strip while I was writing... Maybe I should stop telling you what a terror this sweet angel can be if you don't pay studious attention to him!

Justin has been adjusting to his new job as a computer systems analyst for a company called K2Share, which is teaching him a lot about... whatever it is he does all day. The team he works with is pretty tight, and we have even hung out with some of them socially. He has begun getting involved with the video production element of services at our church, although this job is requiring more hours and energy so he doesn't have a lot left over for volunteering. Mostly, Justin spends his down time with his dad, working on projects around their house that have needed attention for awhile. Justin, dad Jim, and brother James banded together this fall with one of Jim's associates to form a garage band, and they have already performed once with rave reviews!

In this season of transition, I have discovered that I have both a passion for and some skill in writing. Once this blog got started, I began to see stories all around me just waiting to be told. I have begun a newsletter for the parents of our church, but am also beginning to assemble the outline of a larger resource, which could turn out to be a book or a website publication. At the moment it just feels like I should keep moving forward into the world of writing, to work out where God is leading me to use this gift. I just have to be careful that Jesse is either sleeping or engrossed in a movie before I get started each day...

We sure love each of you. Our friends enrich our lives and provide support for our crazy adventures. Thanks to all of you that have come to visit over the years, those who call and write and send care packages, and to those who found us on Facebook! We hope that by living near half our family, we will now have more opportunities to get out around the nation and visit Boston, Spokane, Portland, Birmingham, Phoenix, Tucson, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and more!

All our love: Justin, Krista, Maren and Jesse

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