Sunday, December 21, 2008

In Lieu of A Christmas Card

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

As noted in previous posts, I have been trying to reduce my commitments and the expense this holiday season in an attempt to give me more time to enjoy the holiday with my family instead of having daily meltdowns due to stress. One of the things I decided to skip this year was sending Christmas cards to friends and family. Don't worry-- I'll do it again next year and give up something else instead, (like presents or Christmas Eve dinner)! I know that an e-Christmas card is a cheap substitute for getting something in the mail, but it's what I was willing to do this year. Hopefully my family and friends felt like it was worth it to catch up with us that they clicked the link from their email to come over to my blog and get an update.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, there won't be much that is new to report. But you can take a walk down memory lane with us of the year 2008.

December 2008 finds our family well (if you aren't counting colds and hacking coughs) and content, feeling blessed with the bounty the Lord has given us. We have been in Northern California for almost 6 years now and it feels like home to us. We are fortunate to have Jared's parents, my sister Allison and her family, and my sister-in-law Becky with her kids all nearby, as well as many friends that we've made here.

Kimball, our oldest, is 8 1/2 this year. He loves reading anything he can get his hands on, all things Star Wars, Legos, and learning new languages, codes, and alphabets. We have been recently spent about 6 weeks studying ancient Greece in our homeschool and Kimball has started writing everything in the Greek alphabet. We all need a key to translate,but he can now read the Greek alphabet as well as English. Kimball has also taken off in our Russian studies this year. He is in Cub Scouts, is learning the piano and tae kuk mu sul karate, and participated for the first time this fall in rec league soccer on the Mighty Titans. He was also baptized this year and has become quite the scriptorian.

Here are a few posts about Kimball from this year (read as much or as little as you like):
In which I report on his baptism
In which you get to see his sense of humor
In which you see how tortured he is by his parents
In which you see how closely he identifies with characters in his books

Henry is nearly 7 and can't wait for his birthday. He is bright and excited about learning, especially math and history. Henry played soccer for the second season this year, and also takes piano and tae kuk mu sul karate (he recently earned his "striped belt"). Henry is our most generous child, always willing to share with someone who doesn't have what he does. He loves to be my helper, which I also appreciate. Henry's interests include Star Wars, library books, adoring his little sister, and riding bikes with the next-door-neighbor and his brothers.

Here are a few Henry posts from this year:
In which he is interviewed on his 6th birthday
In which he proves that he knows his mom better than she's willing to admit
In which he says good-bye to kindergarten

Ian is a mischevious 4 year old who can't decide if he wants to be a baby or one of the big boys. He loves everything his big brothers do, but still holds on to his interest in cowboys and monsters. Although our most easy-going baby by far, Ian is giving us a run for our money this year by challenging nearly all our requests of him. Ian attended preschool in the 07-08 school year, then joined our family homeschool this fall. His favorite time in homeschool is when he and I do math together--I bought a kindergarten math program for him this year that he is eating up. He loves being read to, playing outside, and going to a friend's for a playdate.

Here are a few posts about Ian:
In which he decides to go by an alias
In which I report his alien abduction
In which we celebrate his birthday, circus-style
In which I interview him
In which he tries to emulate his uncle

, our youngest, will be 2 in a few weeks. She has everyone's attention around here. Bronwen loves to mother her babies, cuddle with her blankets, help me empty the dishwasher (she's quite good at it), and being read to. She recently mastered the computer keyboard to the point that she rotated my display by 90 degrees. It took me over an hour (not to mention calling two of my brothers) to fix it. Now you can call me for tech support if that happens at your house.

Here are a few posts about Bronwen:
In which she makes her Christmas requests
In which we celebrate her 1st birthday and rehash her birth
In which we note that she finally has enough hair for pigtails

As for Jared, he is busy running his practice, serving as the Elders Quorum President in our ward (he helps to coordinate service and sees to the needs of about half the families in our congregation through home teachers). He has been working on moving our fence out 5 more feet on one side to give us more room in the backyard. Hopefully we'll finally be able to put in our new backyard soon. On rare occasions, Jared gets out to ride his dirt bike, take the boys camping, or hangs out with some friends, but most of the time he gives his free time completely to us.We both spent a lot of time and energy helping to pass Proposition 8 here in California this fall.

I don't have a lot of blog posts about Jared because he doesn't love me blogging about him. Here is one that I wrote for his birthday, honoring him.

And then there's me. I am obviously busy with our children, our homeschool, keeping up with laundry, cooking, and other housework. I continue to serve as the Compassionate Service Leader in our ward (meaning that I arrange for help when people need it, like meals when they have a baby or surgery, or rides for the older sisters, etc.) In my free time, I like to blog, and started a homeschool blog and a healthy habits blog this year, both of which are SORELY neglected at the moment. I also love to cook and bake, which is sometimes my downfall. I have really focused on spending less and wanting less this year and feel that I have been successful in overcoming some bad habits and perpetual I-want-itis. We have had some struggles like everyone else this year, but feel so blessed for everything that is good and wonderful in our life.

Here are a couple more posts if you're not completely burned out by now:
In which you get to belly laugh at my expense
In which I muse about motherhood and what I've learned
In which I share my wish list of things to do in the next 5 years and how it's going

So, if you are still reading this (surely a sign that you have insomnia, as this post is too long for ME to read a few days before Christmas), we wish you a Merry Christmas. We testify of the Savior's love for each one of you, and we know that Heavenly Father desires to bless you richly in your life.

Feel free to leave a comment, even if it is "anonymous" (just sign your name at the end).We would love to hear from you.


Cammi said...

This is a great way to do a Christmas card - especially with the links to previous posts. That's why I love blogging most - it's like a family journal!

Hope you have a very merry Christmas. Your kids are so cute!

Becky said...

What a great way to do a Christmas card! I love having the links to all the posts about the kids (even if I have read them before). Merry Christmas!

Prudy said...

I read every word and loved it. I can't really leave a good comment unless I print out your card and comment every two seconds. There's so much to say about everything. Maybe a good phonecall in January will do the trick. IN the meantime, your family is so adorable, fun, and just in the right spot. I love reading all about it and I hope you'll continue blogging despite any self declared burn out. I miss you and wish your kids were near me so that I could enjoy them on a regular basis. Merry Merry Christmas!
OH and that Kimball is amazing with the Greek alphabet and Russian too! I can never forget how fast he learned the English alphabet. I was convinced that if I could just find that leapfrog toy that it would be just that easy for my baby. Nope.

Sonja said...

I am so thankful for your blog and for you! You family is so darling (and talented!) and I enjoyed reading this card so much. You have had an eventful year! And I have enjoyed reading all about it, and finding a friend in the process.

Happy Christmas and New Year!

Judy Stohl said...

I love this idea - I may try it next year!! I am still trying to get my Christmas letters done.
I love reading your blog and being connected to your family. Have a Merry Christmas!

Kim said...

So glad to get the update (one way or another : ) ). We love the "elf yourself" deally. Believe it or not, the first time we saw it was from our Great Dane meetup group. Imagine a bunch of Great Dane heads dancing around. Good laugh. Glad to hear you are succeeding in some of the "stress cutting" this year. Glad to know you guys. Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Jared & Michal - I love your Christmas Card - wow - I read all of this, and have to say, I am so proud of you, your desires, your kids, and whom you both stand for - your Faith is so inspiring to me and Scott! Jared - when you want to go to the Snow, ride sirt bikes, and/or wakeboard - call Scott - he is anxious to get out!

MERRY CHRISTMAS to you! Regina

Erika said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erika said...

Merry Christmas :-)
Fun being reminded of old blog posts (my all time favorite the one where you flattened the trumpet)
Hope to see you at some point around the holiday!

I had to delete my last post because it had 2 typos. Sorry

MoziEsmé said...

Those kids are growing up fast, and it sounds like quite the eventful year! I love this idea for a Christmas letter...

Anonymous said...

Loved the update. Sorry we won't make it over this year but know our thought are with you. Give the boys and Bronwen high fives and hugs from their cousins, aunt and uncle.
Love you guys,

mindyluwho said...

I love the dancing elves! I think this was a fabulous idea for a Christmas card.

I have so enjoyed getting to know you through the blog and also in person. We'll have to find some time to get together again.

Merry Christmas to you!