**I read every book I could get my hands on about teenagers since we became a family with one this year.
**I continue to work as the Executive Pastor for our church while wrestling with God over His long term plans for my life. My hip has not been dislocated yet, but after 16 months, still no answer. Support has dwindled but we do not see this as a discouragement, just God refining and teaching and possibly moving me on.
**Coaching basketball at the middle school has been quite an experience!
**I actually enjoyed the negotiation process when we bought our house and all the joys of home ownership and teaching the boys how to fix things. We are all still trying to adjust to in-town living.
**I love teaching Financial Peace University and I also meet with two other men for in-depth Bible study and accountability.
**Our church received a complete makeover requiring me to order 450 feet of pipe and drape (to make a cafeteria look like a church) and then hire staff to oversee set up and tear down of our mobile church, purchase signs, toys for the kids' classrooms and lots of other stuff that was a major undertaking of my position this year.
**Our church has seen major growth with nearly doubled Sunday morning worship attendance and a Christmas Eve Eve (not a type-o) service that hosted 630 people. We were BLOWN away.
**I have gone back to grad school for a Masters of Arts, but will only attend as we have funds for classes.
**It has been a crazy year. We have been having fun, it's nice and warm and I am loving it, but I miss the snow.
**I had a really awesome birthday this year.
**Our church and youth group is getting bigger.
**I am playing basketball and we are having a good season so far.
**School has been crazy. We now have a high school and it's really big. I do not like school anymore because it's school and it's a lot of work. I have about three tests a week.
**I am now taller than my mom, even when she's wearing high heels. I finally weigh 100 pounds!
**I got stitches again last weekend (ear this time) and we think my total for my lifetime is over 40 stitches. All in my face except for the 17 I had in my leg two years ago.
Gabriel has really grown this year both physically and spiritually. He has taken on a leadership role in his middle school youth group willingly. He started 8th grade this year. Wow, high school next year. Here is the proof of his growth spurt:
**I started 5th grade this year. I have a first year teacher and she is pretty nice.
**I started football this summer. Our team lost the first game and we were undefeated the rest of the season. I liked my positions as a left guard and defensive end. I was also on the kick off team. I crushed a few people; it was fun.
**In my spare time, I like to read and ride my bike.
**I had 13 stitches in my leg after falling off the counter (he is a boy...is there really any other explanation??)
**I am playing basketball. I don't like it as much as football, but its still fun. I am the only 5th grader on the team. We are 5-3.
**I started third grade this year. I just started health and it is my favorite class. I have been having fun doing math, science, English, Spanish, reading, computers, PE, art, library and playground. I still don't like school uniforms.
**The cool thing about this year is that I didn't lose any teeth. Riley finally caught up to me!!
**I had fun playing soccer, racquetball, Frisbee, yo-yoing, riding my Heelys. I am still waiting for a new bike.
Holden is doing very well in school and reads his dictionary in his free time! He is very interested in my medical journals, and loves to look at the pictures everyone else thinks are gross. Hmm, may have another medical person in the family!
ALAYNAAlayna still chatters and eats nonstop. She loves to read and recently started a Ted Dekker novel because he is the boys' favorite author. (Ummm, not sure she comprehended any of it!) She loves animals and still does not own a single baby doll. She is a fan of lizards, snakes, toads and even spiders.
This was my favorite and the 2nd place house. I liked it because it really reminded me of the Grizzwald house but was prettier. They even had snow coming off the roof over the garage and a train in the front yard. I think you could probably see this house from space because of all the lights on the roof!
And this is the house I would have chosen for honorable mention in the understated category! Yes, its my house! I am not a fan of the yard blow up thingys, and only like white lights, so this was what we ended up with this year. I was very happy with it.
We had fun trying to decorate this house for Christmas. I have to admit that I am relieved that we will finally be sure we will be in the same house next year! I can actually put things in the same place next year and start to think about what to add if anything! The stockings are always tricky when you don't have a fireplace:
So we hung them all around the knee wall in the entryway. The sofa table got some Christmas cheer too:
And I finally have my Papa Dee's clock up with some bling as well:
And the little Christmas tree found a home on the table in the living room. This made the kids miss their Christmas trees they used to have in each of their rooms. We just didn't have room when we moved for all the Christmas stuff and they didn't make the cut. Maybe again someday!
This cute one will probably lose its home on the front porch for someone's room.
Okay, this has gotten waaay long. I forgot it wasn't a blog, but a Christmas letter! Please know we pray for each of our blog visitors, family members, friends, coworkers, and brothers and sisters in Jesus. We would love the privilege of knowing exactly what we could be praying for you in the new year. Many blessings on you and your families! We love you!