Wow, this is going to be the toughest year to review because I just blinked and it sped by! Can anyone else relate?? I am not sure if this happens because we are so busy with all the kids are involved in, working so hard, or getting old...surely not the latter!!
The kids are growing like crazy and keeping us busy with their sports involvement. We sort of knew this would be coming, but were not prepared for how crazy our schedules would be. We were thrilled to be at nearly every game our kids were playing in and love watching them. We both agree its easier to be the one out there on the field or floor than the parent in the stands!! We have bleacher shaped bottoms and have sweated and scorched, and even froze in the stands these past few months! It is great for family togetherness too! We are grateful for our church and church family for the growth in all of our relationships with The Father this year. Alayna was baptized this summer and we have joined a small group that meets in a family's home and have been amazed at how God has used this group to bless us and allow us to bless others as well. We have developed some very real intimacy and some life long friendships to be sure!
December marked one year at my current job in Pulmonary Medicine. It has been a lot of hours, but I love what I do and the people I work with. JoDee and Mom have been able to fill in the gaps between Paul's and my schedules to make sure the kids are safe and doing their homework and have a ride to a game or practice or someone to pick them up. I have NO idea what we would do without them! It is such a joy to have some of our family here and the kids benefit the most, I think! JoDee has been teaching in Alayna's class since October and has been offered a position for the rest of the year too, part time. What an answer to prayers!
As you can see by the pictures and if you got to run into him at church in Iowa this summer, Gabe has really sprouted up over the past year. He grew over 5 inches last year and has already grown an inch since fall. He now is nearly 6'2" though our picture above makes him look closer to Paul's height, he is not quite there yet. And as you can see below, he suffered the first official broken bone in the Prachar household this fall. The reason I say "official" is that Riley broke a toe in the spring, but didn't require any casting.
He broke his thumb (at the growth plate) playing basketball over his lunch break at school just before the season technically began. We had to make several trips to the orthopedic office for follow up x-rays to make sure it was healing correctly and Gabe had the black cast that no one could sign! It was waterproof so he could shower or even swim with it. Pretty cool. The coolest thing that came out of it though was looking at his x-rays. You could easily see that the growth plates were all wide open. This is predictive of him still having quite a bit of growing to do! We will see how that turns out! I have to say its quite disconcerting when your children tower over you. I am not sure who is more happy to find out that he finally outweighs me!
Riley turned 12 recently and started 6th grade this fall (middle school, yikes!). He had his own growth spurt over the past year and also grew 5 inches. In our last Christmas card, the two of us were about nose to nose, but he blew past me in no time. Wow, this came way too quickly! He has totally fallen in love with football and also plays basketball to stay in shape for football! He had an amazing football season on the starting offense and defense. We were quite surprised at that since he is just in his second year playing. He was also chosen as one of the captains of his team, quite an honor for one of the youngest players. He was moved around near the end of the season and started playing some tight end (moving from offensive guard), which I have always hoped he would get a chance at. He never did get a pass thrown his way (they only ran about 3 passing plays per game!), but it was fun to watch! He still prefers to play defense and had some great backfield stops this year and also recovered an on-sides kick (we went wild in the stands and totally embarrassed him!)
His team went to the playoffs (after winning a nerve racking tie-breaker), but lost in the first round. They elected to play in a bowl game in Tampa for teams who lose in the first round and ended up winning that game, so went out on a win. Basketball is not quite as much fun for him, but he is really starting to improve. He qualified to go to the city wide free throw competition after winning his age group at school and when no one showed up to compete with him, he moved on to districts where he missed winning by one free throw. It was exciting! He is doing well in school in spite of all the extra curriculars we have going on. A great lesson to learn so early in life, I think! Most of you know he is planning/working toward/hoping to get to go to Australia this summer with People to People Ambassador Programs. He has to raise all the funds, so we'll see if he can get it done! So far, so its slow but plodding forward! (Thanks for your generous donations, and for purchasing the Pizza Hut cards he is selling!)
Holden turned 10 this summer and started 4th grade in the fall. He is dying for a growth spurt like his brothers had!! All too soon, I am sure! He also played football this fall and his team won a conference championship, moving on to regional playoffs for the first time in five years. He played left guard on the offensive line and some defense as well. He had a tackle the first time he was put in on defense and we were happy to embarrass him from the stands too! He is an excellent student and LOVES to read and play learning games on the computer. He expresses a lot of interest in my job and loves to play with a few apps that I have on my phone for anatomy and other medical stuff. But he also still says he wants to be a pilot (I decorated is nursery in airplanes all those years ago and it seems to have stuck!) He is playing basketball at the YMCA currently and it looks like all those years watching his brothers and dad playing/coaching have paid off. He seems to know right what to do and has good court sense.
I was able to take a half day off and accompany her class on a site seeing boat tour of the bay near us with Alayna's class at the end of the year in the spring. It was a gorgeous day for that activity!
A friend from our small group loves to fish and has his own boat and took Paul for his dream fishing trip this spring. They went about 20 miles off shore to find the big fish and Paul pulled in several fish this size. He is holding an Amber Jack. I can't remember seeing him as excited as he was after that trip!
And I can't believe I didn't blog about this:
I wanted to wear my wedding dress for this day, but the other "bride" who was going to wear hers had to back out at the last minute, after I ripped the sleeves off my dress and had it hemmed (its a pretty dress that way now!) I think I would have still suffocated in it that day!! Oh well, we'll have to do it again...maybe at our 50th anniversary!
So that is all I can remember of our blur of a year, just trying to keep up with the kids and all of our work responsibilities and church activities. Each year, I vow to keep better track of what goes on with this blogging, but its been so difficult! I am so exhausted in the evening that I can't even fathom some computer time after the kids go to bed! I can't even keep my eyes open at that point! I did go to Las Vegas last month (that deserves its own blog for sure!) with my running partner/friend Kristin since Paul couldn't go. I went for a medical conference. Look for more on that later!
We pray your year has brought you closer to The One who is mighty to save. Please know if you are still reading this blog that I care about you and pray diligently for you. You are special in our lives. We love you!