January 2, 2010
Dear Family and Friends,
Christmas has come and gone and we are taking advantage of the remaining vacation time to provide you a quick recap of the past year.
December 2009: Dixie's family gathered here with us for Christmas on December 26. They came from Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana and Kansas. We had twenty-seven people in our house over Christmas weekend and sixteen of those were children ranging in age from 14 years to 3 months. We saw our new nephew Silas for the first time. The next time we see Silas, he will probably be walking; and that is just kind of sad. The kids went ice skating for the first time with their Sunday School class. Sam ended up with a huge bump on his head but the other kids emerged unscathed. They enjoyed it.
November: We traveled to Kansas to spend Thanksgiving with Jeff's family. All of Jeff's immediate family were there. Although our time there was relatively short, we enjoyed our visit with them as well as Jeff's grandmother and some of Jeff's extended family (cousins, aunts and uncles). Jeff made buttermilk pancakes one morning using a new recipe he learned about from a friend's blog this year. Both Jeff and Dixie ventured into new cooking territory and enjoyed extending their cooking horizons just a little.
October: Dixie developed a greater interest in photography and took a photography fundamentals class through the IUPUI Community Learning Network. She really enjoyed the class, learned quite a bit, but realized that she still has much left to learn. She plans to take more classes in the coming year. For Christmas this year, Jeff surprised her with a new Nikon D300s. We are both pleased with the initial pictures we have obtained with the camera though we know they will be even better as she gains more experience.
September: Our family vacationed in Massachusetts and Maine this year. As usual, we thoroughly enjoyed our time near the New England ocean. While we were on the east coast, we visited Portland Head Light, Nubble Light, York Beach, Boston, Plymouth and Cape Cod. Jeff especially enjoyed sitting by the beach on the eastern coast of Cape Cod. A mild storm was brewing and it was incredibly beautiful and refreshing. We were able to take Dixie's Mom with us for the first weekend and get her to the airport Monday so that she could be home in time to teach her classes on Tuesday. Dixie's sister Heidi and her husband Mike were also able to join us that first weekend and we enjoyed their company. On the 19th of this month, Dixie's youngest sister Lyndi brought a new little boy into the world - Silas LeRoy.
August: Our 9th year of homeschooling started this month. Dixie struggled to balance her responsibilities at times this year but obtained some outside help in an effort to keep on top of her vast undertakings. Curtis is now in sixth grade and his favorite subjects are science and history. This year he is studying ancient history and reading about World War II. A few other things he enjoys are drawing, building with Legos, throwing a football (something that he can do well), and listening to Jonathan Park. Samuel is in 5th grade and enjoys reading; but his real love is being outdoors. He was thrilled with the bow and arrow and Red Ryder BB gun that he got for Christmas. Alex is in 3rd grade and enjoys math, history and reading. We were not too many days into our Christmas break before Alex was asking when school would start again; he wanted to work on Math. He also loves to play with miniature army men, knights, Legos and Playmobil. Briana is in 1st grade and is doing a great job reading. She loves to read, write, draw and color. Julissa is still in those days before the responsibility of school and enjoys coloring; looking at books; being read to; and playing with Legos, her dollhouse, Snap 'N Style Dolls, Kelly Dolls, baby dolls, My Little Ponies, etc. She loves to play, has many pretend friends, and tells many stories to her dolls. Couper is a great little dog and is loved by all the family.
July: This year we went to a church family camp in Niangua, MO. Dixie's sister Jodi did the cooking for this camp and did a fabulous job. After coming home from this family camp, our kids attended a kid’s camp in Greenfield, Indiana which they thoroughly enjoyed. It was also the month for our annual Vacation Bible School at church. Jeff's employment as a chemist entered its 10th year. Time is on a merciless march but he is thankful for his interesting and rewarding job.
June: This was the month of our annual family camp for our home church. As it is but thirty minutes from our house, we attended the evening services nightly.
December 2008: Due to life-changing circumstances, we did not get a Christmas letter out last year. On October 2nd, 2008 Dixie's Dad was in an automobile accident. After 9 ½ weeks in the hospital, he went home to heaven on December 8th, 2008. He is missed as greatly as he was loved, but we can only hope to see him in the world that is yet to come for us. On the 27th of this month, Dixie's sister Jodi welcomed a new little girl into the world.
Jeff redeveloped a keen interest in theological studies this past year and has learned and relearned a number of important Bible truths. While particularly impressed with the sound scriptural reasoning found in the works of Methodism's founders, John and Charles Wesley, Jeff was gratified to learn that other theologians share their view of some important theological truths. These writers are from diverse Protestant theological perspectives and include the following famous Christians: Martin Luther, John Bunyan, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon and Oswald Chambers. He posted some quotes from his studies on his blog (http://probable-answers.blogspot.com/) and plans to continue this practice in the coming year. Please feel free to visit the blog and register your agreement or disagreement with the perspectives offered by these great Christian thinkers.
Dixie updates family items regularly on her blog (http://everchangingstreams.blogspot.com/) and includes many more pictures than we could afford to send with this letter. We highly recommend that you make it a habit to visit this site if you wish to keep up with our family. For as you know by now, a letter like this one is no yearly guarantee.
Until next time,
Jeff, Dixie, Curtis, Samuel, Alexander, Briana and Julissa