I am thrilled to know that we were not the only ones to busy to actually mail out a letter and picture this year. Jeremy did us semi justice by sending out an email letter with pictures. Our address books are different so if you didn't get it I apologize but we love you just the same. Here is our letter in case you missed it:
Merry Christmas everyone,
I think we have some Christmas cards with our picture around the house somewhere this year but they are not getting out this year. Maybe next year, you will get two from us. I did want to take just a moment and wish all of our family and friends a very Merry Christmas. Christmas has been such a bright spot in a gloomy world this year. What a difference mankind can make when we stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about other like our Great Exemplar whose birthday we celebrate.
I am grateful for the opportunity to celebrate Christmas in a country where I am free. Some will debate that, and that is not my point. But, I am thankful for all of the years of service and blood, sweat and tears that has created this great nation. Hopefully, we will all continue to move forward with our faith in the service of our Lord to preserve our freedoms and our belief in Christ.
We have had an exciting year just like many of you. No matter how much we try and slow down time, someone always accidentally leans on the fast forward button and we find oursleves at another year passing. Here are some notes on how our family is doing:
Miranda continues to love school. She has an appetite for reading and squashes books in hours or days depending on her time that day. She loves to sing. She can be found with the hymnbook in her hand carrying it all through the house singing. She was baptized this year in March and she is a great example to her siblings. Miranda also got braces put on her teeth this year and is sporting Christmas-colored bands.
Logan grows everyday. I think little elves are sneaking into his room at night and yanking on his ears and ankles. He is very good at sports and has started finding his love of reading as well. Logan loves to play board games and also our Wii. Logan can beat me at pretty much anything on the Wii and that is okay with me. He also had a brief solo at church in the primary program this year. I couldn't believe he did it. I never would have at his age. I was very proud of him.
Haylie and Hannah are about the most fun people to watch. They are best friends and love hanging out and getting into trouble together. They love to play house and we can often hear them repeating April and I's "greatest hits" of parenting quotes. It is actually pretty humbling and a little bit embarassing. Haylie and Hannah also love dancing and singing and they are anxiously awaiting the next school year when they will be in kindergarten.
Lauren is the most unqiue and free-spirited kid I have ever met. She can be so obedient and so defiant in the same five minutes. She is very good at recognizing when April is involved in a project and sneaking off to do some of her favorite things (e.g. sneaking candy and eating it under the table, getting into mommy's make up, seeing what she can put in the toilet). Lauren loves to look at books like she is really reading them. She is also starting to sing and dance a lot more. She is very cuddly and just crashes where she is when she is tired.
Jackson will be a year old in just about two weeks. He is a great kid. He loves to smile and laugh. He loves to chase after his siblings and attack them if they are lying on the floor. He has a huge appetite but you couldn't tell from looking at the kid. Jackson is our youngest kid to actually completely entertain himself with toys. He loves driving cars all over the house. He really could do that for long periods at a time.
April is doing well and is trying to see how many hobbies she can jungle at once. There is always several projects going on in our house at any one time. April is still in the primary presidency and enjoys working with the children at church. She is also helping a lot in the kids' school rooms and she is not sure what she is going to do next year when she only has two kids home in the mornings. April continues to perfect her cooking skills and loves hanging out with her friends (I am included in her list of friends but she always has an expanding list of girlfriends as well).
I am doing well. I continue to enjoy what I do for a living. I am thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I don't know where I would be without it. I am thankful for loving family and good friends. I feel abundantly blessed everyday. What he didn't say is that he continues to love his job at the credit union. He also is continuing with his studies through the BYU BGS department. He has had several opportunites to speak about credit and debt management. If he could earn money doing this he would it is definitely where his passion lies! One thing I feel that is important and was earth shattering at the time was that he got called to be a counselor in the bishopric and was sustained 5 days before Jackson was born. We have adjusted to having him share his time, but are grateful for the blessings that have some from it!
I pray for your family and mine that we may remember our Savior always. I hope this time of year finds you healthy in all aspects of your life. Please feel free to contact me anytime. Merry Christmas!
Jeremy, April, Miranda, Logan, Haylie, Hannah, Lauren and Jackson
I filled in the red...and what would a boring letter be without pictures: