Our Christmas Card and Letter
This humbling economy and the busyness of the holidays has led us to focus on what matters most this Christmas. One thing that really matters to us is keeping in touch with our precious friends and family members. So we decided to do a "virtual Christmas card" this year - posted here on our blog and emailed to those whose emails we had handy. We hope that you will understand and appreciate the simplicity and cost effectiveness of this approach!
Well, 2008 has certainly had its ups and downs. But we'll just share the good stuff here. We count our blessings for the many wonderful things we've been able to do and see and celebrate and are grateful for the chances we've had to learn and grow. The kids are all at great ages and having five kids so close in age is starting to seem like a really fun thing. Life is good. God is good.
Here are a few highlights from 2008:
- San Diego: We took the kids to San Diego for spring break and had a great time at Balboa Park, the beach, Sea World and visiting the Getty Museum. Definitely a trip we'll have to repeat!
- Caribbean Cruise: In April, Saren and two of her sisters got to join their parents on a Caribbean cruise (her parents were speakers on the cruise so they all got to go for free – can't beat that!). It was heavenly to enjoy gorgeous and interesting places (the Yukatan, Belize, Honduras), good food, and great conversation with some of her favorite people in all the world – and no kids.
- Triathalons: Jared did a lot of training and completed two triathlons this year. He improved his times quite a bit from one triathlon to the next – especially in swimming which was huge considering that just keeping from drowning was his initial goal!
- Bear Lake and Ashton, Idaho: As usual, we spent most of July in Idaho hanging out with family, playing in the water and escaping the heat of St George. Saren and Jared did a beautiful 50-mile bike ride around Bear Lake for Saren's birthday this year.
- 10th Anniversary: Jared planned a wonderful celebration including partial reenactments of our engagement and wedding – he really outdid himself! We capped it off with a second honeymoon to Playa del Carmen Mexico where we had a wonderful time snorkeling, zip lining and repelling in the jungle, visiting ruins, and enjoying that amazing blue water and white sand without any kids in tow. What an amazing treat!
- Brazil Fishing Trip: After buying new trucks this year from Freightliner, Jared was rewarded with an all-expenses-paid fishing trip to the Amazon. He spent a solid week catching crazy-big fish and hanging out in the wilds of Brazil. He loves fishing and seldom gets to go so this was a perfect get-away for him.
- Biking and Hiking: Now that Eliza's a good little biker, we've been going on lots of family biking adventures with the twins in the bike trailer. And we usually do a hike every week. The beauty of this place blesses our lives so much.
- Ashton: got baptized this year, devours books, always researching stuff on the Internet, awesome roller blader, won the school storytelling festival as well as the film contest (made a movie staring his beloved pet snake)
- Isaac: beloved by all small children, super hard-worker, has become a great writer and won a prize for a poem he wrote, excellent swimmer and biker
- Eliza: adores Kindergarten, takes wonderful care of her dolls, stuffed animals and new glasses, loves riding her bike, works on her artistic skills in every spare moment
- Oliver and Silas: love preschool and Joy School, are potty trained (yeah!), actually go to sleep when they're put to bed (yeah!), don't make disastrous messes nearly as often as they used to (yeah!), are growing up so fast (sort of sad), are hilarious to listen to as they chat with each other, are developing such fun and distinctive personalities
- Saren: loves mothering these amazing kids but doesn't always love the chaos and mess involved, working on a new website for moms (launching in January – powerofmoms.com), works with the young women at church.
- Jared: has found creative solutions to move Miller Gordon Trucklines towards profitability in uncertain times, still runs our rustic furniture website, is den leader for Ashton's Cub Scout group, involved with several local business leadership groups.
We wish you a Christmas full of love and joy and hope 2009 will bring you many good experiences!
Love, Jared, Saren, Ashton (almost 9), Isaac (7), Eliza (5), Oliver and Silas (almost 4)