As I began to reflect on our 2013 year for this letter, the first thing I notice is that I didn't even write a holiday letter in 2012!
Well, skipping the holiday letter feels like cheating to me, and since I do plan to print this blog in book form again for the girls, someone, will notice. I hold the right to back date a 2012 holiday letter at some point in the future, you have been warned.
In no particular order, here are the blessings and challenges I wanted to highlight in the 2013 calendar year.
- 2013 school year start was a hard one for Jaq. A new teacher and missing her BFF created a lot of anxiety for her, and the results have been stressful for the entire family. We are still working through it but it's been hard to watch her struggle.
- Water leak in the kitchen created the need for a new window in the basement and part of the wall to be replaced.
- Julianne determined to bite herself to death -- not fleas but some kind of nervous habit and skin condition that has her chewing on her legs and hips regularly. Add to that she is deaf and you get a near impossible situation to resolve.
- A bit more travel/work on Meg's part than is easily handled at home.
- 10YO got her heart broken [and a life lesson about disappointment and assumption of victory], by not making student council president.
- Network outages -- now that phone, cable and internet are all from the same carrier, one bad router experience can really bum out your week, even taking down music in the house. Having this happen on an already stressful week when Meg was out of town was just a cosmic bonus.
- Dog hospital stays - Julianne decided to eat something that was not edible, and gave us a bit of a scare as we watched her dehydrate and grow weak. After several days of IV fluids and stays at the vet, she eventually came back to life. Its pretty scary when they are this old and they get really sick as you are not completely sure if it's age or illness that you are experiencing with the lethargy and sad eyes.
- Picking the wrong card photos - My 8 year old informed me she is disappointed in our Christmas card this year, in that she didn't get to dress up for a photo shoot. We expect to fix that today with this holiday letter so please accept my apologies for doing things out of order this year.
- Travel! Getting the whole family traveling was a huge milestone for us and mom was beside herself with joy about it, so much so she forced everyone on a shore excursion death march of fun with 14 hour days in the heat.
- Meg's job is still fun for her (nice to enjoy something if you do it so much)
- Exercise -- The weak link in the family is now getting more, if not a sufficient amount of regular exercise.
- Weather - it's been a gorgeous drought year. While you are not supposed to like those in NorCal it is hard to not enjoy the extra sunshine.
- Health - other than some minor colds and one broken bone we have been very fortunate. Even the seasonal allergies have been mild.
- Bay Area eTc. Getting Jacqueline into a theater program has been a great for the whole family. She is really enjoying it and has made some good friends, and we have all been thrilled to no longer suffer during the soccer games and practices no one was enjoying.
- Volunteering - It is a blessing for us that Bob has been able to help out in so many ways with the girls projects. From field trips, to band support, to classroom help, to playground monitor, to coaching sports, to being named a "master carpenter" for the Oliver show he has been consistently recognized as helping not only our own children, but all working parents who have less availability to volunteer.
- Sports - Ashton has been enjoying the heck out of sports this year taking on more and more activities. She loves to compete and has never known of a team event that she does not want to join. This year she added basketball and volleyball to the softball and soccer she was already doing.
- Skiing - we have been blessed to not only be able to frequently ski but to have good friends to join us.
We clearly have had so many more blessings than challenges in 2013, both in scale and in number. While life does appear to be going more quickly this year than prior years, we continue to appreciate all that we have. We know that our greatest blessing is you our friends and family and we send your way wishes of love and joy in this holiday season.
Love, Bob, Meg, Ashton (10) and Jacqueline (8) Bear