Christmas, Life

Our 2017 Christmas Letter

Remember the solar eclipse earlier this year? It was a simpler time, back before kids were obsessed with electronic video games and skateboards. Those were the days, when all you needed to be entertained was a special pair of glasses and a once-in-a-century alignment of the sun, moon, and Earth. Well, enough reminiscing.

I’ll lead off with the big news. The rumors are true: one person in our family did indeed visit a doctor to be told that a tiny spec, not much larger than the point of a pencil, had begun growing inside of them and would eventually be delivered into the world. We had no idea — it was a complete surprise! We didn’t have to wait long for the big moment though; an hour later, that kidney stone ripped its way out of my body.

The baby fever that Christina caught last year has developed into full-blown baby rabies. The doctors told us that we can expect the symptoms to last until May, when Christina will experience something similar to my kidney stone incident, only less painful.

We’ve been doing foster care for almost two years now, and we’ve had 16 kids spend at least one night in our home. If you do the math, you’ll find that that is a lot of kids! Almost 20! Right now, we have two little girls staying with us. Sometimes I wonder: are they staying with us, or are we staying with them? No, it’s the first way. They’re staying with us.

Here’s a riddle: what is red and has chickens inside? Give up? It’s our chicken coop! Get it? Because we built a coop and painted it red and then bought chickens and put them inside.  Now we have fresh eggs every day and delicious nutritious chicken milk.  My bones have never felt stronger!

Gabriel and Gideon have been participating in Awana — it’s sort of like a cross between Sunday School and Cub Scouts. At the awards ceremony this spring, both boys were the most decorated award winners in their age groups… and not just because I wrapped them in tinsel! Seriously, nobody else was wrapped in tinsel.

Gloria is the youngest in her pre-K class, but she’s also the smartest and cutest and most talented, so it all evens out.

If you check your records, you’ll find that in our 2010 letter, I mentioned that we had bought some farmland. Go ahead and get out your Christmas letter binder and re-read it; I’ll wait. … … … Ok, now that you’ve refreshed your memory, FORGET EVERYTHING YOU THINK YOU KNOW about our land ownership status, since we sold that land this year.  Don’t even try to think that we still own that land.

We spent two weeks vacationing in Minnesota this summer. First, we camped for a couple of days in New Ulm with Christina’s family, and then we spent a couple of days more at Lutheran Island Camp with my family.  I have only ever camped with Christina’s family, so upon arriving at Lutheran Island Camp, I was shocked to find that you can camp and also have electricity and a house to live in.  Christina, did you know about this? I can’t imagine that you did, because we have been camping in the outdoors for 12 years! This is a game changer.

Christina has dedicated hundreds of hours of her time this year to co-running our foster care association’s clothing warehouse. Every week, she picks up clothing donations from local businesses, sorts them, folds them, and stacks them in a rented warehouse so foster families can take them for free to clothe their kids. It’s a massive amount of work, so I know what you’re thinking — yes, Christina is a better person than any of us.

Merry Christmas!

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