I wasn’t going to write a Christmas letter this year. Mostly because my life is so daily that at times it feels like that movie Groundhog Day – except Dave is not Bill Murray so it’s not quite as funny.
I could have recycled last year’s letter and you’d get the flavor of our year. But I love reading the Christmas letters sent from friends and family (hint hint) and want the tradition to continue. That and I don’t scrapbook – so these letters might very well be the only documentation my kids have of their lives.
To get this baby done, I phoned a friend. Or, in this case, I interviewed the kids. I figured they should decide what they wanted highlighted about their year.
My children were not helpful. One wanted to opt out of being included in the letter. The next gave me a shoulder shrug and blank stare. One wanted to talk about what happened yesterday. The last just giggled, threw his arms around me and said, “I love you, mommy.”
After threats and bribes and demanding at least two highlights, here’s what we wound up with:
Gillian’s favorite experience of the year was her first missions trip to Haiti. She absolutely fell in love with the kids at the New Arrival School supported by Kozefo and is already planning to go back as soon as she can.
Gillian spent a lot of time this summer working with her new horse and teaching her WSCA games. They had different agendas and each was determined to have her own way – but Gillian finally managed to teach that horse who was in charge. She has a way of doing that.
She had a great year at the county fair winning Grand Champion for her Snickerdoodles (they were amazing), Reserve Champ for her goat, Sarsaparilla and Grand Champion on her Haiti project. She qualified to bring her a Haiti project to the State Fair and spent two nights sweating bullets in the non-air conditioned dorm nicknamed the 4-H Hilton as her reward. Spending two days at the State Fair and sleeping there sounds like my worst nightmare – but Gillian had an absolute blast.
Obbe continues to love swimming for the HAST swim team. His favorite stroke is breast stroke and its been fun to watch him progress. He switched horses this summer and won ribbon after ribbon on his mare, Love. They were a great team.
He won Grand Champion on his bald eagle project at the county fair. He also won Reserve Champion with Mulligan for beginner obedience which qualified them for a trip to the state 4H dog show. At the big show Mully got a little excited about two huge Newfundlands in the next ring but he didn’t pee this year and they came home with a blue ribbon. Nice work Mully and Obbe!
Miss Violet worked on her riding skills this summer on our wonderful old mare, Gem. Gem is cantankerous and stubborn and she tried to die on us no less than three times last year. But apparently they are well matched because Violet won her very first ribbon at the county fair on that mare. Violet was over the moon about this and Gem … well, Gem just wanted to go home.
Violet also enjoyed her first overnight trip alone this summer when she went to spend a few days with Grammy. I am not exactly sure what happened on that trip because what happens at Grammy’s stays at Grammy’s.
This fall she was thrilled to make the swim team and already achieved her first C time. Go Violet!
Ty is the family mascot. He is adored by the entire family and he’s not afraid to wield his charms to get what he wants. Ty will grab my face, smile sweetly and tell me how pretty I am – then ask for some candy. Just when I begin to worry that he’ll turn into a schmooze, I realize he is a schmooze. That’s what we get for giving him an almost identical name as his uncle Tyson.
This kid loves all things mechanical and spends his days unscrewing and disassembling my house. He also made the Penguins swim team – which is just swimming lessons – but it’s so precious that he calls it the Penguins Team we don’t correct him. See what I mean? We are all putty in his hands.
Ty would like everyone to know that he has watched “All the Curious Georges.” In case you were wondering, that would be 108 episodes, 3 TV specials, 3 full length movies and the Christmas Special: Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas. What can I say? The Havemans are overachievers.
But his biggest achievement this year was learning to ride his purple bike without training wheels. Ty looooves his purple bike and could give a rip that it was a hand me down from his sister.
As for Dave and I, our highlights are their highlights. We love these four kids to within an inch of their lives and are so proud of them. We look forward to 2016 as another year of serving with Safe Families, growing with our church family, and whatever God has in store for us and our family.
We hope and pray you have a wonderful Christmas and that your 2016 is filled with joy!
Photo Credit: The professional family and kid photos you see were taken by my amazing friend Ali from Alison Lea Photography. I don’t think she will ever recover from the fact that I used a picture of my kids standing in manure last year. And a huge thank you to Tom Flynn of Caperiver Studios for taking professional pics during horse shows.