Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday Letter 2013

Really, that's what it comes down to, my yearly December review, doesn't it? When the warm feelings of the season take over, I want to share the joy and well-wishes with friends, family and readers. So, a happy season of whatever you might be celebrating; from Christmas to  Hanukkah (even though I am late with my wishes) to Yule and the rest, humbug or not; may you enjoy whatever beauty you find in life around you.

The children keep growing; they tend to do that. Gael, the baby, 6, is sleepily nestled across my lap as I write under a big, red fleece blanket. He is a bundle of sunshine with more and more contrariness thrown in, that's OK, he is supposed to do that. Charles is in bed, as are his two sisters.

Duncan, 15, has already left for high school, where he seems to have a ball most days, and plays lead guitar for the varsity show choir. He also played football this year, and this mother has mixed feelings on that, but he had a goal, he worked hard and met it. Who knew with raw determination and work he could go from really slim to a broad-shouldered, muscular young man in just a year? When I worry about football, I just remind myself that I was also skeptical about show choir last year, and ended up loving the fabulous production the kids put on...and seeing my kid in the back with his black shirt, white tie and guitar. He is such a good person too; standing up to bullies and ready to soothe a tired toddler or calm down a struggling child.
Cate turned 17 last Friday. She published her first book this year, an incredible work of fiction; Alyssandra, Defenders of the Universe. She took the ACT on Saturday and narrated the Christmas pageant in church on Sunday. She is in love with tall ships, sailing and seeing the world. She spent a week navigating the Great Lakes last summer on the tall ship, Unicorn. Imagine a 2-masted giant from another era, or go here to see photos: Unicorn. Poor homeschooled child with nothing to do and no life. Since she began driving on her own, I have understood the need some families find to own three cars; up until the month of May, we were a one-car family! Her favorite winter activity, besides kung fu and indoor archery, is curling up with a book.

Then there is Valentine; my littlest girl, who turned 12 in November! She is incredible; full of vitality and kind-hearted. When she is not arguing with her younger brothers, she is helping them with their school work or staging plays with them in the basement. She is in 6th grade, and in our world that means the Romans, the Medieval ages, geometry, physics and business math. In reality, that is what she centers part of her day around, the rest is spent reading, playing with friends, dancing and at kung-fu. She is officially the best baker in the house; her cookies are fabulous, especially the ones with white chocolate and dark chocolate chips, or maybe it's the ginger snaps...

Charles is 9. He is my most kinetic learner. Boredom is just another word for "I gotta get up and play Legos." He has a gang of neighborhood kids that regularly show up to play outside. He is thoughtful, knits like nobody's business and draws fabulous pictures. Kung-fu has been something he loves and at which he excels, but he is ready to stop for now. Since this has been a pattern for my children around 9, I no longer why, it is a age of change. Dance, Girl Scouts, ice hockey, violin; these have all had their eras in our house. 

Thierry is well. He keeps himself in great shape biking 9 miles to work, rain or shine. His reading inspires me. He reads such a wide variety of books and articles that he always has something interesting to share with us. He is my exercise partner 3 times a week at the Y. It is so good to have someone else get out of bed at 4:45 too for that early morning class, especially on these dark and cold winter mornings.

As for working out; an exercise class (non-yoga) marks a new era in my life. Or at least it did, until a stress fracture in my foot stopped me in my tracks. It's healing nicely, and the frost bite on one toe is better too (honestly, the heavens have a great sense of humor).

I have only ever broken one bone in my life; a pinky toe, so this experience of sitting more is new. We have played so many games this past month; card games and Rummikub are favorites. I can't knit while playing "speed", but then again, it is so fast, you don't want to do anything else. Gael loves chess, and playing with him is quite the experience. Scrabble is my favorite; words rather than numbers, and hours of time between plays to knit.

My job has yielded good friendships and opportunities to be of help this year. Reading King Peggy and attending lectures on West Africa have given me more insight into the people I work with as a French interpreter. I wish I could spend some time in Africa; it is a world apart. Maybe someday. 

In the meantime; best wishes of joy, love and peace for the rest of these days of Christmas and for the new year!!! Think kind thoughts and be well,


PS. If you are feeling the spirit of the season and want to help one young lady succeed in her education, the "Donate to Angelique in America" button is an active one to the right. Angelique, whose story you can read at this link, arrived in the area last week from Africa; what a lovely girl! When she has enough for the first semester of college in the US, the button will be deactivated. Thank you!

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