Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Letter 2012

Our Christmas Tree, pictured on Black Friday after we decorated with our parents and the kids...

Dear Friends and Family

C- Christmas Joy, and Christopher Pop-in-kins- He’s our “elf on the shelf” who finds a new place to sit every evening after the kids go to bed, and they excitedly look for him when they come down the stairs for breakfast. With decorations, desserts on the counter, and Christmas music streaming from the internet, a festive feeling is in the air. Jace recently inquired about Santa, saying, "Does Santa bring presents to big kids too?" To which Sarah replied, "Yes, of course--the ones that are good. That's a lot of pressure isn't it?"J Life is filled with a lot of laughs from the way our preschoolers relate to one another, and to us. We are in blessed days, and thankfully, we are aware of it.

H- Happiness, Helping, and Heaven- While adjusting to three kids has been a challenge, there is much laughter and joy in our home.  Gwyneth is an active, happy little girl who is celebrating her third birthday this December.  She tends to want to do the opposite of what she is told to do, but will quickly help in any way she is asked.  This may involve smothering the baby in burp cloths or pushing a large storage bin at church.  Jace, at 4 ½ years, is smart enough to sit back and let her help him at every opportunity.  Jace is currently taking tae-kwon-do classes and we are seeing improvements in confidence and coordination.  Being a thinker, he recently had a day when he was focused on heaven all day. Right around bedtime this culminated in a crying little boy who told Daddy he didn’t want to go to heaven without his blankie.  Another comment that made us chuckle was his desire to have a “peanut butter and jelly casserole” – according to Jace “it’s a dessert”.  It is wonderful to watch the kids enjoy life and we do all we can to savor this stage.

R- Rest- We look forward to a little more…

I-Iowa- We had a chance to visit Sarah’s family, from the Des Moines area, in September. She scheduled an internship to complete a portion of her certification as an acupuncturist. Sarah’s sister, Hannah, took some of the pictures you see, while we were there. Thankfully, we’ve been able to see all our immediate family in IA, KY, and IN. The times with our families fly by too quickly and are immensely enjoyed, but with a seven-month-old baby, two preschoolers, and Sarah’s full work schedule, trips take some planning.

S- Stay at home dad- John builds his skill at doing laundry, keeping the house clean, reloading and unloading the dishwasher, and doing everything again and again… He continues to make it to the gym three times a week, read and write on the side, and recently has enjoyed volunteering for the Clergy Education and Development Division of the Wesleyan Church by calling pastors to pray for and encourage them. John helps to teach a preschooler Sunday School class, host a small group with Sarah, and greet on occasion at Harvest Church on Sunday mornings.
Grandma Packard and the kids...

T- Thanksgiving- It was a privilege to go to John’s sister, Becky Perkins’, home for our Thanksgiving Dinner. All John’s side of the family attended, and Sarah’s mother, Linda, graced us with her presence as well. It was terrific to have both sets of grandparents in our home for a few days following the Thanksgiving holiday to connect and bond with our kids.

M-Miracles- This family believes in them. David and Anna Verne Lee (John’s parents) have both battled cancer over the past years, and all is clear in both of them! We thank the Lord for the birth of a new daughter as well. Quinn Michelle, as referred to by Jace and Gwyneth, arrived on April 24 and is growing up quickly. She is a happy baby who knows how to demand our attention when something in her life is a little off kilter. Sarah recently began introducing her to solid food. She’s beginning to master sitting on her own and she is more mobile than her siblings were at the same age. We are aware of God’s blessings through the journey, and don’t want to be blinded to anything new God wants us to see.
Thanksgiving, with all the grandparents here...
A- Acupuncture- Sarah is a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. It is very rewarding to help pets live a high quality of life whether conventional medicine has failed or the owners desire a different form of treatment.  She has also developed additional skill in herbal medicine to supplement the needle treatments. Her schedule is busy and her clients are faithful. We still enjoy Fridays when she is home, and our shopping day on Tuesday, when we get to go to Costco as a family and enjoy all the samples

S-Savior- We are thankful for Jesus, who brings hope and light into our lives. He saves us from our sin and sets us free to serve others. In a VBS this summer, Jace went forward to signify that he wanted to make a commitment to a relationship with Jesus. We try to foster that relationship with Christ in ourselves and each one of our kids.

Have a blessed Christmas! John, Sarah, Jace, Gwyneth, and Quinn
Isaiah9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (NIV)