Sunday, December 18, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

Merry Christmas! We are so thankful for another year of health and happiness! We hope and pray that you and yours are healthy and happy also. Life may be hard at times, but God is always good!

It’s been another busy year for us. We continue to make improvements and additions to “the farm.” This year we added 2 hives of honeybees, about 20,000 bees. They are currently doing okay. Other than a taste (YUM!), we were not able to harvest any honey this year, which is standard for first year hives. It was a tough year for bees in general because of our very wet spring. Honey costs have gone up because of that, so we’re hoping for a decent harvest in 2012. Paul and my dad built a lean-to to protect the hives from the wind and weather. We also purchased a new batch of chickens this year, all about 10 weeks old each. We thought we were getting 9 hens and 1 rooster, but the summer would hold some surprises for us as one of our hens turned out to be a rooster. We quickly found out that 2 roosters is too many, especially when one becomes the “attack rooster.” He was butchered in October and provided enough meat for a couple of pots of stew. We lost two of our hens after a storm overturned the chicken coop in early August, but acquired a stray hen this fall. So we’ve currently got 7 hens and 1 rooster.

Caleb is 22 months old and a bundle of energy and enthusiasm. His vocabulary is increasing daily and I’m often surprised by what comes out of his mouth. He has learned to climb and run and get into trouble much quicker than his brothers did at this age. We are so thankful for all the joy he has brought to our lives.

Elijah turned 5 in August and began homeschool kindergarten. He is quickly learning to read and shows quite an aptitude for math especially. He loves to follow Paul around and help him with tasks. His sense of humor is quite entertaining and he is constantly telling everyone that he loves them. We appreciate his affection and desire to help.

Ethan turned 9 in July and started 4th grade. We continue to homeschool him and it has been such a blessing for us all. He’s becoming a very independent learner and has developed interests in iron ore boats, shipwrecks, and drama. With Paul’s help designing and building his car, he won 1st place at the AWANA grand prix in March, even setting a new track record for speed. He also spent lots of time this spring catching minnows in our ditch. Due to the benevolence of my aunt, Ethan started piano lessons in May and is doing very well. Both boys are involved in a homeschool co-op and are able to participate in more individualized classes. They also were able to spend 5 days with my parents in Copper Harbor, MI. Both boys have developed some archery skills this year thanks to my dad and Paul.

In October, we traveled to Washington state on the train. It was quite the adventure with all three boys. We spent two nights and a day getting there (in a sleeping car). While there we visited Mount St. Helen’s, walked through Ape Cave - North America’s longest lava tube, hiked through Lava Canyon, played at a couple of beaches on the Pacific Ocean, drove through the Cascade Mountains, hiked in a rainforest, and made a lot of memories before taking the train back home a week later. It was a great trip and we hope the boys remember it for a long time.

When Paul’s not working hard at Honeywell, he’s working hard at home. Not many days go by without me thanking God for him and his skills. He spent a day this fall moving ~6,000 lbs. of a mill and lathe (from work that were “scrap”) into our garage to set up in order to build things with the boys. He is such a good dad and husband. I retired from La Leche League this summer after almost 5 years of being a leader. There was a dwindling need for it in this area, though I continue to use what I’ve learned to help friends in a casual way. In October, both Paul and I stepped down from our positions at our church in order to start a new venture….starting a house church. This is something we’d been feeling God’s leading towards for quite some time. We really feel the need to have a truly family-integrated worship. We are starting slowly, but have already felt the blessings of doing this. We would appreciate prayers as we figure out how God would have us proceed.

Praying Jesus is at the center of your Christmas this year,
Paul, Rachel, Ethan , Elijah, and Caleb

1 comment:

Marisa said...

Oh my goodness, I can't believe Elijah is in school! Time has flown.

I'm in the midst of building some beehives, so I hope to be going on that adventure, soon!!