Although we would have like to have sent a real letter to all our friends and family, we ran out of time and frankly, mailing letters from here to the US and Canada can get a bit expensive. Instead we are going to do a 2008 highlight blog.
Well, the biggest news since last years highlights came right at Christmas. Nathanael Matthew made his big debut and joined our family on Christmas morning at 8:09 a.m. (London time). You can read the previous blog for more info on him. All we can say is that he is a blessing to our family.
January - We were extremely happy to have both of our moms over to visit and help out at the end of December and early January. It was Steve’s mom’s first time and great to show her around. Our moms also spent a day in London together seeing the sights, as well as The Lion King live. We all enjoyed having them around and having the help.
February - Leah turned 3! She is quite the little jabber box of the family. She cracks us all up with some of the little, cute sayings she comes up with. Leah is a little princess and loves anything pink. She can also be rough and tumble with her brothers. Leah loves having a little sister (even though her little sister is bigger than she is). They are best of friends.
March - We (Steve, Marti and all four boys) made our way to London via train to visit the American Embassy to register Nate as an American citizen and apply for his passport. We were in the embassy two hours and then we took the boys to the British Museum. It was a nice day out with the older boys and it was much easier to take the Underground.
April - Steve turned 32! Steve is still enjoying his job at Caterpillar and has been stretched and grown as a leader quite a bit this year. He has actually made his way through two leadership books this year (plus a few others.)
May - Andrew turned 8 at the beginning of the month. Andrew is such a great big brother. He loves to learn and especially read. He can almost always be found with his nose in a book. He enjoys The Boxcar children set, which he is reading for the second time through ( I think we need to go book shopping) and the Chronicles of Narnia. Dad and Andrew read the Hobbit together this year and they both loved it. Andrew wanted to go right on with the Lord of the Rings, but Dad thought he should wait a few years. He also loves to build Legos with his brothers.
Tristan turned 5 at the end of the month! He is our very energetic little boy. He loves to run, play sports and is great with any sort of ball. He also makes guns out of anything and everything. Tristan loves having a baby brother and loves to play chase with him around the house. He, too, likes to build Legos with his brothers.
We took our first holiday of the year. First to Northern Ireland and then to Edinburgh, Scotland. We left on Andrew’s birthday. It was our first trip driving and we loved the flexibility. We stayed at a house in NI and rented an apartment in Edinburgh. It was so nice to have the extra space and also a kitchen where we could eat breakfast in and make a picnic lunch. Highlights from that trip were Giant’s Causway, hiking in Northern Ireland, driving the countryside, seeing all the sheep in NI. In Scotland, it was seeing Edinburgh Castle, seeing the Scotish crowned jewels, and hearing the one o’clock gun.
June - Annaliese turned two! She is talking more and more. She is a very tender hearted little girl and goes to comfort any of her siblings when they are sad or hurt. Anna is also quite the little mommy to Nathanael. She adores him and can be found in bed with him waking him up each day as soon as she wakes up. Anna also loves to help mommy bake. Whenever she sees me start getting food or bowls out, she comes running saying, “me help mommy.”
Steve’s mom, dad, brother, aunt and uncle came to visit. We had a great time showing them all around. We took them to Warwick Castle, Cambridge, and Lincoln. We also spent a day in London with them at the end of their time here. The kids loved having grandma and papa around to play with. At the very end of June, Annaliese’s birthday to be exact, we made our way back to the US for our home-leave trip. It was great to spend time with our families, catch up with friends, eat American food and shop where the prices are half of what we would spend here.
July - We spent the Fourth of July in America, celebrating with friends.
August - Cason turned 7! Cason has enjoyed being able to read this year and he is improving almost daily. He enjoys playing Legos with his brothers. Cason had a big heart, loves to help out and likes to organize things (I think he gets that from his mom).
We celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary this month. We did get dinner out to celebrate, but will have to wait for Grandma to come next summer to get a trip somewhere just the two of us. We are still deciding where to go. We maybe think somewhere in Italy like Venice or Milan. We’ll see.
September - We started our fourth year of homeschool. Wow, four years! We all enjoy it. We sometimes find it hard to fit is all in, but the kids are great learners and they work hard. We all enjoy the flexibility and mom especially loves the fact that she doesn’t have to get all six kids up in the morning, dressed, fed and out the door to walk or drive to school by nine a.m. We are still usually having breakfast at nine.
This month we also celebrated our second year anniversary of living in England. Oh, how time flies.
October - The beginning of October we took another vacation. This time we drove to Euro Disney in Paris, France. We drove down to the coast of England (Dover) and took a ferry across the channel. Daddy did great driving in France in the wrong side of the car on the right side of the road. We did three days at Disneyland and had an absolute blast. We also took the train into Paris for a day. That trip was a bit stressful, but we were still able to see some of the sights in Paris. Everyones favorite was the Eiffel Tower, of course.
November - It was a pretty uneventful months. We did celebrate our third Thanksgiving in England. We had a nice family dinner. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, the kids had some friends over for a Thanksgiving party. They all had a blast making Pilgrim and Indian hats, eating pumpkin cookies and playing a game.
December - Marti turned 32. Our good friends, Clayton and Rachel, and their four kid came over on the Saturday before and we celebrated. Rachel brought along her super, yummy, to die for chocolate cake. Thanks, Rachel. Marti loves being at home, enjoys reading when she has the time and a good book, loves baking, and adores teaching the kids and watching them learn.
The rest of the months was spent decorating and shopping for Christmas. It is hard to believe that this was our third Christmas in England. The time has flown by.
It is also hard to believe this letter sums up another year in our little, I mean big family. It feels like each year goes a little faster. We have so much enjoyed catching up with all of your families by reading your Christmas letters and seeing your pictures. We wish you all a very Happy New Year!