Saturday, 17 January 2015

The After Christmas, After New Year Letter for 2014

Dear Family and Friends, 

As has happened in the past, we're a little slow in getting the annual update out. Our excuse is that we were getting ready for a Disney World trip and then we were on the trip for the first week of January. It was a great trip and everyone had a good time. A few pictures will be posted to Facebook (if you're not on FB and really want to see those, let me know and I can send you a Dropbox link).

We all got a year older. We're a year closer to Aimee, as I try to remind myself. It was a good year overall.

Tartan Alex is now a junior at HBU. He was able to go to Oxford during the summer as part of a school group to take a class on British literature. They stayed in Oxford and visited various locales, including London. He was pretty chuffed to go to the pub where the Inklings used to meet and to visit the White Horse that inspired Chesterton's "Ballad of the White Horse". He continues to be able to find one class each semester in which he'll get a "B" in the midst of this "A's". He will turn 21(!) this coming March. But don't worry- he figured out he doesn't like alcohol while at the Oxford pubs. He is also the only one in the family who decided to edit his paragraph in this letter.

Kyrie is cruising through her senior year (my word, not hers). This past year she danced at Project Dance Houston and Project Dance New York with BET (Ballet Excelsior Trainees) and then in the summer she went back to New York with a group from church to participate in SpreadTruth NY. Their mission is to spread the truth of Jesus through vacation Bible schools, basketball & soccer camps, and being available to talk to people in and around Central Park. Kyrie was involved in the vacation Bible school at Brooklyn Tabernacle and found it to be an amazing experience. In the spring, she took her ballet exam for level 7 and moved into level 8. No decisions have been made about where she'll be going next year for college.
Aidan is a freshman in high school this year, though he may look at you blankly for a moment if you ask him what grade he's in. He is taking two classes outside home this year: speech and biology. He continues to be involved in his scout troop and with OA (Order of the Arrow). He was on staff for Webelos Woods (a campout where troops introduce cub scouts to boy scouts) and he was able to attend the last winter camp at Camp Strake. The campground has been sold and a new property is being worked on that is further away, but not surrounded by urban and suburban areas. He moved through several belts this year in taekwondo and is currently a red belt. Next is red tip, brown and then black. Shortly after his 15th birthday, he obtained his driver's permit so the driving lessons have commenced!

Abigail, a seventh grader, was excited to be able to join BET this year and danced in their Christmas program in Market Street in The Woodlands the weekend before Christmas along with Kyrie. She took her ballet exam last spring for level 6 and is in level 7. She was the only one examining at that level so she had to do the exam all by herself! She of course passed with flying colors. She is also taking a couple of the level 8/9 classes this year as well as the usual slate of classes: modern, hip hop, and conditioning. The school class she is most enthused about is Japanese. She is using a program called Human Japanese to assist her in learning the language as her dream is someday to live in Japan. She is a big fan of K-Pop and just used Christmas money to order a concert hoodie of her favorite band, Exo.

Kayleigh is a fourth grader. At her recent well child exam we discovered that she is actually 50th percentile for height. This may not seem like a big deal, but for a child that has hovered between 5th and 20th percentile since she was a toddler, that's a gain. She's still pretty light weight but everything is probably going into her stretching out. She enjoys reading, watching movies, playing on the Wii or computer, and when she can arrange it, playing games with her siblings (and sometimes parents, too). One of her favorite games is any variation of the ABC game (ie. animals: the first person thinks of an "A" animal like alligator, the next person a "B" animal and so on). We've done anything mentioned in the Bible, movies, actors/actresses, characters in books or movies, cities, and I'm not sure how many more.

Tartan and I celebrated our 24th anniversary in Galveston this year. It was an incredible experience, well above what we were expecting. We stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast and Tartan tried to get us reservations at a restaurant that had been highly recommended: Rudy and Paco's. It looked like they were fully booked through the entire weekend, but we stopped by the restaurant to see if they could squeeze us in. They were closed until the evening, but then we met the owner (Paco) as we turned to leave. He treated us like we were long, lost friends! He made sure we would get seats at the bar if a table couldn't be arranged and then he personally gave us a mini-tour of the 1894 Opera House where they were setting up for a sold-out concert. We did get a table- someone had to cancel and Paco made sure that we were immediately called and given the table. The food was amazing and we enjoyed looking at all the signed photos of famous people who have been to the restaurant. We were even treated to dessert, courtesy of Paco. All that's not even the most amazing part, though. We were at one of the spots for the Art Walk that was going on when Tartan got a call- would we like to go to the concert at the Opera House? Yes, the sold-out concert. It was Aaron Neville and Dr. John. We said yes and next thing we know, we're having champagne in a box seat listening to some great music.

Well, that's a small snapshot of our past year. We pray for you and ourselves that this coming year finds us doing what God has in mind for us and trusting Him with that. May you know the peace and joy of Jesus this year and always.

A Disney dinner at Teppan Edo