Merry Christmas!

It’s been too long yet again since we have written!  Here is our Christmas letter as a short update on our year! I wish there was a better way to post it, but with all the photos a link is best! So, the letter is below and the photos are attached as a link!

We hope and pray that your day has been blessed and joyous in Christ!  Blessings to you and your family!

Merry Christmas friends! We hope this letter finds you well and we pray that you are able to look back on the year with much thankfulness and gratefulness for the bountiful blessings God has given each of us. Often there is much difficulty, but as God sustains us through it all we hope you are able to see goodness and grace too!

As per our usual letter, here is a little update from each of us followed by a few photos from our year!

Brian (43): I hope that this reaches you with a refreshed spirit. As I reflect on the past year I can see how God has wonderfully been with us through another year. One of the most exciting things has been Aspen’s adoption! While the whole story is too long to share in this update, it is full of God’s grace and His perfect timing. We learned to trust Him more and to rely on Him through the adoption process. Please come over and visit so we can share the story with you!

I have been busy with tree work. I have been branching out (hehehe) with milling wood and building natural playgrounds with the trees I have taken down. I love reusing and repurposing the trees instead of just taking them to the landfill, making them firewood or grinding them into mulch. I hope to do more in the future and to use the milled wood to make furniture. I still lead the boys in Cub Scouts and we have already had a campout and cookout this fall and winter. Bethanie and I are still leading a Caregroup/Bible Study every Thursday…we would love to have you join us if you are interested.

Please visit if you are in the area. We love you and miss you.

Bethanie (37): Each year seems to pass faster and faster! We are still homeschooling this year and it’s been harder than years past. I’m not sure if it’s poor planning on my part, more kids to teach, higher grades, a baby in the mix, or what. But over the year we have been changing things and hopefully by the end of the year we will have it figured out! There have been many ups and downs for me over this year and I would characterize the year in view as God sustaining me through it all. I can’t say I’ve ever felt a surreal high, but there has been a steady grace from Him poured into me, that whatever the day holds, I have been able to make it to the end and into another new day. I’m so grateful. Otherwise, life looks a lot like last year, homeschooling, working at Kaiser and the birth center, selling essential oils, doing lots of crafting, gardening, and generally trying to stay outdoors as much as possible!

I was in California for 36 days for Aspen’s adoption. It was a challenging time for our family, but God was faithful! We came home with a baby boy! The time out there was also such a blessing. The family I stayed with cared for me and gave me much rest, physically and spiritually. We have new forever friends in CA!!! We also hope to put our house on the market in January and move locally to a new home with a yard and a bit more space, Lord willing! So we have been fixing up the house and painting every corner. Essentially, home repairs and our adoption has commandeered most of our year, but we have also done some day trip travels. Some of the more memorable locations include Mount Vernon, Manassas Battlefield Park, American History Museum, Lots of trips to the neighborhood pool, National Cathedral, and Luray Caverns!

But enough about us… on to the kids!!!

Tonchi(10): I like having my new adopted baby brother around. I like to babysit him, feed him, and change his diapers (even poopy ones!!!). I like hanging around with my friends and we have our own Ninja club. So far we have created a lot of levels!!! In cub scouts I’m now in Weblos II and I have to give a report about flags. We went to the Bible Museum in DC and I really liked the Drive Through History clips. There were like 20! I’m not in the little kids Sunday school anymore, but in a class for the big kids that is taught by one of the pastors. I like to read novels, mysteries and science fiction. My favorite books this year were The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Lawn Boy and Geronimo Stilton.

Koa(8): I’m still doing cub scouts this year and it’s a lot of fun. I’m in Bears and Papa is my Den leader. Some of the things we did include camping, planting flags on graves on Memorial Day, service projects at church, and I gave a presentation on two men who have changed history in our country. I picked Paul Revere and ‘Stonewall’ Jackson`. We are doing a homeschool co-op this year and I’ve gotten to make new friends. My favorite classes are robotics and sign language. Some of my favorite books from this year include the Crispen series, Lewis and Me, and Where the Red Fern Grows.

Aisling(6): Thank you for all of you visiting us! I’m 6 now. I like riding my bike and helping my sister ride her bike. We have ice cream for lunch on our first day of school and it’s the best! Xanthie and I like to play together a lot and we play house mostly. I really like choir at my co-op classes. I wasn’t scared when I had speaking lines in the Christmas play. Everybody did good. For my birthday I got hippo cupcakes and they are my favorite cupcakes EVER! I got a funny face pancake for dinner that Mama made! I like being with my family including my newest brother Aspen who is the cutest. My favorite books from this year include The Penderwicks, the Crispin series and Pax.

Xanthie(4): I really love my class (homeschool co-op), and we have a Christmas tree. I really like when we have friends with us. I eat a lot of apples and I cook with Papa all da time. I play mama with Aisling a lot too. I like to read Piggy and Gerald books and I like reading baby books to Aspen.

Aspen(6 months): I just got here, and I have a lot to learn, but I’m learning and growing fast! I love watching my siblings and I try so hard to do what they do! I smile all the time and laugh a lot. I don’t nap during the day much because there is just too much going on, but I do sleep well at night! I feel like I’m always meeting new people, but I like people… so if I haven’t met you please come for a visit!

Thanks for making it to the end and not just skipping to the photos! We hope you enjoyed our lengthy update, and if you’d like more details, more stories, more chaos and noise, then PLEASE stop by! There is always food and drink to be had and we are happy to share! AND… stay tuned for the much anticipated address change that we hope for in the new year! God bless you and we hope each of you have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Family Photos from the year!

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