Happy New Year! Hello, 2020!

Well, nothing like last minute to get this digital, no addresses, stamps, or envelopes involved, holiday letter out to all of my friends and family! One of my favorite childhood memories of Christmas time was helping my mom write our Christmas letter each year. Like the rockstar mom she is, she always had the cutest rhyming poem and the cutest pictures to match. ❤  I can’t even touch that. But, I also remember getting to open all of the letters and cards from friends and families and getting to read about all the things my cousins and distant friends had been up to. Now, we have instant daily updates thanks to social media and letters are becoming a little less popular. So, I guess this is my attempt at keeping a little of the past connected to the present/future.

Allison celebrated her first birthday in January, which means we are coming up on birthday #2 very soon! It is hard to believe my baby is going to be 2. She is the B.O.S.S. She talks in sentences and even though people always comment on how tiny she is, she can out-sass anyone in this house. She does have a sweet streak however and she knows the perfect times to use it. She amazes us every day with how smart and innovative she is. She started going to Early Headstart in Batesland in August. She knows her colors and can count to ten. She is still nursing 297395 times a day because she is very stubborn, but it also gives me a little reason to sit and enjoy her being little. We are looking forward to seeing how much bossing her older sisters can take in 2020.

Abbigail turned three in May and she continues to be our soft hearted sweetie. Even though her little sister tends to run the show, Abbi    is always a good sport and remains sweet to her baby sister. Abbigail started going to Head Start in September. Her classroom is in my school, so I get the privilege of walking her to school every morning. She still cries every morning when I drop her off and I am pretty sure she only does it to make think she is missing me because every day after school she runs up to me and yells, “Today was the best day ever!” She really loves her teacher and friends. Because we are normal, biased parents we obviously think our kid if pretty smart. Abbi    can identify many letters, counts to 20, writes her name, colors in the lines, loves to sing and dance and can carry on a conversation for like 60 seconds. She is a really fun kid who’s hugs can seriously turn your whole day around.

Little Miss E has been with us for half of the year, so she has more than earned her spot in our letter. She is in the first grade and has the best teacher of all time. She loves going to school and she says her favorite part of her day is math and recess. She has made lots of friends and she almost always has a smile on her face. I look forward to the times that I see her in the hallways because I am always greeted with a big hug and an “I love you, mommy”. Nothing gets me through the day quite like that. She is an awesome helper at home and she enjoys playing barbies and games with Abbi    and Allison. She is really looking forward to the warmer weather so that she can ride the new bike she got from Santa.  She fits right in with us and we are blessed to have her here.

Tasha finished her spring semester at Vermillion and decided to take a little break from the college scene until she finds the right fit for higher education. She is currently living in Martin with her boyfriend Cody and she works at the hospital as a receptionist. She is hoping to start online courses to work towards a degree in the new year. We are proud of her for working hard and not giving up on her goals. It is also nice to know she is close by. We haven’t gotten together nearly enough, but we have met at the bowling alley where Ray has lost a bet or two! HA!

Livia is still in Sioux Falls and after a couple program changes she is officially pursuing the dental assistant program at Lake Area Tech. She moved home for a couple months during the summer to save up some money before moving into a new apartment. It was really nice to have her home, even though she worked over 40 hours every week. She bought a new-to-her car about the time school started. She has three jobs in Sioux Falls, so she is very busy and we don’t hear from her too often. I don’t know how she does it all, but she is an incredibly hard worker and we are very proud of her for that.

Ray spent 2019 working for his father-in-law doing lots of “fun” things and dedicating his spare time to the fire department. They had a pretty decent hay crop this year and Ray spent the majority of his summer in the hay field. They just finished corn harvest a few days before Christmas and we all rejoiced in that! January 2019 he was awarded Firefighter of the Year and just recently he was voted in as first assistant chief. I am very proud of his efforts. Ray loves to give to those in need and being a part of the fire department has been a great outlet for him to be helpful. He is also keeping up with 6 women, so if you see the guy he probably needs a drink.

As for me, well, I was promoted to Dr. Chaos Coordinator in June and have been busy fulfilling those duties. Jokes! But I do feel as if every moment of my day is very full. I am in my fourth year of teaching 2nd grade at Batesland School and I still love my school and job very much. I will graduate with my Masters of Education in Reading in May. I have really enjoyed all the learning, but I will be relieved to have the classes behind me and ready to have the time back. Once again, I organized and accompanied the school Christmas concert. I was also persuaded to start a middle school choir. I am certainly not a world class musician, but I have really enjoyed helping students grow their love and knowledge of music even in the simplest ways. Going forward into 2020, I am hoping the rest of the school year goes smoothly and possibly looking into something new for the fall. We will see! 🙂

We traveled to Salt Lake City to watch my sister graduate, we moved, we visited many friends and family, continued to foster youth, spent every weekend at our pumpkin patch, and got a dog. 2019, not the most eventful year ever, but we all had a birthday to celebrate and that is something we can thank the good Lord for.

Thank you for being our friends and part of our family through another year. We pray for the health and happiness for all of you in 2020.