Thursday, January 1, 2015

Life Around Here

It’s been several years since I've managed to get a Christmas/New Year’s letter out. I thought I would post a little update here on how everyone is doing. So here is a summary of life around here...

Laina just turned 20 this week- the first to make it past the teenage years and onto the other side! She worked 2 jobs this past year saving up for school, often putting in over 60 hours per week. She was accepted into the Center for Massage and Natural Health in Asheville, where she will be starting in early March. She is looking forward to this new chapter in her life and we are excited for her to practice her new found skills on us! We still have a lot of details that need to work out over the next few weeks- most importantly securing a reliable vehicle and a place to live that won’t break the bank. What a comfort to know that God knows all the answers and we are excited to see what He has in store for her. Of course, our entire family will miss her- and maybe she will miss all of us just a little as well :)

Cort turned 18 last week. He is in his second year working as a full time mechanic for a large landscape company just down the street. He is finishing up his schooling and will be graduating in May. He works on the side fixing cars and welding, which is his number one love. He is planning to get his certifications as a welder and hopes to pursue a job in that field of work. He also bought a motorcycle this past year and loves to ride. We are especially grateful for all the work he does maintaining and fixing our vehicles!

Rylie is 14 and started high school this year. She loves photography and started a little business named Whimsical Photography this past year taking individual and family portraits. She hopes to branch out into fashion photography as well in the coming year. She also joined our local newspaper’s Teens & Twenties column as one of the photographers, and also occasionally writes for them. She enjoys reading, dance and decorating. She is also our number one babysitter as the older ones are usually at work. She really misses her bestie who moved out of the area this past year, but hopes to visit her in the coming year. She is eagerly anticipating taking driver’s ed this coming year- driver #3!

Elise recently turned 12. She is Addie’s second mommy and is a tremendous helper. She loves all things pertaining to animals and is excited to be riding horses again, although this time English! She persuaded us into getting a hamster, and although the little fur ball is super cute, she runs on her treadmill ALL NIGHT LONG! Elise enjoyed taking a fashion class this past fall at a local co-op and loves to draw clothing designs as well as nature pictures. She is our avid bird watcher and can often be found photographing birds up and down our lane.

Luke and Edmond turned 10 in November. I hate to lump them together, but they invariably do the same thing- so I’d end up repeating myself. They diligently take care of the animals- all of the chickens, the dogs and the cat. They enjoy wood-working, watching big brother fix things and spend hours and hours building with legos. They enjoy learning anything to do with science and are excited to take classes at our homeschool co-op where they are learning Brain Games and French.

Ashlyn is 7. As the oldest of our “little” girls, she is a big helper. She loves taking ballet. She also enjoys cooking and helping in the kitchen as well as doing crafty things. She is my errand companion and is always the first to volunteer to go with me.

Eva recently turned 6. She finished her Brain Balance therapy back in April and we are just thrilled with the “new” little girl that has emerged! She tested around age level in most areas, even testing at an 8 year old level in auditory processing. She continues to grow and mature, is halfway through her Kindergarten math and is well on her way to learning how to read. What an amazing difference to the little girl we had just a year ago! She is full of wit and is a lot of fun to be with. We are thankful for her willingness to help and her sensitive and caring spirit.

Haven is 4 and is also doing some school work with the big kids. She enjoys drawing and coloring and playing outside. She also loves animals and hopes to someday ride horses like her big sister Elise. Haven is our comedian and has a comical way about her that endears her to us. She loves story time and to snuggle with whoever is willing.

Addie remains our baby, although she is 2. She is extremely loquacious for her age and has no trouble keeping up with the gang. Although she loves to play with her siblings, she also plays tremendously well by herself. It took having 7 daughters to finally have one that loves to play with dolls. She keeps our family going with her sweet disposition and her adorableness.

My amazing other half continues to work hard to support our family. This provided its challenges this past year, but I so admire his tenacity and creativity to keep moving forward, despite all of the obstacles that seemed to constantly get in the way. He has had the opportunity to travel around the country, to Canada and to the Caribbean several times in 2014. He was asked to meet with key government people in the islands and even had a 2 hour meeting with the President of one of these islands to discuss economic growth and development.  Although we don’t know what will be the outcome of these meetings, we know that God has our future in His hands and we are His instruments if He chooses to use us in any way in the Caribbean.

And then there is me- I am so thankful to be a stay-at-home mom that gets to be involved in the lives of this crazy, big family. This is my 15th year home schooling, and this is the first time we have joined home school co-ops. My kids are really enjoying their classes and I especially like the extra accountability it gives my older ones to stay on top of higher math and sciences.  I spend a lot of time driving kids places as well as a lot of time in the kitchen preparing everything from scratch. This year I have continued to learn how to make things grain free and I love trying out new recipes. I am also doing a home-study on essential oils and hope to pursue a certification in aromatherapy in the coming year, emphasizing oils used for pregnancy, labor and delivery, as well as newborns. 

We enjoyed a quick (and snow-filled) trip "home" to NJ with Thanksgiving. It was the first time most of my husband's family got to meet our 2 littlest girls, and we also got to meet a few cousins (nieces and nephews) that we had not yet met. Here are Opa & Oma with most of their grandchildren. They have 33 grandchildren and one great grandson (4 were not able to be there, 1 is in heaven, and 1 is overseas serving in the military)...

Eva & Opa became fast buddies!

The cousins enjoyed spending time together...

We have much to be thankful for this past year, including many of our friends, both new and old,who have prayed for us and supported us in so many ways. What a privilege to be part of the body of Christ and to see God's love in action! It is our prayer that all who are reading this will know God's amazing presence and provision in the year ahead. Happy 2015!


  1. I love the photos and learning more about your beautiful family:)