Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Letter

It seems like Christmas cards, and their accompanying newsy letters, are becoming a thing of the past.  Each year, we receive fewer and fewer; usually from the older generation of friends and relatives.  I have to confess that last year, in all the hubbub of the holidays with three generations living here, I didn't send out any cards at all.  Not a single one.  And not a single letter, either.  I'd been sending out Christmas letters since I first got my hands on a computer and printer (my sister-in-law's, I think) in 1998.

This year, I am determined to do better than be a Christmas card no-show.  Especially after hearing from numerous people how they missed reading my 'fun' letter last year; they felt like we'd lost touch.

So, I may be a bit late--being as I'm just now printing out the letter and realizing I need to go buy more stamps--but I'm going to get a letter and card into the hands of all our dear and distant loved ones this Christmas season.

With a few changes to keep this blog as anonymous for my family as possible, here is a copy of my 2016 holiday letter:

You might have noticed that this year's card is signed "DH and Kris".  If so, you might have said to yourself  "Wait, didn't their signature line used to take up half the card?  What happened to their kids?"

It's for that reason that this letter is written.  And, well, because we didn't get a letter or cards sent out in 2015, so you might be wondering what has been going on in our family for the past two years.

"What happened to their kids?" They grew up and moved out, every single one of them! (If you think you hear slightly maniacal laughter, you're probably right.)  This nest is empty!  After 26+ years of having kids at home, it's finally just DH and I.  Talk about culture shock!

So what are the kids doing now?  Well. . .

DS1, K2 and their two kids (K3 and Toad) lived with us from late September 2014 until early February 2016 when they moved into their own place about six or seven miles away. DS1 and K2 are both attending college, and both also work.  As you can imagine, that keeps them incredibly busy.  Add in a 4 year old and a 2 year old, and, well, yeah, what else is there possibly time for?  They did manage to squeeze in a wedding on May 23, 2015; it was a gorgeous day for their small outdoor wedding ceremony and reception.

DS2 graduated (summa cum laude) from (name of his college) on May 2, 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.  He had a job waiting for him with (a member of the Big Three), and he has been living in the Detroit area since leaving the U.P. (when (his member of the Big Three) doesn't have him traveling to places like Kentucky, Arizona, or Mexico, that is!)  When he's not working or on business related travel, he likes to take off into the wilderness; he's hiked and backpacked in the Adirondacks, the Smokies, and on Isle Royale since graduating college.

DD1 is working her tail off finishing up her degree in Elementary Education with a certification in Early Childhood Education. She has two semesters to go. She has been living in Grand Rapids and attending (name of her college) campus there for the past couple of years.  When not in class, she has been working at a childcare center, and this fall she took on the lead teacher position for their infant/toddler room.  (For those of you who might be wondering, yes, she and Honorary Son are still together.  Honorary Son just graduated from (name of his college) earlier this month with a Bachelor of Science in Film and Video.) 

DD2 graduated high school in May 2015 (that was a super busy month for our family--two graduations and a wedding).  She is now in her second year at (name of her college) where she is NOT studying engineering.  (name of her college) is well known as an engineering school, but they also have other programs, as she likes to point out every time anyone says "oh, what kind of engineering are you studying?" when they hear that she attends (name of her college).  DD2 is majoring in Wildlife Ecology and has also declared a minor in International Spanish.  She absolutely loves life in the U.P., and typically calls home about once a week with something exciting to share about her classes.  This past summer, she worked for the DNR at one of the state parks near home, and was able to transfer to the state park near (name of her college) when it was time to go back to school; so she had not only a memorable summer, but also was able to keep working part time for a large portion of the fall semester.  Next time you see her, ask her about manning the check station during bear hunting season! 

And that is what happened to all our kids. 

Meanwhile, DH and I are starting to get the hang of being 'just the two of us' after all these years.  He is still kept very busy working for (a member of the Big Three, different from DS2) (you should hear the ribbing that goes on at the dinner table when DS2 comes home to visit).  If he's not at work, he's typically out in the woods either cutting firewood or hunting deer, depending on the season.  He took a really nice 8-point buck with his crossbow this past October.

I'm still working with horses, although this past August I left the farm I had been working at when you last got a Christmas letter from us.  Currently I do morning feed at a local eventing barn, as well as clean stalls at the dressage farm where I have been boarding and taking lessons since April of this year.  I'd shelved my riding aspirations in the frenzied years of getting kids through high school, and now I'm more than ready to focus on achieving my riding dreams.  I might end up being the oldest rider to ever reach the Grand Prix level, but darn it, I'm gonna get there someday!

So, that's pretty much what's been happening with all us (our last name here) for the past two years.

Being as I'm rather a bit late getting cards out this year (better late than not at all, like last year, eh?) I'm guessing it after Christmas as you are reading this.  We hope your Christmas was a joyful one.   May the New Year be filled with blessings.

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