Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008!

Some people love to hate family Christmas letters. Truth is, I thought about letting our annual Christmas letter go this year but the kids really look forward to hearing their year summed up in a paragraph and remembering the silly things said and done that might otherwise be forgotten. Before you proceed, let me just remind you that you are here and reading this of your own free will and volition...;o)Matt is still saving the world one package at a time as UPS’s most loyal employee. One of the highlights of his year was traveling to Seattle with his parents in June. They thought he was accompanying them to his cousin, Josh’s wedding. Really, he was along for the chance to visit the hallowed birthplace of United Parcel Service. Photos were taken and a rubbing of the founding plaque now hangs on his office wall. It’s in a 20 x 30 frame. (I’m in a 3x5.) If I could sum up Matt’s year in one word it would be ‘service.’ Matt has been involved with Make Way for Books, United Way projects and most recently organized an aid station for bike riders on the Tour de Tucson route. Next year he hopes to be a rider! Matt also works with the 12 and 13 year old scouts at church. He spent many months during ’08 working with them on their Personal Fitness merit badge charting their progress running a mile, doing pull-ups, sit ups, etc. He couldn’t resist charting his own progress, as well. When he related this at work, a co-worker made the observation - ‘So, basically you’re racing children?’
Jenn is still doing adoption home studies although business has been quite slow. To fill in the gaps, I’ve been reorganizing and managing the files at the main office and preparing Kyrgyzstan dossiers-almost makes me wish I'd studied Russian instead of Spanish. I was able to travel to Minnesota in April to attend an agency partner conference and then planned a small weekend getaway to Sedona with Matt for our 15th wedding anniversary (Time flies!) and to attend cousin Aprille’s wedding. My renewed hobby is grinding wheat and baking from scratch. I've conquered pizza crust and a variety of muffins and have my sights set on tortillas. With all the doom and gloom in the news about the economy, I’ve taken my bargain hunting hobby to a new level. I am now an avid couponer and find pure joy in getting many grocery items for free or close to it. (Check out the sidebar for details! Seriously, coupons are going to be cool in '09. Trust me.) This exuberance coming from the girl who used to hide in the car with the seat reclined to avoid being seen at Target as a teenager!
Taylor turned 13 this year and is in the 8th grade. He still plans to be a meteorologist one day and has registered as a Southern Arizona Weather Watcher. It is a crack up to hear him call in his weather reports complete with precipitation descriptions and estimations of wind velocity. Just yesterday, he met his favorite local meteorologist, Chuck George (For Taylor, bigger than Oprah!), who was kind enough to have a quick chat with him about the colleges that he should be thinking about applying to and the classes he should be taking in preparation. I can't believe that we'll be registering him for high school in just a few months! Taylor plays the violin at school-a self-proclaimed ‘orch dork!’ He is also busy preparing to complete his Eagle project in the next few months. A few months ago, Matt introduced Taylor to the Twilight series. He was quick to initially dismiss it as a ‘girl book’ but gave it another shot when he realized that it is also a 'girls will talk to me if they see me with it' book. Needless to say, he read all 4 books in record time!
Audrey is 10 years old and is enjoying being a 5th grader-top of the elementary school food chain in our state. She plays the flute and the piano and is still attending Achievement Days at church. In February, our family got cable for the first time and our only regret is Audrey’s obsession with the Disney channel. We’re convinced that she would jump through the screen and join them if she could. While the first name of her future husband is yet to be determined, Audrey is fairly certain that her last name will one day be 'Jonas.' Audrey participated in cheer camp again this year and completed Babysitter Bootcamp. She watches the little boys for us for short periods of time and has even babysat outside of our home on a few occasions. She is really good with small children. I can’t wait to see her with her little sister!
Noah, at the ripe age of 7, has a serious crush on Taylor Swift despite Jenn’s standing ‘NO COUNTRY IN THE HOUSE’ rule. He's asked if he can send her a birthday present and often asks to eat at Cracker Barrel 'because that is her favorite restaurant.' He is also strangely enamored with politicians. During campaign season, our otherwise shy Noah chased a state legislator down the street barefoot just to introduce himself and shake his hand. Noah loves 2nd grade and wants Ms. Tinney to be his teacher ‘for the rest of his life.’ He is looking forward to turning 8 next year. He has agreed to postpone his baptism by a month or two if China travel interferes but was concerned that doing so might preclude him from joining cub scouts (?). One of the highlights of Noah’s year was watching a bobcat stalking prey (quail) in the wash that borders our home from his upstairs bedroom window. It was better than the Discovery Channel! Xander celebrated his 5th birthday this year by fishing for ostriches and riding in a monster truck at Picacho Peak. He loves to do his chores, wants to marry his mother and often prays for divine intervention in vital skills like learning to wink. To give you the whole picture we should also report that during 2008 Xander added running away from home, being kicked out of his Primary (Sunday school) class and stealing a sizable amount of cash from Jenn’s purse and stuffing it in his sock drawer to his been-there-done-that list. We are crossing our fingers that he has gotten it all out of his system at an early age and will be a mellow teenager... He attends Mr. Merrit’s class at St. Andrew’s preschool two days a week with his best buddies, Evan and Bennett. His first report card was hilarious. We loved how it described his behavior in terms such as ‘Oral communication is an area of strength for Xander’ when we know it really meant, ‘This kid never shuts up!’
We really hoped that this would be the year that our Christmas card would read, 'Meili Christmas!' and feature 5 faces instead of 4. Nine months of pregnancy culminating in childbirth now seems like a relatively easy way to have a child. In fact, we now have waited for Meili longer than Jenn was pregnant with all four kids combined. What a learning experience this has been! We certainly recognize the children that we have for the miracles that they are and have also learned that patience and faith go hand in hand. If good things come to those who wait, we are convinced that Heavenly Father has quite a blessing in store for us! We are eager to prove that this adoption is not a figment of our imagination by sending out an email and posting to the blog as soon as we have some good news and photo evidence to share (April or May?) so stay tuned!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2009!

Love , The Boutons

6 comments:

Isabella's Mommy and Daddy said...

BEAUTIFUL letter..
Sounds like everyone is doing well..
Have a Great Weekend...

Sherrie said...

I enjoyed reading your letter. Sounds like you all had a good year and I hope this next one will be even better for you, which will include the adoption of Meili. Best Wishes Always! Happy Holidays.

Isabella's Mommy and Daddy said...

Happy New Year..
You are getting sooo close..
Couple months...
I know you are freaking out..
This is going to be an AMAZING year..
Hugs..

Matt, Ann, Roslyn and Connor D. said...

jenn,

your blog cracks me up--loved the stuff about xander it made me laugh out loud

ann

Debbie said...

Long time no blog, is everything alright?? Just checking!!!

Isabella's Mommy and Daddy said...

Ok.. you need to do a post.. you are getting way tooooo close..
Have a great Sunday..