Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Letter

Dear Family and Friends,

As we reflect on this past year we feel grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who allows us to grow through our trials while providing guidance and love and an over abundance of blessings.  We have truly been blessed this year!

The year started out with our sweet Piperleigh coming fresh from Heaven.  She has created such a fun dynamic in our home.  She is happy and sweet and also has a bit of fire in her.  She still has very little hair but the small amount she does have seems to be reddish.  Piperleigh's presence in our home has allowed us all to keep Laila fresh in our memory, bringing us all tender feelings from time to time.  Piper keeps herself busy walking and playing with anything shiny she can find.  We love her so much and are so grateful to be able to love and squeeze on her.  (maybe a little too much?!)

Eli has had an exciting year!  He turned five in April and was able to have his first friend party.  He chose a dinosaur themed party to go along with his love for dinosaurs.  His favorite show is the Discovery channel's Dinosaurs Walking episodes and he regularly spouts off random information about various dinosaurs.  Eli started half-day kindergarten this year and loves everything about it.  He has made wonderful friends and loves his teacher (who was also Isaac's kindergarten teacher).  Elijah loves to sing and knows how to lighten every situation.  Eli and Piper have a special connection.  She follows him everywhere and he can make her laugh more than any one else in the family.  I am so grateful that Eli is in half-day kindergarten.  I'm not quite ready for my buddy to be gone all day long.  He is such a help and so protective of me.

This year Isaac is in second grade.  He loves school, his teacher, and his friends.  Isaac also had a friend party this year when he turned 7.  He and his friends jumped to their hearts content at trampoline world.  Isaac finally lost his first tooth and now has a second loose tooth!  Isaac is a fantastic artist, his favorite thing to draw being sharks.  This year Isaac turns eight and is anticipating being baptized.  Isaac is a great big brother and has been such a wonderful help to me this year.

Will is excelling in third grade.  Like his brothers, he loves his teacher.  This year has been an exciting one for Will.  In March he turned eight and in April he was baptized.  We are proud of him for choosing to be baptized.  He also started cub scouts and has already earned his bobcat and wolf.  Will continues to read every book in his sight.  He spends his free time reading, playing the computer, watching TV, and playing on the trampoline.  Will continues to be a calm influence in our home.  I am inspired by his happy go lucky attitude and his ability to take criticism so well.  I hope to be just like him when I grow up ;).

This year has been an eventful one for Mike.  In May Mike headed to a two-month training in Alabama.  It was hot and he ran a lot.  Thankfully, he had a friend from our ward across the hallway who drug Mike out to various restaurants and social events, forcing Mike to make friends and be social.  Mike has been teaching the 11 year olds at church and also does the 11 year old scouts.  Mike took the GRE and got an almost perfect score.  He applied and was accepted to Texas A&M to get his PhD.  He is currently waiting to find out if he was accepted to MIT.  When Mike isn't teaching the cadets he is home helping me and playing with the kids.  I have needed his help this year and have so appreciated his selfless service to our family.  In February Mike volunteered for a deployment to Kuwait.  He was supposed to leave this December but after some crazy events, we were notified that his deployment was canceled and he will be staying home!  We are all so happy that he gets to stay home with us.

Last December I went into labor with Piperleigh.  I have loved having another baby to cuddle and hold.  She has brought so much joy to me this year.  A month after Piper was born I got my wisdom teeth out.  I was nursed by my sister Lindsey, my mother-in-law, and Mike.  I was lucky to have so much help while I recovered and to have help with the baby.  While Mike was gone this summer I had an unfortunate accident where I broke my kneecap.  The break was bad enough to require surgery and a six week non-weight bearing recovery on crutches.  Again, I was blessed to have so much help from Mike, the boys, my mother-in-law, friends, and our nephew.  It was difficult but I felt so much support and love from my Heavenly Father.  My knee has required months of physical therapy and will be a year long recovery period but I am making huge improvements each week and feel so thankful and happy to be taking care of my family again.  I am learning to swim and feel grateful for all the small things I am able to do again, like shower on my own and get Piper in and out of bed.  I have been enjoying teaching Sunday School to the 12, 13, and 14 year olds at church.  They are a crazy bunch of kids (mostly boys) that I love!  The news that Mike is not going to Kuwait, was the best Christmas present I have ever received.

Laila would be just over two and a half this year.  We miss her and visit her grave frequently.  We are grateful for the memories we have of her and for her continued influence in our lives.  We are thankful for our Heavenly Father who sent His son Jesus Christ to be born and die for us.  As we reflect on his birth we feel grateful for the ultimate gift of the Atonement and resurrection that allows us to see Laila again.  We know she continues to live in the spirit world and is busy and happy.

We feel thankful for so many things.  We appreciate the wonderful friendships we have made and know our lives are enriched by the friends and family we have.  We hope this year brings happiness and peace to each of you and hope we can show our love to each of you throughout the coming year.

1 comment:

Frances said...

Merry Christmas Richards! I finally got around to reading my email and was so happy to read this letter. Such good things happening for your family. Congrats Mike! Brook leaves in a couple of days for SOS as well.