Here is the letter that I finished and am getting ready to send out. Sorry it is so short but I figured if I made it too wordy I'd never get it finished, you probably wouldn't want to read it and I realized that next year I need to be more organized. Maybe I'll discipline myself to keep a journal or record monthly happenings through the year and it will be easier to look back at year end. Anyway here's what I manged to hen-scratch together and please feel free to ask me questions if I left something out or something doesn't make sense.
2008 In Review
Hello Everyone. Just the fact that this is getting from an idea to paper is a feat in and of itself. Each year I think "I'm going to write a letter re our year and send it at Christmas"...but alas I never do. Well rather than waiting until next Christmas to try again, I'm going to do it right now since much of the busyness of the holidays is settling down now. For those of you reading this in paper letter form (vs. cyber-letter) please forgive me that the paper isn't Christmas but I thought if I waited for different paper it may just be another excuse to procrastinate. Just think of it as a Valentine's letter :). So, here's what we've been up to:
Rachael: I started off the year taking some driving lessons as I prepared to go for my driver's license. Learning to drive in Winnipeg winter can be fun to say the least. But I'm sure glad I have that experience to fall back on now....If I'm able to drive in our winters I bet can can drive anywhere! :) I ended up becoming fully legal at the end of March. :) I must say being able to drive has freed me up to do alot more. But even with only the one vehicle it is hard to do everything. I'm blessed to have my mom close by and offer to be "my personal taxi" when able and drive me when Cliff has the van. Since I work weekends, there is one weekend a month that Cliff & I both work and it's then that my mom & Cliff's mom take turns babysitting once a month. With the onset of warm weather in the spring, the kids & I eagerly drove off to the greenhouses. I made two more flower gardens this year. The kids now each have a garden of their own and enjoy watching the new growth come up and tending their gardens. Also in the spring we found a new church to attend. They are growing and have to build a new building so currently meet in a school gymnasium (and basement for Sunday School). The congregation is mosly young adults. The kids and I really enjoy it and Cliff has joined me occasionally when not at work. We've also found a Life-Group to be a part of and it is great since I can't always make it Sunday due to work. In June, my mom , my brother(Matt) & I went to New Zealand for 10 days. The initial reason for the trip was to be present for my Aunt & Uncle's 40th anniversary. This was the first time I've been back to New Zealand since coming to Canada at 2 months of age. It was awesome to see the beautiful country...even in winter! Extinct volcanos, tropical flowers, palm trees on the roadsides, the ocean, mountains, animals, caves....God is an awesome artist. I also got to meet many relatives for the fist time. I want to go back again in their summer season and take the rest of my family with me. They have GOT TO see this place to believe how beautiful it is and I want the rest of my NZ family to meet my husband and kids. The only thing that may be a problem is convincing Cliff to board a plane for 13 hours straight, much of it over the water! I'll cross that bridge when it comes. :)
Then in August, more visiting. One day I received an unexpected phone call from my mom & dad (Jim & JoAnne) in Calgary asking if is ok to come for a vist. three days later, Mom, Dad, Shi-anne, Ben & Ashley along with their dog, drove out for a visit. It was great to see them and my kids really enjoyed meeting their relatives from Calgary. They are still asking me when we can go back and see them "Can we go this weekend?..." Near the end of the month, I left my hubby & kids again and went to NB for a week. I was able to see one of my best friends get married. The last time I saw her, she was a bridesmaid at my wedding 8 years ago! It was great to see many old friends again and see my my old stomping grounds.
I know it sounds here like I run off from home alot but I don't really. Most of the time I'm at home busy being a mother of three and wife. Since Liam was born I went down to a 0.2 at work. My schedule is every other weekend and I occasionally pick up extra shifts when our schedule allows. I still work as a registered nurse at Riverview Health Centre but am working on a personal care unit (PCH) now.
Cliff: Cliff is still employed as a full-time registered nurse at Riverview Health Centre. He workds on the Special Needs unit which is mostly Alzheimer's care. Both times this past year while I was off globe-trotting, he stayed at home with the kids. It was great bonding time for Daddy & his kids and they got to go spend time at Grandma & Grandpa Ryden's (Daddy's parents'). Over the last year we did many exterior renovations to the house including new windows and the stucco was removed from the house and replaced with vinyl siding. Also we got a new patio door. It is much nicer cosmetically and less drafty in our Winnipeg winter. Future renovations that Cliff would like to do "when we win the lottery" (his words) would be to replace our shingles with a tin roof and to build a larger garage.
Wynn: Wynn is Wynn is 7 years old now (will be 8 in just a couple months!). He's in Grade 2 and is an excellent reader. He doesn't like to stop and read or do any sort of work. He's always on the go but I'm told "he's just a boy!" He has a vivid imagination and likes to play video games (XBOX 360) with his dad. He keeps growing and is now up to my shoulders (not that that's hard ;)). A couple more years and my baby will be taller than me!! He's lost several baby teeth already and infact lost another last night. So along with his gaping grin he also sports two adult teeth. He is very sociable and makes friends easily. Wynn is in his third year as a Beaver (Scouts Canada) and is looking forward to being a wolf cub in the fall. He started 2008 off with skating lessons once a week and really enjoyed that. Then in the summer he took swimming lessons and wanted to continue so last fall and now he is taking swimming lessons at the YMCA and is a Seal. In the summer along with riding his bike, he also enjoyed roller-blading around the block.
Autumn: Autumn is 5 years old and turning into quite the little lady. Although she tells me she'll always be MY little girl. :D Autumn is also growing up, she now weighs as much as Wynn. Last year Autumn went to Kindergarten Here We Come twice a week and really enjoyed it. It was then that I realized just how much she was maturing and not attached to my leg like she used to be. In the fall she started Kindergarten - full day, every day. Autumn REALLY enjoys crafts of any sort, reading and writing. She can write and spell everybody's name in our family by herself! As well, Autumn enjoys dancing & singing. Autumn is in her third year of Rhythmic Gymnastics. She enjoys it and is very good at it. If the interest continutes she wants to do it competively "like the big girls"...we'll see. Along with Wynn, Autumn took skating lessons last winter and is now in swimming lessons. She is at the Otter level. Just this fall, Autumn started Sparks (Girl Guides) and is really enjoying it and has made many new friends. She enjoys selling cookies door-to-door. Especially in the fall cause she got to ride her bike around (without training wheels :) ) I guess this time I'll be pulling her on the sled.
Liam: My baby is no longer a baby, he is now 3 years old. We call him a "string-bean". He is almost as tall as Autumn but very slim so needless to say finding the right size clothes to fit him can be a challenge. Liam enjoys going to playgroup two mornings a week and is looking forward to when he can go to school "like Autumn & Wynn". The one thing we are still working on before that can happen is his pottytraining. He knows when he has to go but refuses to go to the toilet....He's very stubborn like his parents. Liam has a large vocabulary - I guess that comes with having older siblings. He enjoys playing with others or alone. He also enjoyed riding his bike when the weather permitted and is now in swimming lessons. Last summer it was Parented L'il Dippers (I'd join) but now he's in Unparented L'il Dippers and he is sometimes hesitant to put his head under the water unless I'm beside him.
(A blank paper that has yet to be written on. How exciting!, may this be a great year!)