Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas Letter 2011

Okay, I wrote this Christmas letter with the intention of mailing it out, but never got around to printing it out and mailing it . So, here is the next best thing!

Dear Friends,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We are excited to share the details of our last year. We would like to apologize for discontinuing the blog updates, but as you will see from this letter, our lives may have gotten busier, but really we are not very newsworthy anymore. And that is a good thing, in our opinion!

2011 began with big news regarding Adam’s job at Calvin College. He was promoted to a new position as Information Security Officer, an exciting prospect providing him with new challenges and opportunities for growth. Due to his new position, Adam traveled to conferences out of town, first in January and then also in October. The rest of us handled these leaves remarkably well, due to the extra nursing help for Ellie. Adam is doing very well in his new position, and we are all super proud of him.

The boys have done a lot of growing this year as well. It was an exciting fall as the boys started school at a small charter school in town. They have adapted incredibly well and love the routine and activity so much. Noah is in third grade and Seth is in first. They had great reports both academically and based on their character at conferences. We are so proud of them! They have also been taking swim lessons and are already much better swimmers than I am (not hard to do!).

I am excited to report that Ellie has had a very non-eventful year. She has had her share of colds, pneumonia, and infections, but what is great is that she has handled them all well. She has not been admitted to the hospital since she turned one, and has gone the whole year without oral steroids for her lungs. For a special girl like her, that is quite a feat! Ellie is growing well and blossoming in her interaction with other people. We enjoy her beautiful smiles and warm personality.

As for Emily, this has also been a big year for me. First of all sending the boys off to school was a big change and a big decision for us all. But I was able to see the Lord’s confirmation very quickly in how well we all adjusted. Having the boys in school has also opened up new opportunities for me, both in service and in work. I was able to start working at church for a few hours a week helping the pastors. I also started attending Bible Study Fellowship this year and am doing more volunteering at church.

Some other exciting events for our family this year include the first vacation away from all the kids in ten years for Adam and me. We spent five days in Florida relaxing and reconnecting with one another. Then in May, our family was granted a wish through Make a Wish and we received a beautiful camper. We really broke it in this summer, spending about five weeks total camping at different places. Our biggest trip was a tour through the Michigan Upper Peninsula that went extremely well, and the whole family enjoyed the time away. We look forward to more camping adventures this coming year.

In conclusion, the most important thing we can share about this last year is how God has provided and cared for us. We all feel so satisfied and encouraged in God’s love. We pray that you have found him to be your all, and that you draw close to him this coming year.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

May Activities

May has been filled with lots of fun for our family!

1. We were granted our wish for a camper from Make a Wish of Michigan. It is everything we wanted and we are so excited to have a camper of our own. We were able to take it on its maiden voyage over Memorial Day, and though the weather was lacking, it was everything we had hoped for.

2. I participated in Run for Wishes to benefit Make a Wish of Michigan by running the Riverbank 5K. I was able to raise $500 to support a great cause! Thank you to all who contributed!

3. We were also able to participate in a few other fun events for special needs families. One was the Visual Impaired Sports day, where the kids were able to play blind baseball, jump in a bouncy tent, and make garden stones. And of course, there was free food ;) Another fun event was attending a Whitecaps game with Ken-o-sha, Ellie's school that provides her therapy.

And that was all in May! June has promised to be just as exciting, with my sister's wedding, vacation bible school, and more camping!


Friday, April 29, 2011

Today is World Wish Day

Today is World Wish Day. Please consider making a donation to Make a Wish of Michigan in Ellie's name. I will be running the Riverbank 5K on May 14 to raise money for Make a Wish of Michigan.

Make a Wish is granting our wish for a camper some time in May. Life with a medically ill or special needs child is so difficult. Organizations like Make a Wish are a bright spot and bring joy to families every day. Both the special child and the siblings get the chance to experience something amazing.

Thank you for joining me in supporting this cause!


Saturday, March 26, 2011

In like a lion, out like a lamb?

March started out rough for us, with Ellie again getting sick, this time worse than the others that she had this winter. I thought for sure it would be the one that would put us in the hospital. But, in true Ellie form, the fever broke right after I called her pediatrician, and she was on her way to health again, lol. The month also was rough with some nursing drama and administrative duties on my part, and I am glad to say we are on our way to health in those areas as well.

March has been a time of reflection for us as well. Ellie getting sick once again helped me come to the long-coming realization that I will probably not be able to continue homeschooling. It is still something we are struggling through, but things are pointing in the direction of the boys entering school in the fall. With Ellie's continuing high needs and appointments and care, the work of schooling has been falling to the wayside. We are starting to realize that in order to meet all the needs in the family we may need to change some of our plans for schooling. Please pray for us as we work through these issues.

March has also been a month of anticipation and planning. Next month Adam and I will be taking a trip to Florida, just the two of us. This will be our first solo vacation since our honeymoon. As you can imagine, planning this trip, with Ellie's needs and the boys' care, has been quite a job. But I am confident that the preparations will be worth it and it will be a great time of relaxation and bonding for me and Adam. Please pray for Ellie's health and well-being while we are away.

Through this month, we have been constantly reminded of God's unceasing love for us and his faithfulness. This many not have been the life we would have planned or chosen, but God has been good and reminds us that his love and plan never fails. To Him be the Glory.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Winter Storm

Here are some pictures from the recent blizzard that hit Grand Rapids. Calvin closed, so we had Adam home for a day during the week, which made us all happy. The boys have enjoyed making tunnels and forts in the big drifts.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Feeling Better

Ellie has been sick for over 2 weeks, starting the week before Christmas. It was just a cold, but a long illness nonetheless. So you can imagine or relief and happiness that she is finally better. I think she is really happy about that too!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

New Family Pictures

This fall, our dear friend Kristin took some family photos for us. They turned out great :) Thanks Kristin!

more pics here