Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Letter~ Andie

Suksan Wan Christmas! Which means, “Merry Christmas” in Thai.  
Last year when we sent our Christmas letter, we had no idea that the year ahead would be so life changing.  Now as we write, we sit in a different house, just weeks away from heading out on a huge adventure to Chiang Mai.
As most of you would know, we are leaving in January to begin some volunteer work at ZOE Children’s Home in Thailand. 
The journey to get to this point has been a bumpy ride of faith and trust.  We are excited to be able to go and do this as a family and we look forward to seeing how it all turns out.
My role will initially be to support Dave and settle the children into our new home, the culture and their kindergarten.  Then as time passes, I will hopefully be able to take on some small tasks whereby I can either work from home or with Dave.
2009 has felt like an eventful year.  The children’s activities have kept us occupied.  It’s been a joy to walk alongside them as they’ve enjoyed a variety of activities from kindergarten, music, swimming, dance, visits to the library and play-dates with friends and cousins.
Some of the highlights for the year included celebrating our ten-year wedding anniversary, going to Thailand in July, planning and celebrating the children’s birthdays (Tobi’s gingerbread man party, Eliana’s ladybird tea party and Spencer’s rubber duck party) as well as watching the children’s development and many achievements.         Here’s a brief update on their year:
Tobi had an absolutely wonderful kinder experience. It fulfilled everything we’d hoped it would and more.  He made some really special friends and he had such a capable teacher who knew her students well.  Her creatively led the class through an array of rich learning tasks.  Tobi brought home a beautiful portfolio of his work each term, which will be a treasured reminder of his first year of ‘formal’ education.  He participated in various special days and a Christmas concert as well as learning to write his name.
We are also so proud of him in the area of swimming.  His first lesson, earlier in the year, was a huge challenge for him but over the months Tobi has developed so much more confidence and strength within himself.  He’s particularly enjoyed swimming lessons this term with his cousin Bella! 
Eliana participated in two terms of Mainly Music earlier in the year but in the second half of the year she began dance lessons.  We weren’t sure how she’d cope being the youngest in her class but she amazed us with her eagerness to participate and socialise with the older girls; some of whom she knew from mother’s group or Tobi’s kinder class.  
The highlight of her ‘dancing’ experience was the end of year concert.  She performed in two concerts, two items in each (one ballet and one tap item).  It was very cute and we were so proud of the way she conducted herself performing in front of a couple of hundred people.  
Eli also began swimming lessons this year.  She completed two terms of child-parent classes (with me) and then progressed to independent swimming classes this term.  She’s done such a great job under the instruction of her teacher and she amazes me each week with her progress.
Little Spencer is … well … not so little any more!  He has grown at a rapid pace.  He finally began crawling about 10 and a half months after being sure he wasn’t ever going to!! Actually it was a blessing in disguise as he started crawling pretty much right after we’d packed and moved house.  Spencer continues to delight us with his happy personality although he is getting a bit cheekier and more willful. This is taking a bit of getting used to after being the perfect child for 12 months LOL!
Spencer has been busy furniture walking or using his walker.  He LOVES to eat and chase after Tobiah and Eliana as well as dance to music.  He also very much enjoys the water, either swimming in the pool or bath (hence his rubber duck themed party).
So besides being the proud mother of three, I have also loved the opportunities this year to catch up with friends and family. I got to know the mothers in my Marvellous Mums group better and my sister and I kept doing market stalls throughout the year-, which was a real highlight.  I also enjoyed blogging, editing some photos, making and baking things, a bit of sewing (I made each child a quilt and matching bunting for their rooms) and, of course, bargain hunting!
As I now hand this letter over to Dave, I wish you a safe and happy Christmas. Cherish each and every moment and take some time to reflect on the real reason for the season, the birth of Jesus Christ. 
I challenge you to look at Christmas in a different way this year. I believe that real joy and peace comes from a relationship with the one who created us and lasts the whole year.  It is not just the temporary “fix” that we get when we rely on all the other “stuff” around us.

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