The Christmas Letter 2013

I thought we would try something new this year and post our Christmas letter.  So, if you are here because you received our snail mail Christmas card, welcome!  Hope you enjoy our quick year in review.  For more details about what we've been up to, you can browse the blog!

We've spent the year traveling and schooling and having a blast.  From a camping trip to FDR State Park, a homeschool conference, Atlanta fun trip, water parks, Pigeon Forge and family, oh and a cruise for Mark and Abbie - it was quite the busy year.  You can check out all our adventures by clicking on "Adventures" to the right of the page.

We can not wait to see what all God has in store for us for next year.  Mark is navigating a new role at church as he is in charge of special events and activities.  Abbie is due with our eighth blessing, Emmie Mae, in May.  And we are praying for another National Bible Bee trip at the end of October into November (it's in Orlando next year...oh yeah).  We are trying to update frequently so check in often to see what the Lord is doing and what our crazy life is like!

Here's a quick glimpse in to what the kids were up to this year.


Zoe turns eleven this year.  She is growing every bit into an amazing young woman.  Recently, Mark and I went on a date.  When we returned home the babysitter told us Zoe was a big help.  We later found out that Malachi would only go to Zoe and that sh  played with him so patiently and rocked him to sleep.  She is a great big sister!  Don't get me wrong, she has her big sister pick on moments but all in all she has a lot of patience for her little brothers and sister.  She is in the middle of fifth grade right now and doing amazing.  Abbie is enjoying seeing Zoe show so much joy in learning and being able to conquer academic challenges.   This year our church hosted a National Bible Bee local competition.  Zoe and Ace competed.  Zoe won the local primary division.  Based on her scores, she qualified to compete in the national bee.  The local competition consisted of memorizing twenty passages and studying 1 John (which we did as a family).  At nationals, she had over 74 passages to memorize and studied Ephesians.  Zoe and Abbie spent many nights and days studying Ephesians using the inductive study method.  Zoe was able to memorize about half of the passages.  We were very proud of her!  She finished 46th out of 85 contestants at nationals.  The whole family enjoyed nationals and meeting families from all over the United States.  Next year, Zoe will be moving up to the Juniors division and we can't wait to see how she does.


Ace turned nine this year and started fourth grade.  He, like his sister, enjoys reading.  Zoe and Ace remain close as siblings with a bit of competition thrown in for good measure.  Ace loves playing outside and building with Legos.  Yes, we have now entered the Lego part of boyhood.  Prayer for toes and sore feet is most greatly appreciated.  Ace continues to excel in his Bible memorization too.   He is in his second book of Truth and Training and is doing an excellent job of hiding God's word in his heart.  Malachi loves to get piggy back rides from big brother and whenever, "Back!" is called from Malachi, Ace lovingly obliges.


Liam will be eight by the end of the year.  He is working through second grade.  He loves to read as much as big brother and sister and is often engrossed in one or two books at a time.  Legos are also a big favorite of his.  Liam has recently decided he would like to play football for the University of Alabama.  Abbie thinks we are training them up right with that desire!  He is super fast and we are encouraging him more and more to get in to running.  However, he has a few more years before he can compete in cross country or other sports.  He is patient, most of the time, with Ceili Rain and Bryant and loves to keep them entertained with games or toys while Abbie teaches Zoe and Ace.


Josiah is six and in first grade.  He was the first of all the of the school-age children to figure out if he finishes his independent work for the week at the beginning of the week, then he'll have free time throughout the week.  And he does that.  He completed his first grade spelling the first of November and his first grade reading the first of December.  Looks like we'll be doing a bit of second grade for the second semester.  He is thrilled that he is finally getting a new buddy in May next year.  All of the older boys are looking forward to taking karate for a couple of months next year.

Ceili Rain

Ever the princess, with an attitude.  Sweet, gentle and kind until you cross her...then watch out.  Ceili Rain turned four this year and is excited to be doing "real work."  She continues to keep us on her toes with the silly and grown up things that come out of her mouth.  She loves to dance and says she can do ballet "perfectly."  She also loves being a big sister and babying Malachi.  She is looking forward to taking care of her new sister.


Bryant turned three this year.  He sometimes acts like he's going on thirty and can be very serious but hold on to your seats when he hits goofy mode.  He loves to follow along with big brothers and he's working hard on conquering the hill behind our house all by his self.


He turned one this year.  He loves to play with big brother Ace and big sister Zoe.  He is the cuddliest child and will freely give hugs and kisses when asked.  Football is his favorite sport and he's recently started yelling, "Touchdown Bama!" at random times.  I've never seen a one year old that could sit and watch a football game almost completely through.

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