Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Cards?

I really don't know where the fall went this year! Tomorrow is Christmas and I've hardly done a lick of baking, just barely decorated the house in time, and actually somehow managed to come up with gifts for the kiddos. We celebrated extended family Christmases on the 22nd and 23rd, and today we had our own little (I guess that word could be considered relative these days :o)) family Christmas this morning. It was a leisurely morning of opening the few gifts each child received, breakfast out, and then a few errands in the very busy stores.

 It's been a different year all around, so why not continue it right through December. So, in light of the completely absent Christmas cards this year, I bring you this Christmas letter... (Thank you, Julie for making this idea possible by posting yours first ;o)).

We've been a family of nine for just over 18 months now and things are going well. There are daily frustrations and battles, but there are also times where it's been easy to forget that we haven't always been a big busy family.

Speaking of busy, our youngest daughter keeps us hopping. Miss Abygail is five and began Junior Kindergarten this autumn. She loves going to school. Her listening skills stink ;o), but she loves to be in the classroom with her six other classmates and keeping her teacher on her toes. She is learning though and for that we are thankful! At home this little girl plays and plays and plays. She is one happy little girl! We are blessed by her ready smile and really, even her lack of listening, despite often being exasperating, helps us laugh everyday.
Alendra is a quiet soul. Everything is processed before she speaks or does anything. Thankfully we have an older daughter who was very similar. Extremely bright, but stubborn, school has been a battle so far this year. She is almost 8 (January) and keeps her grade one teacher thinking up new ways to get her to participate. At home with her siblings she is faaar different -- bossy even, so we know that once she feels more comfortable/bold, she will speak up and out. This little miss is amused for hours by books, paper, markers, and crayons. She will write and write and write. Her penmanship is impeccable. We look forward to when she finally starts speaking what is on her mind with more than just her siblings.

Our Iza Maey has grown by leaps and bounds. We rarely do battle with her anymore these days. Aside from comprehension, she is doing wonderfully in her grade 3 class. She readily makes friends and just in the last month we've been letting her go to friend's houses. It's been wonderful to see her blossom! From bringing home 4 out of 10 correct spelling tests last year to perfect ones this year, and faithfully eating her lunches everyday, it's as if a light switched over the summer. Once she grasps the complexities and idiosyncrasies of the English language, our daughter will be right on track with her peers. She celebrated her ninth birthday on the 22nd of this month.

 Jilly (Jillian) Rose turned ten on December 12 and is just a cool kid. She's always been a rather demanding child, but not necessarily in a negative way. As the baby for just over eight years, she just really needs to know that you see and hear her. She has her ways of making this happen that is never obvious to her siblings. She tends to see us out regularly for reassurance. She loves school, but it isn't very easy for her. She works very hard to keep up with her older siblings and her grade five peers. She excels in math and loves to speak up and out. This year she gave her speech on geocaching  in front of the entire school body -- families included. She was as cool as a cucumber.

Shayanne will be thirteen in February. So far she is enjoying grade seven. She has a teacher who is very good for her class of six boys and five girls. Shayanne has the mindset that everyone should always get along and that has been a real struggle for her over the past two and a half years because the girls in her class have very diverse personalities and can be very petty. She'd still much rather play with the boys, but when you're in grade seven, this isn't so acceptable anymore. Academically, she excels. She still plays piano and violin and loves to sing. She reads books like crazy and thankfully can get by on very little sleep because she often sneaks off somewhere to read a book 'til way past her bedtime and is up again shortly after 6 am.



The five youngest attend a local Christian school in our area. I quit homeschooling in 2009. It was a great season for our family, but sometimes things change and we've been very blessed by the school community that we are part of these days. It's been a positive experience for all our children and truthfully, these days, I am thankful that the job of teaching is not given to me anymore :o).

Natascha started grade nine at St. Christopher's Catholic high school by jumping in with both feet. The day before her grade eight class trip, she auditioned for the high school play that was performed in November. She made it into the chorus and had practices three days a week that ended with five performances of The Wizz the very end of November first of December. She is now on swim team and enjoying it too. She adjusted to high school quickly and has done very well so far despite being so busy already from the first week She will turn fourteen mid summer.



Nathanael is a grade 11 student at St. Christopher's. He turned sixteen in September and now has his G1. Scary thought ;o)! Nathanael enjoys school, and does quite well. He's beginning to look at his post secondary options, but hasn't narrowed anything down yet. He's a swimmer (OFSSAed last year) and a rower. He's thinking about pursuing rowing after high school so that narrows down his post secondary choices a little. He is working toward having his NLS (National Lifeguarding) by the end of March in the hope that he will spend the summer teaching and lifeguarding at our local swimming pool. He has strong leadership skills and is involved in this way both at school and in our church youth group. He also has a part time job at our local library.  He's just busy enough to keep him out of trouble!

Murray and I spend a great portion of the week chauffering children. I dropped everything church related this year as I could feel myself getting more and more stressed as August deepened into September. Instead, I coached the girls and boys volleyball teams at the girls' school. I loved every minute of it! Despite all their hard work the girls placed last (not their fault as they really are not an athletic bunch), but the boys placed second. I was quite tickled. Murray helped me out with the boys as the boys and girls played at different locations for the tournament. What a wonderful group of kids to spend lunch hours with for six weeks!



 Murray still spends long hours working at a local petro chemical company as a process design engineer. This year he traveled about every third week, so for those of you who are wondering, yes, he still travels a LOT! He also is not currently involved in any church activities. We both know that this is a season, so we are choosing not to feel guilty about it.

As far as the photography business goes, we're as busy as we can handle these days. I love it, but our children and their busy schedules does not allow for much more than we've been doing the past year or so. We're looking at some fun and exciting things for 2013 though and that is good enough for us these days.


It's been a busy year, a fun year, and a year full of changes. The biggest day being December 3 when our three youngest officially became part of our forever family.  So many of you have been involved on our journey over the past few years and we thank you for your love, thoughts, and prayers. We know this season is not easy for many people -- especially this year, but know that we lift you up in our thoughts and prayers, even if we don't know you by name.


In closing, we would like to wish each of you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with God's blessings!

with love,

the de Boer family.

13 comments:

  1. I absolutely LOVED reading this! Merry Christmas to all of you!!!

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  2. Merry Christmas, Deborah! It's so nice to read an update about your family. :-)

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  3. Merry Christmas!! God bless you and your family! :)

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  4. beautiful!! Loved reading about your year and family updates :) Merry Christmas!

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  5. Great way to do "Christmas Cards"! You reflect the light of Jesus so beautifully :-)

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  6. Loved it! Great "Christmas Cards"! :) I know it can be crazy busy, and with our slowness...our Christmas cards didn't arrive until yesterday.

    Hope you had a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year!

    Blessings,
    ~Michlyn

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  7. Great post! Beautiful pictures. Merry Christmas to each and veryone of you.

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  8. I LOVED reading your Christmas letter! What a great update - so nice to hear how each of the kids are doing, as well as you and Murray :D

    Happy new year,

    Julie

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  9. Merry Christmas!
    Your thoughts here were so honest and wise. I enjoyed your Christmas letter, too.
    I believe a sign of maturing is that we are able to discern what really matters. I think you are maturing...(and that is meant as a compliment).
    It has been a joy to pray for you and your family.

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  10. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing all about your year and I'm thrilled that the girls are settling in and are doing so well. They look so happy in the photos and I especially love the last one where they are all piled on top of one another. Precious!!! I hope that you have a fun filled 2013 and get to enjoy some time to yourself as well!!
    Renee

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  11. I always love hearing how you are all doing, and this was a wonderful update. I'm so glad to hear that you are still geocaching. It's such a wonderful family outing. We took our grandchildren a couple of times this past year. I'll take this moment to wish you all a very Happy New Year!

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  12. such a wonderful update...great to read...all look well...blessings in 2013!!

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  13. Loved reading your family letter!! :) Blessings to you and your beautiful family in this new year.

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