Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Letter 2011

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

We hope the year has gone well for you.  It has been a very full year for us.  In February we started a class that was recommended to us called Financial Peace University. It was very eye opening and has made some big differences in our life.  We are now on a budget and no longer use any debt instruments (credit cards and the like) and pay for everything with cash, which means we don’t really worry about money anymore…very liberating!  We will be teaching this class at our church after the start of the new year.

In May we had some adjustments to make as Emmy again had to have surgery. It actually involved two surgeries at the same time to help with her peeing and stooling so that she can be continent.  While it has presented challenges, we have been very happy with the overall outcome.  (To keep up to date on Emmy’s journey, visit her Caring Bridge page: www.caringbridge.org/visit/emmareneearly.)

Sadly Jesse, our dog of 9 years, died in March.  We did not get a new dog right away and decided to try fostering dogs for a while.  In July we got a foster dog, Elmo, who was a very fun cute American bull dog.  Unfortunately we were unable to keep him as we found that Emmy was allergic to dogs. A couple of weeks after we got him Emmy suddenly had an allergic reaction with anaphylaxis.  We did not suspect dogs at first, but a couple of days later she had another allergic reaction with anaphylaxis, and then the allergy testing came back showing dogs as well as cows milk and egg whites, so we are no longer able to have a dog and our whole family’s diet has had to make some adjustments. 

Peder played t-ball and Soccer over the summer.  The girls are looking forward to playing soccer themselves next year. Peder then started K-Camp in late august and finally kindergarten. He had some adjustments to being at school all day.  He was really missing playing with his sisters. Emmy and Mari both started pre-k this fall and they are enjoying school.  We had originally planned on having them repeat pre-k since their birthday is in the summer, but after going to their first parent teacher conference, we were told by their teachers they are fully ready for kindergarten now and repeating would only result in their being bored.  So, in a few short months, all of our kids are going to be in school all day.  Where did the time go?

Melissa finished up with her schooling in June and can now do some amazing things with a computer.  Our holiday picture this year had some adjustments made to it.  Right before we took our picture, Jake managed to get a nice gash on his cheek.  Well, Melissa quickly and easily removed that little blemish. She has also designed her own website, Earlybirdcrafts.com to support her paper craft business and has plans for future websites to create a support network for the families of children with Emmy’s condition.  In August Melissa started working every other weekend in a group home and she will be having surgery in December to treat a chronic condition that causes severe pain.

Jake continues to play football.  His team has had some struggles this year.  They are all getting older and chronic injuries have resulted in a couple of people no longer playing. Jake has had lingering issues himself with plantar fasciitis.  It took him almost six months before he finally went to the Doctor at Melissa’s encouragement and finally started noticing improvement in his foot. He also continues with fantasy football, though decided to drop one of his leagues as he was having trouble finding the time to keep up with all of them.  He has also continued with his poker league once a month and was especially proud of one night when he managed to win every game he played, plus personally took out every person at the table one at a time.

We had a pretty good year and are looking forward to the new year!  We hope you have a wonderful Christmas and joyous New Year.