Christmas 1988

As a result of all of the blessings and help we receive from our community of family and friends Paul and I were able to do something unique this year. Neither needed nor deserved, but very much desired, we went on a one week cruise – all by ourselves (and 2,000 of our closest friends). After discussing all of the things our family needed we said “piffle” to practicality. $3,000 gone – in the sun and the sea in the Caribbean. Far from the kids suffering at being farmed out to every family in the town they can hardly wait for us to go somewhere again. They found out what it was like to live in a normal family – and liked it!

The feeling of being more and more crowded as the kids have gotten bigger and bigger has increased. Matthew has taken the most extreme route to solving his own personal views of being scrunched by moving out of the bedroom he shared with four of his brothers. Since we did not have a bedroom for him to move into he has moved into the family room. Every night he unfolds the sofa sleeper and every morning he folds it back up. I am not quite sure that that is for the privacy or because it is the only room in the house with a TV! Since that is a rather temporary solution we spent a great deal of the summer looking for a larger home. Oddly enough, homes in our price range are not built with 7 bedrooms and so we have decided to add on.

The financial and emotional commitment required to add on means that Paul is planning, barring something unforeseen, on staying in Silverthorne for awhile. I have breathed a sigh of relief. The thought of breaking in a new circle of friends and new school staffs, to say nothing of a new police department, to cope with the idiosyncrasies of our family is too daunting to contemplate.

Rebecca remains a top student, top athlete and “Second Mom” to the others. I am reevaluating my long held belief, however, that mothers need to be home for their teenagers. That philosophy only works if the teens are home to be home with!

Jonathan is a budding flautist. He picks up his instrument day and night and falls asleep to classical tapes. His biggest concern in life is losing first chair position. We would like it to be math or English grades but kids pick their own priorities.

Matthew has found his niche in life as a Boy Scout and sixth grader. Nothing is more fun for him than to race out to the bus and take off with the big kids. He is handling his new independence very well – not that we were skeptical, but…..

Ruben continues to be a cheery, conscientious, hard worker. Fifth grade is a little difficult for him but perseverance is going to carry him. Perseverance and his sense of style! He can take the most disparate elements from every closet in this house, boys and girls, comb his hair to some screwy angle, walk out the door with aplomb…..and be copied by half the kids in school!

Jamie and his eagerness is infectious. He gets so excited about new events, new thoughts, new knowledge that others get excited too. The challenge is getting him excited about reading, the source of most of the knowledge he will acquire.

Rachel, along with Jamie and Ruben, is slogging through 5th grade. With her complexion and gorgeous head of hair she looks great and has found talking to be her forte. Her popularity with both the boys and girls is welcome but not always to her benefit. We have had to have several talks with her about the wisdom of “going together” and if the price of devoting yourself to one boy-person at the expense of other friendships that are equally fun isn’t a little steep. I told her that I never “went with” her dad until he put a diamond on my finger. Now, Rachel bounds beamingly in the door after school with, “Whosits asked me to go with him, but I told him no.” She is having more fun saying “no” than she used to have saying “yes”. An independent woman after my own heart!

Robert is our local strongman and is never happier than when he has an opportunity to prove it. His schoolwork has improved dramatically and, in some areas, is almost on grade level.

Jesse goes through life with his head cocked to one side, looking at you kind of out of the upper part of his right eye. It is no wonder that he can never find his mittens. Though he is tops in reading it is his story writing ability that keeps his teacher amazed. He thinks nothing of sitting down and whipping out 3, 4, 6 pages of adventure, with himself cast as the hero, of course.

Amber has decided that she can be both cute and smart, an issue much held in doubt the last few years. Now that she has figured out that knowing her math facts does not distort her face she is going for it and has turned out to be quite the little brain.

I continue to look forward to my service at Lord of the Mountains as parish Associate. I am doing all of those things I would have loved to volunteer to do, but couldn’t have afforded to do for free. It is, for me, a perfect blend of practicality and service. And it was to serve that the Christ child came.

When the song of the angels is silent,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are again tending their sheep,
When the manger is darkened and still,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among the people,
To befriend the lonely,
To release the prisoner,
To make music in the heart. (Author unknown)

Our prayer is that in 1989 you take advantage of many opportunities to use your gifts for God. Peace and Joy, Deborah & Paul & Family