We've been reflecting on some of last years favorites, and so many come mind. I love it when the weather finally starts to warm up after what seems a never ending, icy cold winter. This was one of those teaser days when winter begins to release its tight hold it has upon us. The day was absolutely beautiful. We were enticed out of the little old farmhouse and enjoyed a late afternoon of exploration!
The majority of our reflections on our passing year are full of family that we live so far away from. We had such wonderful time visiting my brother Doug and his family! Even Dad was there! The short amount of time we had was packed full of memories in the making. The boys still talk about the snow forts they carved out in the snow with Preston! Christine's visit was such a treat. Aunt Shelly's visit wasn't long enough and Grammie and Poppa's visit was short, but oh so sweet! Of course there are bunches more of sweet memories, but I can't forget that hot and lazy summer day we filled the big metal tub with water and stuck the ducks in it!
Time seems to fly more quickly as our family grows older! At least having her Royal Highness around keeps us young! She is in constant motion. Even in her sleep! Thank goodness she is now sleeping in her own bed most of the time! When she isn't scaling something, she is usually jumping from something else. We haven't located the volume control on her particular model and so it is quite often that she is running through the room and screaming at the same time. She loves to be my big helper and when I'm not looking she will punch down my rising loaves of bread or grab a handful of brown sugar before I get a chance to put it away. She loves her baby dolls and is often packing one on her hip or bouncing through the living room giving her baby a horsey ride on her shoulders.
The President of our family orchard has accomplished a whole lot this year. He is now reading chapter books, loves telling time and making sure we all are aware of what time it is, and he loves doing his math. He is quite the little artist. He got to be a shepherd with his best friend Jakob in the Christmas Pageant at church. What he is looking forward to in 2010 is his 8th birthday, getting baptized and getting a pocket knife. He also looks forward to making a double layer cake and eating it.
The Attorney has also had an eventful year. He's learned a lot about cars. He has enjoyed raising and caring for his ducks and chickens and his gold fish. He is a great writer and enjoys to draw and eat pizza. In 2010 he hopes to become better at drawing cars. He is also looking forward to becoming an 11 year old scout and would like to become more involved with 4H and some ag projects.
Human Resources has had an eventful year. His Poppa taught him to drive the Blazer and he has been brushing up on his driving skills. He has been working hard through his Pre-Algebra Math and also has enjoyed drawing. After turning 12 he has enjoyed the responsibilities that come with being a deacon in the church. For 2010, he desparately hopes his parents buy him a machete, he has plans of advancing with scouts and he really wants to be able to do a back handspring before 2010 is over.
As for me, I'm really curious to find what kind of adventures await the Apple Farmer and I in 2010! It seems that each year here has always held amazing and new experiences! I'm in awe at how quickly my children grow. It's been so exciting to see my baby girl grow into an independent little person and yet I can't help but grieve a little as her babyhood slowly fades away leaving behind only pictures of chunky cheeks and slobbery kisses and memories of scented baby soap while kissing the velvet fuzz on her bald little head!I'm enjoying the challenges of my callings at church. I've learned so much as a seminary teacher and am still learning to become a better teacher as I teach in Relief Society. I'm excited to also serve as our girls camp director again this year and can't wait to attend our meeting in January to find out what great experiences await the awesome young women of our branch!
We are still homeschooling - an adventure that I didn't expect to ever be mine. It has been a tremendously rich experience and an incredibly overwhelming experience all at the same time! I don't know how long this road will continue to weave throughout our family adventures or where this journey ends, but for 2010 I hope I can feel more confident as a teacher and remember to have fun!
(Geology with Sarah and Anabelle)
Other plans for 2010 include running a 5K race in Nauvoo, Ill. in Sept. Anyone want to join me?!?
The Apple Farmer has had a tremendous year as well! He has had great successes with work and in October was unexpectedly offered a position by his employer prior to our leap of faith into our Orchard venture. It was a difficult thing for him to say goodbye to the people he's been working with since finding work off of the farm, but he feels like he has "come back home" as he settles back into the work flow he was so familiar with back in CA. He also has company vehicle benefits and after much consideration, we opted for the benefits that come with using our own vehicle and have finally been able to replace my van that died a year and a half ago! With our new mini van we can all accompany the Apple Farmer on his business trips and we are anxious to be able to finally explore the state of Missouri in 2010!
Apple Season comes and goes and we never really know what hit us until we see it coming at us again! We had a smaller crop this year and as a result, anticipate a rather large one again next year. Managing a smaller crop, we are finding, is much smarter and we will likely be thinning our apples fairly heavily for our 2010 crop. With the amount of rain we got this last season we had a difficult time staying on our spray cycles and we are seeing a flare up of some nasty diseases, scab being the worst. We are hoping to have that under better control for our next crop. We are excited that we did not see any blight again this season!! We are hoping that with a planned smaller crop for next season, that we will also have a lot fewer cull apples to deal with!
As Branch President, the Apple Farmer has been very busy, especially when a boundary change of a nearby ward brought us several new families! We've been averaging attendance near 150 every week. As heavy as the responsibilites feel, we've seen countless miracles and there is no doubt that he has divine strength added upon him to accomplish all that is needed and required of him!
Our family and friends all hold warm places in our hearts and we think of you all so dearly during this festive season as we also celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ! We know that he lives! And we wish the warmest of Christmas wishes for you! May your Christmas be filled with Christlike love for all mankind and may your heart be especially tender to the love He has for you!