Christmas Letters

Merry Christmas 2014

Jonathan helped design and build to completion a friends gazebo. It had three different angles in the floor and roof to echo the curve of the pond. We happily got to swim while he worked construction beside us. Jonathan’s Uncle Billy (William Corwin) passed this year due to cancer. Jonathan has continued to serve as scoutmaster and 1st counselor of the Young Men. This summer he led a hunger games themed campout. Jonathan took a trip west to see his two brothers Chris and Janus, and sister Megan as well as good friend Charlie King. They mountain biked and of course played some disc golf, along with a family dinner with nieces and nephew. Jonathan has been thrilled to play hockey two nights a week on the Dartmoose team.

Alissa continues to watercolor paint, serve as primary president at church, take the occasional run or workout class, and enjoys taking her children swimming. This year she has enjoyed reading “The Crucible of Doubt”, “Unbroken”, The Divergent Series, “The Giver,” “The Eyre Affair,” “Learning to Fall,” “Letters to a Young Mormon,” “The Rent Collector,” “Good Poems” by Garrison Keller, and “Enchanted April.” Alissa attended a christian based “Time Out For Women” in Sarasota Springs NY with Calista, Dinah, Adja, Rachel, and Cherie. Alissa also enjoyed a road trip with the Kissell Family down to Philly during Thanksgiving break. She was able to take Eldon along and visit with Melissa Holmes and stay at the Davises.

Brycen (2) has been our best communicator as a young child. Earlier in the year he would ask the cutest thing at night: “Tuck I in?” He has loved our laps or sitting right by our side on the couch. Brycen enjoyed trains for quite a large part of this year, but has moved onto loving legos. He also enjoys wearing any sports equipment such as baseball, hockey, and soccer goalies gloves, numbered shirts, hat etc that he’s seen his family use. We have found these things in his bed and that’s where children bring their cherished things. He is fascinated with his insect book, pointing and asking, “What’s that?” He would often visit our empty neighbors home that had a collection of beetles outside their foundation. He loves to scooter and swim. He is our first child to really have a fear of medium to large dogs (even friendly ones). Brycen broke his left leg fibula and tibia down near the ankle while jumping on the trampoline. His big brother and sister had been jumping with him and though not right next to his actual body their momentum in the spring of the net caused him to land wrong. Eldon accompanied him to the ER for comfort.

Brycen has a unique preference for broccoli, green or black olives, and pickles. Gratefully he is open to following along and eating whatever else we are all eating.

Leah (5) Is gaining interest and skill with her letters and numbers. She specifically enjoys the ability to write things on her profuse amount of drawings. She says she wants to be an artist when she grows up. Alissa brought a large desk into the office for the purpose of artwork but it is Leah who is creating something there almost daily! Leah signed up for soccer but couldn’t get herself into the program mentally. She requested ballet lessons and has really thrived in that atmosphere. Not a sign of shyness there! She also revels in her ability to swim without a floaty and enjoys going underwater. Leah has a real sweet tooth, but she also eats the most salad, hummus, and salsa of any of our children.

Caleb (7) has really grown this year! It is almost impossible for his mother to pick him up anymore weighing over 60 lbs. He has a true love for Harry Potter and had a themed birthday with a sorting ceremony, quidditch game, herbology (planting ivy) , the great hall with candles on tables with pizza, pop around a cauldron of dry ice, and a cake decorated as the Monster Book of Monsters. He has began to learn to reign a horse, multiply (he is notoriously asking family members math equations out loud), participated in chess club, play sledge hockey, continue piano lessons, computer program with Dad, and get through chapter books. Caleb’s handwriting has improved a great deal and he has become much more academic. As parents we appreciate Caleb’s willingness to try any new dish of food. He really likes Mexican food, but is overall adventurous with food. He’s thrilled to have studied Mexico in school this year.

Eldon (9) has read more books than his parents this year! He played his first season of tackle football, rode his bike independently around town, went on campouts with Dad, is learning some computer programming as well, how to cook some simple dishes, use a snorkel proficiently, and he continues to play the piano. He enjoyed joining the 4th and 5th grade choir this year. Eldon loves salty snacks such as smoked peanuts; chips, goldfish pizza, bacon lettuce sandwich, shrimp cocktail, garlic and sea salt green beans, hot dog, reuben sandwich, sausage and cheese sandwich etc.

Our family seems to make the best memories during our summer vacations! The first was in the Poconos of PA. The Davis family joined us in renting a home there. We went to camelback waterpark and enjoyed fishing and swimming on the small lake at home. The children stopped getting excited after we realized we’d see deer everyday! We went through a major adjustment loosing our dear friends and neighbors when the Davis family moved to Philadelphia, but we are grateful we’ve been able to still see each other. We later visited for Liam’s baptism, and a taste of a delicious Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. We were happy to meet Uncle Gary and Aunt Robin while south as well. We went to our second water park meeting family in Old Forge NY to camp and splash. Our family sold our old Chevy truck that we’ve had through our ten years of marriage, and our motorboat. We are happy owners of two kayaks now.

Come fall we were glad to return the favor and host the Rasmussen family here in VT. We visited the aquatic center and children’s museum with Dain and Calista and their four wonderful children. Papa and Grandma Oaks also visited while Jonathan was away traveling. Pappa was able to attend a field trip hunting different crayfish species with Eldon, and allow Alissa the freedom to go to the apple orchard with Leah and her class. Later, during a Halloween trip to NY it was meaningful to meet our new niece Natalie, visit with Uncle Gary and Aunt Robin again, and say goodbye to Grandma and Grandpa Oaks who were heading to Florida for the winter. We attempted to sell our home this past year and will resume our efforts next spring in hopes to end up on a larger piece of property.