Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Letter 2008

Christmas 2008

Dear Friends and Family,

I so enjoy getting cards and letters from all of you. Since life is so unbelievably busy, it is nice to one time a year catch up on the lives of people who are so important to me. However, I do realize not everyone enjoys reading as much as I do, so I decided this year to post our family letter, and those of you who wanted to read could, and those of you who don’t would not feel obligated or guilty for not reading. Plus, if we all do our part to stay “green” the world will be a better place….right?

So on to the Merrick family news.

As usual the year was full of ups and downs. However, I will only highlight the highs in this letter. (The lows are not that fun to read about). The kids are getting bigger so the activity load seems to be increasing. Kayci and Haley played soccer this year. It was really fun to go and watch their games. Often Steve and I would have to tag team to be able to get the kids to their respective soccer games that occurred at the same time. Kayci really has a knack for the game. She is fast and aggressive and just loves to play. She scored about 6 goals this season. Haley was in a different age division. And being on the small side anyway, she had a rough time with some of the bigger boys, but still loved playing. She was a hard worker and gave it her all every time. Both girls had great, loving coaches who just made the game fun. Both girls also did gymnastics and tennis most of the year.

Courtney tried her hand (feet rather) at ballet and tap this year. I thought she would love it. She constantly dresses up and dances around like a princess here, but I was wrong. She really hated it. I’m not sure if it was the being told what to do that so offended her princess ways, or the fact that all of the kids were her age and younger. But she did not enjoy it. She was cute doing it though.

I am still homeschooling all of the girls. This year is the first year to be teaching all three. Haley is in the 5th grade, Kayci is in the 2nd, and Courtney is in Kindergarten. It is tough homeschooling all three, but for the most part we are still enjoying it. I still get to be creative in my lesson planning and the girls are home with me all day. It frees us up to do some fun things that we may not be able to do if they were attending regular school. So, until I get a big sign that I should stop, I guess I will keep going. As long as I can still play tennis, 2-3 times a week, I can handle being with the kids full time.

Kayci and Haley have really developed musically as well this year and enjoy playing piano, guitar and violin. Courtney loves to just sing "Jesus Take the Wheel."

Steve continues to be super busy. He is still working at the church, teaching at Azusa Pacific, and doing some free-lance arranging stuff. (He doesn’t like me to brag about what he is working on, so if you want to know you’ll have to ask me in person.) For the most part, I think he is happy doing what he is doing. I think he wishes he didn’t have to work so hard to keep us alive, but he acknowledges that making a living doing music is a blessing. Our family is really blessed to have such a hard worker as the head of our home.

The orchestra at our church, bought our whole family Disney passes this year. The girls and I have been enjoying that. It’s great; we’ll do a hard day of school and then go to Disneyland for a couple of hours before the crowds get there. We’ve got a system down so we can be the most efficient with our time while we are there. We even bring our own snacks, so Disneyland is not making a penny off of the Merrick’s!!

In August we made our annual trip to Colorado and enjoyed time with all of our family. The kids went to the same camp that I used to go to as a kid. It is a great tradition. It is so beautiful up there. When I return home I always wonder why we don’t move to Colorado?

I guess that is all of our news. The year seems to have flown so fast that I have a hard time separating what I told you all last year, from what has happened this year. I hope this letter finds you all well. One lesson I continue to learn is that God has a purpose for each of our lives. (Whether we like it or not HE DOES). He puts us in each other’s lives for such a time as this. I am so thankful to all of you for the part you play in my life and the life of my family. We are blessed to know you.

The Merrick Family
Stephen, Jennifer, Haley, Kayci, and Courtney

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

Christmas has come to be synonymous with busy for the Merrick family. Rehearsals and performances color our entire month. And while my kids have every right to be bratty and complain about all the hurriedness and late nights, they continue to amaze me with their creativity and joy with which they handle our busy schedule. I don't even have to put stuff together for them. They pack their DVD player and their Polly Pockets and create a Polly world back stage at whatever venue we happen to be preforming. It is really cool. They don't complain and only ask for an occasional cookie after their quarantine period each night. Every night I am impressed.

Haley asked me a very interesting question this week. While we were looking at pictures of variety of animals Haley asked, "I wonder if ostriches have bottoms shaped like a box so they can screw in two more legs if they need it." This was not asked as a joke, but as a serious question. She went on to explain that they looked unbalanced and was worried they may get tired and tip over. I think this is very deep thinking for a 9 year old. I can already tell she will solve some of the worlds biggest problems someday.

Courtney also had an interesting question. She asked, "Mom, how do you get married?" I started to tell her the general idea and she said, "Do you just dance a little and then kiss?" I said it was a little more involved than that and she said, "Well I'm thinking about doing it for a little while." I started to tell her that it was a lifetime commitment, blah, blah, blah...but her idea was so cute I decided to just leave it for now. What if we could just dance a little and then kiss? How many men would I have married by now? Ummm...let's see 1,2,3,....0. Nope, no scenarios have happened like that in my life. I'd still be single if that was all there was to it. :)

One last interesting comment from this week: I was trying to explain to Kayci and Courtney that they needed to be kind to each other because they would be friends their whole lives. I told Courtney that even her best friend Jenna would probably not be in her life forever, but Kayci would be, so she should be kind. Courtney said very confidently, "Jesus and Jenna will always be in my life." There was not negotiating. This was the truth as far as Courtney was concerned.

My kids are so awesome.