Sunday, December 16
Merry Christmas to our Family and Friends!
We hope this letter finds you and yours well, and able to reflect on a wonderful year.
We entered 2012 as a family of six, and are pleased to leave it with seven. Declan Peter was born at 9 lbs and 4 oz. three days before Thanksgiving. Zach got to do the delivery again, and we started off the holiday season truly thankful another brother has come to complete our family. Four days early, his timing couldn’t have been better: we still had Aunt Lara visiting and had just picked up Zach’s mom the night before. Zach was able to get work off, and Summer had the most pleasant hospital stay out of any of her delivery experiences. We’re so grateful for the help of our parents and family and friends the last few weeks.
Kael turned 2 this July, and has made the transition from baby to boy; at the beginning of the year he was swallowing money, and now he’s counting it. We enjoy knowing what’s on his mind now that he can speak full sentences. One of his favorites,“I’m so excited!” gets applied to pretty much everything from getting his clean blanket out of the dryer to choosing a piece of candy out of his Halloween bucket. He loves his new brother and never likes to stop holding him.
Bree and Anya started Kindergarten this year. The charter school in our area had no openings, as we expected. We can’t say we’re too sorry about it. They are zipping along at the pace they want in the K12 curriculum, and enjoy school. They take after their sister at the playground and lead groups of kids in games every time we go. We can’t help but wonder if they would take such initiative meeting people if they were with the same friends every day. After the inevitable worries about “socialization” that come when one ventures into homeschooling, it has been good to see them so unafraid and friendly every time we’re out. We’re trying to convince them to donate their long hair, but they’re still set on having it as long as Rapunzel’s. Anya loves drawing pictures and playing the piano. Bree prefers running around outside with Mia and Kael (who still can’t tell his twin sisters apart, ha.)
Mia has grown up a lot the last couple of months- it is hard for people to believe she just turned seven. She is two grade-levels ahead in school, and is working on her 6th Harry Potter book. She was a great helper running up and downstairs on little errands while her mom was rendered much less mobile during the last trimester of pregnancy. She demonstrated a lot of maturity keeping herself on task in school and took a lot of pride in the fact that she learned how to make two different kinds of lunches: peanut butter sandwiches and mac and cheese cups. Although it is such a relief to have things back to normal now that the baby is born, it was touching to see Mia serve so willingly and admirably.
Summer spent a few months teaching a neighbor boy to read before he started Kindergarten. In exchange for the daily lessons, his mother taught each of our girls piano lessons: Bree and Anya alternated each day with Mia. Because of the frequency of the lessons, everyone progressed rapidly, making for a very fulfilling summer.
Zach is halfway through his second year of his surgical residency at UMC, with three to go. He’s grown comfortable removing appendixes and gallbladders on his own, and thinking of him as a doctor isn’t such a novelty anymore. On top of his 90 hour work week, somehow he manages to be there when we need him, put the girls to bed each night, keep a saltwater fish tank, and maintain the yard and house.
We’re grateful to be busy with such rewarding tasks, and hope this New Year will be just as full with satisfying challenges. May you be blessed this holiday season and all through the year.
Love, the Van Wagoners