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Archive for August, 2017

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We had a fantastic summer. Our trip to Alaska tops the list and we have many memories to cherish. We also spent time with grandparents in Denver and Cashiers. Ellie did an engineering camp and her third summer at overnight camp, both of which she loved.

The boys got to go with Wes to an F3 dads camp and they loved all of the activities and nonstop excitement. Jack did a Lego robotics camp where he learned as much about Leogs as he did about being tolerant of younger kids. James did golf camp and continues to excel. Thomas did lacrosse camp and has added another new sport to his long lists of favorites.

Last week we went to Carowinds (Amusement Park). Fun times were had by all. Ellie loved each and every roller coaster and ride. Thomas liked roller coasters the least, but he kept mom company. Jack and James were brave to try many things.

Last night, fall sports started for the boys. Jack is playing soccer and he is confident and comfortable on a team without his brothers. James and Thomas are playing flag football and practicing their skills at home constantly.

Today is the first day of 5th grade for Ellie. She will get to rotate through classes with three different teachers this year in anticipation of middle school. The boys begin 2nd grade. We feel so good about where they are.

Wes is looking forward to more time for productive work in his home office that is now much quieter. I look forward to quieter days, time to myself, and tackling projects. Give us a month and we will be longing for the laid back days of summer again!

 

 

 

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Annual birthday letters….

JJT

Dear James,

Happy 8th Birthday, big guy! You are such a treasure to us. Never, ever doubt that we love you completely. Thank you for being someone who knows what you want and who isn’t afraid to tell us exactly how you feel. Sometimes your comments can hurt our feelings or be delivered in a harsh tone, but we appreciate your decisiveness and desire to be understood. We are confident your argumentative and dogmatic disposition will serve you well as an adult in your profession and so we are tasked with helping to understand and temper it in the present. You are also working to accept and admit your mistakes. Doing so doesn’t make you weak, but actually humble and strong. You are getting it!

You and your dad are a lot alike. Once you asked him, “What does G-O-B spell?” to which your father replied, “That spells ‘job’ but it is J-O-B.” You quickly responded, “That’s what I said.” And your exasperated father said, “No, you started with a “G”—you are such a strong-willed child.” Without missing a beat you replied, “Thank you for saying that—I like that you called me strong.” With humility and coach-ability, your determination will take you far.

This is why, while in Speculator, you asked for prayer for obedience this year. This you saw modeled in Jesus in Hebrews 5:8 when it says, “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.” Obedience comes through doing the hard things we do not want to do.

Our most recent adventure to Alaska proved that you are an adventurous eater. There wasn’t a thing you refused to try. It was fun exposing you to some of our special favorites like lobster, scallops, lamb, and even caviar. You are also developing your cooking skills, so we anticipate some new adventures in the kitchen.

You absolutely loved school this year. It also piqued your interest to study geography and world flags at home. Your teachers awarded you the “Biblical Knowledge” award for your deep understanding of the scriptures and your ability to make connections between passages. That means so much to us to see you absorbing it into your own heart. You made good friends this year, especially Cole. You are a thoughtful friend, always concerned not to leave people out or hurt their feelings. Ellie also has a special relationship with you, most likely because of your tender heart toward her.

Your golf abilities are really taking off. In fact, you recently beat Dad in a legitimate game. Mimi and Papa also enjoyed playing with you. You are very patient with golf and we need to commit to helping you grow in the game. You are eager to play any sport and you are good about grabbing a basketball and shooting hoops when you have spare time. You also take an active interest in watching sports and frequently ask to print out playoff brackets or league standings to assist your viewing.

We enjoy our time with you and are grateful to be your parents. We are so proud of who God has made you to be.

We love you very much,

Mom and Dad

________________________________________________________________________________________

Jack,

Happy, happy 8th Birthday! You have had an eventful year with starting school full time, making new friends, and traveling to Albany, NY and Alaska in addition to our trips to Denver, Amelia, and Cashiers (many times!).

We love your sense of humor and how we can count on you to laugh at our silly stories or strange jokes. Maybe because of your fun spirit, you are excellent at reading with expression. You are also very caring and can pick up on others’ feelings. You sense when things are stressful and will ask, “Are you okay, mom?” Often, you will step right up and help with whatever needs to be done. You have a good intuition about how to be helpful and we find you are dependable and trustworthy, which are important values to us. One thing that you’ve been pointing out recently is how you don’t like crowds. You are aware of when you might encounter more people (like on a hot weekend at the pool) and you prefer to avoid that. It seems that you prefer smaller, quieter gatherings and that’s just fine.

At school this year, you did an amazing job. We, of course, love that you do well on your schoolwork and persevere when things are hard or you are tired. However, we are even more pleased with how well you behaved. Your teachers could count on you to make good choices and obey their instructions even when others were not. A month into school, we noticed that you had worn a big hole in the seat of your pants! Then we discovered it was because you were working hard to sit still while the other boys were disruptive. As we have prayed for and worked with you on your sense of self-control, it was encouraging to see the efforts you are putting in.

Your teachers also recognized you with an award for “Honesty,” noting that you would be honest even if it meant you had to admit doing something wrong. It has been a little hard for you to make friends at school. It is overwhelming being new and finding out which boys you would like to get to know better. Our hope is that your second year at school will allow you to deepen your relationships and start to develop some good friends. You had fun when Noah J. moved in down the street for a few months. And, you are a good friend to our neighbors.

The other day, dad found you climbing the door jam in the front of the house. He laughed as you scaled to the top and hung from the molding. You, like your sister, like to focus on activities that you can diligently work on by yourself. This summer you got partnered with a younger camper at Lego camp and became frustrated when the boy would disassemble your work. The challenge you face is that often your friends and family will undo the hard work you put in to making things organized and smooth. When you face those challenges, we hope you can draw on the stable love of Christ.

In New York, you picked “Gratitude” as your word with the verse: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…with gratitude in your heart to God (Colossians 3:16).

We are so thankful God has placed you in our family.

We love you so very much,

Mom and Dad

________________________________________________________________________________________

Thomas,

It’s your big day, Mr. Eight-year-old! This is your kind of day, filled with people, friends, activities, special food, and gifts. One of your greatest gifts is your ability to connect with people, just like your dad. People want to be your friend and you make the effort to build those relationships. You also have a confidence about yourself. You know that you do a lot of things well and you are happy to share your enthusiasm with others. We are currently working with you on being more attuned to others’ needs and feelings and being willing to sacrifice yourself for others. Gathering a crowd is the easy thing, but leading people is hard work that takes sacrifice, compassion and selflessness.

One of the proudest moments we had was at the end of the basketball season. You and James were two of the top scorers on the team, but at the end of the last basketball game, every member of the team had scored a basket in the game except the youngest player. You were very intentional in passing the ball to him so he could make a basket. At the buzzer, he finally sunk a basket because you were persistent in encouraging him. This is an example of you living out the John 15:13 verse you chose in Speculator as your verse on friendship: Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

School was a highlight for you this past year. You excelled in all academic areas and showed great behavior. We were regularly amazed by your quick mind and your ability to memorize complicated memory verses after seeing them once or twice. Your teacher worked hard to keep you challenged. She honored you with the “Leadership” award. We see this as something you have demonstrated, but also as something you are working toward. Good leaders are always refining their skills and willing to learn and grow.

Sports are definitely your thing and you take to them quickly. You recently started lacrosse and seemed to really like it. It is very new to us, so we are learning as we go. You also got very good at baseball in the spring. You love being a part of a team and get a great thrill in improving and making good plays. It will be interesting to see where you decide to focus your efforts and talents as you develop your own path apart from Jack and James.

May the year ahead be filled with all the things you love and enjoy. We are so thankful for the joy and love you bring to our home and our hearts.

Love always,

Mom and Dad

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