Christmas Letter 2012

(the real family photo)

Nearly a year ago, we were visiting Kirstjen’s parents in Del Rio, TX and talking together about how we’ve wanted to move to warmer weather.  Every winter we wondered why we were still living in a place where we had to deal with dark and cold winters.  So during that visit, we decided we had had enough, and that it was time to make a big move for us.  Six months later, we rolled into Round Rock, TX with our big moving truck and unpacked all of our stuff into a beautiful rental home that our awesome realtor helped us find.  This has clearly been the biggest change for us this year, and besides moving away from some family and great friends, everything else about it has been very positive and we are loving it.  Sure, it’s hot during the summer, but there are pools and splash pads all over the place to cool down in.  Our community has an awesome pool area just a 5 minute walk away.  But, now being December, it has been averaging in the 70’s!  I know it’s not all about weather, but it is amazing how much of a difference the warmer climate, more sun, and longer daylight has.  We love it here.

Erich:  Loves to push things all over the house.  There is a little 4-wheeled rocket car that we have, which is meant to be ridden, but he holds the handlebars, standing in front of it, and pushes it backwards.  We thought he would be sick of it by now because it has been going on for months.  But he still keeps on going.  He is a climber and a risk-taker.  Kirstjen will often find him up on things (like the dining room table).  He is also definitely more of the bully between he and Bryan.  He’s been known to grab a metal toy truck and use it to bash Bryan in the head.  So we have been trying to teach Bryan how to grab something bigger and strike back! (just kidding!)  Erich is very dramatic.  We will find him reacting at times with his head tilted back, eyes shut really tight, mouth open as if to yell but making no noise.  Then he’ll stop and look at us to see if that had any effect.

Bryan:  Loves to jabber constantly.  It’s hilarious.  They still aren’t saying much, but Bryan is leading the pack in the talking arena.  He says and understands Dada, bye bye, ni night, uh oh, no no, hi, and probably a few others I don’t remember.  He is much more cuddly than Erich is, especially before bed when we are holding him.  He loves to give kisses, fives, and fist bumps.  We found him to be fearless in the pool this summer, so we had to be ready at all times for him darting toward deeper waters and falling over.  He’s a boy of many facial expressions, perhaps he’ll be the Jim Carrey of the family?  Unlike Erich, he has grown fond of a little Piglet stuffed animal that he likes to sleep with, and if Piglet isn’t in his crib when we put him to bed, all we hear is “uh oh!” repeatedly until we find it for him.

Shane:  Loud.  Very loud.  I think if we were somehow able to “tap” him, we would be able to harness the most potent source of energy known to mankind, and be able to bottle it and sell it as the most advanced energy supplement ever invented.  Perhaps that is just how the average parent of their first 5-year-old boy feels.  He started Kindergarten this year at a great school very close to us; he is loving it and doing very well.  It has been really neat to see him start to really pick up reading.  There are also a number of boys his age on our street that he has met and enjoys playing with regularly.  Some of his friends seem to have a radar of when the twins are sleeping, and they come over at that time and ring the doorbell 100 times.  Kids!!  Shane continues to learn, and be able to do more independent things.  It’s crazy how quickly some of these changes seem to happen.  Seems like next week he will be driving.

Kirstjen:  Has too many cookbooks.

Josh:  Loving the warmer weather.  As many of you know, I love to play disc golf.  Shortly after moving here, I found a great group of guys that meet to play at different courses all around Austin on Saturday mornings.  It has been great, especially being able to play year-round!  I also played in my first disc golf tournament this fall – I took 2nd in my division, and my doubles partner and I took 2nd in doubles as well.  I came home with $190 in discs and other merchandise, and it was a blast!  Work is going well.  I began working at a new company called Lyons Consulting Group out of Chicago in March, working from home.  I am currently the main developer for new functionality on the Warner Records website (store.warnermusic.com).  I have also been doing some reading and thinking about God and Christianity lately.  I have been posting a lot of Facebook updates about that, as well as keeping a blog updated with these thoughts (helpstowrite.wordpress.com).

Kirstjen:  Seriously, she has a lot of cookbooks, and, she still manages to bring more home from the library too.  It’s crazy!  But, I shouldn’t complain.  She continuously gets better and better at cooking, experimenting, and providing all sorts of meals I’ve never had before, which is awesome.  She recently made some apple cider salted caramels.  Holy smokes.  She keeps momming it up at home, and keeping the house clean and laundry done.  The boys certainly don’t make that job any easier!  They are all so talented at redistributing toys and anything else they can find all over the house.  She has been able to get involved with a MOPS group here, and has made some good lady friends from church, which has been great for her.

We hope you have a great Christmas season!

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