Below is the Christmas letter I sent out this year. Just an update since it’s been a while. :-)
Merry Christmas! We pray this letter finds you doing well and we hope that 2015 has been a good year for you. We have had a good year, with some exciting changes.
We began 2015 moving forward with plans to transfer to a European office within the company. While we really love
Atlanta, we also want to give our girls the experience of living overseas for a few years. After trying to walk through several doors through the course of the year, they all eventually closed. We still desire to live overseas, but it is unlikely that we’ll be able to transfer within the company. Paul is at a place in his career right now where he feels it’s best to remain at his current position, so we’ll revisit this dream in a few years. (Perhaps it will be even better once the girls are older!)
Since we are committed to Atlanta for the forseeable future, we decided to take advantage of the improving housing market and pulled out a loan to fix some of the major problems with the fixer-upper house we bought back in 2009. This will help our quality of life as we live here, and also will make it easier to sell when we do decide to pursue our overseas adventures.
Our house was under construction from August until the first half of December. This meant we didn’t have access to our kitchen and had quite the adventure trying to cook with a hot plate and microwave, and wash dishes in the bathtub! However, the finished product was worth it. Please check my blog (twentysixcats.com) for more pictures and details once I get all the “after” pictures taken and the descriptions written up.
This year also brought some fun traveling adventures. In addition to our usual trips to Florida (to visit my family) and Indiana (to visit college friends), we also went to New England for a week for Paul’s sister’s wedding over Memorial Day weekend. All of Paul’s family stayed in a vacation rental house right on the beach, and it was just lovely. In October, Paul and I went back up to Indiana for homecoming at Taylor – it was my 10 year reunion! I can’t believe it’s been that long since I graduated college. We left the older two girls with their grandparents – our first time leaving them! We had a really great trip.
Savannah turned 6 this August and started 1st grade. She is being homeschooled again this year and is really enjoying it! She is active in swimming (twice a week) and AWANA Club along with Caroline. Savannah loves horses, dolphins, mermaids, and princesses – so pretty much a typical 6 year old girl. She has recently been getting into art projects, spending hours drawing or creating things. She says she wants to be an artist or a veterinarian when she grows up.
Caroline turned 3 in July and if I had to choose one word to describe her it would be “passionate”. She does everything with great passion, and I’m pretty sure she is destined for Broadway. She loves to put on dramatic singing and dancing performances wherever she goes. Caroline has been attending a local morning preschool 5 days a week, which she adores. She has her little friends and apparently one of the boys in her class has a crush on her. I feel like I’m getting some insight into what her teenage years will be like. ;-) Caroline really loves flowers, hearts, stars, but mostly flowers. (She REALLY loves flowers.)
Elizabeth celebrated her first birthday in September by diving headfirst into her cake and getting it everywhere. She continues to charm and delight us. She has not yet caught on that she is younger than her sisters, and spends her days trying to keep up with them. She started walking shortly after her birthday and now enjoys trying to see how many messes she can make whenever I dare to turn my back. It’s very exhausting to keep up with her! She loves to laugh and it’s been fun to see her learn about the world.
As mentioned earlier, Paul continues to work hard at his job as a Web developer. He is on the politics team right now, so he has been really busy preparing for the upcoming elections. We’re not planning to see him much in 2016. I have found that 3 kids keeps me very busy at home, especially with homeschooling one of them. Last winter/spring, I had the pleasure of teaching art (history and theory) at a homeschool co-op that we were part of, and I very much enjoyed that. This fall I have scaled back my daytime commitments to only the occasional field trip, which has overall been less stress for me but I do miss some of my previous activities.
We look forward to 2016 and the adventures the year should bring us, and we hope you have the best year
Ashley for the rest of the family
* All images courtesy of the amazingly talented Julie Vansant at Jules Photography