So, although I have had the letters printed for weeks now (on festive green paper with a hand drawn tree in the bottom corner) and I have bought a gaggle of festive stamps (from Costco) and I rushed and stressed over getting a nice picture of the kids to include in the cards, they are still sitting here waiting for me to put them in the envelopes and mail them out.
I was contemplating how we get onto a person's Christmas card list. There is one person who faithfully sends us a card every year, more faithfully than any other it seems. Every time we open it, my husband and I look at each other and ask if the other remembers who it is. Neither one of us can. It's been several years now. I wonder if I should tell them we are mistakenly on their list, or start sending them a card and pretend we are the best long lost friends ever. We think it might be someone "famous" according to the pictures they send.
Anyway, here is a copy of our newsletter for 2011. Hope you all had a Merry Christmas! Happy New year! (and Happy Valentine's)
Taggart Times Christmas Newsletter 2011
I don’t know how long it has been since we have written a newsletter, but regardless or how many years it has been, we are only going to cover this year. This year, like every other year, has been busy for us, as I am sure it has been for all of you! At last we have time to ponder what has happened and look forward to the next year.
The four have started kindergarten this year. Lily has been reluctant to learn her letters and is being “watched” for a learning disability. We wonder if she simply lacks motivation. She loves to color, paint, and color. Did I mention that Lily likes to color? If she could do nothing else all day she would be the happiest kid in the world. She also reports chasing boys at recess is a favorite pastime. Like her brothers, Lily also enjoys helping Mom in the kitchen and any other way she can.
Brenden has a great sense of humor, but needs to practice when to use it and when not to. He has had a challenging beginning to school learning to wait his turn and not speak out. Oh, he also had a tough time remembering that the teacher is the teacher, not him. “But they were doing it wrong!” was his response. I did not know that kindergarteners who don’t follow the rules could loose their recess privileges. Hmm. The computer class teacher (not affiliated with the kindergarten) was very upset when I asked her if she had problem with Brenden. She clearly does not have any problems. I believe her words were, “The sun rises and sets with that boy!” He is learning quickly but also forgets or has a better idea just as fast.
Marek is very self motivated and top of his class. While I have to pester Lily and Brenden to show me their work and hound them endlessly, Marek is the opposite. He will pester me, “I have to get my homework done!” I will say, “Don’t you want to eat lunch?” Usually the answer is, “No. I need to get this done first.” Marek is just as enthusiastic about getting his chores done.
Evan is less vocal but just as motivated, unless there is anything else going on. Whenever he is reminded he works hard and well. He is also at or near the top of his class. He shares a class with Lily while Brenden and Marek have a different teacher.
Evan is still a charmer and loves to meet knew people. He especially loves to read to anyone who will listen to him.
In January, Dallas turned 8 and was baptized the first week of February. He always encourages us to choose the right and do our best. He is a fabulous journal keeper. Dallas is in third grade this year and is doing very well, as usual. We seem to have uncovered some of his problem with itching and rashes. We think that to some degree it’s related to stress. Since Lydia has completed her schooling his skin has improved drastically. We are also using homemade soaps and lotions and rinsing all the laundry in vinegar. Gluten free foods have also helped some.
Some of Stephen’s favorite things this year are joining Webelos in scouting and making new friends at school. His teacher was transferred after school began, causing more anxiety than we needed. Since then we have been working on making friends and getting back to other basic social skills. We take it one day at a time, but honestly, he is so well behaved it is easy to overlook him. Especially since he enjoys being alone. We are all making progress.
Some other exciting things from this year were visits from family members and Steve’s being able to go to Florida to visit family. We camped in Moab and went caving in Nevada. In February, we had a fundraiser for Lydia’s brother Bryce, who has advanced stage four colon cancer. We were ecstatic to have over $14,000 raised at the event to help with their expenses!
June and July were stressful as Lydia crammed for the last deadlines and earned her bachelor’s degree from BYU. (General Ed with and emphasis in family life and a minor in Psychology) She finished just in time for kindergarten to begin. The few weeks in August were filled with swimming lessons (for everyone) and violin lessons (for Stephen and Dallas)
Since then, people often ask, “What’s Lydia going to do now that the kids are in school and she has her degree?” Well, if there were ever a day when homework, lunch money, or sick children were not needing her attention we would let you know. She spends time volunteering at the school weekly and driving around crazy the rest of the time.
Steve has a new calling at church, Cubmaster. That is helpful since both Stephen and Dallas are in the program, and soon the rest will be too. Steve still has time with the older boys as the ward’s Eagle Scout Specialist. Work has brought him changes and although he has had many responsibilities added without a pay raise or title change, he is happy contributing in a vital way at Varian.
Steve has enjoyed going to the Grand Canyon again this year. It’s fast becoming his favorite place to visit.
Some less than exciting events of the year were saying goodbye to both Grandpa Bell and Grandpa Paulsen (both were Lydia’s grandparents) We fell blessed to have known them for so long in this life and were reminded what really matters is our relationships with family and friends. We hope this finds you well. You are in our prayers, always.
Have a Merry Christmas and a blessed new year!
With Love, The Taggart Family