Story of a family of 12, who live in an historic home in a small town, and try to adhere to the philosophy "Blessed are the flexible for we shall not be bent out of shape."
All of Us
Friday, January 04, 2008
Greetings everyone! We sincerely hope that our letter finds you all healthy and happy.
We have just completed one of the busiest years of our lives. Although it was filled with good things, it was at times very intense. In January, we moved out of our home to facilitate the extensive renovations and building of an addition which were underway. We were lucky to find a nice house nearby. We were a little cramped, but it was only supposed to be until June. In March, we were elated to discover that we were expecting our eighth child! In May, we realized that our house wouldn't be ready until July. Also in May, Paula and Daryl celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary.
In early July, we went on vacation. This year, we decided to take an unadventurous but relaxing trip to northern Michigan, where we rented a house on Lake Michigan, and spent the week enjoying the beach--the waves, the sand, the wind, the beautiful thunderstorms. On our way home, we took a short detour and visited Mackinac Island. When we returned, it was obvious that our house wouldn't be ready in July, either. Luckily, our landlord had not rented our temporary home and we were able to stay there.
All year long, Daryl and Paula spent many hours each week having meetings with the architect and builder, doing research, shopping for materials, and making decisions related to the renovation project. The construction project entailed an addition, which included more bedrooms and bathrooms, a new family room, mudroom, and garage. It also included renovating the existing house both inside and out. Our house was formerly comprised of two sections, one built in the 1860s and the other added on in the 1970s. The 1970s section, which included the kitchen and dining room, was largely gutted and redone. The 1860s portions was structurally unchanged, but received a facelift and modernization, including new plumbing and wiring, refinished floors, new windows and fresh paint.
On September 22, we were overjoyed to move back into our house. The work was not complete, however--about one third remained to be done. For the next seven weeks there were tradesmen and painters on the job seven days a week. At that point all of the major work was complete, and we called the project to a halt to prepare for the next big event, the birth of the newest XXXXXX! Our son Mateo arrived on Nov.21, narrowly avoiding his siblings A and L's birthdays, which are Nov. 19 and 20, respectively. Paula and Mateo were home in time for Thanksgiving dinner, which was a joyous family celebration in our "new" home.
We still have a fairly lengthy list of details to be completed on the house in the new year, but for now we are just enjoying being here. Throughout all of this chaos and adventure, the kids were able to roll with the punches, keeping up their good grades and (mostly!) good attitudes.
D. is now 15, a sophomore in high school, still playing football and basketball and running track. He and his buddies were an indispensable help during our two moves.
J. is 13 and in the eighth grade. She is still our busiest family member, playing flute and piano, running track and cross country, horseback riding and playing basketball, and still finding time to be the one who reminds us to keep family traditions and to be a truly special big sister to her younger siblings.
L., now in the sixth grade, is the friendliest family member, with an active social life. At age 12 he is still dedicated to soccer, and has kept playing the piano and clarinet.
I. began playing the clarinet this year, and is still playing the piano and horseback riding. She is now 10 and in the fifth grade. Another social butterfly, she has many friends and is very outgoing.
T. is now 7 and in the 2nd grade. She is an avid reader and loves nothing more than to curl up with a good book. This year she began horseback riding with her sisters.
K., now 4, attends preschool. He has blossomed into an extremely inquisitive child, wanting to know about everything and peppering us with nonstop questions in his quest to learn more.
A., who recently turned 3, also attends preschool. She has changed dramatically from a toddler into a highly opinionated little girl. While last year she refused to wear dresses, now she loves to dress up and pink is her favorite color.
Mateo is a sweet, easygoing baby who loves to be held. He is unfazed by the constant hubbub and happy to be passed around from sibling to sibling.
Daryl is currently on sabbatical. While he is still working as hard as ever on his research and his work at XXXXXXXXX, he does not have to teach this academic year.
Paula is enjoying her fulfilling role as mother and household manager more than ever.