Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Your "Official" 2006 Randall Newsletter

I am writing to give each of you a thorough updating in the Randall home, whether you like it or not. I generally enjoy, with great timeliness, musing about the last year in my life. I print it out on cute card stock, with some variation of pine trees and snowflakes, and postmark it in mid-December. Last year I managed to get an e-newsletter out (we were about to have a baby!) but Christopher was rather under impressed, and stated he thought the printed word held more warmth than the computer-screen version. So this year I had every intention of seeing to it that our family's high-flying adventures were put down in red and green, and mailed via Uncle Sam. So I ask you, "Did you receive your Randall Newsletter?" That's what I thought. I would have been surprised if you'd answered, "yes" since I never mailed one. But I digress.

I realized I was losing an opportunity of the very vehicle I use to blabber about my family anyway. Christopher agreed anything was better then nothing *wink* and so here I sit, on January 24th, 2007, at my computer, while my husband and children are at church, and I am tending to an unwell child. Shall we begin?

At the time of last year's newsletter we had not delivered our 5th child, 4th daughter, Mary Ellen Randall. She came to us on December 27th and was a joy from the start. She is now 13mos old and can almost walk. Her heart is captured with music, smiles and bread. She has 7 teeth and is currently working, err screaming, her way to an 8th.

Leah is 2.5 this month and if you want to better understand her whimsical ways just peruse the blogs here. Her vocabulary becomes more detailed almost daily, and her favorite past time is to yell. If you doubt me, please come over for an evening. She will wrap your heart around her pinkie, but she will do it at the absolute limit of your eardrums.

Caleb turned three in June and was sorely put out that he did not get another birthday in December, "like all the girls". His desperate need to be a fireman was replaced this last year with a passion for worker men, i.e. the men who work large construction equipment. We are undergoing a rather substantial overhaul of our area and he gets to daily witness forklifts, back hoes, bulldozers and the like. He was also introduced to "his team" (the A's baseball organization) and flatly refuses to honor his father's LA Angels. Nana bought season tickets and Caleb will be there with his A's hat, shirt, shorts and probably trying to bring in his calendar! I try to encourage Christopher, perhaps it is only a 3 year old thing? He does sleep with his hat, though.

Bethany had her 6th birthday on December 23rd. 6 years old! I can hardly believe it (and don't even get me started on Hannah being 8 - but that is the next paragraph). Our little girl landed smack in the middle of childhood, and I only blinked once. She has met a girl in our homeschool group and made fast friends with someone outside of her sister's influence for the first time. We switched bunk positions and now she gets the top! Her heart for reading is growing and she is a whiz at math, but nothing touches her culinary skills. She loves to help in the kitchen, and will certainly be making delicious meals in just a few short years.

Hannah maintained her spot as eldest by turning 8 on December 30th. Nice of her, huh? LOL But "eldest" is the best way to describe her. She runs a tight ship in our home (sometimes a little too tight) but I could not get by without her. She is incredibly responsible and enjoys helping out very much. Her desire for academics has not stopped and her reading skills are through the roof. It has actually become a point of concern between me and Christopher because finding content appropriate books that are challenging has become a serious endeavor. If you have recommendations please pass them my way (I love series, where you know you have the next 5 books already taken care of! But I would appreciate any suggestions!).

I continue to homeschool and really love the time I get each day with my children. We practice delayed academics, which means right now I focus more on character training, and inter-personal relationship building, rather than the 3 Rs. However, it is truly amazing how much conventional training slips into life when you are willing to answer questions, and take advantage of teaching moments. As a result, both girls are at or above grade level for their respective ages.

Christopher and I are still serving in our local church, First Baptist Church of Monterey. Christopher accepted a second term as Elder and I cheer him on. Along with this commitment Christopher is a Leader for the Cubbies Club in our AWANA program, and occasionally teaches an Adult Sunday School unit for 10-12 weeks. I am involved in our Ladies Bible Study and continue to host the monthly scrapbook get-togethers (we are hard core, going from 6pm to midnight every 3rd Friday of the month. I love it!) We really enjoy our church home, and love our brothers and sisters there like family.

So what else can I tell you? We are all healthy (except Mary, who, as you remember from the beginning of this post is home feeling icky). God has richly blessed our home, and provided for our needs over and above our expectations. We are truly grateful for each of you and the story line you added to our narrative these past 365 days. Thank you for your love, support, encouragement, timely Christmas cards *wink*, and prayers. We think of you often and hope that our paths will continue to cross throughout 2007.

The Randall Family

Christopher, Trisha, Hannah, Bethany, Caleb, Leah & Mary

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