Sunday, July 3, 2011


I can't believe June is over! It just flew by. Granted, we have been very busy with summer activities. Mostly the weather has been nice, quite a bit of rain, but enough dry days that we've been able to enjoy parks and swimming.

Ethan kicked off the summer with Especially For Youth in Minnesota. Meredith and I drove him up (8 hours) and then I drove by myself to pick him up. The drive to get him was easier without Meredith (it's a bit long for her!) and I listened to an Agatha Christie to keep from getting bored. I missed Ethan while he was gone, but he had a great time and made some good friends. I hope he's able to do EFY again next year.

Ethan spent last week at scout camp. He and three other boys from our troop were the only ones there to do the "iron-man," a 20 mile hike with 30-40 lb. backpacks, a mile swim, and a survival night outside without a tent! What a tough kid! Scott and Meredith drove up to camp Friday night and slept in the car, then they and Ethan drove home yesterday. Ethan had time to take a long shower and rest for a little while, and then he and Scott left for a trip to Italy. Scott and I would have liked to go together, but it's just too hard to find someone to watch both Meredith and Noah for a whole week. So instead Ethan is going. I'm a little jealous, but I know my two men will have a great time.

Poor little Meredith came back from her "camping trip" completely covered with mosquito bites. They slept with the car windows open, the the skeeters apparently loved her soft baby skin. I feel so bad for her! She has about 40 bites on her arms, legs and face. Other than that she is doing great! We're so excited for her birthday in a week. Actually we gave her a big present yesterday - - a giant teddy bear about 5 times bigger than she is! (Gotta love Costco!) She was so excited she was screaming with happiness.

We're going to church in a few minutes, and she is so excited for nursery. She has never shown the least bit of reluctance to go in, in fact she's usually pretty anxious for sacrament meeting to be over so she can go in and play. She loves the songs, and at night she likes to sing "Twinkle Twinkle," "Eensie Spider," and "Wheels on the Bus." Speaking of nighttime, she and Noah both have slept in their beds every night for the past couple of weeks. This is a huge accomplishment!!!! Also, she counted to 10 the other day with no prompting. I wish I could take credit for that, but I think it's mostly because of Sesame Street . . .

Noah had a week off of school and then started summer camp. He loves it and has settled into the routine nicely. This is his 3rd or 4th year. It's 4 days a week from 9:15 to 3:15. They swim twice a week, walk to the library on Mondays, and walk to McDonalds and order their own lunches on Wednesdays. I am so grateful for the wonderful staff that work with him. I was feeling a little down recently because of all the frankly horrible things that are happening in the world, and then I thought about the dedicated angels that work with kids with special needs and it made me feel a lot better.

We have a fun guest in our home right now: Beanie! She flew out all by herself a week ago and it is so nice having her here! She is quite the helper, and I don't know what I'd do without her, especially with Scott and Ethan gone. She is doing a wonderful job of watering the plants, and is a great babysitter. She loves to swim and we've gone a couple of times and are planning many more. We've gone shopping and had movie night and are hoping for a day at a museum next week. It's so good for Meredith to have an older girl role model around! Thanks, Barkers, for lending me your little Bean!

I have been picking up some extra hours at work, filling in for vacationing co-workers. Also busy with my church calling, stuff for the Down syndrome group, and trying to keep the house and yard presentable. Sometimes it feels like one step forward and two steps back, but that's life!

Scott had a scary experience driving to scout camp with Meredith - - there was a head-on collision right in front of him. This is the third accident he's been on the scene for (I was with him for the first 2). It was a pretty bad accident involving 4 people with multiple injuries, but fortunately none of them fatal. Pretty scary for Scott, but he's a great person in an emergency. I'm just so grateful that he and Meredith weren't hurt!

I'm thankful that the Lord watches over us and helps us every day. Blessings and love to you all!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

It's Summer!

Well, not technically, but almost. The weather has been crazy here. One day last week it was over 95 and terribly humid, the next day it was 55! I prefer cool weather, but maybe not quite that cool! The good thing is that we've had plenty of rain and (not to brag) my yard looks great! I have plants in about 30 or 40 pots all over the front and the back 2 patios. I did a bunch of different color schemes and I really like how they turned out. I bought almost everything from the nursery down the road - - they are so nice and knowledgeable there, and although you might pay a little more, the selection is wonderful. I have so much fun deciding what flowers look nice together. Meredith has helped a lot, she loves following me around and saying "helper?" when she wants to take part. Ethan is my plant waterer, he loves when it's raining because it lets him off the hook!

Ethan will be leaving for EFY tomorrow. I'm driving him to Minnesota. It's about 7 hours away, so it will be a 2 day trip for me and Meredith, who is coming along for the ride. Because Ethan's summer is so full of scout stuff it was hard to find an EFY that worked, but I'm so glad we did. I think it will be a wonderful experience for him. He finished up 8th grade and graduated with high honors, having been on the high honor roll every semester of middle school. I'm so proud of his hard work! He's been taking it easy this week, but next week he'll start his summer schedule and stay pretty busy all the way through. He's getting prepared for seminary as well. Oh how I took released time for granted - - he's going to be getting up pretty early to make it to his 6 a.m. class!

Ethan also has been running - - over Memorial Day weekend we went downtown and he and Scott ran the Soldier Field 10-miler. Ethan kept up a great pace, especially considering the farthest he'd run previously was only about 3 miles. He told me he likes to watch movies about people going through war and stuff like that, and then he thinks about it when he's running and it makes it seem less painful. Whatever works, right?

While we were downtown I took Noah to "Peter Pan." It was the original J.M. Barrie production, extremely well done, in a theater-in-the-round format. Noah loved it. This has been a big month for him because he's finished up with elementary school. Fortunately the teachers worked hard to help him with the transition, and he's very excited to be attending Bernotas. He starts summer camp on Monday, which will be great. He's looking forward to seeing his friends and doing the activities.

Meredith got her first big "owie" last week, she fell and hit her head on the corner of a coffee table. It didn't bleed all that much, and wasn't a big cut, but was a little deep, so I took her to a doctor and she glued it shut! It's the best way to avoid leaving a scar for wounds like that. She was very brave and the doctor and nurse just loved her. She is growing up so fast! A little bit of the 2 year old attitude - - Noah (unfortunately) taught her to blow raspberries, which she does, extremely impudently, when she is upset. She's also added the phrase, "Go out of my room!" which she also got from Noah. Sigh . . .

Scott is still travelling a lot for work, but he has signed some very big deals and is enjoying his job a lot. I've been trying to go to the gym with him more often, although we don't play tennis together - - he tried once to teach me and it was not so great for our relationship.

I'm done with my classes and enjoying the break, I'll start up again in the fall. I'm enjoying time with the kids at home, and looking forward to a fun summer. A visit from family or friends would make it even more fun :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ethan's Tale of Mount Taranaki

On spring vacation this year I went to New Zealand to visit my grandparents. Of course, I did more than just visit them. I explored the cities and saw museums. But the best and most exciting thing that I did was to climb Mount Taranaki.
I learned some geological facts about Mount Taranaki. It is the most symmetrical mountain in the world. It is 8,261 feet high. It is also technically an active volcano, millions of years overdue for an eruption. But it’s very unlikely to erupt for a couple more million years.
When my dad and I got to the lodge at the base of the mountain, we found a “fatality list” dating back to the late 1800s. There were about 63 fatalities, and most of them involved slipping on ice and exposure. Because we visited during New Zealand’s late summer, we didn’t have to worry about that kind of thing. However, some of the fatalities were things like, “being crushed by a boulder,” or “fell off of a bluff,” or even “got lost.” Seeing the fatalities list right before we climbed didn’t help our morale much, but it didn’t stop us from going. After all, this wasn’t the first mountain I’ve climbed. I also climbed Wanu Picchu in Peru.
Mount Taranaki is about nine miles up and down and takes eight to ten hours to hike. At the start of the hike my dad and I were making great time. All we were doing was walking up a slightly sloped trail across the side of the mountain. We were averaging 30 minutes per mile, but the hike got more difficult with every mile. The path got more sloped as we walked, and soon enough we got to a different path that was at a 40 degree angle. That path was about a mile long, but at the end of it was a lodge where we could eat and rest.
When we got to the lodge my dad and I both ate a granola bar and then got back on the trail, but the trail was pretty much gone. Instead, there was a path of rocks that led to some old wooden stairs. Climbing the rocks took about 20 minutes, and it was actually pretty easy, compared to the stairs we had to climb. There was about a mile of stairs, and each stair was about twelve inches tall and six inches wide. The high altitude made it even harder. And the climb got even more difficult after we cleared the stairs.
Past the stairs we had to climb up a 45 degree angle of really loose gravel. We would take two steps and then fall back one step. That went on for another mile and then we got very close to the top (The top was the mouth of the volcano) .The view was pretty sweet, but my dad and I didn’t stay long.
After six grueling hours of climbing up, we started down. We slid down the gravel, ran down the rocks, and made it back to the lodge. We spent about 20 minutes eating at the lodge and then we left. My dad and I talked about politics for the last three hours of the hike. We talked about the economy, and the conflicts in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya.
When we got back to the base lodge we got in our car and drove back to the hotel and slept. I was literally asleep before my head hit the pillow. Overall it was a fun hike and a great experience. I had fun talking to my dad, and the bragging rights are great.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

April flew by so fast I can barely remember what happened! Ethan started track, which kept us both running. He didn’t like it as much as cross-country. He does enjoy running for fun though, and he and Scott have been running, swimming, and lifting weights at the gym on Saturdays. Ethan wrote a research paper for school on “Nuclear Deterrence Theory.” I had no idea what that even was until I typed the paper for him. He did a great job researching and writing it, and I was impressed by the way the teacher taught his class how to do it. Boy is research different now that we have the internet!

Ethan also got something new last month - - an electric guitar! He has been taking lessons on an acoustic guitar for about 3 years now, and he was ready for something different. He really likes it (he is, thankfully, not a rocker, and it isn’t any louder than the acoustic). His teacher commented on how well he was doing at his lesson last week. I’m proud of him. I wish he’d stuck with piano lessons (and someday he’ll wish it too,) but I’m so glad he’s playing an instrument. He still likes the Beatles, and is starting to get interested in the Big Band Era sound.

Noah gave a talk in Primary today. He did a very nice job. He struggles to be reverent in church sometimes, but he is a great helper to the primary leaders. He puts lots of things away and is always excited when he gets an assignment. He’s enjoying school very much. They had a field trip to a high school a few weeks ago. Some of the high school kids took Noah’s class around the school - - they’d prepared some fun activities for them. It was really fun.

Noah also got to go to the first ever Down syndrome luau dance party. We had it at the church and the young women were mostly in charge. One of them did a lot of work on it as a project for her Young Womanhood Recognition. We had great decorations, snacks and music, and everyone had loads of fun. The young women were wonderful ambassadors of the church. Noah especially had a good time dancing and hanging out with his friends Leah and Vanessa.

Meredith has hit the “terrible twos” a little early. She is still just as sweet as can be and so much fun, but she also has learned “no!” and says it frequently. Maybe it’s because she’s had to hold her own against her two big brothers, but she can be a little aggressive. She’s just as smart as can be, and knows almost all of her upper-case letters. She is talking more and more. Today I gave her a lollipop and she said, “I like it!” She especially had fun when Mom and Dad and Hilary were out here. I’m glad she’s such a friendly little bug, not shy at all!

The family visit was lots of fun, but it was way too short! Because of car trouble, Mom and Dad and Hil got here much later than planned and were only here about 3 days. They may have been glad to leave though, because our hot water heater broke and we had to shower at the gym! Also I had to work one of the days, and I had to take a test for one of my classes. Everyone was so helpful, watching Meredith and Noah for me while I worked and studied.

One of my classes is over. For my last assignment I had to refute something in our text, a book by Martha Nussbaum. In her last chapter she compared Notre Dame to BYU, with BYU coming in a very distant second. She was almost ridiculously biased, completely discounting BYU’s awesome language programs and study abroad programs. It wasn’t hard finding plenty of evidence to refute her arguments. And I got an A+ on the paper. So yay for me! I still have one test to take in my other class and then I am done. I’m not going to take a class this summer because Scott is just traveling way too much and I don’t have the time. But I’ll start up again in the fall. I love learning!

Scott is finally going to be home all week, after 2 months of being gone every single week for at least 2 nights, sometimes more. He had his 15 year business school reunion a couple of weeks ago in Virginia, and he took Meredith with him! I enjoyed a little break, and he had a great time with her. What a wonderful dad he is!

And what a wonderful mom and dad I have. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I am so excited about your mission! We will sure miss you, but we’ll be able to stay in close touch through skype and email. Good luck these last couple of weeks!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Marching On

You have to admire that I'm writing this post from New Zealand, where we're visiting Scott's parents. They've been here for about a year on a mission, and wow were they excited to have some family come to see them! We Skype with them regularly, and Meredith had no problem at all recognizing them - - she calls them by name and has given them a million hugs and kisses. And she has cried when we've left their home to go back to our condo.

A word about other March happenings before I go on talking about our trip. At the beginning of the month our friends Todd and Carrie Brotherson came to Chicago for a visit. We knew them when Scott was in business school. They are wonderful people! Right now they both work at SVU - - Todd is the head of the business department and Carrie works on setting up travel for students. Anyway, we hadn't seen them for quite a few years and it was so fun to catch up! We stayed downtown with the kids (Ethan babysat while we went out to dinner). We ate at Morton's Steakhouse. You do not go there with dieting in mind. I had the best shrimp of my life, colossally sized, and lightly coated in bread crumbs with a cream sauce. Awesome!

Ethan is preparing for Philmont and went on a 7 mile hike with the scouts a couple of Saturdays ago. We're getting all his stuff gathered - - good shoes, good backback, first aid kit, etc. Also, Ethan received his Life Scout in March. He's been working hard to get those merit badges done and we're hoping to have his Eagle earned in 6 months. Once high school starts he's going to be so busy, and it will be nice to have his Eagle all done with.

Well we left on our trip on March 23rd. The boys had to miss a few days of school, but I don't think they minded all that much. Packing is getting more and more of a pain with all these people to pack for! But we've pretty much got it down to a science. Anyway we had a 4 hour flight to L.A. and then a 16 hour flight to Auckland. Both flights were delayed, but at least we didn't have to rush. The Admiral's club at LAX was amazing, with a great little play area for the kids. Good for them to work of some energy before having to sit for so many hours.

All the kids were good on the flights, and the one to NZ was quite pleasant. We flew Qantas, and even in coach it was fairly comfortable (in contrast with Iberian Air, which we flew last year. That was awful!) Anyway, we got to the airport in Auckland and it took forever to get through customs. They're very careful about anyone bringing in any outside fruit, etc. They even checked our shoes to make sure they didn't have any dirt on them. Once we were through we had a 5 hour drive to get to New Plymouth, where we're staying. We met Del and Carol and then together we went to our hotel. It's not really a hotel though, just several condos set up kind of like duplexes. Ours is very spacious, with 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, living room and dining room. The view is just unreal. Outside there is a hill going down and then a stream, and then another hill just covered with every color of green vegetation. It is, as Carol said, therapeutic. Just lovely. And very laid back - - the place is run by a couple of brothers who seem to do all the work themselves. The grounds are immaculate and gorgeous, and there are sheep here too!

I forgot to say that although our 5 hour drive was long and we were so tired and grimy, it was beautiful. This is such a green country! And we saw about a million sheep and cows and even some alpacas. It's fall here, so most of the flowers are done blooming, but there are a few left. Oleanders and hibiscus and the most amazing pampas grass I've ever seen just growing wild on the roadside. Carol and Del have really enjoyed being here.

We all had dinner at our condo, which Carol had thoughtfully prepared, and then we took much needed showers and went to bed. We have had no jet lag at all, which is amazing. We'll see if we're that lucky going back!

Saturday it rained most of the day, but we had fun anyway. After breakfast at Del and Carol's we went to a nice museum in Puke Ariki (pronounced poo-key, but Ethan and I had a good snicker about visiting the puke museum!) Anyway there were lots of interesting historical artifacts about the Maori people and then the first Europeans to come. We had lunch at an Indian place in the mall near the museum, and then we drove to a lovely park. It stopped raining long enough for us to take a nice walk and let the kids play on the playground. We met a man who had a 14-year old son with Down syndrome and had a good chat.

On Sunday we went to church, and Del spoke in sacrament meeting. He gave a great talk about the 4 cornerstones of a successful family - - prayer, scripture study, f.h.e., and temple attendance. Everyone was very friendly and we had fun visiting with another couple who had a daughter Meredith's age. After church we had a relaxing afternoon at Del and Carol's home. They have a nice back yard, and Meredith loved playing outside. She is definitely an outdoor girl!

Monday we went for a boat ride in the Tasmin Sea around some very small islands. Our captain, Captain Chaddy, is very well known in these parts. He was so sweet to Noah and let him steer the ship when it was calm. But it wasn't very calm most of the time - - it was one of the roughest boat rides I've ever been on! I'm so glad none of us got seasick! We did get soaked, however, and boy does that salt water do a number on your hair and skin! But the views were beautiful and the water was beautiful, and it was pretty exciting to be tipping all over like that. And we saw some seals on the rocks and a stingray near the shore. The captain takes care of blue penguins that get orphaned, but they've all left for the winter, unfortunately. That would have been fun to see!

Tuesday we got an earlier start, had breakfast with Carol and Del, and then drove to the base of Mount Taranake (also known as Mount Egmont). It is a dormant Volcano, and looks a lot like Mount Fuji. It's a very important part of the culture of the area, and there was a lovely visitor's center. Ethan and Scott had gotten their backpacks all ready and set off on a long hike. While they were exerting themselves with the hike, Carol and Del and I exerted ourselves watching Noah and Meredith. Not easy, because Meredith was tired and a little cranky. We were going to go to a small zoo, but it was closed. So we went for a nice walk in the park, and then set off in search of another zoo that some people told us about. It was a bit of a drive, but we found it at last. It was such a funny zoo - - very small, you could have walked it from end to end in 10 minutes. They had goats and emus (or rheas, not sure) and sheep you could feed, and there were ducks and chickens and pigeons just running around wild. Meredith and Noah just loved that. Then there were a couple of monkeys and apes, some very smelly pigs, and some beautiful white birds that said "hello." And then, of all things, 3 white royal bengal tigers! They were amazing!  There were also 3 lions, sitting right up against the fence so we could get a very close looks at them. We really had a nice time.

Ethan and Scott didn't climb all the way to the top of the mountain, but they did get pretty close. I'm glad they didn't go any further, because it's very gravelly and dangerous up there. They hiked for almost 6 hours. Ethan is getting ready to start track as soon as he gets back in school, and he'll be in great shape! He and Scott have gone jogging several times here as well.

We are so so excited for Mom and Dad's mission call, especially because it's such an easy flight to go there to visit! I know you will be awesome missionaries!

We love you all!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dear Family,
Ok, Mom, here’s the family letter, so I expect to see you on video-skype thanking me for it!
I usually end up being grateful that February is a short month. We started out with a huge blizzard (now called “the Blizzard of ’11). It was actually kind of fun - - Scott was out of town but he had helped to stock up on all the necessities, so we really had no need to go anywhere. The storm struck at night, and in the morning, wow! What a lot of snow! The wind had blown it right up against the front of our house in drifts as high as 5 feet. Obviously school was cancelled, for 2 days, actually, while people dug themselves out. I got the snow shovel and cleared a path from the front door to the driveway - - it took about an hour and a half. Ethan did some work on the driveway too, but then a snowplow guy came along and offered to do the rest of the driveway for $50. We jumped at the chance - - it would have taken us the rest of the day.
So we enjoyed our cozy time in the house together, and cabin fever only set in by late Friday. Fortunately Scott got home then and I was able to turn the kids over to him and have some much needed alone time!
The last 2 weeks of the month were marred by everyone in the house being sick with something or other. Meredith had the worst of it - - she was fussy and feverish and congested for several days so I took her to the doctor, and it turned out she had a double ear infection and one of her eardrums had ruptured! I felt so bad, I had no way of knowing her ears were involved! (This is the first time she’s had an ear infection.) She’s much better now, although still pretty moody and clingy. But she is absolutely wonderful about taking her medicine, unlike some other kids I could name!
Other than being sick, Mer-bear is doing great! She loves nothing more than to sit and read books with me, and she now knows (and constantly points out) the letter “o.” She has also learned all of her colors, and now we’re working on shapes. She’s saying quite a few words, although they’re mostly not so easy to understand. I recently bought her a couple of new shirts with butterflies and an elephant on them and she loves them! She is such a darling girl, truly the light of our lives!
Noah is doing great too. He found a long advertisement for “Shrek Live (the Musical)” on his Shrek 4 DVD and has watched it about a thousand times. That’s the new big bribe - - if he isn’t behaving we just ask if he wants to go see Shrek and he shapes up very quickly. He’s been drawing some wonderful pictures lately, many of them from Shrek, with lots of detail. It’s so fun! What a sweet little boy he is!
Onto my sweet big boy - - Ethan. Wow does he look grown up lately. He got a very nice haircut and is so handsome! I took him shopping for some clothes at Kohl’s recently, and I’m happy to say he has very nice taste - - just plain t-shirts with no writing on them, and plain button-down church shirts. He always looks very clean-cut. (I have to say, though, that he hated shopping, and I didn’t enjoy it much either - - next time he can go with Scott!)
We’re busy planning out our summer, and it is going to be crazy! Ethan has a week of scout camp, 2 weeks at Philmont (a scout camp in New Mexico) and a week of EFY. In between that all he’s somehow got to learn to type, and start gearing up for the start of both high school and seminary in the fall. Noah will have his summer day camp for 6 weeks, as well as a week-long overnight camp especially for kids with special needs. And if we can swing it he’ll do the weekend at Camp River Run in Idaho.
Scott and I are busy planning out the summer as well. We really hope to be able to go to Idaho at the very beginning of August to see those of you who live out that way. Scott continues to travel quite a bit for work, and play tennis here at home. He’s planning a trip for us for next Christmas - - he just loves the intricacies of finding the best and cheapest flights!
I’m busy with my calling in Primary - - boy do I love those kids! It is so fun working with them and coming up with creative ways to keep them singing. A couple of Sundays ago I let them pick animals for the song “Do as I’m Doing.” The best was when one kid picked the monkey. So we all sang and scratched like monkeys. You really have to be pretty uninhibited and unembarrassed to do what I do!!
On a completely different note, I’m studying Descartes and Hume in my online classes, and I’ve written several papers. Sometimes I feel like my head can wrap itself around all the information, but I do enjoy it, and so far I am doing well. I’m so glad I’m doing this, it’s nice to be able to do something completely different once in a while.
We love you all! Have a happy March and look forward to Spring!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Wow! January went by so fast! We got home from our Christmas trip and just dived right back into school and work. Keeping busy distracts us from the grim weather. We’ve just experienced the “Blizzard of ‘11” - - about 2 feet of snow with heavy winds. The snow blew right up against the front of our house and it took me over an hour just to shovel a little pathway from the front door to the driveway. The snow was 4 ft. high in areas. Luckily we have not had to go anywhere and the power has stayed on, so we’re warm and happy. The kids haven’t had school for 2 days, but they will go back tomorrow (the blizzard was followed by sub-zero temps, which is what kept them home today). Scott is out of town and was concerned about us but we’ve been fine!

Scott has been traveling extensively, 3 or 4 nights almost every week. It’s stressful, but hopefully things will ease up in a couple more months. At least he enjoys what he is doing. The travel isn’t always fun for him though; I got an email from him yesterday bemoaning the fact that he was stuck on an airplane between 2 aggressive gum chewers. His worst nightmare!

I’m taking 2 classes this semester. One of them is just one credit: introduction to liberal studies. It’s pretty easy, just information about logic and arguments and how to write a convincing paper. The other class is much more time consuming. It’s called “Ways of Knowing,” and is about the scientific method, philosophy, etc. I’ve had some very challenging assignments. So far I’m doing ok, but I definitely have felt my brain working!

Meredith is such a cutie-pie! She is talking more and more. The other day she was carrying around a big bag over her shoulder like a purse. She would bring me a domino and set it down, then say “bye,” and go back to Noah’s room for another domino. She did it for about 30 minutes, over and over. So funny! She just loves to read and be read to, and we have about a million books, so I spend a good part of my day reading. She also loves Elmo and gets very excited when we watch and Elmo video together. She’s in nursery now and loves it. She plays very well with the other kids, although she finds it difficult to stay in her seat when I come in for singing time!

I love my calling as primary chorister and I am having so much fun coming up with ways to teach new songs to the kids. It’s a great calling because I’m only busy on Sundays, and I can do the prep whenever I have time during the week. I never pictured myself as a chorister, because I’m not much of a singer, for sure! But I really am enjoying myself.

(Meredith just came in the room and bit the end off of a crayon.) She loves to draw, but for some reason she keeps biting the crayons. Colored pencils are a better bet for her.

Noah has been doing a lot of drawing himself, and his pictures have become more detailed and recognizable. He likes to draw the family, the seasons (they’ve been discussing them in school), and animals. He drew a great lion the other day. He also has a little crush on a girl at school named “Hannah W.” He talks about her all the time. He’s been wearing his Sunday suit to school fairly frequently lately, maybe to impress her?

Ethan is working hard at school, especially on his math, which has become much more challenging. He will be registering for his high school classes in February, which is scary! He’s been accepted into several honors courses, which is great, but I don’t want him to get burned out. He went to the Klondike Derby last weekend and he and his fellow scouts worked very well together. He has fun hanging out with his friend Adam on the weekends. I’m proud of what a fine young man he is becoming!

Happy winter!