Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Year in Review

I sent out our Christmas cards on Friday and included my blog address rather than a Christmas letter - which had been our custom since Jordan was born.

So, in honor of any new readers that may appear on the scene, I thought I'd recap the 2007 happenings of our family!

First of all, Jordan is now 7; Jacob is 5 and Jadyn is 2 1/2! It seems they are all growing so quickly. In May 2008, we will welcome baby #4 into our family as well! It seems a year doesn't go by that we don't have some major life change! 2009 perhaps ... ??

We began 2007 as a full-fledged homeschooling family. We pulled Jacob out of preschool last Christmas to give Kindergarten (at home) a shot beginning in January. My thinking at the time was that it would be easier to homeschool both kids at the same grade level this fall. As always, God had bigger plans than I could imagine at the time! Jake devoured the Kindergarten curriculum I had - and really excelled in math. He completed Kindergarten by May! I knew he was bright and was ready, but I don't think I appreciated just how ready when we began. In April, he went to NACD with Jordan and me for an evaluation, because it was becoming clear that he was ahead of the game in many areas. They did standardized testing with him and just days after his 5th birthday, he scored nearly 2nd grade reading and 4th grade math. So, with these scores in mind, we decided to call this his first grade year, but clearly the academics we work on vary in grade level. At the same evaluation, Jordan scored really well herself - 1st grade reading and 2nd grade math. She is doing remarkably well! Needless to say, my reasoning for starting Jacob early hasn't played out as I envisioned, but that's been fine - we've had a blast this year regardless. Homeschooling is certainly a challenge, but it has also been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life!

This Spring, Jordan began ballet. Although I might have predicted how much she would love it, I could not have anticipated just how hard she would be willing to work at it! She practices nearly everyday at home and looks forward to her weekly classes! It has done wonders for her gross motor skills - and is good for her social skills as well! She will be in a recital in May and we are really looking forward to that! Jordan also posed for a Down Syndrome calendar this past Spring. Of course, we thought she was the cutest kid there! She was "Miss November" (with a couple friends!). We also walked as a family (with friends!!!) in the Buddy Walk for the first time.

Jake started playing soccer this past Spring and despite the fact that I mentioned something about sports not being his 'thing' in our letter last year, he has done really well - and he loves it! Like father, like son! He played again this past fall ... and is anxiously looking forward to the Spring season! He will also be taking a homeschool P.E. class beginning in January that he's excited about as well.
As for Jadyn ... she is ... well, spirited. Its the nicest way I can say it. She's busy, busy, busy ... always on the go. She's our strong-willed kiddo, for sure. Lucky for her (or maybe us?), she's cute as can be and quite charming!
In June, my mom came into town to watch the kids so that Eddie and I could attend the statewide homeschool conference. It was an overwhelming couple of days for us both, but it was also very informative! June also marked the arrival of our precious niece, Kylie Ann. She is just as cute as they come!
In July, we spent 10 days in Houston, visiting as many of our friends and family as possible! We had a great time and only wish we could have stayed longer. The kids got a big kick out of flying on an airplane - and they did a great job - despite the fact that Jadyn was potty training and needed to check out the facilities four million times, it seemed!
In August, Ed was thrilled to be invited on a fishing trip to Minnesota with a friend. He experienced many firsts, including cold temperatures in the mornings! In August! He had a great time - fishing is one of the things he misses most about Texas.
One of the hobbies I've enjoyed this year has been making cards. I had a great time making our Christmas cards ~ so if you were lucky enough to receive one, know that lots of love went into it! I've enjoyed taking some classes and having help from friends.
In the last couple weeks, we've had plenty of snow. Its beautiful ... but not all that fun to live in. The kids want to play in it - until they get outside. Then, their Texas blood flows like crazy and it gets way too cold, way too fast!
We've also enjoyed the political climate here in Iowa. All of the major candidates are here on a regular basis - and its typically the top news story each night. We're looking forward to Caucusing for the first time in January! Its pretty exciting to be involved in the process so early!
I think that about covers the highlights of the year. We wish each of you a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed 2008!


Lori Eilers said...

I may steal your "Christmas letter" idea! It was great to run into you all at the mall and crash your lunch! Thanks so much. It felt so good to laugh with your kids. Love you all...Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Sustala family! Your card was beautiful. We are so happy that we have come to know your family :) We hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season, even with this crazy weather!

amain said...

Merry Christmas, Sustala's!
~Amy, Mark, Isabella and Lisi