Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Dear Family & Friends, December 2010
2010 has proven to be another exciting and fruitful year for the Allen clan. We love the beautiful Montana landscape that we have called home for three years now and look forward to many more years here.
Jim still has the BEST office of all as he patrols the Canadian border along the Glacier National Park outskirts. He is always telling us of the many on duty encounters he has with the locals—bears, moose, elk, deer, mountain lions, . . . Talk about exciting! Jim started doing double duty at the end of last year. He works a ten hour day, then comes home and watches our boys until school is out. He is an amazing husband and father!
Kara finished her first year at Flathead High School, enjoyed a summer off and taught a whole three weeks before taking a six week maternity break to have our last little baby boy. As if that wasn’t enough excitement, a week before school commenced, her schedule was changed. This year, she teaches Mythology, French II (which means Billy has no choice but to have her as his French teacher—actually, it’s a lot of fun!) and French IV IB. It has been awesome to speak so much French! And, finally, Kara has loved taking a break from the teenagers to work in the Primary Presidency.
Tiffany and her little family continue to grow as baby #2 will be here in February. Mckayli is one now and walking/running everywhere. We love talking to her on the phone.
Mary had a big year. She graduated from high school and only 6 weeks later headed to Pendleton, Oregon to play volleyball for Blue Mountain Community College. She played libero (back row specialist) all season and did a tremendous job! The highlight of the year came in November when we watched a nail biting Conference Title Match at the Championships in Portland, Oregon. After a long, hard fight, Mary and her team came up on top as Conference Champs! On top of all that, her freshman year at college has gotten off to a great start with amazing friends and excellent grades.
Billy is a sophomore now. He played football on the sophomore team and we enjoyed watching him on the field. He is now in the midst of what promises to be another very successful wrestling season. He has been wrestling 112 on the Varsity team, though this past weekend, he wrestled at a JV tournament and came home with a 3rd place medal. At church, he is the Teacher’s Quorum leader and sets a great example to all those around him.
Amelie is reading up a storm in her 1st grade class—with an amazing teacher who teaches only the smartest kids in the world. And Amelie reminds us of that, too, when she is showing off new academic skills. She also just joined the newly formed Daisy Scout troop for her school and LOVES it. She played basketball, ran cross-country and did track and field all this year. She loves all sports, but she really can’t wait until she is old enough to play volleyball like Mary!
Eric attends preschool three afternoons a week and loves learning—just ask him about gravity. He also got to play flag football this fall, which was a real hoot. He loves to play computer games and wrestle with Tanner. He and Amelie also play very well together in their imaginary worlds and re-enacting scenes from the favorite shows, with actual dialogue memorized!
Tanner is a whirlwind of energy. He is everywhere he should AND shouldn’t be. A common phrase in our home is ‘Tanner, where are you?’ and ‘ Tanner, what are you doing?’ He loves swords and EVERYTHING can be a sword in his hand. He talks to anyone and everyone, just like Eric. He is so smart, too. He loves to sing & help mom & dad. He loves Scooby-Doo, Mickey Mouse and Toy Story.
Ethan joined our family in September at a healthy 10lb 3 oz. He is the happiest, most smiley baby ever. We love playing with him already. He has already rolled over and scoots on his back on the floor. He is inundated with kisses and love from his siblings, mom and dad. We are so thankful for his healthy arrival and look forward to watching him grow and take many firsts this year.
We are so thankful for the role you play in our family’s life, big or small. What a blessing to celebrate the gift of our Savior. We hope that the true spirit of Christmas fills your home throughout the coming year. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
A few weeks ago, I tool the kids to WalMart for free Pictures with Santa. They loved it! Ethan fell asleep for a few, but otherwise, it went very well. Santa was pretty mellow and not really interactive, but they didn't notice. However, our Parks and Rec organized phone calls from Santa. He called on Saturday and talked to Amelie, Eric and Tanner. Amelie didn't say much back, but Eric and Tanner about talked his ear off. When they were done, the cutest comment was when Amelie announced that he knew EXACTLY what she wanted! I know it is silly and frivolous, but I love the Christmas traditions. We stress that Christmas really is to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but there is something to be learned from others, too, like St. Nicholas who threw bags of gold down an old man's chimney so the man could have a dowry for his daughter. It's about what we can give to God's other children that determines whether we are deserving of gifts ourselves, specifically the gift of exaltation.