26 December 2014

2014 Christmas Review

Two thousand fourteen has been an excellent year for the Forsters, though definitely the most hectic we've had as a family.

We are so tired and so full of God's bountiful blessings.

Our biggest change this year was that we moved.  We are still in Jackson, and our new house is just what we've wanted for the children  to spend their main growing up years in.  We have space, but we're cozy, and the kids have an upstairs all to themselves (and, yes, away from us...).  We back up to a slew of undeveloped forest, which I call the Hundred Acre Wood, which satisfies my craving for daily literary allusions.  Delightfully, the name of our little neighborhood is actually Sherwood Forest.  I know I'm mixing genres and time periods, but at least they're both British? Lord willing, we'll be here for the duration. 

Paul is continuing to enjoy his work as the Engineer for the City of Flowood.  The City is a great place to work - kind to its employees and holds efficiency, not bureaucracy, as its highest (work-place) value.  He continues tutoring some local high school students in science, math, and some standardized test work.  He loves it.  Paul leads our family with a sacrificial spirit that I wish I could bottle - for me, mainly.  Whether it be laundry, budgets, or nightly hymn-instruction and novel-reading with the children, he has us at the forefront, and there is no stopping him.  He was ordained this year to the Diaconate at our church, Immanuel Presbyterian, and he enjoys that work as well.  He continues to love to brew his own beer, build things that need building, semi-keep up the yard, and sing, sing , sing.

Book:  (A reread of) The Screwtape Letters (Any year he reads it, it will be his favorite he says...)
TV Show:  Black Mirror (British Sci Fi Nerdiness)
Music:  All (No, really... you name it.  He can find a way to love it).
Movie: Gravity
New Skill: Eason taught him how to tie a square knot.
School Subject:  Physics
Thing to Wear:  Work Boots
Food:  A sandwich
Color: Blue
Activity:  Read Science Fiction 

My plate is fairly full, and that may be a slight understatement.  I have been continuing serving on the Board of Directors of St. Augustine School.  I highly encourage you to visit our website (if you're curious):  www.augustinems.com  I am also the Grammar School Dean there, which means I'm responsible for the teachers, parents, and students in 3rd-6th grades.  It is very rewarding, and I am very tired.  I also get to teach Latin and Bible to the 4th grade and Latin, Bible, and Grammar to the 6th grade.  I love teaching and visiting with students and parents and helping plan their successes.  It is so kind of God to put me in a place where I can live into a vocation of teaching and academic counseling while still being home with my people much of the time.  I miss having dinner parties and getting lost in cookbooks, and I'm committed to doing more of that in 2015. 

Favorites Book:  (A reread of ) Bed and Board (Any year I read it, it will be my favorite).
TV Show:  Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (Australian feminine mystery nerdiness)
Movie:  I cannot remember one...
Music:  Larkin Poe
New Skill: Cooking on an Electric Stove (I HATE THIS, but as I'm currently stuck with one, it is my favorite new skill...)
School Subject:  Sixth Grade English Grammar
Thing to Wear:  Gold Cross Necklace Paul gave me for Christmas last year. 
Food:  Soup.  All Kinds.
Color:  I think I'm shifting from green.. gasp.  Red? 
Activity:  Rooting on the Rebels, teaching, visiting, cooking supper. 

Ada Brooks is ten and a half and in sixth grade at St. Augustine.   She loves her friends - truly loves them.  She's studied the civil war and WWI this fall, and I've relearned so much through that.  She loves to craft and to visit, and she's just delightful.  She's so old!  She has learned to stay home by herself and frequently surprises me with cleaning things while she's here and I'm gone.  She longs to babysit, but she's not there yet.  She is competent in the kitchen, but doesn't joy in it, and I've learned to settle for competence.  She does joy in much, though, and especially anything artistic. 

Book:  The Gift Moves by Steve Lyon
TV Show:  I Love Lucy
Movie:  Lord of the Rings 
Music: Terrible Contemporary Country.  It's just awful. 
New Skill:  Text Messaging (I feel the need to say that she doesn't have a phone proper, but an old phone of ours that allows her to text when she's at home in range of wifi)
School Subject: Math
Thing to Wear: Boots
Food: Chocolate Pudding
Color: Pink
Activity: Designing clothes

Eason is in the second grade at St. Augustine this year.  He's seven, turning eight in March.  He's a social butterfly to the nth degree.  Eason keeps us all laughing, and he never stops moving, except when he curls up under a blanket to watch a movie.  And maybe not even then.  He is a man of much energy, and we continue to see him as a replica of his father.  He's bouncy and loving and exhausting and on and on it goes.

Book: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, followed closely by The Enormous Egg
Movie:  The second Hobbit
TV Show - Fetch with Ruff Ruffman
Music:  Jamie Soles
New Skill:  How to tie a square knot
School Subject:  History (Particularly enjoyed the Vikings)
Thing to Wear: Footie Pajamas Stuffed With Blankets
Food:  Ice Cream
Thing to Dream of Doing as an Adult:  Being a professional spy. 
Color:  Blue
Activity:  Play Ember Dragon Club with his siblings behind the house in the woods and playing with his friend Casen.

Collins is five and a half and just funny.  He's very quiet sometimes and won't stop yapping at others.  He dreads being put on the spot, and our motto for the year has been "Always Respond."  It's some better, but he's still that kid that makes it hard for you to have a conversation with him, at least on your terms.  Collins is so nifty for our family - he keeps us all slower and more grounded and more orderly.  He puts his shoes back in his closet.  He's excellent in the kitchen because of this, and his great talent that contributes to the household is that he knows where everything is.  I cannot find my keys: "They're beside your earrings on  your bedside table."  It's some weird pictoral brain or something.  He really wants to be one of the big kids, and that's hard sometimes when he's just not.  But, he's getting there.  He's learned to read (you know..sort of) and write and do arithmetic in 2014, and I imagine 2015 will see much more mastery there, which is fun in our nerdy household.  He loves the Ole Miss Rebels an odd amount considering our level of involvement there. 

Book: City of Ember (read aloud to him by his father)
TV Show:  Garfield
Movie:  Declines to Answer Due To Distraction..
Music:  Jamie Soles
New Skill: Cursive Writing (writing in general...but he's very proud of the fact that it's cursive)
School Subject:  Math
Thing to Wear: Shorts    ;)
Food:  Ice Cream
Color:  Blue
Activity:  Painting (news to me....), playing Ember Dragon Club with his siblings, and playing with his best friend Seth

Elsa Gray is just wonderful.  I never thought I'd have a baby girl who is so loved and adored and not simply by her father and siblings (though very very much there), but also by me.  I don't typically fawn over babies, and I don't go in for bows and bonnets, and I'm head over heels in love.  I think it's because she's my last baby to birth (unless God chooses a different plan than we have chosen... a necessary caveat at our house), and because I'm just getting older and more sentimental.  EG is opinionated and vocal and we all wonder where in the world she got that.  She is a mess, a pistol, sassy, all those things that people say about little girls who are not scared to let the world know that they're here and large and in charge.  She has very little hair and is round-face and bright-eyed like the rest of us.  She has not walked yet, though she is on the precipice and we expect it any second.  It will be when she decides it will be. 

 Book:  Goodnight Moon
TV Show:  Yeah, right. 
Movie: The constant movie that is her siblings
Music:  Being sung to
New Skill:  Stair Climbing
School Subject:  Being Confined to a Bouncer we call 'baby jail' while we try to get school work done.
Thing to Wear:  Her bonnet.  Okay, not her favorite...
Food:  All of the things.  Chocolate Covered Pretzels?  Seriously... all of the things. 
Color: White
Activity:  Snuggling her blanket, climbing the stairs, yelling at us, throwing her head back when she's mad, dancing. 

The Forster Family wishes you all an excellent Christmas and a perfectly wonderful New Year.  We encourage you to stop and be thankful.  If you're reading this, you have much for which to give thanks, and this trying to remember that we deserve little and have much is the thing that ever saves us.  We are thankful to Christ, our Lord and Savior, to each other, and to each one of you. 

Happy Christmas! 

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