29 December 2016

2016 Christmas Year In Review

Easter Sunday 

It is the fifth day of Christmas, and it's time for the annual year in review.  

From Family Photo Shoot by Ashleigh Coleman Photographer

My babies don't have baby books, I've never owned a scrapbook, and so I blog. Or, I used to.  At least I can keep this one tradition going: the year in review.  ;)  

2016 has been a less-than-awesome year for famous-in-the-80s celebrities, and it was pretty unpleasant for establishment Democrats.  But, we're neither of those things, so we're doing okay.  

We are still loving our house in Sherwood Forest (actually so named), which backs up to the undeveloped flood plain, the Hundred Acre Wood (my name for it I made up).  The boys (and some girls too) are out there a lot, tromping around, dragging dead wood into various arrangements that for them have meaning.  We've moved the dining room table once per year since we moved in, and we think we've found its permanent home, so that's big news and good news too.  We hope to stay in this house until the children have to go through our things here.  We did join a new church this year - First Presbyterian Jackson - and that has been a great blessing for our family.  We do miss our sweet people at Immanuel Pres, our old church, but God has been good in his transition, as He is all the time.  

From Rehearsal Dinner in NOLA for the wedding of our dear friends, Rachel and James.  

Paul's job as Director of Engineering for Flowood is really good to him.  It keeps him outside about half the time, and it never bores him.  This is mostly because there is always another problem to fix, and fixing problems is Paul's favorite hobby.  He also enjoys tutoring - high school science, math, and standardized test preparation.  Of course, I guess that's still just problem solving.   I can say this about him because he's mine - Paul is a model patriarch.  As I type, he's playing mario kart with the children and showing them no mercy.  Paul reads aloud to the people, wakes up in the middle of the night with the still-once-a-week-up toddler, and dances with me in the kitchen.  That's usually my idea though.  Paul has taken back up the flute of late, and we were comforted to know that the thousands of dollars and hours spent in his youth did not go wasted.  He recently fixed a lawn mower engine and is very proud.  

Book:  The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs (for whom he might leave me if she was still with us...) 
TV Show:  Stranger Things 
Music:  Abigail Washburn (I don't know who that is)
Movie: La Grande Bellezza 
New Skill: Spoke Shaving 
School Subject:  Physics (still) 
Thing to Wear:  Underwear (he's so funny).  
Food:  Anything Ann Lowrey cooks (isn't he just charming). 
Color: Green 
Activity:  Small Engine Repair 

House Concert at Brooks's and Carrie's House.  

My plate remains full, though it does feel like I have a bit more margin than I did a few years ago.  Margin is my favorite buzzword this year for sure.  I am serving as the Academic Counselor at St. Augustine School (come to an information meeting!), and teaching Logic, Latin, and some English Grammar.  Diagramming sentences is the bomb, parsing makes me happy, and determining the validity of syllogisms is just delightful. More importantly, introducing all those to middle school students makes my heart sing.  Being the Academic Counselor means I work with our administration to pick curriculum, I work with teachers to implement curriculum and determine what we're aiming for our students to master, how to get there, and how to measure it.  It's challenging work, and though I didn't predict it would be my path, I am ever so glad it has been.  I get to be at home on M/W/F, which is a great balance for me personally and for our family.  I did get to have one fancy dinner party (I love a menu card) and a lot more non-fancy suppers this year than I have the previous three years while the school was getting on its feet, which was a huge win.  My goals for 2017 include writing more and engaging more fully with our city.  


Book:  A book of Amy Hempel short stories 
TV Show:  The Crown, for sure
Movie:  Lala Land
Music:  Clay Parker and Jodi James
New Skill: Tuning out political insanity
School Subject:  Logic
Thing to Wear:  a smile
Food:  Apple Walnut Dressing (I tried it for a dinner party, and I can't stop making it).   
Color:  Light Blue 
Activity: Watching The West Wing with Paul William Forster.  

Ada Brooks is 12.5 and five foot three and really excited to eventually be taller than I am, which is not going to happen on my watch - heavens.  Ada loves her friends at school and church, and she loves baking - for anyone who will let her. She's in the school's running club this year, which is not her favorite, but it's good for her.  In school, she's taking Latin 2, Logic (from her mean mother), and Medieval History, which is pretty fun, as well as Algebra I, English, and Art.  She knows way more about the Popes than I do, for sure.  Ada has become quite the competent babysitter for my people and a few other adorable folks.  She blesses her family and all those who know her, and she's rapidly approaching the level of my best friend.  

Book:  The Book Thief 
TV Show:  Psych 
Movie:  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them  
Music:  All sorts.  (she's figuring out her groove)   
New Skill: Calligraphy
School Subject: Logic (be still my heart).  
Thing to Wear: Blue Jeans

Career Aspiration:  Architect
Food:  Pizza 
Color:  Gray
Activity: Baking 

Eason is in the fourth grade at St. Augustine School, which has been fun transition for him into bigger work load and harder things.  He's in his first year of Latin study, and I'm not teaching him, which has been so fun to be uninvolved and watch his Latin grow.  Eas is very athletic, but not in a sports-y way - more in a scaling the nearest smooth boulder kind of way.  Good thing we're low on boulders in Mississippi.  He loves the woods and asked for (and received) camping gear for his birthday.  Eason's level of extroversion can't be quantified (he'd break the Meyers Briggs; I'm positive).  He reads aloud interesting or funny passages to us so often - just so we can be in on the book he's reading.  When this isn't making us tired, it is endearing him to us even further.  

Book: The Ranger's Apprentice (boo) 
Movie:  Rogue One 
TV Show: Kicking It (it's awful.  I'm showing restraint by even allowing it to be chosen as a favorite, but, then again, it's not my favorites list...  keep telling myself that). 
Music:  Cello Wars by The Piano Guys 
New Skill:  Ripsticking 
School Subject:  History 
Thing to Wear: Blankets (it's a problem.  Underwear and blankets-  his uniform).  
Food:  Homemade Bean Burritos 
Career Aspiration:  Pediatrician.  
Color:  Green
Activity: Play in the creek with his friend Truman.  



Collins is seven and a half, and he's such a funny little guy.  He is as introverted as Eason is extroverted, and it makes him tired to live at our house.  Poor thing.  Collins is in second grade, and especially loves the science and history projects his teacher expertly arranges for him.  He played soccer this fall and loved the defensive side of things, but isn't on his way to the world cup anytime soon.  He picks his friends carefully and does not suffer from a fear of missing out.  Collins is witty and he's a phenomenal sous chef.  I wouldn't trade him for the world.  

Book: Harry Potter (began this year - it's been fun to add him).  
TV Show:  Kicking It 
Movie:  Captain America Civil War 
Music:  The Piano Guys 
New Skill: Calligraphy (his sister has been teaching him - pretty sweet) 
School Subject:  Science 
Thing to Wear: Ole Miss 
Food:  Chocolate Pie 
Color:  Light Blue 
Activity:  Airsoft with Seth.  


Elsa Gray is a mess, a pistol, a character, delightful and spoiled.  She is the fanciest of all the Forsters, and she makes us look like poor little Nancy's boring family in those books.  She adores dress up and pretend play, and we could all listen to her for hours. Until we can't, and then it's time for bed. She says hysterical things all the days, and her hair is always ragamuffin looking in her face (due mostly to the constant donning of and removing of hats, crowns, etc.).  She stole our hearts upon arrival, and she keeps them hidden somewhere very smart, because not one of us has gotten ours back.  

Book:  The Bible (She gets me all to herself for Bible and Catechism at night, and she loves it - be still my heart). 
TV Show:  Little Bear or Daniel Tiger
Movie: Frosty the Snowman and The Grinch. 
Music:  Five Fat Turkeys Are We from school.  
New Skill:  Independent Pottying. (she couldn't come up with a new skill.... But I sure have a favorite).  
School Subject:  Nap time.  (Weirdo).  
Thing to Wear:  My pink Christmas Tree dress.  
Food: beans.  All the beans.   
Color: Pink and Purple.  
Activity:  play with Polly the doll, play memory with Mama

Halloween - A shadow, Merlin, Indiana Jones, and a Ballerina
After the Nutcracker at Thalia Mara.  
Mama took the kiddos to watch the rebels.  
At the Gryphon Games at School!  Go Owls!  
First Day of School.  
Fourth of July. 
Sugar Bowl Watch Party 
The Ballerina and Her Shadow.  
Father's Day.  Best Daddy.  
Ono Island with our dear friends the Tysons.