Merry Christmas and happy New Year to all who may be reading this. I haven’t given this blog much attention this past year because, frankly, it’s been a busy and somewhat personally challenging year for me. , so as we wrap up 2019, I thought I’d share our family Christmas card and newsletter here to give you a little glimpse into all our fun. After writing this and stuffing envelopes, I realized that I forgot to mention an important milestone for us this year–our 10th wedding anniversary!WE left our kids overnight for the first time ever–aside from when we were in the hospital having one of them–and stayed at the B&B where we had our wedding reception. Then we spent the day playing tourist in D.c., something we never do even though we live here. It was a great weekend and fun to take a little walk down memory lane when all this mess of happiness began. 🙂
IN any case, here are some other highlights and well wishings from us!
Dear family and friends, we hope this holiday season finds you doing well and happy. It’s been a fun but busy season of life for us filled with lots of fond memories, milestones, and new endeavors. This year, we enjoyed trips to New Orleans, Las Vegas, and Utah visiting family and friends. (Yes, I see the humor in this list, especially for a family with young kids.) We have been very blessed as a family.
Jesse is still working for the Department of Education with the RS Program in Washington D.C. Last fall, the telework policy was changed and he now only gets one telework day each week, so he spends A LOT of time commuting—two and a half hours each way. But he is such a trooper and never complains. He really enjoys his job. His year has been filled with training new staff, work travel, volunteering as an assist .coach for the kids’ teams, batting practice in the front yard, and planning our next trip to DW. In Feb. we went to Mardi gras and he enjoyed playing tour guide and introducing the kids to the fun of “real parades.” We came home with 50 lbs. of parade “throws” as result–no joke!
K. is our spunky, extraverted, and creative little girl who is not so little anymore. Our girl has been busy! The new school year has brought some new challenges for her, including much more homework and responsibility, but she is an amazing student and one of the top in her class. She is learning to play the piano and the recorder, takes ballet, and loves reading, art, and baking. This year she started playing softball and loves playing first base. She also attended a summer SB camp and some pitching clinics. (Daddy is SO excited!) . Her exciting accomplishments this year include singing in the school talent show, and mastering flips and cannon balls in the pool. She also marked a very special milestone in turning 8 and was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We enjoyed celebrating her and sharing this special event with friends and family.
J.H. is one of the sweetest little boys ever and has done a great job trying new and hard things this year. This fall he started Kindergarten! He is loving learning to read, write, and getting to ride the school bus. He still loves (is obsessed with) anything related to Frozen, collecting McD’s toys, and drawing. His accomplishments this year include playing tee ball, going on a roller coaster for the first time, and tackling another major fear: the pool! After years of avoiding the pool, or hanging on to the side with a death grip, we convinced (bribed) him to go under water. A week later and he was swimming across the pool underwater, diving in, and doing cannon balls off the side like a pro! It was such an exciting thing to watch. If you know himyou’ll understand why this was such a big deal! We are SUPER proud of him. He’s starting formal swim lessons this next month and we can’t wait to see how this new interest takes off.
B.H. is our little fireball. He stays busy keeping up with his siblings and though he is only ##, you’d never know it. He loves playing trains, singing, riding his scooter, having play dates, cracking “poop emoji jokes”, and doing “Mommy School.” His accomplishments this year include learning his ABC’s and numbers, graduating from nursery at church, and learning how to use the potty! He keeps us on our toes and he and Mommy have a lot of fun together during the day.
Mary Jo received an opportunity to teach as an adjunct professor for a university nearby this past spring. She taught a 400 level CIS course on universal design for blind users. It definitely challenged her as ironically, most of the platforms used by the university are not accessible, or as “user friendly” for adaptive technologies. So, she spent a lot of time finding work arounds for power point presentations and posting assignments and grades to the university’s platforms. It was definitely a lesson in patience and a stretching experience. She is blessed with such an amazing husband who listened (listens) to all her whining, crying, and provided endless amounts of tech support. She’ll be tackling it again this next spring, hopefully a bit more gracefully. She loves spending time with her kids, helping them with homework, volunteering at the elementary school, doing “Mommy School” with B.H., and managing all the day-today everyday life activities. This year she also was called to serve as the 2nd counselor in our church Young Women’s program with the 12/13 year old girls. This means she helps supervise their Sunday and mid-week youth activities. IN her “spare time”, she has taken on overseeing some home remodeling projects and still attempts to post on her blog–though very few and far between postings.
If you’re still reading, thank you. Please know how much we love and appreciate you for all your love and support. We are truly blessed and so grateful for this beautiful season of life and beautiful time of the year to stop and reflect more deeply on the blessing of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We are so grateful for Him and have truly seen His hand in so many aspects of our everyday lives. May the joy of His gospel bring you much peace, joy, and love in the new year!
Love, The Hartle Family
Happy New Year!h