Monday, December 24, 2012

2012 Taft Family Christmas Card - sent with much love!

Dear Friends & Family -

There’s something about this time of year.  Lyricists have put pen to paper, trying to coin the phrase that best sums it all up.  It's as though what separates us mortals from our heavenly home thins a bit.  We’re closer to reaching our true potential because despite our weaknesses, the season brings out the best in us.  As said by one of the aforementioned lyricists, “There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere.”

Here are some moments of “heaven” we felt this year:

Halle loved having a ‘big sister’ for a couple months while cousin Shelby lived with us until she completed hair school.  We all loved having her here!  Halle loves writing – notes, poems, stories – and cooking anything in the kitchen.  She and her friend have even posted some “cooking episodes” onto youtube!  (The Crazy Cooking gals)  Halle is creative, organized, and has a strong desire to succeed.  She loves school and for now says she wants to go to college and get her teaching degree after high school.  While we think that's a great idea and she'd be a fantastic teacher, we're grateful we're not quite to that point yet!

Wyatt enjoyed playing baseball, starting 2nd grade, playing with legos, reading about history, and especially his baptism day!  That was a big one for all of us – we were so proud to see his desire to become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  He has a great love for the gospel and bravely shares it with the entire congregation on Testimony Sundays.  He laughs more than any kid I know (good) and rarely puts away his shoes (bad).  He also loves to make sound effects and random noises.  This is good, but also bad.  (Sometimes my ears physically hurt from all the noise in our house! Ha ha)

One of the “lows” we experienced this year was the loss of our beloved Grandma B.  It may have been a time of grief, but I must include it as it truly was a time we felt “heaven” close by.  LaRee passed away in February and while it broke our hearts to be separated from her, we rejoiced that she was no longer in pain and reunited with her eternal companion.  We’re grateful that just a few days before her death she got to hold Charlotte Maree, her namesake (we spelled Maree the same way she spelled her first name).  These photos were taken at last year’s family Christmas party – she is still very much a part of our lives and dear to our hearts.

Carson had a year of two big changes: no longer holding the position as youngest in the family, and starting school.  He loves kindergarten and is excelling, particularly in math.  He also hasn’t minded being a big brother – in fact he dotes on Charlotte every day.  No one can get her chattering like he can!  Carson loves any type of “figurine” and doing anything with scissors and glue!  He entertains himself well and hums the entire time he’s doing it (which can sometimes get old for the rest of us, but we try to enjoy it while the humming lasts).

Ruby has been with us for two years and we still love, love, love her!  Like Mary Poppins, she’s “practically perfect in every way” except for the fact that we could ring her neck every time she slips through the open front door.  If it weren’t for that, we couldn’t complain about one single thing.  Oh, but we can’t forget about the time she rolled around in the bush full of slugs and snails, getting them stuck in her hair.  Mama had to give her a nasty-looking haircut (like a blind man with a butcher knife - see photo on the right) and Ruby knew she looked bad.  The next morning she refused to come out of her kennel.  Ruby’s favorite time of day is riding in the car to pick the kids up from school!
Brett and I have been keeping busy with all the daily tasks of life, but we still find time for some fun.  Brett was recently asked to work with the young men in church through activities and spiritual lessons.  He does a great job with the boys and I think he enjoys it a great deal.  It’s so important for the youth of today to have positive role models in their lives!  Brett has also been busy working several nights a week doing online support, all this in addition to a day-job that he does well, too!  I honestly don’t know how he manages it all, but he does and on top of that is such an amazing daddy and husband.  For Brett’s birthday we took the older kids up to Pineview to swim for a fabulous day!  Brett has his designated chair in the sectional, and if Ruby and Charli decide to join him, they’ve got their “spots”, too!  I’ve had a lot of fun working with church members to provide beautiful music in our meetings and this fall I became a Scentsy Constultant.  I can’t say it’s very lucrative, but man, it’s a lot of fun.  Plus it’s a product I believe in, and that’s played a big part in what’s so far been a positive experience.  Other than that, I spend the majority of my time volunteering at the school, teaching 16 awesome piano students, and chasing a busy baby around the house! 

That leads me to what I’m confident everyone else in the family would agree was the most heavenly moment this year, and that was the destined addition of a sweet spirit to our home:
Miss Charlotte.
I don’t think I’ve ever experienced twelve months go by faster than these with her.  By child #4, I hope I have learned a few things and am a wiser, more loving mother.  For starters, I have tried very hard to treat each moment as precious and to treasure it in my heart; to not rush anything and just savor it all.  I’d known for two years prior to her arrival that she was waiting to be with us, so you can imagine what a sweet moment it was to finally hold her for the first time and know our family was what it should be.  We were all in love instantly!  (Halle was especially delighted to finally even the numbers between boys and girls, and she has proven to be a valued babysitter!)  Charli had lots of dark hair and the sweetest little lips.  You can see in the “Then and Now” pictures above how much she’s changed!  Her hair has turned blonde and she’s now on the verge of walking.  Her beautiful round eyes will beat anyone hands-down in a staring contest, and at least for now, she’s a “mama’s girl”, which I’m enjoying for as long as it will last. 

She’s a good sport with the kids’ games, including the time they dressed her up for a little movie they made.  She was the villain, a tough cattle rancher from Montana named “Baby Face Charli”.  If you have 4 minutes to kill, check it out – they did a pretty bang-up job!  Click here

Like everyone, 2012 had lows and highs.  However, we feel very fortunate to say that this year had many more HIGHS than lows.  It was a blessed year for us and one that we’re a bit sorry to see end.  It’s hard to imagine 2013 will top it! 

We know part of what makes our lives so happy is having dear friends and family in our treasured circle.  Our wish for you on this Christmas Eve is that you’ll feel a little bit of Heaven in your hearts! 
Merry Christmas with love,

P.S. Yes, I know this is possibly the longest Christmas Card ever.  But you aren’t surprised, are you?  When have I EVER been short-winded?  (Thanks for sticking it thru to the end…)  J

"The democracy will cease to exist when you TAKE AWAY from those who are willing to work AND GIVE to those who would not."

Thomas Jefferson