Here's another Christmas Letter from some of my characters! Please enjoy! Any questions, you know where to find me!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Greetings and Salutations! I'm thrilled to have the time to sit down and compose a Christmas letter to everyone this year! That's because my husband was kind enough to take all four children out to look at Christmas lights. Ryker is the best. I don't know what I would do without him.
This year has been a good one, and I can't wait to tell everyone about it. The problem is, where to start. It's too quiet in here. I am waiting to hear, "Mommy! Mom! What are you doing, Mom? Can I have a cookie? Can I watch television? Mom, Katie won't share!" Maybe I should have him bring the children back.
December is our big month out of every year, and this year is no exception.
Christmas is approaching rather quickly, and with four children, the atmosphere is one of anticipation and excitement! Ryker and I are enjoying keeping the magic and mystery of Christmas alive for our children. Soon, they will be too old to believe in Santa and flying reindeer.
It's hard to believe that Hannah and Katie will be thirteen on New Year's Eve! Seems like I just had them yesterday! And Madeline and Gregory will be twelve on December 21st, just a few days before Christmas. So for a little over a week, I will have four children who are twelve years old. TLC should give me a reality show. (Just kidding!) I'm going to have two teens and two tweens! I just hope the girls don't have an early onset of ATS (Acute Teenager Syndrome). Next year, I will have four teenagers. Maybe I'm on to something with that reality show.
We've had a good year filled with many blessings from God.
Ryker is still practicing law, but he's doing most of his work from home still, going to his office only when necessary, and of course, the courtroom. He loves being able to work from home, especially during the summer months when the children are out of school.
I'm still working at Wallace Memorial. I've been the head of the Pediatrics Department for two years, and I'm still loving it! My job is a bit more demanding, and I don't see as many patients as I did before, but I'm still glad I took the position as head of the department.
I continue to get job offers for a position as chief-of-medicine at St. Katherine's Children's Hospital, but I keep declining. The Wallace Architect Firm, which is owned and operated by my dad and his triplet brothers, Zephyr and Harper, designed and constructed Wallace Memorial Hospital, and I wouldn't dream of leaving! My mom still works there, some of my cousins work there, and my dad was the first chief-of-medicine there. As you can see, there's so much family history embedded within the hospital halls.
Hannah is doing well in school. She loves Reading and English. She won the school spelling bee again and got to go to the state spelling bee, where she won second place. She's also a published writer in the school newsletter. She aspires to be a writer and she's well on her way! Hannah is so imaginative and creative, and such a girly girl. She's probably our calmest child. She spends most of the summer months laying in the hammock, reading, and listening to the ocean.
Katie is excelling in math and science. She won first place at the school science fair for the third year in a row, and went to the state science fair all three times, where she placed second this year. She was a bit disappointed in herself, but she's going to try again. She's such a hard worker. She's had a few setbacks due to having diabetes, but it doesn't slow her down much. It certainly hasn't hindered her grades. She plans on being a doctor. She enjoys helping her brother and sisters with Math and Science homework. Katie loves animals. She wants a kitten so bad, but she and Ryker are both allergic.
Madeline "Maddy" is doing much better in school. We have set up monthly meetings with her teacher and we're doing what we can to help her develop an interest in learning. Ryker and I decided to see about having Maddy take an IQ test, and we discovered that she has an IQ of 111, so Ryker and I know she's intelligent. She's also a daydreamer, so it's a bit difficult getting her to apply herself. I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, and she has it narrowed down to a princess, a teacher, a news anchor, a chef, or an actress. She's so random! We're going to have her undergo a few more tests. Maybe she needs to be challenged more. We're hoping to figure out what we can do to help her get engaged in her school work. On a positive note, Maddy is an amazing little girl, who loves to help me around the house. She said that no matter what career she chooses from her list, she also wants to be a wife and mother.
Gregory is a sports fan, like his father. He plays baseball, football, and basketball, and he's really good. I know that all parents think their son or daughter is the best, but Gregory is a serious athlete. Not only does he attend practice, he practices at home. That's his biggest interest in the world, sports. I think it's difficult being the only boy, but Ryker softens the blow by taking him to do guy things while the girls and I go to the grocery store or shopping. Gregory really surprised me by offering to help me decorate cookies last week. He made each of his sisters and his dad a special cookie, then he asked me to leave the room so he could make one for me. Gregory doesn't know what he wants to be when he grows up, but he says he's thinking of becoming a lawyer.
As for the rest of the year, well, I'll tell you! I'll just give you the important highlights!
- Wallace Memorial Hospital won some awards and were presented with them in January. Ryker and I were privileged to be able to attend the awards ceremonies.
- On Valentine's Day, Ryker surprised me by taking me to Los Angeles! He knew I had always wanted to go to LA. It meant so much to me that he went all out! He doesn't travel well, so he usually spends the first day of any trip resting up in the hotel room. This time, he accompanied me to the spa as soon as we arrived to the hotel. We spent the week in Los Angeles and had an amazing time!
- We went to a Seder Dinner at Ryker's parents house in March. (Ryker's father by adoption is Jewish. Ryker's mother is half Cambodian. Ryker has such an amazing cultured background, and the children and I have learned so much from both of his parents.)
- For our thirteenth anniversary in May, Ryker and I went to Rio, where we spent our honeymoon! We rekindled so many wonderful memories, we bought souvenirs for our children, and we've decided to take them to Rio next summer so they can see where our marriage began.
- We took the children to Disney World in June. Ryker's parents and Daisy and Steve's daughter, Ashtyn, joined us. Ryker's birthday took place during our trip, so his parents and I took the children so he could have the afternoon to himself, then we had him meet us for dinner, where we totally surprised him.
- My parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in August. My siblings and I threw them an intimate anniversary party. Aidan and Achilles took footage from our home movies and made an amazing video for them. Veronica and Victoria were in charge of decorating, and I coordinated getting the five of us together for photos so Mom and Dad could have pictures of us. After the anniversary party, we all got together for a photo of our entire families; Mom and Dad; Aidan, his wife, Bridget, and their six children, plus one on the way; Achilles, his wife, Briannon, and their six children; Ryker and I, and our four children; and Veronica and Victoria, my youngest siblings. They graduated high school last year, and are now part of the way through their first year of college. That's so hard to believe! My parents were beyond thrilled that we put so much time and effort into the Ruby Wedding Anniversary. Now the question is, can we top this on their 50th anniversary?
- September 10th, I turned another year older. I had the day off, so I slept until ten, when Ryker and the children brought me breakfast in bed. Ryker ran me a hot bubble bath. I spent an hour relaxing in the tub. My besties, Daisy, Tallullah, and Gabrielle, took me to lunch at this little coffee house that offered cheese and chocolate fondue. We had fun skewering things to dip into the cheese or chocolate. Then, the four of us went to a spa together. I came home to find a romantic, candlelit dinner waiting on the balcony overlooking our private beach in the backyard. My parents had taken the kids to Chuck E. Cheese, and then to spend the night with them, so Ryker and I had the evening to ourselves. After we ate, we sat on the beach and watched the waves. It was a very good birthday.
- For Halloween, Hannah dressed up as a "spelling bee" by donning a bee costume and carrying around her spelling book. It was cute and funny. Katie was a Siamese cat. (She said she hoped that Daddy wasn't allergic to her costume.) Maddy and Gregory dressed as news anchors and had a comedy routine they performed for anyone who would listen/watch them. (It's funny how opposite my indentical twins, Hannah and Katie, are, but Maddy and Gregory are so much alike! Twins are truly a mystery.)
- November came, bringing germs that ran rampant through our house. We passed them around for a bit. Thankfully, we were all better by Thanksgiving and able to join my parents for dinner at their house. Ryker's parents had us over for dinner the following week.
- We have two Christmas trees. One in the living room, and one downstairs in the sitting area (the two trees pictured above). Hannah, Kate, Maddy, and Gregory informed me that they wanted their own tree. That's what we did today...
That about sums it up. I have so much going on with the kids birthdays and Christmas. I have to make a few calls and do a few last minute touches for Maddy and Gregory's birthday next week. I think I'll just do a New Year's theme party for Hannah and Kate since their birthday is on the same day. They'll love the idea of soda out of plastic, fluted glasses, noise makers, birthday cake with sparkler candles on top, and the fireworks that Ryker and his dad set off to ring in the New Year.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Leah and Ryker,
Hannah Jade and Katherine "Katie" Olivia,
Madeline "Maddy" and Gregory Alan