Christmas Eve at the Thompsons
Dear Family & Friends,
For a third year in a row, I write from Tennessee! That’s a record for us, much to Jake’s dismay and my delight.
Jake had a busy spring going to various Homesteader and Survivalist expos as a vendor. He sold many copies of his book, Winter’s Comin’ (available on Amazon!), and expanded his wares to include t-shirts he designed as well as the chairs he has begun making out of wood. He ran Great Wave SEO (internet marketing) until recently. In July he was offered a job he couldn't resist, quite out of the blue, as Service Department Manager for his first SEO client. Bringing order to a department, learning more about cool cars, and becoming a favorite of the mechanics are just a few of the things he does at Art & Speed Classic Car Gallery in Collierville! He often bikes to and from work and the entire family and cats excitedly await his arrival home (while he braces for it, ha). We recently celebrated 5 years of marriage - I'm so grateful for him!
I got busier throughout the year as I went from parenting a newborn to yet another busy toddler. And with Jake gone all day for the first time since having kids...let’s just say it’s different!! My home school now includes 4 students while I keep the youngest two out of the cat food and toilets. I was also honored to serve at the births of my first doula clients this year and have several more due soon. Living so near my parents, who love helping with the kids, helps me keep my sanity!
The boys’ paperwork was an ongoing “side project”. US citizenship paperwork came through about a year after we applied, then Social Security numbers after 4 months (instead of the quoted three weeks—that was a lot of fun!). Once we had those numbers, we could apply for insurance and begin the necessary rounds of dentists and doctors and therapists that everyone needs!
Joel, age 14, is super pleasant to be around. His basketball team earlier in the year was almost undefeated, as well as his fall soccer team. He really shines on the soccer field and would often get most or all of the goals for his team, same as in Bolivia! He works a steady pace in school and gets good grades with little drama—something this mama appreciates. We marvel at his patience with the little ones and his diplomacy when they are challenging. It's almost always quiet when he's the one in between the car seats in the far back of the car!
Michael, age 14, is still a bundle of energy, curious, and talkative. Or, as Jake likes to put it, being around him is like sticking your head out of a car window while going 100 MPH! While school is not his “thing”, he is great at math and I rarely need to help him with it—something else I appreciate! He keeps up with all the NFL teams and statistics, and has become quite the fishing fanatic. He could pretty much fish or work on the aquarium in their room all day long. His boundless energy serves him well in a house full of toddlers, and he's a favorite playmate!
Jake's parents flew Joel and Michael to Washington for a great summer visit at their home and with their three boy cousins. They had a blast!
Samuel turned 13 this year. He also loves anything to do with fish and is Michael's main fishing partner! Since March he’s slept at my parent’s house around the corner, where he’s a much calmer kid, and visits us most days. We’ve learned to give him the option of opting out of social events and activities. After years of trying to find the right professional to help us help him, we finally have a good male counselor on board for individual and family therapy. A couple of months ago, we also got an official diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Learning about FAS has helped us make sense of 90% of our challenges, as well as manage our expectations and thoughts to the future.
All three are playing for a local church’s basketball league and we can’t wait to watch their first games next month!
Sophia turned 4 in October with a ballerina party. She helped me plan it for weeks and loves all things ballet and dance! Dancing and singing around the house, especially with any of us for an audience, are some of her favorite things. This month she was a Marzipan Sheep in two Nutcracker shows. I about fainted from cuteness overload!! She begs to do school and I know that I’m going to greatly enjoy teaching her as she grows. Sophia and Lydia are best of friends and worst of enemies, while she is ever the doting big sister to Callie. Overall, she loves them and helps me keep an eye on everyone!
Lydia, 2 ½, is quite easily the most photogenic, loudest, and messiest child I have ever met! She is finally communicating more, if in “baby talk” that we never had with Sophia, which is helpful except that it seems she began her talking with the phrase: “I want (fill in the blank)!!” The week before she turned two she finally learned to say “Sophia” and hasn’t stopped yet. Many pictures I take show her staring adoringly at big sissy. Potty-training was a rough journey still in progress, but made easier with Sophia’s encouragement and supervision. She’s our affectionate child with a tender spot!
Our 23-pound baby, Caledonia Grace, turned one last month! Everyone loves her, and she loves us back in her sweet baby ways. She crawls lightning fast, cruises around furniture, loves finding anything but a toy to play with or chew on, and babbles even more than Sophia did! After a quick succession of three illnesses in February, Callie has been very healthy, for which I am very grateful. I must have 1000s of pictures of this baby!
When people tell us what a beautiful family we have, be it at church or somewhere else, Jake often replies with “Thanks, but please pray for us when you think of us.” I would finish with the same request! Thank you for your friendship and encouragement to our family.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Jacob, Jennifer, Joel (14), Michael (14), Samuel (13 ½), Sophia (4), Lydia (2 ½), Caledonia (13 months)
July 1 Family Picture (I was so glad to finally have a new good family picture!)
August 2017, Florida Beach Trip
The guys, looking all Hawaiian!
Caledonia's First Birthday