Thursday, December 31, 2015

Beaty Family Christmas Letter 2015

Another Big Year...

Dear Family & Friends,

Happy New Year! Probably can't call this a "Christmas" letter, but hey, we've done a thing or two this year. (No time for grass to grow under our feet - Jake loves that!)

Let’s see…
…new baby
…new Casa de Amor administration
…new countries visited
…new home in a different country
…new jobs

Starting with our busy head-of-the-family, Jake has worked hard this year providing for our family through different internet marketing/writing jobs and also exploring new income opportunities. It's been wonderful to have him at home as he works via the internet from Bolivia or the US. That allowed from some flexibility when his brother Luke and family (wife and three sons) visited us in Bolivia in June for a great visit!

In his free time, Jake finished writing a book! His first draft of Winter’s Comin’ tells the story of his family’s adventures when they moved to central Washington to build and live in a cabin off-grid. He also began blending traditional Bolivian fabric with the design of his favorite hoodie and started a business: Tunari Apparel.

Jake and the boys did Boy Scouts the first half of the year in Bolivia including some camp outs. They also trained for and participated in a triathlon, quite the feat - and at high altitude! Jake still has a special way with Sophia—I never tire of watching them interact!

Jennifer (that’s me) rarely has a quiet moment keeping the family fed, rested, educated, and clothed - in about that order. It's a round-the-clock job! This year had several all-consuming projects. For the first few months as I “cooked” our next baby, I was also working to pass off Casa de Amor to new administrative hands after 13 years at the helm. With a large family of my own, it had become apparent that big change was necessary for the good of everyone, and Jake encouraged me to make those steps. He also thought it would be a great idea to take our family on a five country road trip through South America before leaving the continent. Only he and I needed visas since our five children all possess Bolivian passports. We traveled approximately 5,000 miles in our family-size 1991 Land Cruiser as we made a circuit through Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, and Uruguay...and now shiver in fear to imagine do anything remotely similar ever again!

Iguazu Falls, Argentina side

After that, we had exactly two crazy weeks to close up our wonderful life in Bolivia and move to Germantown, Tennessee, on September 15. We now live near my parents and three sisters, plus grandparents who moved to TN one week after us. We're also more accessible to other relatives - Jake's parents visited us at Thanksgiving! I love all the opportunities for our kids and they love the attention from relatives and visits to the cookie stores! I’ve been surprised how easy the transition has been, although I of course miss Cochabamba and all our friends there.

Joel, now 12, does very well in school. As his teacher, I most appreciate his good attitude! It's also neat to see him become a reader. He is a great helper and has really grown in his patience with the babies. 

Michael, who turned 12 in August while we were in Buenos Aires, keeps busy and keeps us busy…listening! It’s encouraging to watch him mature and settle into his place in our family. Of the three boys, he made the most progress with an adoption therapist earlier this year in Bolivia. Michael loves playing with his siblings and the neighbors and is a very good student when he decides to be!

Samuel is 11 ½. He has a hard time with change and with English, but we hope that the resources we now have in the US will be beneficial to him. I started looking for help with the moderate dyslexia, ADD, and other associated issues, as soon as we arrived. Finally, after months of various tests and appointments we await a thorough report that should point us in the right direction of curriculum, programs, therapy, etc., to make life less frustrating for him (and all of us!). He still loves his Legos and wishes we had a cat!   

Sophia, age 2 going on 12, is Miss Charmer and the center of attention wherever we go, in any country! Always one to follow her own time table, she finally decided at 17 months that walking was superior to scooting around. At 18 months and 3 days, she had the shock of her life when a new baby arrived on the scene to vie for mama’s attention. After a rough couple of months, I’m happy to report that she’s come around and perhaps even likes her little sister. She is very verbal, using hundreds of words well, and keeps us all on our toes!

Lydia Ruth, now 8 1/2 months, joined our family in the early hours of April 16. Baby #2/5 was born weighing 8 pounds, 1 ounce, at home in Bolivia with a midwife from New Zealand, a medical student from Canada, and Grandma Thea Ruth Beaty visiting from Washington. Lydia means “traveler” and her Dad has made sure she lives up to it! The very day she turned 4 months old, she woke in Paraguay, napped through Brazil, and went to bed in Argentina at Iguazu Falls. The day she turned 5 months was her first day in the US, her fifth country.

Lydia has been the perfect addition to our family, so happy and laid back. She eats well, sleeps well...then eats well and sleeps well! The boys affectionately call her “fatty”, “gorda”, and “chubs”. Yesterday Jake called her a jelly doughnut: “squishy and sweet”! It’s funny for us to hear people say she looks like Sophia, as closer observation reveals how opposite they are. Even aside from personality and volume differences, by 8 months of age, Sophia had a full head of hair, several teeth, and refused to crawl—much less stand! Since birth she hangs out in the 25 percentile for weight. Lydia doesn’t have enough hair for a bow, zero teeth, and crawls and pulls up to everything. She grows along the 95 percentile curve and has worn the same size diaper as big sister since she was 4 months old!

Merry Christmas from the kiddos

That's it from us this year! We'd love to get your Christmas letters and pictures if you mailed one. Let us know if you'd like our new contact information!

Happy New Year!

Jacob, Jennifer, Joel (12), Michael (12), Samuel (11 ½), Sophia (26 months), and Lydia (8 months)